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pontons en acier de l'ancien port artificiel d'Utah Beach

 

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the British during World War II to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B")

 

On the afternoon of 6 June 1944 (D-Day) over 400 towed component parts (weighing approximately 1.5 million tons) set sail to create the two Mulberry harbours. It included all the blockships (codenamed Corncobs) to create the outer breakwater (Gooseberries) and 146 concrete caissons (Phoenixes).

 

sites.estvideo.net/normandie1944/Mulberry/Mulberry07.gif

 

www.hksw.org/images/Normandy/MULBERRY.jpg

  

At Arromanches, the first Phoenix was sunk at dawn on 9 June 1944. By 15 June a further 115 had been sunk to create a five-mile-long arc between Tracy-sur-Mer in the west to Asnelles in the east. To protect the new anchorage, the superstructures of the blockships (which remained above sea-level) and the concrete caissons were festooned with anti-aircraft guns and barrage balloons.

 

It was used for 10 months after D-Day; and over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tonnes of supplies were landed at Gold Beach before it was fully decommissioned. The Mulberry harbour at Omaha Beach had been severely damaged in a storm in late June 1944 and was abandoned.

  

Source : Wikipedia

 

Set in the beautiful surroundings of Blacksod Bay, this lighthouse played a role in creating the free world we live in today! In 1944, when General Eisenhower decided to commit his forces on June 6th to the D-Day landings, it was based on a weather report from this exact spot in Blacksod, Co. Mayo.

 

Early in June, 1944, Lighthouse keeper Ted Sweeney gave his daily weather reports from Blacksod. He was unusually contacted one evening to confirm his weather forecast report for a perticuar day. It was years later that he discovered that that very forecast was instramental in delaying by one day the Launch of operation Overlord or the Allied invasion to liberate Europe, better know as The D-Day landings.

 

Here is a link to listen to an account of that weather report.

 

www.newstalk.ie/2010/programmes/all-programmes/tom-dunne/...

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B").[1][2]

 

The Mulberry harbours were to be used until the Allies could capture a French port; initially thought to be around three months. However although Antwerp in Belgium was captured on 4 September 1944, the Port of Antwerp was not opened until 28 November as the approaches to the port were held by the Germans until the (delayed) Battle of the Scheldt was won. Two French ports were eventually available; the port of Boulogne on 14 October after Operation Wellhit and the port of Calais in November after Operation Undergo. Montgomery insisted that the First Canadian Army clear the German garrisons in Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (which was held until 9 May 1945) first before the Scheldt although the French ports were "resolutely defended" and had all suffered demolitions so would not be navigable for some time.[3] And the success of Operation Dragoon meant that the southern French ports of Marseille and Toulon were available in October.

 

So the need for the harbour at Gold Beach lessened only about five months after D-Day. It was used for 10 months after D-Day; and over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies were landed at Gold Beach before it was fully decommissioned. The Mulberry harbour at Omaha Beach had been severely damaged in a storm in late June 1944 and was abandoned.

My recent battlefield trip took me to Normandy/France, where I visited the places of Operation Overlord or 'D-Day', the allied invasion to free Europe o6th June 1944...

(More to follow...)

The town lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings , one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built on the Normandy coast, the other one built further West at Omaha Beach. Sections of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand, and more can be seen further out at sea.

Today Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and War Cemeteries, there is also a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and in particular, the Mulberry harbours.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arromanches-les-Bains

Two guys, having fun on the beach in Arromanches / Normandy. The dark elements in the background are part of the "Mulberry Habour", a floating harbour, towed over from Britain in separate elements to support the allied landings in 1944.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulberry_harbour

"Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the British during World War II to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B").[1][2]"

...

  

Omaha, commonly known as Omaha Beach, was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. 'Omaha' refers to a section of the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel 8 kilometers (5 mi) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary and an estimated 150-foot (45 m) tall cliffs. Landings here were necessary to link the British landings to the east at Gold with the American landing to the west at Utah, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guard, with contributions from the British, Canadian, and Free French navies.

