Monday, April 14, 2008
A recce of Normandy Part 1
Not exactly in keeping with the general theme of this blog, but worth writing about was my recent trip to Normandy with a lecturer and a colleague from Birmingham Uni. We went with a view to lead Staff Rides and tours in the future and were therefore recce'ing the area. Having read a considerable amount about the campaign in the past, it proved invaluable, as however much you read you cannot appreciate the terrain without standing on it!
Strongpoint Hillman proved a revelation - you can see right into Sword Beach. The day continued with an appreciation of Operation Epsom. First we went to Villiers Bocage - from the top of the hill where Whittmann started his infamous run, you can see see straight into Caen, so why did the British stop where they did?
Then on to the Scotch Corridor and the 15th Division memorial. This is one of the few monuments to list all the arms taking part from infantry to bath units - it is worth taking the time to read all those involved as a reminder that it involved a lot more than the infantry. From there onto Tourmauville bridge, Baron-sur-Odon and Hill 112. We finished off day 1 with a visit to Pegasus Bridge - if you go, just take a look at the markers where the gliders landed!