|Our final stop on this cruise is at Le Havre, France. We have an excursion to the Normandy Beaches.
It was about a 2 hour drive to the Juno Beach area where the Canadians landed. We had a very nice lunch first in Arromanches-les-Bains located on the coast in the heart of the area where the Normandy landings took place on D-Day, 6 June 1944.
It was on the beach of Arromanches that, during the Invasion of Normandy immediately after D-Day, the Allies established an artificial temporary harbour to allow the unloading of heavy equipment without waiting for the conquest of deep water ports such as Le Havre or Cherbourg. The British built huge floating concrete caissons which, after being towed from England, then had to be assembled to form walls and piers forming and defining the artificial port called the Mulberry harbour. These comprised pontoons linked to the land by floating roadways. Today sections of the Mulberry harbour still remain with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand and more can be seen further out at sea.
From here we went to the Juno Beach Centre. There's a really good museum close to the beaches where the landings took place. It was very moving to be there and walk on the beaches.
Juno Beach was one of five beaches of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War.Taking Juno was the responsibility of the Canadian Army, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided by the Royal Canadian Navy and the British Royal Navy as well as elements from the Free French, Norwegian, and other Allied navies. The objectives of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on D-Day were to cut the Caen-Bayeux road, seize the Carpiquet airport west of Caen, and form a link between the two British beaches of Gold and Sword on either side of Juno Beach.
The beach was defended by two battalions of the German 716th Infantry Division.
Some key figures: by 12 June 1944 more than 300,000 men, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had been landed. During 100 days of operation of the port 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of material were landed.(thanks to Wiki)
Finally we went to the Canadian war cemetery filled with 2000 mostly young men.
A very informative and moving day.