Pointe du Hoc Ranger Memorial

D-Day Beaches

At 7.10am on 6 June 1944, 225 US Army Rangers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder scaled the impossibly steep, 30m-high cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. Their objective was to disable five 155mm German artillery guns perfectly placed to rain shells onto the beaches of Utah and Omaha. Unbeknown to Rudder and his team, the guns had been transferred inland shortly before, but they nevertheless managed to locate the massive artillery pieces and put them out of action.

By the time the Rangers were finally relieved on 8 June – after repelling fierce German counterattacks for two days – 81 of the rangers had been killed and 58 more had been wounded.

Today the site, which France turned over to the US government in 1979, looks much as it did right after the battle, with the earth still pitted with huge bomb craters. The German command post (topped by a dagger-shaped memorial) and several concrete bunkers and casemates, scarred by bullet holes and blackened by flame-throwers, can be explored.

As you face the sea, Utah Beach is 14km to the left. A visitor centre with multimedia exhibits can be explored.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby D-Day Beaches attractions

2. Overlord Museum


This excellent museum has an astonishing collection of restored WWII military equipment from both sides; the human dimension of the war is brought…

3. Musée du Débarquement de Utah Beach

8.45 MILES

This impressive museum is a few kilometres inland from the US landings at Utah Beach. Guided tours of the museum and of the landing site can be arranged…

5. Longues-sur-Mer Battery

13.86 MILES

These mammoth German artillery pieces remain in their colossal concrete emplacements – the only in-situ large-calibre weapons in Normandy. The first…

6. Mémorial des Reporters

15.02 MILES

This landscaped promenade, a joint project of the City of Bayeux and Reporters Without Borders (www.en.rsf.org), lists the names of over 2000 journalists…

7. Bayeux War Cemetery

15.05 MILES

The largest of the 18 Commonwealth military cemeteries in Normandy, this peaceful cemetery contains 4848 graves of soldiers from the UK and 10 other…