In 2015, I went to France on a World War I & II history tour. We visited many of the Canadian, British and American battelfields in Normandy. These photos were taken at Pointe du Hoc, which is the highlest point of land between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. On D-Day, US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and captured it from the Nazis.
At the time of the D-Day landings, the Nazis were in the process of improving the defenses at Pointe du Hoc. Only two of the six planned casemates had been finished, but when the Rangers reached the top of the cliffs, they discovered that the guns weren’t there. The remaining gun pits had also had their guns removed. So the Rangers sent out a patrol in search of the guns and, managing to find five of them nearby, destroyed their firing mechanisms.
In the photos you can see one of the empty circular gun pits, some of the casemates and shelters, and a few craters from Allied bombing. I tried to capture the size and depth of the bomb craters, but it’s a little hard to get the scale from the photos.
While plenty of sheep can be seen grazing the land at Pointe du Hoc, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s farm land. It’s not. There are plenty of unexploded bombs beneath the grass making it too risky for people to walk on. Therefore, the only way to mow all that grass is to let sheep graze the fields. I don’t know if any sheep have ever triggered a bomb, but I’m grateful (and a little disturbed) knowing that it’s their lives and not mine that are at risk.
We also walked along Omaha Beach that day and visited the American Cemetery, which will look familiar if you’ve seen Saving Private Ryan.
Foodie, oenophile, traveler, hockey player, teacher, husband & father. I am many things, but at my core, I am a writer and photographer. Give me a notebook, a camera and a pocketful of film and I’m happy. Going Lomo is where I share my love for film photography, because a photograph not shared, only speaks silence.