 

The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of eight kilometres (5.0 miles) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah. Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division. Of the 12,020 men of the division, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53-kilometer (33 mi) front. The German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line, and the defenses were mainly deployed in strongpoints along the coast. The untested American 29th Infantry Division, along with nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers redirected from Pointe du Hoc, assaulted the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.

 

Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared. Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequent delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.

ⓒRebecca Bugge, All Rights Reserved

Do not use without permission.

 

The popular seaside resort of Arromanches withp arts of the Mulberry harbour (the black lumps on the beach and in the sea). The harbour was built by the allied forces to create an artificial harbour at Arromanches as part of the D-Day invasion of 1944.

 

The barbed wire is there for a good reason, on the other side is a steep fall that could be quite dangerous if you're too close to it!

Département Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France

 

D-Day June 6th, 1944

the day of the Normandy landing initiating the Western Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II.

@Wikipedia

Paratroopers jump onto the Iron Mike drop zone in Sainte-M?re-?glise, France, June 8, 2014. More than 600 U.S., German, Dutch and French service members jumped to honor the paratroopers that jumped into Normandy on D-Day. The morning of June 6, 1944, Allied forces conducted a massive airborne assault and amphibious landing in the Normandy region of France. The invasion marked the beginning of the final phase of World War II in Europe, which ended with the surrender of Germany the following May. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sara Keller/Released)

Arromanches-les-Bains lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings , one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built with pontons on the Normandy coast on june 6th, 1944.

Sections of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand, and more can be seen further out at sea.

By the end of 11 June, 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.

 

© All rights reserved

Images may not be copied or used in any way without my written permission.

Omaha Beach - Widerstandsnest 62 - Easy Red Sector, Normandy, France

German type H-669 Bunker, Atlantic Wall, Colleville-Sur-Mer

 

Omaha Beach

 

Omaha beach is a stretch of beach roughly 5 miles or 8 km. long between Vierville-sur-Mer and Ste Honorine des pertes on the coast of Normandy. It was one of the five designated landing areas for the biggest invasion ever during WWII in the summer of 1944.

Omaha was divided into ten sectors by the Allies; codenamed (from west to east): Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green and Fox Red.

 

On june 6, 1944 -D-Day - the initial assault on Omaha was to be made by two Regimental Combat Teams (RCT), supported by two tank battalions, with two battalions of Rangers also attached. The RCT's were part of the veteran 1st Infantry division ("The Big Red One") and the untested 29th div.("Blue and Grey") , a National Guard unit.

 

The plan was to make frontal assaults at the "draws" (valleys) in the bluffs which dominate the coast in Normandy. Codenamed west to east they were called D-1, D-3, E-1, E-3 and F-1 . These draws could then be used to move inland with reserves and vehicles.

 

The German defenders were not stupid; they knew the draws were vital and concentrated their limited resources in defending them. To this end and lead by the famous "Desert Fox" Field-Marshall Erwin Rommel they built "Widerstandsneste" with AT guns, mortars, MG's in Tobruk's, trenches and bunkers. These were manned by soldiers of the German 716th and 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front . All in all some 1100 German soldiers defended the entire Omaha beach sector.

 

Preliminary bombardments were almost totally ineffective and when the initial waves landed at low tide they met with fiece opposition of an enemy well dug in and prepared. Most of the floating tanks (Sherman DD type) never made it to the beach due to the rough seas or were taken out by AT guns. Their role to support the infantry following them was reduced to almost zero before the battle even begun.

 

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the app. 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties were especially heavy amongst the first waves of infantry and the "gap assault teams" made by Combat Engineers - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting channels through the beach obstacles.

 

Situation at Dog Green and Easy Red by mid morning was so bad with nearly all the troops essentially pinned down on the beach gen. Eisenhower seriously considered to abandon the operation; in "First Wave at OMAHA Beach", S.L.A. Marshall, chief U.S. Army combat historian, called it "an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster."

 

As the first waves of infantry, tanks and combat engineers landing directly opposite the "draws" were pinned down it was up to forces landing on the flanks of these strongpoints to penetrate the weaker German defences by climbing the bluffs. Doing this they had to overcome minefields and barbed wire as well as machinegun fire from German positions but they did and they were able to attack some key strongpoints from the side and the rear, taking them out by early afternoon.

