A price to pay for freedom
Now a little history:
Arromanches was not one of the landing beaches of D-day. It was to strong fortified by the Nazi's. Hostilities started with heavy bombarding on the 6th of June at 3.00 hours. Over land the allied forces came in from other beaches and it took 16 hours before the village was secured. Only six houses in Arromaches were left unharmed.
Immediately after Arromanches was transfered to a Mulberry port as the British had recognised this location to be more or less suitable for this necessary item in the conquering of Normandy and liberation of Europe. In front of the bay a large dam was built from concrete blocks, measuring 70 meters in length and 20 meters in hight. In the now sheltered bay floating kays and piers were built to make it possible for ships to start unloading equipment, food and other supplies. The images and intens feelings during the Arromanches 360 film.
"A Place of Remembrance"
I have visited this village many times during the last 25 years - in all seasons of the year. It lies beside the Landing beach, Code Name Gold, where the British secretly built the floating, artificial Mulberry Harbour.
This extraordinary, technical construction was achieved under the eyes of the occupying Nazi troops.
It made possible the mass landing of British and allied troops, tons of equipment and supplies on June 6 1944, needed to support the Allied airborne forces who were parachuted onto the beaches east and west on the Landing point of Operation Overlord.
"The weather was not propitious that June day."
The Operation was planned to take place in June when it was thought that the weather would be at its best for the daring, dangerous planned manoeuvres.
But in the event fierce summer storms blew up and thousands of lives were lost.
Those who survived the landings on the five beaches formed a bridgehead which covered 50 miles of the coast and resulted in the regaining of Chebourg in operation "Objectiv un port." As other strategic cities were liberated by British,Canadian and Polish allies in the north, the Americans under Patton together with Free French Forces coming from the south cut off and defeated a large section of the German army. By August 24th Paris was liberated.
These victories were to be a turning point in the war against Nazism and fascism in Europe.
"Remembering those who served and fell."
For 65 years people have travelled from all over the world to this small village to see the place where courageous young men - and women in non-combatant roles - personnel in operations, supples, medical care - fought for peace and Justice.
Every year on the Anniversary of the Landings moving ceremonies are held on June 6th. in Place du Juin 6
In recent years representatives of both the Allied Command and the Axis forces have attended.
Arromanches les Bains or Port Wintston
The beautiful bathing town of Arromanches les Bains is famous to have entertained during the Second World War one of the two harbors (Port Winston) built by the allies to disembark the soldiers and the restocking to effect the invasion of the Normandie. Port Winsotn, as it was called in code from the allies, is still entirely visible (especially from the top of the hill) and you can have a good idea about which was its original dimensions.
Enjoy your visit of Arromanches les Bains!!!
Sword at Arromanches
On June 6, 1944, several small, hitherto unknown towns on the coast of Normandy suddenly found themselves on the frontline of a world-wide conflict and their names became forever etched in history. Up and down the coast, names like Ouistreham, Colleville-sur-Mer, St-Mere-Eglise, Bayeux, Caen read like a roll-call from the history book. The coast from Arromanches-les-Bains in the west to Ouistreham in the east was the operational area for British, Canadian and Free French forces. The Allied landed here at 3 beaches: Gold, Juno and Sword. Arromanches-les-Bains marked the western end of Sword Beach. The attack in this sector went relatively well, with Allied forces here making the most territorial gain on D-Day. Thereafter it was decided that until Allied forces could liberate a deep-water harbor, an artificial harbor would be created here to supply desperately needed men and equipment for the push inland. The artificial harbor, with the comical name of Mulberry, is considered a remarkable feat of engineering and needless to say was indispensable to the Allied's eventual triumph. Nowadays visitors can still inspect the massive remains of the Mulberries. A museum steps away from the famous seawall houses artifacts from the war as well as displays on the Mulberry Harbor.
An indication of the size of the massive concrete blocks comprising part of the Mulberry Harbor. In fact some unneeded ships were sunk to provide an artificial breakwater.
British veterans and tourists were here in force as Sword Beach belonged in the British sector. I saw and overheard some Canadians as well. As this was to be the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, military re-enactors in period uniforms and vintage vehicles (mostly American Jeeps) also poured into the area.