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Pointe Du Hoc

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Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 12:34:37 PM   
Bill Durrant

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Just came back from a cycling trip around the Normandy Beaches and my friend asked me a question I didn't know the answer to:

Why did troops scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc to assault the battery rather than use paratroops and glider troops as they did elsewhere?

My only thought was the geography with the battery being too close to the sea/cliffs but I'm not sure that is valid.

Any takers?


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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 2:41:59 PM   

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I've always kind of wondered this myself. Wasn't there any other way to take this position?


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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 3:22:06 PM   
7th Somersets


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My guess is resources - lack of additonal paratroopers and aircraft.

For the same reason a parachute drop immediately behind the attacked beaches would have been a massive help to the men on the landing craft.

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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 4:11:11 PM   
Yogi the Great

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ORIGINAL: Bill Durrant

Why did troops scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc to assault the battery rather than use paratroops and glider troops as they did elsewhere?

I'm certainly no expert - I think most of the paratroopers and glider troops were dropped further inland, not near the beaches (and cliffs) to directly assault beach defenses. They were to potentially capture bridges, road junctions and delay reinforcements to the beaches.


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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 5:14:55 PM   

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In WW2 Airborne were not precision drop troops. There is no way in 1944 they could have been sure paratroops would have landed near enough the guns and survived to be effective. Airborne on the allied side were not dropped into hot Landing zones. When the Germans did that at Crete they suffered something like 70 percent casualties.

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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 7:56:04 PM   
Jim D Burns

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Mostly it was due to the limits of technology of the day, precision drops back then were pathfinding Para troops dropped in a few hours ahead that would try and locate a suitable landing site and set up a small spotlight for the later arriving planes and gliders to use as a homing beacon. Many/most of the pathfinders that dropped that night were scattered far and wide, so it’s probably safe to assume a pathfinder team at Point du Hoc would have been miles off target had they tried to use one.

Just finding Point du Hoc at night from the air would have been all but impossible due to a lack of any significant landmarks visible from the air at night. The Orne River Bridges (the only precision air assault made on D-Day) were easy to find because the glider pilots could simply follow the river to the bridges. But as this picture shows:

Point du Hoc was a tiny bump in a pretty jagged coastline that would be very hard to see in daylight. Forget finding it at night from the air, it was simply not possible back then. Even assuming a pathfinder team had been able to somehow Para drop close to the target, the surrounding terrain made glider landings difficult at best.

They needed a 100% way to assure the guns would be attacked. A Para drop or glider landing was very iffy, so my guess is, it wasn’t even seriously considered when planning ideas were presented for taking out the target.



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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/3/2010 10:34:52 PM   
Carl Myers


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If the Allies had the aircraft available, they would have air landed the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment near Carentan instead of having the regiment come ashore at Utah. Finding troops and aircraft to air land at Ponte du Hoc would have been difficult.

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RE: Pointe Du Hoc - 7/4/2010 4:00:16 AM   

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I remember reading about that battle. The commanding officer said he visited that site ten years later and asked, "How the hell did we get up there?" 


After 16 years, Civ II still has me in it's clutches LOL!!!
Now CIV IV has me in it's evil clutches!

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