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d-day and the battle for normandy rationale on 6 june 1944 the biggest combined naval military and air operation ever seen took place code-named operation overlord the d-day landings on the coast of normandy marked the start of a campaign which led to eventual allied victory in europe in may 1945 d-day is one of the most significant events of the second world war a visit to the normandy beaches encourages pupils to investigate and recognise the enormous problems that the allies faced in mounting this operation and is a great route in to broader topics within the second world war a visit to the normandy beaches offers a chance to visit a variety of historical sites from the beaches themselves to cemeteries and memorials and a range of different types of museums and learning centres evidence can therefore be found in the landscape as well as more usual interpretation within museums and other centres it allows students to explore reasons why events and outcomes in history are not inevitable and can make the events dangers and sacrifices of d-day more real there are opportunities to help pupils to identify and analyse the differences between interpretations of a well-reported historical event and to view it from a myriad of perspectives understanding how they construct a valid narrative from this evidence it is also easily accessible as a day trip or can sustain longer residential visits hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 1


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suggested places to visit around the d-day beaches and normandy omaha beach http www.oti-omaha.fr the now very peaceful and beautiful sandy beach at colleville sur mer was the site of massive american losses on d-day omaha beach was the most viciously defended of the landing beaches as the battle hardened german 352nd infantry division was unexpectedly engaged in anti-invasion training in the area on 6 june 1944 at omaha the massive allied aerial and naval bombardments were largely ineffective and the american troops faced stiff resistance throughout the landings on d-day many us rifle companies suffered casualties in excess of 50 but by the evening of d-day american soldiers had a firm foothold ashore the 34,000 us troops who landed on omaha beach suffered 2,000 casualties a high proportion of the total allied losses on d-day today the beach is overlooked by the normandy american cemetery and memorial omaha beach cemetery address normandy american cemetery omaha beach 14710 colleville sur mer tel 0033 2 31 51 62 00 web http www.abmc.gov maintained by the american battle monuments commission ambc the normandy american cemetery and memorial is situated on a cliff overlooking omaha beach it is located on the site of the first american cemetery on european soil in the second world war the temporary st laurent cemetery established by the u.s first army on june 8 1944 and is the largest american cemetery from the second world war the cemetery holds 9,387 graves of us service men and women four women are buried here 307 of whom are unknown there are 33 pairs of brothers buried side by side the cemetery consists of a visitors building a central memorial with a large bronze statue called `the sprit of american youth rising from the waves and a garden of the missing where a further 1,557 servicemen with no known grave are commemorated the rows upon rows of pristine white gravestones that fill the cemetery as far as the eye can see are a sober and moving tribute to those who gave their lives the cemetery looks over the now picturesque and peaceful site of omaha beach there is a viewing platform with a map and paths leading down towards the beach hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 2


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arromanches 360 address 14 117 arromanches les bains tel 0033 02 31 22 30 30 web http www.arromanches360.com arromanches 360 was created at the fiftieth anniversary of the d-day landings in 1994 located on the cliffs above the beach where the remains of a mulberry harbour lie at arromanches the circular cinema features a panoramic film `the price of freedom the film mixes unreleased archive footage from war correspondents with present day pictures of the now peaceful setting close by is a panoramic table showing the different actions that took place along the coast in june 1944 which was originally built as an observation point by german forces bayeux cemetery address rue de sir fabian ware bayeux web www.cwgc.org bayeux war cemetery is situated in the south-western outskirts of the town of bayeux on the by-pass which is named rue de sir fabian ware the cemetery is 24 kilometres north-west of caen bayeux town saw little combat compared to other towns in normandy but it was the first french town of importance to be liberated after the d-day landings also well known for the bayeux tapestry the town is now the venue for the largest commonwealth war graves cemetery of the second world war in france it contains burials brought in from the surrounding districts and from nearby hospitals bayeux war cemetery has 4,144 commonwealth burials 338 of them unidentified there are also 505 war graves of other nationalities mostly german the bayeux memorial opposite the cemetery bears the names of more than 1,800 men of the commonwealth land forces that died in the early stages of the campaign and have no known grave view the commonwealth war graves website for pictures of bayeux war cemetery and to access remember me ­ echoes from the lost generations a new teaching resource for upper primary and secondary schools hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 3


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musee du debarquement address 14 117 arromanches les bains tel 0033 2 31 22 34 31 web http www.musee-arromanches.fr created in 1953 by the d-day landing committee comité du débarquement normandie 1944 the museum at arromanches les bains was built on the site of an artificial port called a mulberry harbour which enabled provisions to get through to the troops fighting in the battle of normandy the museum houses models and film to explain the technical challenge of constructing and using the artificial harbour mulberry harbours arromanches les bains web http www.arromanches.com situated on the sandy beach at arromanches les bains the dilapidated remains of one of two mulberry harbours erected soon after d-day can still be visited today mulberry harbours were improvised ports required to re-supply the allied invasion force following the d-day landings they were floating harbours towed in sections across the channel from england mulberry `a at st laurent designed to supply the us forces was destroyed by a severe storm 13 days after d-day thereafter mulberry `b at arromanches originally designed to supply just the british and canadian forces was used to unload 11,000 tons of stores per day until december 1944 pegasus bridge museum address avenue major howard 14860 ranville tel 0033 2 31 78 19 44 web http www.memorial-pegasus.org pegasus bridge immortalised by the initial actions on d-day was the first part of occupied france to be liberated by allied forces just past midnight british time on 6 june 1944 british troops landed in horsa gliders near the bridge took the bridge and held it until fresh troops arrived later in the day although a new bridge was built recently it is an exact replica of the original and the old pegasus bridge has been preserved in the grounds of a new museum opened in june 2000 the airborne museum memorial pegasus tells the d-day story of the 6th airborne division and replaces the old museum that used to be alongside pegasus café originally café gondree ­ the café was the first building to be liberated on d-day the museum houses many artefacts uniforms weapons and vehicles connected with d-day and visitors can walk across the original pegasus bridge hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 4