This happened on several spots at Omaha and essentially saved the day: individual acts of initiative by lower ranked officers and courage like that of First Lieutenant Jimmy Monteith, who led a group of men to take one of the key German widerstandsneste and was killed in action, succeeded where a flawed plan failed. By the end of the day most of the German strongpoints had been taken and the battle was won - albeit at a terrible cost.

 

On the Photo

 

WN-62 is overlooking the Easy Red and Fox Green sectors of Omaha beach. It was 345 meters long by 320 meters wide and consisted of several blockhauses, "Tobruks" and trenches.This is the lowest of two type H-669 bunkers. In 1944 it was housing a Czech made 7.65 cm gun in a perfect position to enfillade the beach towards the west while being protected from the seaside. Note the damage visible on the bunker caused by naval gunfire.

 

When the US troops landed here on july 6; 1944, WN-62 was one of their most formidable obstacles . It was of strategic importance because it is overlooking the "Colleville draw"; one of the few places where armoured vehicles and troops would be able to penetrate the inland through the hills which form a natural barrier in this area. Fierce fighting from the early morning into the afternoon of d-day resulted in numerous casualties - especially on the US side. Elements of the First Infantry Division (The Big Red One) and Combat Engineers landed in the vicinity of the Colleville draw from H-Hour (06.30) when the tide was lowest and suffered heavy casualties crossing the obstacled beach which is very exposed from the MG nests and gun emplacements of this WN.

 

Click here for a (large) panorama shot taken from the exact position of the German MG42 which was responsible for many casualties on Easy Red and Fox Green

 

See my other Omaha beach photo's for more viewpoints, panorama shots and notes on the fighting

 

Shot with a Nikon D7000 . Tonemapped using two sets of three differently exposed (handheld) shots stitched together in photoshop, augustus 2012.

 

For a map of the eastern part of Omaha click here. The German WN's are marked as well as the Draws and beach sections.

French army paratroopers prepare to land in Picauville, France, June 8, 2014, during an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day. More than 50,000 spectators attended the event, where approximately 750 U.S, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Dutch and British army paratroopers jumped from aircraft as part of a joint airborne operation. The morning of June 6, 1944, Allied forces conducted a massive airborne assault and amphibious landing in the Normandy region of France. The invasion marked the beginning of the final phase of World War II in Europe, which ended with the surrender of Germany the following May. (DoD photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army/Released)

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B").[1][2]

 

The Mulberry harbours were to be used until the Allies could capture a French port; initially thought to be around three months. However although Antwerp in Belgium was captured on 4 September 1944, the Port of Antwerp was not opened until 28 November as the approaches to the port were held by the Germans until the (delayed) Battle of the Scheldt was won. Two French ports were eventually available; the port of Boulogne on 14 October after Operation Wellhit and the port of Calais in November after Operation Undergo. Montgomery insisted that the First Canadian Army clear the German garrisons in Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (which was held until 9 May 1945) first before the Scheldt although the French ports were "resolutely defended" and had all suffered demolitions so would not be navigable for some time.[3] And the success of Operation Dragoon meant that the southern French ports of Marseille and Toulon were available in October.

 

So the need for the harbour at Gold Beach lessened only about five months after D-Day. It was used for 10 months after D-Day; and over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies were landed at Gold Beach before it was fully decommissioned. The Mulberry harbour at Omaha Beach had been severely damaged in a storm in late June 1944 and was abandoned.

The background picture is entitled: St. Louis, May 1940. "Downtown street on Sunday morning." and is the property of Shorpy.com. The original picture can be viewed here

  

* Obviously the following commentary is quite lengthy and makes for difficult reading "on screen". (If) you care to take to trouble of reading the entire text, my suggestion would be to copy the text and paste it into a Word document.

........... and you think the world is in chaos today?..............

