The Battle of Normandy – the important places
The Normandie Mémoire 60ème Anniversaire association is organising, co-ordinating and promoting the events commemorating the Normandy Landings, the Battle of Normandy, the work of the Resistance, the memory of the martyrs of the Nazi Occupation and the civil victims of the fight for Liberation… so that everyone will remember the summer of 2004 as 80 days of emotion and celebration.
On this site you will find interactive maps that make the events of 6 June 1944 easier to understand, and enable you to follow the advance of the front and the Allied divisions. There are sections covering the Atlantic Wall, the Allied build-up, analyses of the landing-beaches, the major phases of the battle, a detailed chronology… all designed to help you learn about the history of the Battle of Normandy. The schedule for the ceremonies and commemorative events to be held in 2004 is accessible via a search engine and is regularly updated.
The Battle of Normandy history section
Overlord – the assault
This itinerary, entitled Overlord (the code–name used by the Allies for the military planning and orchestration of the Landings), has been designed to reveal the numerous places and events that marked the day of 6 June 1944 in the Anglo-Canadian sector.
D-day – the confrontation
Based on the American offensive, this itinerary starts at the sadly famous Omaha Beach, the scene of a terrible battle, and moves from Bayeux to Carentan, finishing with the taking of Saint-Lô and Carentan.
It reveals the violence of the fighting, especially at "Bloody Omaha" where the waves of the 1st US Infantry Division's assault at dawn on D-Day were met by the fierce resistance of the German troops, and at the Pointe du Hoc, where US Rangers succeeded in heroic exploits under Colonel Rudder.
Objective – the port
In order to provision the troops that had landed, the Allies had a vital requirement… a deep-water port. The first objective of the American troops on Utah-Beach and around Sainte-Mère-Eglise was to take the port of Cherbourg. The "Objective – the port" circuit retraces the major sites and the route taken by General Collins and the 7th Army Corps towards Cherbourg.
Starting at Bénouville, this itinerary continues on from the "Overlord – the assault" itinerary and follows the difficult advance of the Allied troops towards the south and the consolidation of their beachhead.
Cobra – the breakthrough
On 25 July 1944, the Allies decided to go ahead with Operation Cobra. This objective of this operation, commanded by General Bradley, was to reach Avranches via the coastline in order to open up the front to the west and liberate Brittany without having to confront the German troops to the south. The operation was also to pave the way for the pincer-manoeuvre in the Falaise pocket.
The Germans were surprised by the Avranches Breakthrough. Hitler consequently ordered a counter-offensive with the aim of cutting-off the newly formed 3rd American Army, which had moved into Brittany. The offensive took place at Mortain and represented the start of the Counter-Attack.
This itinerary, starting at Alençon and finishing at Aigle, reveals how the trap surrounding the German forces, who were attempting to leave Normandy in mid-August, closed in from the south.
The final stages
Starting in Caen, this itinerary follows the phase in which the allied offensives converged on what turned out to be the most decisive battle-field of the Battle of Normandy: the Falaise – Chambois pocket, before moving on to Aigle, whose liberation opened up for the Allied forces the road to the Seine.