[Luxus Magazine] D Day: Pointe du Hoc or the impregnable cliffs

In the early hours of June 6, 1944, when darkness still prevailed, 225 American rangers set off in the direction of Pointe du Hoc, a rocky spur rising 30 meters above the ground. This special operation, designed to neutralize the heavy German artillery stationed at its summit, proved crucial to the success of Operation Overlord. The operation, due to begin a few hours later, will be remembered as the day of the Normandy landings.



Considered the most dangerous fortification in the American assault zone at the time of the D Day, the Pointe du Hoc (Cricqueville-en-Bessin) was undoubtedly one of the most strategic locations in the Atlantic Wall erected by the German army.


The mission of Lieutenant-Colonel James Earl Rudder and his 225 rangers was to annihilate the 155 mm cannons capable of pointing at two of the five beaches chosen for the Allied landings (Omaha Beach to the east and Utah Beach to the west). These American soldiers of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, armed with grappling hooks and other weapons, were ordered to climb the cliffs once the US Navy had finished shelling the coast. They were to sabotage heavily protected German installations… but all did not go according to plan!


Wall of rock, barbed wire and concrete


In February 1944, German forces set up an impressive defensive garrison on Pointe du Hoc. The name alone evokes the difficulty of the mission entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel James E. Rudder. “Hoc” comes from ‘haugr’ in Norois, the language of the Vikings, and means mound. This toponymy is common in the Norman language, and can be found in places like Saint Vaast La Hougue, but it’s an understatement when you consider the topography of the site. In fact, this concrete fortress, bordering the coastline, sits on a plateau which itself ends abruptly in rocky cliffs 25 to 30 metres high, constituting as many natural walls.


In addition to bunkers with 2-meter-thick walls and ceilings linked by an underground network and a telegraph center, the defense system relied in particular on six French-made 155 mm howitzers dating from the First World War. These were placed in open-air recesses.


Click here to read the entire article on Luxus Magazine


Featured Photo: Hubert Groult/Pointe du Hoc

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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