  

The New York Stock Exchange crashed in October 1929 throwing the nation into the grips of poverty and financial despair. 1930 was the beginning of the Great Depression. It would last a decade in the United States, where, at its nadir in 1933, 25 percent of all workers and 37 percent of all nonfarm workers were completely out of work. Some people starved; many others lost their farms and homes. Homeless vagabonds sneaked aboard the freight trains that crossed the nation. Dispossessed cotton farmers, the “Okies,” stuffed their possessions into dilapidated Model Ts and migrated to California in the false hope that the posters about plentiful jobs were true. Although the U.S. economy began to recover in the second quarter of 1933, the recovery largely stalled for most of 1934 and 1935. A more vigorous recovery commenced in late 1935 and continued into 1937, when a new depression occurred. The American economy had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression when the United States was drawn into World War II in December 1941. Because of this agonizingly slow recovery, the entire decade of the 1930s in the United States is often referred to as the Great Depression.

 

Socialism declared the Death of Capitalism; Hitler rose to power; From July 1936 to April 1939 Spain was ravaged by a Civil War, In 1931, the Japanese Kwangtung Army attacked Chinese troops in Manchuria. Ominous clouds of impending war loomed on the horizon. In the United States, the majority of its citizens were too preoccupied with trying to survive another day under the strains of the depression to notice.

 

But all of this drove technology forward: Radio was now the dominant mass medium in the so-called civilized world; the first commercial intercontinental airline flights began.

 

Some inventions and innovations of the 1930s and 40’s that shaped the culture:

1930: Planet discovered: Pluto, by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory

1930: Photoflash bulb

1930: Freon invented by Midgley et al.

1930: Artificial fabric polymerized from acetylene (J. Walter Reppe, Germany)

1930: High-octane gasoline invented by Ipatief (Russia)

1931: Cyclotron invented (Ernest O. Lawrence, USA)

1931: Neoprene (synthetic rubber) developed by Julius A. Nieuwland

1931: Synthetic resin, invented by Hill (England)

1931: Electronic microscope, Lroll & Ruska (Germany)

1932: Vitamin D discovered

1933: Electronic television invented by Philo Farnsworth (USA)

1933: Pure Vitamin C synthesized by Tadeusz Reichstein

1934: Launderette, invented by Cantrell (USA)

1935: Aircraft-detecting radar, by Robert Watson Watt

1935: First sulfa drug (Prontosil) for streptococcal infections (G. Domagk, Germany)

1936: Artificial Heart invented by Dr. Alexis Carrel

1937: Nylon patented for DuPont by Wallace H. Carothers

1937: First jet engine, built by Frank Whittle

1938: Fiberglass invented at Owens-Corning

1938: Teflon invented at Du Pont

1938: Vitamin E identified

1938: Fluorescent lamp, at General Electric

1939: First nylon stockings

1939: Polyethylene invented

1939: First helicopter, built by Igor Sikorsky (Russian-American)

1939: FM (Frequency Modulation) radio invented by Edwin H. Armstrong

1940: First USA helicopter flight, Vought-Sikorsky Corporation

1940: Penicillin perfected by Howard Florey as useful antibiotic

1940: Cavity Magnetron developed (key to Radar)

1940: First transuranic element (Neptunium) discovered (Philip Abelson & Edwin McMillan)

1940: First electron microscope, RCA

 

Meanwhile, Hitler's Nazi party gained power (in 1930), and soon led to the annexation of Austria (1938) and the invasion of Poland (1939), which drew France and Great Britain into World War II, despite the dithering of Neville Chamberlain. In June of 1940 the rapidly advancing German Army captured Paris. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is U.S. president (1932 into the next decade). Great Britain sees three kings in the decade: Edward VIII, George V, and George VI.

 

1930 – 1940 (what were we reading, what were we watching and what were we listening to)

 

BOOKS:

1932 Aldous Huxley: "Brave New World"

1932 “Tobacco Road” by Erskine Caldwell is published. It is about Georgia sharecroppers.

1938 Ayn Rand: "Anthem”

1939 James Joyce: "Finnegans Wake"

1939 “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck is published.

 

MOVIES:

1931 “Frankenstein”

1932"The Mummy" - With Boris Karloff.

1933 “Deluge” - New York is wiped out by tsunami. Based on 1928 novel of same name by S.