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pointe du hoc web www.abmv.gov the pointe du hoc ranger monument is located on a cliff eight miles west of the american omaha cemetery it overlooks omaha beach during the american assault at omaha beach the american second ranger battalion under the command of lieutenant colonel james e rudder scaled the one hundred foot high cliff at pointe du hoc and seized german artillery pieces that posed a serious threat to troops landing on the beach below today you can visit to view the memorial that was erected there by the french to honour the bravery of the american troops whose daring actions successfully defended the position against determined german opposition at a high cost the monument is now looked after by the american battle monuments commission abmc pointe du hoc today remains much as the rangers left it as a thought-provoking jumble of artillery craters and ruined concrete gun emplacements caen memorial address esplanade eisenhower bp6261 14066 caen tel 0033 2 31 06 06 44 web http www.memorial-caen.fr/portailgb the caen memorial established in 1988 is a museum for peace it aims to tell the overall story of human history from 1918 to the present day to mark the 60th anniversary of the d-day landings that took place just down the coast from caen the exhibition `d-day words present the story of the d-day landings from the point of view of the allied and german soldiers involved through letters home and personal diaries the exhibition captures their thoughts and feelings about what they were going through the museum is situated in the beautiful grounds of the international park ­ a tribute to peace caen town center web http www.caen.fr/tourisme caen is a major administrative economical and political city of 200,000 people but also has a rich historical architectural and culture heritage and is well worth a visit ­ especially when the wonderful market is in town it is a good place to allow students to do some souvenir shopping and have a break from the historical focus but is also a relevant place to visit to look at the effects of the battle for normandy given that the vast majority of the town was destroyed during allied bombardments in an attempt to break through german defences hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 5


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german cemetery address just off the n13 road 35km west of bayeux 22km from omaha beach the german cemetery at la cambe is the largest german war cemetery in normandy nearly 21,500 german soldiers are buried in the cemetery of which 207 unknown and 89 known casualties are buried in a kamaradengraben or mass grave below a central six-meter high mound topped by an imposing black granite cross there is also an information centre on site housing a permanent exhibition about the volksbund deutsche kriegsgräberfürsorge the german war graves commission the german war dead from the normandy campaign were scattered over a wide area many of them buried in isolated or field graves or small battlefield cemeteries in the years following ww2 the german war graves commission volksbund deutsche kriegsgräberfürsorge decided to establish six main german cemeteries in the normandy area with the one here at la cambe started in 1954 during this period the remains of more than 12,000 german soldiers were moved in from 1,400 locations in the departements of calvados and the orne the cemetery was finished in 1961 and inaugurated in september of that year since this date more than 700 soldiers have been found on the battlefield and are now also buried here juno beach center address voie des français libres b.p 104 14470 courseullessur-mer tel 0033 2 31 37 32 17 web http www.junobeach.org juno beach centre is a learning centre and tribute to the many canadian soldiers who gave their lives thousands of miles from home during the d-day landings and the subsequent battle of normandy a museum and cultural centre it opened at courseulles-sur-mer on the 59th anniversary of d-day on 6 june 2003 the centre presents the war effort made by all canadians civilian and military alike both at home and on the various fronts during the second world war as well as representing canadian society today it is situated facing the beach where many of the first wave of canadian 3rd division soldiers lost their lives faced with heavy german artillery fire juno beach centre welcomes educational group visits and links to teaching resources are available online hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 6


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additional notes the d-day beaches overview utah beach us utah saw the first beach landings of d-day by american infantrymen a strong current swept the first wave of men over 2,000 yards south of their target into the most lightly defended sector of the entire normandy front at 6.30am they came under light fire but all except four of its 32 amphibious dd tanks successfully reached the beach the us 101st airborne division had successfully secured the causeways across the flooded low-lying land behind the beach and the tanks and infantry were able to move inland omaha beach us the broad beach code-named omaha was the most heavily defended of all the invasion beaches massive allied air and sea bombardments were largely ineffective here and the american troops faced stiff resistance from experienced german forces training in the area casualties of over 50 were suffered by many of the american infantry companies landing at omaha but by the evening american soldiers were firmly ashore gold beach uk gold beach was not heavily defended by german forces because the air and sea bombardments had successfully damaged german strongholds this was fortunate for the british troops approaching gold beach because the high winds of the previous night s storm created an unusually high tide which rapidly submerged beach obstacles before they could be destroyed those landing on gold beach had advanced ten kilometres inland by the evening of d-day and although they had not cut the caen-bayeux highway or linked up with americans from omaha beach as planned they had joined up with canadians from juno beach to the east juno beach canada juno beach was assaulted by the canadian 3rd division it was heavily defended with gun emplacements and formidable beach obstacles rough seas delayed the landings and the first wave of canadian infantry suffered heavy casualties more tanks had been allocated to juno beach than others because of the terrain although many of them never made it ashore there were more funnies designed to help the infantry over the seawall through the barbed wire and across the minefields beyond the villages lay flat open country with almost no opposition at the end of the day the canadians had penetrated deeper into france than any other division sword beach uk off-shore shoals and heavy defences around ouistreham port considerably reduced the width of the landing area on sword beach the british landing troops main d-day objective was to capture the city of caen ten miles fifteen kilometres inland but high tides resulting from the bad weather and stiff german resistance delayed their advance and prevented much of the supporting armour getting ashore in time to help hôtel le bayeux 9 rue tardif 14400 bayeux reception@hotellebayeux.com www.hotellebayeux.com +33 02 31 92 70 08 7



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