Omaha Beach
by Erwin Bovyn     Mail: Mail: Erwin

The Feeling:

One of the things I always wanted to do is to stand on one of the German strongholds on June 6th on a day similar to the one back in 1944.

I wanted to know how Major Pluskat and all of the other German soldiers must have felt that particular morning when the landings started, what could they see? Was it really like the movie ?

On the 6th of June 2005, I finally did it and, believe it or not, one of the local radio stations said that the weather that morning was very similar to the weather in 1944. 

It was a rather dark, grey, rainy, windy and cold morning and I expected to be the only one up there on WN 62, the stronghold that caused the death to so many US soldiers and now the stronghold used to erect memorials in memory of those who died there.

But I was not alone…………. 

People had camped in front of the stronghold so they could be there at 06:30, the hour that the first landing ships reached the shore.

I saw many man walking to the bunkers, standing quiet on top of them, looking at the sea as if they, just like me, hoped to see the armada a float again reaching for the shore. Everyone was quiet and if they talked to each other, they did it almost in a whisper.

I saw man dressed in civilian and semi military uniforms but I also saw two French guys dressed up as German soldiers in full uniform but without weapons, belts or helmets. There were men dressed up in full US uniform and at one moment a Jeep came driving of the beach coming from St.-Laurent-sur-Mer.

It was an experience you can only tell to people who have read about the landings and who can imagine living such an experience where there are no heroes, only men trying to stay alive.

Even while writing this piece, I got goose bumps all over again. 

Below are pictures depicting this experience taken every half hour from WN 62. 

Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Towards St.-Laurent  

Straight ahead   

Towards WN 61 

Low from a trench  
Water rising 

US soldiers start appearing

 The beach is getting smaller

The pebble bank 


  Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

The Jeep

Look how small it is looking from the top of WN 62. The massive lumps of concrete visible on the pictures are the only parts left of the famous “concasseur” as they say in French. It was a machine used to smash the big pebbles found on the beach into smaller pebbles that could be used for making the concrete the bunkers are build from. 

The 2 French guys dressed up as German soldiers brought along a book about WN 62 with a detailed plan of the position of the German soldiers on that particular day. I managed to purchase this book and will revisit WN 62 and take pictures from their positions as far as they can still be visible.

The two main positions where most of the US soldiers got killed were literally erased by the US troops shortly after the landings. Once the bodies of the dead US soldiers were removed from the beach, bull dozers started to fill up the anti-tank ditch and the first German positions so they could start constructing the exit road from the beach to the centre of Colleville-sur-Mer.

They will be described in the article on WN 62. 

I intend to relive the feeling again this year 2006 so you can expect a whole new series of pictures later this year.

It will be my way to remember those who fell doing a job for their country unlike their nationality because one can not choose what country he was born in and what direction that country takes.