Single Action, Point Du Hoc, D-Day

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Drew5233, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Small Unit Actions account of some of the fighting at the top. Taken from ATB.

    The only fighting took place at the tip of the point. Here, the first men up from LCA 861 found themselves about 20 feet to seaward of a massive undamaged concrete OP. As Staff Sergeant Charles H. Denbo and Pfc Harry W. Roberts crawled five feet toward a trench, small arms fire, including machine guns, started up from the slits in the OP. The Rangers threw four grenades at the slits and three went in. The machine gun stopped firing, but Denbo was wounded by a rifle bullet. Lieutenant Theodore E. Lapres, Sergeant Andrew J. Yardley, Pfc William D. Bell and Tech/Sgt. Harold W. Gunther joined up in the trench. Yardley had a Bazooka, and his first round hit the edge of the firing slit; the second went through. Taking advantage of this, the group left Yardley to watch the embrassure and dashed around the OP without drawing enemy fire. On the otherside of the structure they found Tech.5 Victor J. Aguzzi, watching the main entrance from the landward side. Lapre's party pushed on towards gun posistion No.4.

    Aguzzi had come up from LCA 862, south-east of the OP, with 1st Lieutenant Joseph E. Leagans and Staff Sergeant Joseph J. Cleaves. As they started away from the edge, joined by Tech.5 LeRoy J. Thompson and Pfc Charles H. Bellows, Jr, they saw a German close to the OP, throwing grenades over the cliff from shelter of a trench. The OP was not their job, but the party decided to go after the Grenadier. Bellows crawled over to No.3 gun posistion to cover the advance of the party. They threw grenades at the German and moved into the trench when he ducked under the entrance to the OP. Aguzzi found a shell hole from which he could watch the main entrance, while three Rangers tried to skirt the OP on the east and get at it from the rear. Cleaves was wounded by a mine-the only casualty from this cause during the day. Thompson got close enough to hear a radio working inside the OP, looked for the aerial on top, and shot it off. After throwing a grenade through the entrance, Lieutenant Leagans and Thompson decided to let the OP wait for demolitions and went off on their original mission further inland. Aguzzi, staying to watch the entrance, was surprised a few minutes later by the appearance of Lieutenant Lapres' party, coming from the rear of the OP. Two small groups of Rangers had been attacking the OP from opposite sides, neither aware of the others presence.

    On the afternoon of D+1 the nest was finally cleaned out. Two satchel charges of C-2 were thrown in the entrance, and Aguzzi, still on guard, figured the enemy must be wiped out. But eight unwounded Germans swarmed out with their hands up, and only one body was found inside.

    The observation point can be seen today at the end of the track near the cliff's edge
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  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I am sure that I have seen a documentary with veterans explaining that they successfully climbed the cliff and found the guns had been removed.
    The tracks of the cannons were followed quite a distance to the rear, the cannons were located and destroyed.

    The bombing was so heavy that the guns had been ordered to the rear.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tom,

    That right they were moved a few miles inland to an apple orchard a few days before the invasion.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  4. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    The observation point is now out of bounds andfenced off as it is judged to be dangerous - it only seems like yesterday that Ronald Regan was looking out to sea from it.

    Some walk ways now bridge the bomb craters - when you see it at ground level the cratering has to be seen to be believed ,it is a lunar landscape.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I quite enjoyed reading the article in ATB especailly when Rudder took his son 'Bud' back for the 10 year anniversary...Every 14 year old boys dream in my day :)

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  6. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Some walk ways now bridge the bomb craters - when you see it at ground level the cratering has to be seen to be believed ,it is a lunar landscape.

    As James states, those craters (now with grass grown back) are something else. Having seen the recon photos after the bombings, it is hard to believe that anything survived.

    Apparently the guns were moved back from their casemates on June 3rd.

    Because of the massive amount of cratering, the Rangers found it both difficult to get their bearings and move around.
     
  7. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Here is a great reconnaisance photo showing the pounding that Pointe du Hoc took prior to June 6th 1944. The surrounding area helps to show up the bombardment.
     

    Attached Files:

    Slipdigit likes this.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Rob my source says the following about the pic:

    The Ninth struck again on the June 4th, and RAF Bomber Command on the following night when nearly 1,000 aircraft dropped 5,000 tons of bombs on ten different batteries along the Normandy coast, to date, the heaviest tonnage dropped by the RAF on any single night during the war. Naval bombardment from the 14-inch guns of the USS Texas began at 0550 on June 6th, and a last minute strike by 18 medium bombers from the Ninth took place at 0610. The picture, also taken by the 10th PRG, shows the pointe on June 8th.


    It surely got a pounding Rob.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tom,

    Just to confirm:

    Three of the six guns mounted at Pointe du Hoc were damaged by intermittent bombing. They were pulled back 3 days before D-Day about a mile to avoid further damage and carefully camouflaged in a apple orchard to the south of the Grandcamp-Vierville road. This same orchard later became the location of General Bradley's first command post in France when Army Headquarters moved ashore from the Achernar on June 9th.

    A two man patrol consisting of 1st Sgt Leonard Lomell of Company D, 2nd Battalion and Sgt Jack Kuhn, also of the 2nd Battalion were detailed to detroy the guns. They only found 5 of the 6. The 6th was believed to have been taken away for repairs. Kuhn stood guard whilst Lomell placed thermite charges in the breaches and smashed the sites with his rifle butt. The guns were lined up on Utah beach and a large amount of ammunition was on hand too.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  10. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Yes Phil,
    It was a job well done to destroy the guns.
    It must haev helped Utah beach casualties.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Every enemy installation was allocated a reference number, some 300 being listed from the beaches to the port at Cherbourg. Targer No. 1 was the battery on the cliffe at Point Du Hoc, which incidently was miss-spelt on many original Op Neptune documents as can be seen below spelt as 'Hoe'.

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  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    And another little ditty from ATB:

    What every official account fails to mention is that it was never intended that Colonel Rudder should personally lead the assault. It was his Executive Officer who had been detailed for that posistion, but, while aboard the transports in Weymouth harbour, he managed to get himself thoroughly drunk and unruly, and the XO had to be sent ashore. Rudder reported this to Major General Clarence R. Huebner, the CG of the 1st Infantry Division, which was to lead the assault by V Corps, and said that he would now have to take the officer's place.

    The Assault Plan for 'Pointe Du Hoe'
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  13. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Drew

    yet another place I have visited - must dig out my photos from my travels sometime

    Chris
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Douglas A-20 Havocs of US 9th Army Air Force bombing German coastal defences around Pointe Du Hoc prior to the D-Day landings.
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  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That might explain this photo, which I hadn't seen before (and can't hotlink).
     

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