So you may say, Dave, in these pics it looks like you just got out of bed and haven't showered since
you were in India...very insightful of
you. I was up by about 5:30am and was doing some work on the pictures and whatnot, and was about to hop in the shower and
get my stuff ready to leave at 7:30. At this point I also got a knock on my door saying I was supposed to be meeting the
tour. Huh? I specifically was tracking to be on time at 8:30. Well, I happened to have run into France's
one hour time change, and was now an hour behind what my watch said, nice.
So I had to just throw on close, throw everything into the suitcase, and run out the door. Glad I didn't miss the tour, but how
the heck did the other Americans know and I missed this? Their hotel was good enough to inform them. Mine didn't.
Tour- used these guys and I highly recommend them
Packed a lot in, professional, fascinating and impressive knowledge.
Our first two stops looks at the
role of the Airborne-
We first go by the small town of Angoville au Plain
We did the "American" tour (you can also do British or Canadian), and we had a very
interesting group of six Americans
One couple was from Rochester, NY but currently living in London for a few months on a project, in the other couple the wife is an
Air Force pilot that currently flies unmanned aerial vehicles, and the other lne guy was a retired Air Force JAG officer who is currently a
lawyer for the SEC. And some unkempt, although humorous, unemployed guy.
Here you see where each division was going in
And the Airborne unit's objectives- they dropped in around 2am and in simple terms
needed to secure some key avenues of approach so the Germans couldn't reinforce and overwhelm the beach areas.
There was also a cool map that showed how scattered the "sticks" were when they hit the ground.
The town resident that brings flowers to the church each morning, and a monument
that explains what happened here below.
The two American medics that worked to save the 80+ wounded that would be stacked
all over this church for several days
A picture from WWII with German soldiers as compared to today
Pretty much the same, only now the road is paved.
Interesting to note, although it does make sense, that more of the French died in the Allied invasion of France
than the German one.
Sainte-Mere-Iglese We first spent about 45min at the
Airborne Museum Cleverly shaped like a parachute, this first building had a full glider in it.
Ranger tab back then looked very different, I believe modeled somehow after the UK unit that helped
put the program together.
Below is a second building that had a full C-47 that the paratroops would have jumped from.
The 505th PIR is the unit I was associated with when I did some summer training at Ft. Bragg
way back when.
A Frenchman that served on the Sherman tanks we left behind.
Then we visited the iconic church famous for a 82nd Airborne paratrooper getting hung up on the roof and playing dead
to avoid being shot by the Germans, as many here were on their way down.
Our guide told us TWO paratroopers actually got hung up here.
We stopped at this great little place for sandwiches- I had the egg salad, about
6 euro with a drink.
I feel the USA is still the best in several areas, to include the most powerful military, best entertainment in TV, music, and
movies, and the best sandwiches. But I was surprised that the sandwiches here could give us a run for the money.
Things here went relatively well and less than 200 were killed.
We made a quick stop here to discuss the significance of
hedgerows- these had been placed here
in the time of the vikings to help stop the wind so crops could be protected from winds sweeping across the
open fields. These also ended up being hardy defensive
positions for the Germans, causing huge delays and many casualties for the Allies. Eventually a tool was developed
to put on the front of tanks to more easily clear these out.
Point du Hoc This is where a
Ranger assault group had to climb the cliffs to get to the German forces.
For softening up the enemy before hand, what could go wrong did go wrong and the landing soldiers had no where to hide,
with about 3000 being slaughtered here on the initial landing.
A beautiful, solemn place located right by Omaha Beach
Scenes from "
Saving Private Ryan" were filmed here
The picture above represent the real brothers
that the movie was loosely based on.
Other movies to see would be "The Longest Day" and "
Band of Brothers"
This is the
museum where the
Bayeux Tapestry is held
Our tour a little long, getting back about 5:45pm. Although you can view the tapestry until 6:30, they had stopped selling tickets
by the time I got there. So this will have to be the next visit.
Hotel Concorde La Fayette
$275.25 in tax for 2 nights via Priceline, free wireless
Champs Elysees - Opera Quarter West
Airport shuttle bus stops right at hotel, about 40 minutes
This is one of the tallest buildings in Paris, and a very modern hotel with a good location.
At check in the girl was Chinese and hooked me up with a great view, and I have to call out the business office as being
extremely helpful in solving my wireless connectivity problem.
Funny enough "
Last Tango In Paris" was on TV
"Pass the butter!"
Animated map of landings