This was the Landing Beach where the US 1st and 29th Divisions first came ashore and where they faced hell. Due to the topography of the beach, the failed Allied pre-invasion bombardment, faulty intelligence reports about the German units based there and the horrendous casualties on the beach itself, it has since become known simply as ‘Bloody Omaha’ to the following generations. This four and a half mile long beach is overlooked by high bluffs some quarter of a mile inland and from these bluffs the German defenders could control the entire landing zone. On D-Day the US forces found themselves sitting ducks for the German Machine gunners there.
Only four roadways lead inland from the beach up which the 32,000 assault troops were expected to make their way. But with this area unusually well defended, it was only thanks to the courage individual soldiers and small units of troops who managed to find paths through the obstacles and fight their way up the bluff that the first American forces arrived at the top at around noon and managed to consolidate a beachhead by the late afternoon. However some German positions had been bypassed during the initial assault leaving enemy soldiers to the rear and Omaha Beach was only completely secured on June 8th. With inland advances running to only 1 to 2 miles deep, the troops on Omaha were far from their projected targets.
Today this beach seems so peaceful that it is hard to imagine what happened here nearly seventy years ago, but this impression of tranquility is belied by the many memorials dedicated to the 3000 casualties suffered here that can be seen among the dunes. The area was rebuilt after the war but most of the German strongpoints are still there and still let you imagine how terrible it must have been for those fighting here. Depending on how much time you have to spend there are many different places to be seen here.
The landing scene depicted in the Steven Spielberg movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ depicts the landing on ‘Dog Green’ sector of Omaha Beach.