Fowler Wright. (Plot sound familiar?)

1933 “The Invisible Man” - with Claude Rains as Dr. Jack Giffin, John Carradine, Walter Brennan,

directed by James Whale.

1933 “King Kong” - with Leslie Fenton, Conrad Veidt, Jill Esmond, George Merritt. Directed by Karl Hartl.

1934 "The Thin Man" - With William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan. Based on the book by

Dashiell Hammett.

1935 "Top Hat" - With Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore.

1936 “Flash Gordon” (many sequels to follow)

1936"The Charge of the Light Brigade" - With Erroll Flynn, Olivia DeHavilland, Donald Crisp, Nigel

Bruce, Patric Knowles, David Niven.

1937 "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

1938 "The Adventures of Robin Hood" - With Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude

Rains, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale. Directed by Michael Curtiz.

1939 "Gone With the Wind" - With Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia DeHavilland,

Thomas Mitchell, Hattie McDaniel.

1940 "The Grapes of Wrath" - With Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine. Directed by John

Ford.

1940 "The Bank Dick" - With W.C. Fields, Cora Witherspoon, Una Merkel, Franklin Pangborn, Shemp

Howard, Grady Sutton.

 

MUSIC – 1940

“When You Wish Upon a Star” - Glenn Miller

“In The Mood” - Glenn Miller

“When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano” - Ink Spots

“Frenesi” - Artie Shaw

“Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar” - Will Bradley

“Tuxedo Junction” - Glenn Miller

“Body and Soul” - Coleman Hawkins

“I'll Never Smile Again” - Tommy Dorsey

“Sierra Sue” - Bing Crosby

“Blueberry Hill” - Glenn Miller

“Careless” - Glenn Miller

“Ferryboat Serenade” - Andrews Sisters

“The Woodpecker Song” - Glenn Miller

“Only Forever” - Bing Crosby

“Imagination” - Glenn Miller

 

RADIO:

Although the origins of television can be traced back as far as 1873 the discovery of the photoconductivity of the element selenium by Willoughby Smith, the first regularly scheduled television service in the United States was not available until July 2, 1928 and yet then it was in its infancy and certainly not perfected and not a widely accepted form of media. Radio was the media of the time. Most Americans, although barely able to put food on the table or clothes on their backs, had some type of radio in their living quarters.

 

1932, November 7th - the First radio broadcast of "Buck Rogers" www.buck-rogers.com/radio_serial/

 

What followed was a whole host of Science fiction, mystery, comedy, westerns, detective and music programs. During the mid to late 30’s and 40’s millions of American families gathered around their radios in the evening listening to their favorite radio shows. Radio broadcasts continued well into the late 50’s when eventually television became readily accessible and affordable to most Americans.

 

A few of the earliest radio shows:

“Flash Gordon” – September, 1935: www.oldradioworld.com/media/Flash%20Gordon%201935-09-07%2...

“The Town Crier” 1929 - 1942: www.oldradioworld.com/media/The%20Town%20Crier%20Twenty%2...

“Sam Bass, Death Valley Days” 1930 – 1945: www.oldradioworld.com/media/Death%20Valley%20Days%201936-...

“The Aldrich Family” – 1939 - 1953: www.oldradioworld.com/media/The%20Aldrich%20Family%201952...

 

If you would care to delve a little further into the world of radio entertainment (before the days of sex, graphic violence and endless commercials on TV), I suggest you check out this excellent site - www.oldradioworld.com/

  

Notable events:

1931 - Empire State Building opens in New York City

1931, September – Japanese invade Manchuria

1932 - Ford introduces the Model B, the first low-priced car to have a V-8 engine

1933 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt sworn in as President; he is the last president to be inaugurated on

March 4.

1933, February - Less than a month after Hitler became chancellor, the Reichstag burns down. When the police arrive they find Marinus van der Lubbe on the premises. Upon being tortured by the Gestapo van der Lubbe confesses to starting the fire. However he denies that he was part of a Communist

Conspiracy. Hitler later gives orders that all leaders of the German Communist Party "will be

hanged that very night." Hermann Goering announces that the Nazi Party plans "to exterminate" German communists.

