Arromanches and the Artificial Harbors

Arromanches and the Artificial Harbors

Getting off the bus at the little town of the Arromanches was astonishing. We saw the great cliffs over the beaches and a breathtaking view of the ocean. I am happy to say that view made my trip. We entered the 360 theater at the top of the hill to watch the new and improved video about D-Day. The big screens with the civilians and soldiers faces on it gave me a sense of realism as it brought the people to life. I saw raw emotions from the liberated civilians and close up videos of cities bombed by the allies.

Our group took an impromptu visit to the new museum built in Arromanches, and it hadwonderful exhibits showing us how the allied artificial harbors worked. I learned about the three prototypes that were proposed before the initial invasion. Ultimately, the allies used a network of floating bridges that were flexible due to the tides, designed with metal rods drilled into the sea floor which were attached to bridges able to shift up and down staying in the same position relative to the shore. These piers were protected by a breakwater of sunken ships and caissons; sunken concrete chambers filled with water. In the museum they had a great display with a machine moving waves below a model of the prototype. 

After the museum, my fellow student Frenchie and I walked along the beach and found this beautiful fossil and washed up ashore. I was planning on having lunch in town but as soon as I walked on the beach I just couldn’t leave! Then we started walking and didn’t look back. The experience made me think about what the soldiers who moved supplies ashore felt as they went about their work. I can imagine they felt a new dawn arising with victory nearer each day.


Fossilized rock in Arromanches

At the Pegasus Bridge we saw the first building to be liberated in Europe! I learned about the men in the gliders seeing the exact spot where they landed. Only two men died while completing the successful mission to capture the bridge. I thought it was interesting how the middle glider landed last, meaning it most likely just missed the last glider by inches on short final. Also, the training their officer put them through paid off a great deal because if unsuccessful I can imagine this memorial would be a somber remembrance to the 90 men that landed just past midnight.

The first liberated building in France

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *