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Why is Omaha Beach important?

Although Utah Beach provided more troop landing capabilities, Omaha was still needed to land additional troops for several weeks.  However, the high bluffs provided the Germans with an excellent vantage point.   By far, "Bloody Omaha" suffered the worst casualties of any Normandy beach to the point that General Omar Bradley was seriously considering a withdrawal.  Most of the officers and sergeants in the first waves were killed.  The Generals readily admitted that the battle was won by ordinary low-ranking soldiers and their individual initiatives.

Hitler's much vaunted "Atlantic Wall" was breached in less than one day but at great cost.


 Beach "Dog Green" at Vierville sur Mer.   This is also where Tom Hanks landed in "Saving Private Ryan".   

Many soldiers in the first waves were carried ashore by "Landing Craft - Vehicle, Personnel" or LCVPs.




Troops leaving an LCVP wading towards Omaha under very intense German fire.  Grass fires from the bombardment caused much of the smoke during the landing.  Note the high bluffs at the top of the picture. 

The invasion was not held in May because too few LCVP's were available from their builder in New Orleans, Higgins Industries.   LCVPs were also called Higgins Boats.




Many LCVPs were piloted by US Coast Guardsmen who deserve much more recognition as many LCVP's never made it to shore.   The high bluffs are what characterized Omaha from Utah.



Up to 36 men were assigned to each LCVP with a junior officer in front.
The same angled bluff at right-center is shown in the picture below




This Omaha bluff location is now a vacation home.  The picture below was taken from this bluff.




After much carnage, Omaha was secured on the first day.



The angled poles were intended to tip over and swamp any LCVPs upon approach at high tide
which is why the US Army landed at low tide. In the movie, "Saving Private Ryan", these
movie set poles were installed backwards by accident with the blunt end facing seaward.  Mistake...

The author's uncle, Walter Dragon carries that shrapnel inside his body to this day.

Not one to talk about the war all that much, new information was recently found through Google searches.   It turned out that only four days after his injury, sections of Walter's front line regiment were accidentally bombed by allied air forces on July 24th resulting in 136 casualties.  Due to heavy smoke obstructing the aircraft's vision, that error was repeated on July 25th with 601 casualties including the death of Lt. General Leslie Mc Nair.   That nasty wound and a stay in a field hospital may well have saved Walter's life !

During the war years, very little "friendly fire" information was ever released to the public.

The 30th Division, 120th Regiment later went on to serve in the Battle of the Bulge including Malmedy stopping the penetration of the 1st SS Panzer Division. 



                                                                Note the German gun here...  more below




same location, same gun






same gun



The same gun emplacement is now a monument to the US Army National Guard, many of whom were in the first wave.  Nineteen men, most of that generation of Guardsmen from tiny Bedford, Virginia did not make it to the next day.

Note the kids playing on the beach.



The concrete to the left was the beach ramp used for the artificial harbor





Omaha Beach being used as it should be


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