Omaha Beach

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Omaha was the code name for one of the five sectors in Normandy of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France on June 6th 1944: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Omaha, commonly known as Omaha Beach, refers to a section of 5 miles long (8 kilometers), facing the English Channel. It runs from Ste-Honorine-des-Pertes to Vierville-sur-Mer with tall dunes and even cliffs up to 100 feet (30 m). Taking Omaha was the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force, provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guard, with contributions from the British, Canadian, and Free French navies.

The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of 4.97 miles (8 kilometers) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the estuary of the Vire and Douve rivers. Secondary objective was linking up with the British and Canadian landing zone at Gold to the east and reaching the area of Isigny-sur-Mer to the west to link up with the landing zone of VII Corps at Utah.

Opposing the landing troops was the German 352nd Infantry Division. Of the 12,020 men of the division, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend 33 miles (53 kilometers) front. The strategy of the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line. The defenses were mainly deployed in strongpoints along the coast and numerous obstacles on the beach.

The untested 29th US Infantry Division, along with 5th US Army Rangers redirected from Pointe-du-Hoc, assaulted the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st US Infantry Division was given the eastern half (Colleville- and St.Laurent-sur-Mer). The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses in order to allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land. However, very little ran as planned during the landings at Omaha. Strong incoming tides and difficulties in navigation caused the majority of the landing crafts to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties among US troopers. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles.

Weakened by the casualties during the landings on the beaches, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequently delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors executing improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.

The Campsite: DOG GREEN CAMP

Our campsite will be located on the grounds around Château de Vierville. Since 1910 till the invasion the Château, owned by Mr. E. Hausermann from Alsace, was captured by the Germans (Organization Todt) to realize the Atlantic Wall.

After June 6th in and around this castle the Headquarters was housed of 11th Port under command of Colonel Richard Whitcomb, responsible for the Mulberry A (American) harbour at Vierville-sur-Mer. Engineers started building the harbor from D-Day +2 and it was in function till July 21st 1944, though a heavy storm destroyed the harbor on June 19th beyond repair. From that moment the large LCT and LCI ships were stranded on the beach at half tide and unloaded at low tide. At high tide the ships became afloat and could return to sea.