Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc (API : / pwεt ɔk dy /) is a small step on the Normandy coast in the sea of the Channel, located in the Calvados. It overlooks a cliff 25 to 30 feet high with a pebble beach about ten meters wide at its feet. The tip is located in the municipality of Cricqueville-en-Bessin.

It was the scene of one of the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Located between the beaches of Utah Beach (west) and Omaha Beach (east), the point had been fortified by the Germans, as Allied aerial reconnaissance was equipped with heavy artillery which threatened the scope the two nearby beaches. It was considered essential for the success of landing the artillery taken out of service as soon as possible.

This mission was assigned to 2nd Battalion U.S. Rangers who managed to take control of the site with heavy losses. Thereafter, the artillery will prove to have been displaced by the Germans shortly before and installed 1.3 kilometers back to the interior.

Taking the tip


Before landing the 2nd Ranger Battalion under 6 June 30 at 6 am, aviation and allied navy must first bomb tip to neutralize the garrison in place, namely 125 soldiers and 80 German gunners.

To do this, on 25 April 1944 at 17h55, a powerful training from Allied bombers flew over the earth Pointe du Hoc in three waves. The first bombs touched the important farm Guelinel which was not occupied by the Germans, the Guelinel family who previously had to evacuate. All the buildings were destroyed, including the barracks canteen built in the notes to the stables and most horses loaded towing the gun batteries.

According to German soldiers (Benno Müller, Emil Kaufman), in this action two encuvements were destroyed, and three of the six guns long tube were severely damaged or rendered unusable. On the night of April 25 to April 26 intact pieces were moved to the interior, 1,300 meters up in a sunken road where they were ready to shoot. To deceive the future reconnaissance flights allies, the commander of the battery built hastily dummy guns in unoccupied encuvements and telegraph poles. The organization Todt also ceased from that date any new construction on the site considered at risk. The latest bombing said preparation for D-Day took place on June 4 with 85 Douglas A-20 Havoc which poured nearly 100 tons of bombs on the point. The result was satisfactory.

Then came the heavy bombers Operation Flashlamp, 35 Boeing B-17, which pounded the site again in the morning of June 5, with another 100 tons of bombs dropped, destroying a gun and ammunition bunker. Damage only, despite direct hits, three bunkers bombproof where were stationed personnel. This is despite the materials used, including 500 high explosive bombs books were insufficient to pierce the shelters designed to withstand 1,000 pounds of bombs. Before D-Day itself, about 380 tons of bombs were dropped on Pointe du Hoc.

At 4: 30 pm, ten LCA (Landing Craft Assault) and four DUKW should be launched. Two DUKW take them each a scale fire 33 meters high borrowed Fire of London, while the LCA are equipped with rocket launchers that send ropes and rope ladders to the top of the cliff, and extensible ladders to be assembled on site. At 6 h 30, the 225 men of James Earl Rudder must land on the beach and climb the cliff to destroy German artillery.

Companies E and F land east of the tip, while D Company arrived in the west.

Once the controlled area, they can get a flare to receive 225 Rangers 5th Battalion reinforcements, waiting to be joined by the 116th U.S. Infantry Regiment landed at Omaha Beach. If at 7 am no rocket is fired, the reinforcements will be diverted on Omaha Beach in the sector Charlie.

The operations

The preliminary naval bombardment began at 5 h 50, driven by the USS Texas, USS Satterlee and HMS Talybont, followed by a wave of 19 Martin B-26 Marauder of the 9th Air Force.

The operation begins with the loss of 860 ACL shortly after the launch, in which boat was the commander of Company D, Captain Slater, it will join his comrades on June 9

Due to the current and smoke bombing, barges were deported to the forefront of breakthrough two kilometers east of the place of landing. This navigational error led to a delay of forty minutes and the loss of a DUKW.

The ranger battalion disembark at 7 am 10 in the space provided. No flare having been taken at 7 am, the scheduled reinforcements were deployed on Omaha Beach. The delay by the Rangers took their surprise, but the attack took place relatively well, thanks in particular to the support fire destroyers allies.

Once scaled the cliff, the Rangers took the German bunkers and found that 6 parts initial artillery, French 155 mm GPF guns model 1917, had been displaced and replaced by wooden pylons.

At 8 am, the coastal road was under the control of the rangers. Around 9 pm, a patrol found the guns without any defense more inland and destroyed.


The reinforcements were diverted on Omaha Beach, the 2nd Ranger Battalion is found isolated.

In the afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel Rudder sent the message “Are Pointe-du-Hoc – mission accomplished – ammunition and reinforcements needed – lots of losses  “the USS Satterlee who replied” no reinforcement available – all rangers are deployed. ”  The only reinforcements received the Rangers of the 2nd Battalion were the survivors of A Company, 5th Ranger Battalion, which had landed at Omaha Beach. These reinforcements brought the 2nd Ranger Battalion about 85 fighters.

The situation was critical and the rangers they suffered many attacks during the night from a company 914.IR the 352.Infanteriedivision. Around 3 pm, D Company which covered the west side was submerged twenty Rangers under the command of Sergeant Petty stayed behind to allow fifty of their comrades to retreat and were taken prisoner.

On the morning of June 7, only 90 men were still able to fight.

On June 7, in the afternoon, a relief force composed of elements of the 5th Ranger Battalion, the 116th Infantry and tanks of 743rd battalion finally arrived.

It was only on June 8 in the morning that U.S. troops pushed the Germans and took the village of Saint-Pierre-du-Mont, the closer to the edge, 1.5 km southeast village.

The record

Of the 225 Rangers who landed that day, 135, 8 June 1944 (counting men ACL 860) were killed. Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder himself was wounded twice during this operation.


In January 1979, France has donated part of the land of the Pointe du Hoc to the United States. It houses a monument in honor of the sacrifice of American troops and is one of the places to commemorate the landing. President Ronald Reagan was present at a ceremony during the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the landing in June 1984. Many bunkers and craters bombing are still visible and the site is being developed for the visit.

In culture

The video game Call of Duty 2 was released on PC and Xbox 360, can relive the attack on Pointe du Hoc in the skin of a ranger company Dog.

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