(full-day tour, British sectors)
Regarded as major threat to the D-Day landings, the battery was assaulted be members of 9th Para, 6th British Airborne Div., commanded by Lt. Col. Otway. A remarkable historic site covering some 25 acres, Merville battery tells the story of the Red Devils” and their improvised attack through a series of magnificently preserved WWII fortifications now converted into a museum.
ADMISSION FEE IS NOT INCLUDED
Ranville churchyard was used as initial burial ground for the first British servicemen to have fallen that morning. Shortly after, a temporary cemetery was set-up right next to the church. The former was eventually chosen to regroup burials from this part of the battlefield and represents today the final resting place for 2,235 Commonwealth dead as well as 330 Germans.
Wired for demolition by the Germans prior to D-Day, Benouville Bridge was one of two such structures that had to be seized intact by elements of the 2nd Ox & Bucks Light Infantry commanded by Maj. Howard. This attack came to be remembered as one of the most outstanding flying achievements of WWII and the first important D-Day task completed by Allied forces that fateful morning.
SWORD BEACH AND
THE GRAND BUNKER
Sword represented the easternmost sector of the D-Day beaches and the closest one to Caen, a town regarded by the Allies as the gateway to Paris. Numerous monuments commemorate the British forces that took part in the assault as well as the French troops led by Philippe Kieffer. At Ouistreham, the Grand Bunker - a concrete blockhouse which used to tower over the German positions - puts into perspective the massive undertaking represented by the construction of the Atlantic Wall.
Covering some 60 acres, WN 17 - codenamed Hillman by the Allied planners - is a German bunker complex (18 structures) whose main function was that of command post. It came under attack from the members of 1 Suffolks and their supporting armour and artillery. Despite their valiant efforts, the German CO and some 70 of his men did not surrender until D+1.
BRITISH NORMANDY MEMORIAL
Located on the ridge overlooking 'King' sector of Gold Beach, the memorial was designed by the British architect Liam O’Connor and dedicated in 2021. It commemorates the 22,442 men and women who served under British command during the Battle of Normandy.
Located in the center of the assault area, Gold Beach represented the linchpin to a successful linkup between the Anglo-Candian forces and their American counterparts. At Ver and Asnelles one can still see the battle scars left on the German fortifications tasked with defending 'King' and 'Jig' sectors on D-DAY, as well as a myriad of monuments honouring the various units serving with the 50th Northumbrian Div.
ARROMANCHES AND 'MULBERRY B'
One of two artificial harbours assembled at
Normandy after D-Day, ‘Mulberry B’ represented a masterpiece of engineering. The visible remnants of its breakwaters testify to that. Statistics show that thanks to the floating piers of the British port, 25% of the stores, 20% of the personnel and 15% of the vehicles brought to Normandy in the course of the entire campaign came through Arromanches.
LONGUES SUR MER BATTERY
This site represents one of the very few examples of German coastal battery to have preserved its original WWII guns. Typical strongpoint of the vaunted Atlantic Wall, WN 48 is today a historic monument which has been depicted in several documentaries as well as in the critically acclaimed movie 'The longest day'.