Juno Beach was the code name of one of the five main landing sites (the others were Omaha, Utah, Sword, and Gold) of the Allied invasion of the coast of Normandy on D-Day during World War II. Juno was located between Sword Beach and Gold Beach.
Juno is also known as the Canadian beach, because it was assigned to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Juno Beach stretched from Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer on the east to Courseulles-sur-Mer on the west.
There were 15,000 Canadian troops supported by 9,000 British. Initially the 3rd Canadian Division was under the command of British I Corps for the first part of the invasion. It did not come under Canadian command again until July 1944 with the establishment of the Canadian Corps headquarters in Normandy. There were British units of commandos and assault engineers who supported the Canadian assault.
German naval and air forces didn’t intervene in the assault on the beaches (same story for Omaha, Utah, Sword, and Gold beaches). Also, truly a remarkable fact seems to be the miracle that no German gun battery hit any Allied ship on D-Day. Though Juno wasn’t as smooth as Sword nor as stiff as Omaha, damage was still intense by enemy machine guns and snipers. The first wave of Canadians had horrible casualties matching Omaha Beach. B Company of the Winnipegs was reduced to one officer and 25 men before reaching the seawall. D Company was destroyed to half its force before even reaching the beach.
One troop of C Squadron managed to attain its D-Day objective reaching the Caen-Bayeux railway line.
Truly, the Canadians had a certain payback for the disaster which the Germans had handed them at Dieppe two years before.
If you wish to visit Juno Beach, A Paris Travel offers a Normandy D-Day tour to Juno Beach from Paris or you can book a private Normandy D-Day tour to visit Juno Beach.
Ambrose, Stephen E. D-Day June 6, 1994: The Climatic Battle of World World II. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 1994
Van Der Vat, Dan, D-Day The Greatest Invasion: A People’s History. New York, NY: Bloomsbury. 2003
Wikipedia, Juno Beach
Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc is situated on a cliff, 131 feet (40 meters) above the English Channel, 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) west of Omaha Beach. It was here on June 6, 1944, D-Day morning where Lt. Colonel James Earl Rudder led an assault by elements of the American Second Ranger Battalion on a German gun battery that had five, 155 millimeter guns protecting Omaha and Utah beaches.
The Rangers scaled the cliff only to find that the Germans had moved the guns because of the heavy allied bombings on this position. The Rangers later found the guns about .15 miles (250 meters) inland from Point du Hoc and disabled them.
Today the site is still pocked with large craters left from the allied bombing runs that lead up to D-Day, and from the shelling from the 14 inch guns of the U.S. Battleship Texas on D-Day morning. Huge chunks of concrete litter the site because of the hits the German gun casements took from the allied bombing and shelling.
A raised observation platform provides good views for visitors to the site. The Ranger Monument located at the edge of the cliff has been re-opened after the completion of the cliff-side restoration project completed in October 2010.
Click here to read about our Normandy tours that include Pointe du Hoc.
Source: Ambrose, Stephen E. D-Day June 6, 1994: The Climatic Battle of World War II. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 1994
This cemetery covers 172.5 acres and is situated directly above Omaha Beach. It is one of fourteen permanent American World War II cemeteries located outside the United States. The land was given to the U.S. by the government of France without charge or taxation.
There are 9,387 of our military men and women buried there. Most of those lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. Three hundred and seven are Unknowns (whose remains could not be identified), three are Medal of Honor recipients, and four are women. A Star of David marks the graves of those of Jewish faith and a Latin cross all others. The stones face West…towards America.
On the Walls of the Missing are the names of 1,557 soldiers.
Of additional interest at the American Cemetery are the following:
Visitors Center: Dedicated in 2007. “The center allows us to better tell the courageous and inspiring story of those buried at Normandy American Cemetery," said General Frederick M. Franks, Jr., USA (Ret), American Battle Monuments Commission Chairman. "The center provides a fuller array of visitor services to put the D-Day landings in perspective as one of the greatest military achievements in history."
Colonnade with battle maps engraved in stone and embellished with colored enamels and in the center, a 22-foot bronze statue “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.”
The Chapel in the graves area is made of Vaurion limestone, granite, and with an altar of black and gold Pyrenees Grand Antique marble with the inscription “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH.”
The plantings: The cemetery is surrounded on the East, South and West by heavy masses of Austrian pine, interspersed with Laurel, Cypress and Holly oak. The lawn areas of the Garden of the Missing are bordered with beds of polyanthus roses, while Elm trees grow in the lawn areas.
Click here to read about our Normandy tours to visit the American Cemetery in Normandy.
Source: American Battle Monuments Commission
The village of Arromanches is situated at the location of Gold Beach, one of the beaches where British troops landed on D-Day.
The Mulberry Harbor was built at Arromanches and was the inspiration of Sir Winston Churchill who knew that there needed to be a way for thousands of troops, supplies, and reinforcements to be delivered for the allied soldiers landing in Normandy.
Winston Churchill had the foresight to recognize the need for the creation of an artificial harbor in Normandy. He knew that the thousands of troops landing on the beaches of France could only carry enough supplies (food, bullets, fuel, etc.) for a few days. Since the Allies were not planning to invade any of the major existing ports on the northern coast of France, the troops would suffer without reinforcement of supplies.
In the days immediately following D-Day, the Allies sunk several old ships in order to form a breakwater. The cement blocks which had been towed across the Channel at 6 km/hour as the invasion began became the Mulberry Harbor and protected the landings of 2,5000,000 men and 500,000 vehicles.
There were two Mulberry Harbors, Mulberry A and B. The one at Arromanches was Mulberry B. Mulberry A was located near Omaha Beach. A storm two weeks after D-Day destroyed Mulberry A and damaged Mulberry B.
Click here to read about our Normandy tours to visit Arromanches.
Source: Ambrose, Stephen E. D-Day June 6, 1994: The Climatic Battle of World World II. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 1994