Normandy D-Day landings beaches
Along the 5 D-Day landing beaches, on these long stretches of sand as well on the coast, you will see many historical elements related to D-Day. Monuments and memorial stones, but also vestiges of artificial ports, blockhouses and other fortifications as well as restored vehicles and weapons.
Situated in the Manche county, Utah beach was the code name given to Madeleine beach for the landing of the US troops. The combined forces of naval, air and airborne troops lead the Allies to victory enabling them to establish a beachhead at the base of the Cotentin county.
Utah beach possesses the very first commemorative monument to be erected on the D-Day beaches. It was inaugurated on November 11th 1944, in honour of the US 1st engineer special brigade.
You will find on display outside around the D-Day landing museum (musée du Débarquement) in Sainte Marie du Mont several commemorative monuments and vestiges, such as canons and tanks, as well as landing craft.
- US M4A3E8 Sherman tank
- Utah Beach US D-Day landing monument
- Memorial dedicated to the 90th US infantry division which landed on June 6th 1944.
- US Marine Monument, a memorial which commemorates the deployment of the US marines during the invasion.
- First stone marker “Borne 0” (kilometre 0) of Liberty Road,
- US anti-aircraft canon which belonged to the 16th AAA Gun Battalion,
- Monument of the 4th US infantry division,
- Landing craft: US LCVP type vehicle
The US troops that land on Omaha beach meet with a well-trained German defense that is intact. It is the D-Day beach, nicknamed “Bloody Omaha”, that is to record the greatest number of losses.
- Beacon monument at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, situated in the little hamlet on the sea front called “Les Moulins”. Two frescos pay homage to the US troops, one dedicated to the 1st infantry division, the other to the 116th Regimental Combat Team of the 29th infantry division
- Monument “Les braves” (the brave) in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer – steel and stainless steel structures sculpted for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings
- Native American Tribes Memorial – pays tribute to the bravery of the native American soldiers who took part in Operation Neptune
- Blockhouse WN 65 (Wiederstand Nest 65). A PAK 5 cm anti-tank canon can be seen in the shelter
Situated on the coast of the Calvados county between Asnelles and Ver-sur-Mer, Gold beach is where the British troops land. They make the greatest advance of D-Day, leading to the liberation of Bayeux the very next day.
- Monument dedicated to the memory of the artillery regiments of the 50th Northumbrian Infantry Division in Ver-sur-Mer
- Vestiges of Mulberry port: an artificial port built on the Normandy coast which enabled the transport of supplies until Cherbourg’s deep water port was recaptured.
The Canadian 3rd infantry division land on the section known as Juno beach between Graye-sur-Mer and Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Penetrating the enemy line is difficult in this zone, particularly at Courseulles port which is heavily defended. They are halted the next day near Caen by German reinforcements.
Sword beach is the most eastern of the D-Day beaches. It is located on the coast of the towns of Hermanville and Colleville where the amphibious attack of the Anglo-canadian troops along with that of the French commandos took place.
- The famous “dragon’s teeth” which blocked the advance of tanks
- The Flame (“la Flamme”), a memorial to French commandos
- The monument commemorating the liberation of Lion-sur-Mer in tribute to the British navy
- Tank from the 77th Armoured Engineer Squadron