More about Normandy Landing Beaches
On 6th June 1944, the Allied Forces made significant progress in
'Operation Neptune', the procedure to liberate Vichy France from
German occupation. Now known as D-Day, the operation was
successful, and marked a major turning point in the Second World
War. There are a number of sites involved in the landings that can
still be seen today.
A large battery was built here by the Germans in 1943-4,
as part of their Atlantic Wall fortifications. On the evening of
5th June 1944, the battery was heavily bombed by Allied Forces.
This carried on throughout the following day, making it the scene
of one of the longest conflicts of the operation. The 184-strong
crew in the battery finally surrendered in the evening of the 6th
June. The remains of the battery are still intact.
It was here that one of the artificial harbours assembled
in England was sited. After being towed across the Channel, the
harbour was able to provide the port facilities necessary for the
Allied Forces to offload thousands of men and vehicles without
coming under immediate attack. The evocative remains of this
significant structure can still be seen from the shore today.
Gold, Juno and Sword beaches
Even today, the stretches of coastline where the Allied
forces landed and launched their offensive are still referred to by
their code names. The shore was divided into sections, and troops
were assigned to different parts - with the aim that each section
would be secured, before the troops from each section linked up and
advanced further forward. For the most part these were successful;
the only one that saw a true conflict with the Germans was Sword
beach, and this was eventually overcome.
Ranville was the first village to be liberated in the
D-Day landings, after the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured.
Due to its significance in the operation, Ranville was chosen as a
fitting final resting place for some of the heroic men who gave
their lives. There are more than 2,200 Allied graves here, and
about 330 graves of German soldiers.
Originally known as Bénouville bridge after its
neighbouring village, this was one of the most significant early
targets for the Allies. Its capture resulted in the liberation of
the first French house in the early morning of 6th June. In honour
of the operation, the bridge was renamed Pegasus Bridge by the
Allied forces - after the flying horse on the British Airborne
The bridge was replaced by a newer model in 1994, but the
original was removed and preserved in the nearby museum, so that
its story would be preserved for future generations.