1934 Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria assassinated by Nazis. Hitler becomes führer. USSR admitted to League of Nations.

1934 - John Dillinger is killed in Chicago

1935 - Mussolini invades Ethiopia; League of Nations invokes sanctions. Roosevelt opens second

phase of New Deal in U.S., calling for social security, better housing, equitable taxation, and farm assistance. Huey Long assassinated in Louisiana.

1935, September - The Nuremberg Race Laws deprive German Jews of their rights of citizenship, giving them the status of "subjects" in Hitler's Reich. The laws also make it forbidden for Jews to marry or have sexual relations with Aryans or to employ young Aryan women as household help. The Nazis settle on defining a "full Jew" as a person with three Jewish grandparents. Those with less were designated as Mischlinge or a "mixed blood."

1937, May - the German passenger airship, the Hindenburg, catches fire and is destroyed while attempting to dock during a electrical storm at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Of the 97 people on board, 15 are killed along with people killed on the ground. The exact cause for this disaster is still unknown.

1936, August – The 1936 Summer Olympics officially known as Games of the XI Olympiad, are held in Berlin, Germany. Jesse Owens wins four gold medals: the 100m sprint, the long jump, 200m sprint and after he was added to the 4 x 100 m relay team, he won his fourth on August 9.

* Owens was allowed to travel with and stay in the same hotels as whites, while at the time blacks in many parts of the United States were denied equal rights. After a New York City ticker-tape parade of Fifth Avenue in his honor, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to reach the reception honoring him.......... a sad chapter in the history of the United States. Owens said, "Hitler didn't snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." On the other hand, Hitler sent Owens a commemorative inscribed cabinet photograph of himself. Jesse Owens was never invited to the White House nor were honors bestowed upon him by president Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) or his successor Harry S. Truman during their terms. In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower honored Owens by naming him an "Ambassador of Sports."

1936 - Germans occupy Rhineland. Italy annexes Ethiopia. Rome-Berlin Axis proclaimed (Japan to join

in 1940). Trotsky exiled to Mexico.

1937 - Hitler repudiates war guilt clause of Versailles Treaty; continues to build German power. Italy withdraws from League of Nations. U.S. gunboat Panay sunk by Japanese in Yangtze River.

Japan invades China, conquers most of coastal area. Amelia Earhart lost somewhere in Pacific

on round-the-world flight. Picasso's Guernica mural – an abstract depicting the chaos and human calamity of the Spanish Civil War.

1938, November - The Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass" is a night when the Gestapo and the SS go through towns of Austria and smash the windows of Jewish occupations. Thousands of homes and businesses are ransacked, 91 Jews are murdered and 25,000 to 30,000 are arrested and placed in concentration camps.

1938, March - The Anschluss, Germany takes over Austria. The German speaking part of Austria wanted to unite with Germany and Hitler states that this was his purpose for the annexation of Austria. However, this is against the Treaty of Versailles.

1939, September - Nazi-Germany attacks Poland, essentially the beginning of World War II. Many

countries around Germany declared war on Germany but do not take overt action against the Third Reich. Recently, Adolf Hitler had agreed in the Munich Agreement that he would not invade Poland. Great Britain and Poland have a mutual aid treaty that requires either country to come to the aid of the other in the event of war. When Germany invades Poland, Britain (and the Commonwealth) is obligated to come to the aid of Poland by declaring war on Germany. The United States, however, does not officially declare war against Germany. Many countries rise up and voiced anger over Hitler’s betrayal but only Britain and the Commonwealth take overt actions to try and stop Hilter’s military aggression.

1939 - President Roosevelt, appears at the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair, becoming the first President to give a speech that is broadcast on television. Semi-regular broadcasts air during the next two years

1940, August - The Battle of Britain begins. The German Luftwaffe attempts to take over British airspace and destroy the Royal Air Force with the intention of eventually invading England. Against all odds, Britain and The Royal Air Force resist the Luftwaffe aggression causing Hitler to abandon the idea of invading Britain and to turn his attention to Russia.

