Omaha Beach forms a 7-kilometre indentation between Vierville and Colleville-sur-Mer, with cliffs on either side. It was overlooked by a sheer embankment bristling with field guns, mortars and machine guns.
The D-DAY Landings
The Allies were well aware of the dangers of an assault on a spot that seemed like an inevitable trap, but it was the only possibility. Inaccurate bombing had left German defences almost intact – and these were further reinforced by the unspotted arrival of the 352nd Infantry Division. In the morning of 6 June, the men of the 1st and 29th American Divisions, under the command of Generals Huebner and Gerhardt, suffered full-scale carnage. Pinned down on the beach in the midst of dead bodies and burned out equipment, it took them almost 6 hours to extricate themselves, climb the embankment and reach the plateau that overlooked it. By the evening, they had only managed to penetrate a mere 2 kilometres inland.