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Normandy

#1
Off to Normandy on hols this summer and wanted some advice and opinions on which bits to visit. I have in mind:-

Pegasus Bridge
Arromanches (is there a museum there?)
Pont du Hoc
At least one military cemetery

Any other "must do" locations?

Mrs JB is looking forward to the holiday although is unaware of my ideas!
 
#2
check out the meuseum in ouistream its dedicated to the free french commandos or th epace museum in cean its huge so avoid the nobel prize exibits and dont buy anysouveniers from cafe gondree because there really expensive but do get a drink there its amazing i hope ive helped
 
#3
Jacques_Bustard said:
Off to Normandy on hols this summer and wanted some advice and opinions on which bits to visit. I have in mind:-

Pegasus Bridge
Arromanches (is there a museum there?)
Pont du Hoc
At least one military cemetery

Any other "must do" locations?

Mrs JB is looking forward to the holiday although is unaware of my ideas!
Fine Museum at Arromanches,
 
#4
St Mere Eglise is good if you've done your homework and watched "the longest day" before you go...plus the museum there is good too. Bayeux for the allied cemetery(and a museum next to the cemetery) is very sobering and not far away (not sure of exact name) is the German cemetery which is good for seeing the differences between ours and theirs. Merville for the battery and same again for Longues...was there 2 years ago (2nd visit!) You will see loads of monuments as they are everywhere-but you'll have a good time :D ( forgot to mention...Omaha beach for all things "private ryan" related and museum and cemetery) :wink:
 
#6
Little museum just up the hill from Omaha, small but very good and the owners is a friendly and talkative bloke.
Les Longues Battery my favourite.
Not to forget Pegasus Bridge and Le Grand Bunker too
If you are driving keep a close eye out for concrete blockhouses hiding under what appear to be normal houses, saw quite a few that are'nt obvious at first glance
 
#8
Planned and Conducted a number of tours in Normandy as a project of mine spent alot of time on it and visited Normandy on numerous occasions.

Try this itnerary for historistl importance and viuasl impact.

CHERBOURG or reversE through CAEN

STE MERE EGLISE TOWN SQUARE AND MUSEUM (101st US AB)
POINT DU HOC (2nd US RANGERS ASSAULT)
OMAHA BEACH (GERMAN DEFENCES)

BAYEUX MUSEUM

ARROMANCHES

POINT 54 (2nd DEVONS)
GOLD BEACH (KING SECTOR) - MONT FLUEURY BATTERY - CREPON - CRISTOT (6 Green Howards and WO2 Stan Hollis VC) First VC of D Day oustanding story

Operation Hillman and Morris (1 Suffolks)
Pegasus Bridge (D Coy Oxs & Bucks LI)
Merville Battery (9 Para)

Ranville, Bayeux (British), St Laurent (US) Cementeries are very good to see

Hope this is of some help, have a great time.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
jagman said:
Little museum just up the hill from Omaha, small but very good and the owners is a friendly and talkative bloke.
If you go a little further up the hill, on the left there's a little bar on a crossroads. Good Stella :eek: . I fell down a bomb crater at Pont du Hoc in the afternoon after a visit to Omaha :(
 
#10
The French have several routes marked out, I found these very usefull. Don't forget to go inland and tour the Bocage.

Also found the Battleground Europe Books very good, would recommend Inland from King which describes Stan Hollis getting his VC and I reckon it would make a good wander through the Norman countryside. Also Major & Mrs Holts guide to the campaign.

Patrick Delaforce has written a few books on Divisions involved in the campaign e.g. The Polar Bears: Monty's Left Flank, from Normandy to the Relief of Holland with the 49th Division
 
#11
Ouisterham good one as there is a fantastic creperie you can claim you are going for.

The yank cemetery vis Omaha is impressive, but a strange one in comparison with a cwgc site, they have started to pipe music in, visually it is very moving tho, and may well buy you the right to go to a coastal battery or two.

Find a good regimental link site too, as the other half can't refuse you that one.
 
#13
Definitely read up beforehand. All books mentioned are good.

Personally I think the Frenmch tourist guide is one of the best overall -the 24.50 Euro one you can get from Arromanche and St Mare Eglise Musuem. It covers much more than the Holts guide which really only looks at D Day itself. It has the routes - but also lots of articles about different aspects of the landing and the battle.

The Caen Musuem seems to be more about the war as a whole than D Dya or Normandy.
Arromanches is mainly abotu Mulberry
St mare eglise is mostly about americans
Pegesus Bridge musuem has the British Airborne stuff -and a glider. Its good. But DON'T mention the place (or take bags) when you vist Madame Gondree's Cafe. The exhibits used to be in her shed and she feels betrayed by the airborne forces association. She is an exhibit in her own right - a witness to the battle.
The Falaise Musuem is pretty good on the post D Day battle, as was the bayeux Musuem. It had 20+ cases on different battles within the camapaign. Sadly this collection has been sold and the musuem is less than half as good as it was.
Fort Hillman (Colville Montgomery) is v good - visit on a Saturday and the bunkers are open.
Merville Battery is good place to visit with a nice musuem about the attack by 9 para.
The new complex near Mailly Grandcamp looks interesting.
The battery at Longues Sur Mer is very impressive - you will recognise the OP bunker from the Longest Day.
The Two big British Cemetries to visit are at Ranville and Bayeux. The German cemtry at La Cambe is a good contrast.
If you go to Omaha and the Ameriocan Cemetry try to visit the German Decensive position WN62. Its a short walk from the car park and is where a weak p-latoon of Germans held out until 3 pm on D Day. The Heimdalh book on Omaha Beach will help you find the trenches used by sp0ecific Germans, including the FOO's Driver known as the "Beast of Omaha"
The Panorama at Arromanches has a very atmospheric 360 degree interpretation - so if you want to know what it might look like to approach at low level in a fighter bomber or in a boat or drive through an orchard in a Sherman its good. Kids and yound soldiers like it

If you and some friends want to do it in style I could arrange a trip using a C47. www.businessbattlefields.com
 
#16
blacky said:
Pegasus Bridge (D Coy Oxs & Bucks LI)
Please don't forget that the coup de main force also contained two platoons from B Coy, a significant yet often overlooked reinforcement. Lots of sappers and the odd medic too.

If you want to see one of the bloodiest areas on the eastern flank, visit Chateau St Come up on the Bréville ridge. The fighting involved 9 & 12 Para, 12th Devons, the Black Watch and 2 OBLI and was one of the most fiercely contested ridges of the first few weeks. By way of illustration, not counting their HQ Coy, 12 Para were reduced from 550 to 55 men (though not all were killed on the ridge). If you look for the driveway on the opposite side of the road to the stud farm, near the 51st Highland memorial, a lady called Valerie lives there; she knew nothing about the battle until she met the veterans who visit every June. Now she is a veritable expert on the battle and can show you many of the features that still survive including the list of names scrawled on the wall of her logshed where the 2 OBLI RAP was sited.
 
#17
CC the fighting for Breville is an epic - D+1 -D+7, and not much coverage in the D Day musuems except the Pegasus Bridge musuem. There is a very good account in the Normandy history of 9 Para. The ITC Para Company invite a vet to talk about the battle. There is a very sad row of Black Watch dead from that battle in one row of Ranville Cemetry. The battle on 12 June was studied as part of the Staff College Tour as an eample of how everything go wrong and be saved by personal leadership on the spot. 12 Para took a lot of friendly fire casualties including the entire O group. The FOO who called down the DF which was misinterpreted and ended up as friendly fire is buried in Brevillle Churchyard, next to the ruins of the old church. I don't think there is a single account of the battle. It deserves one.
 
#18
Pteranadon said:
I wonder if anyone is compiling something for the wider campaign?
Whats also missing is a good guide to the Bocage, its quite a nice area good for cycling and walking (aswell as eating and drinking). The Battleground Europe series does well and some of these suggest some routes (Hill 112 and Mont Pincon) but they aren't as good as Inland from King.
 
#19
I wonder if "Inland from King" was Tim Saunders' first and used a lot of material from battleifled tours. Or maybe, since Pen and Sword aren't the most geneerous publishers authors, perhaps authors have rumbled the trick that fewer topics per book = cheaper to research, more titles and more money all round. ;)
 
#20
His Hill 112 book was also good, that had some walks but not as good from 'Inland from King' where you could start on the beech and work though the book as you walked inland, just as the troops did. All that'd be missing is a landing craft delivering you onto the beech at the start.
 

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