1940, March - "Lend/Lease" is the name of the program under which the US supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, France and other Allied nations with vast amounts of war material in return for military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the British West Indies. It

was intended to promote the defense of the US. This act also ended the neutrality of the United States.

1940, May (This picture) – A mostly vacant downtown area of St. Louis on an early Sunday

morning.

 

As this picture suggests, the United States lay basically asleep, as many Americans are either unaware , or prefer to ignore the ominous winds of war swirling all around them. In a few short months, the hammer would fall and Americans would find themselves anxiously gathered around their radios listening to the President of the United States announce:

 

“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

 

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

 

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

 

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

 

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

 

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

 

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

 

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

 

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.”

  

From this day forward, life as American’s knew it, will be drastically and forever changed.

   

Omaha Beach - Widerstandsnest 65 - overlooking Easy Red sector and the "Ruquet valley" aka Easy-1 exit.

 

Omaha Beach

 

Omaha beach is a stretch of beach roughly 5 miles or 8 km. long between Vierville-sur-Mer and Ste Honorine des pertes on the coast of Normandy. It was one of the five designated landing areas for the biggest invasion ever during WWII in the summer of 1944.

Omaha was divided into ten sectors by the Allies; codenamed (from west to east): Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green and Fox Red.

 

On june 6, 1944 -D-Day - the initial assault on Omaha was to be made by two Regimental Combat Teams (RCT), supported by two tank battalions, with two battalions of Rangers also attached. The RCT's were part of the veteran 1st Infantry division ("The Big Red One") and the untested 29th div.("Blue and Grey") , a National Guard unit.

 

The plan was to make frontal assaults at the "draws" (valleys) in the bluffs which dominate the coast in Normandy. Codenamed west to east they were called D-1, D-3, E-1, E-3 and F-1 . These draws could then be used to move inland with reserves and vehicles.

 

The German defenders were not stupid; they knew the draws were vital and concentrated their limited resources in defending them. To this end and lead by the famous "Desert Fox" Field-Marshall Erwin Rommel they built "Widerstandsneste" with AT guns, mortars, MG's in Tobruk's, trenches and bunkers. These were manned by soldiers of the German 716th and 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front . All in all some 1100 German soldiers defended the entire Omaha beach sector.

 

Preliminary bombardments were almost totally ineffective and when the initial waves landed at low tide they met with fiece opposition of an enemy well dug in and prepared. Most of the floating tanks (Sherman DD type) never made it to the beach due to the rough seas or were taken out by AT guns. Their role to support the infantry following them was reduced to almost zero before the battle even begun.

 

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the app. 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties were especially heavy amongst the first waves of infantry and the "gap assault teams" made by Combat Engineers - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting channels through the beach obstacles.

 

Situation at Dog Green and Easy Red by mid morning was so bad with nearly all the troops essentially pinned down on the beach gen. Eisenhower seriously considered to abandon the operation; in "First Wave at OMAHA Beach", S.L.A. Marshall, chief U.S. Army combat historian, called it "an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster."

 

As the first waves of infantry, tanks and combat engineers landing directly opposite the "draws" were pinned down it was up to forces landing on the flanks of these strongpoints to penetrate the weaker German defences by climbing the bluffs. Doing this they had to overcome minefields and barbed wire as well as machinegun fire from German positions but they did and they were able to attack some key strongpoints from the side and the rear, taking them out by early afternoon.

This happened on several spots at Omaha and essentially saved the day: individual acts of initiative by lower ranked officers and courage like that of First Lieutenant Jimmy Monteith, who led a group of men to take one of the key German widerstandsneste and was killed in action, succeeded where a flawed plan failed. By the end of the day most of the German strongpoints had been taken and the battle was won - albeit at a terrible cost.

  

For a map of the eastern part of Omaha click here. The German WN's are marked as well as the Draws and beach sections.

 

The Action

 

On june 6, 1944 from 06.25 this WN-65 saw heavy action when several Gap Assault Teams and Gap Support Teams from the 299th Combat Engineers landed near here and struggled to open gaps in the beach defenses for follow-up waves. In the end they managed to mark one clear passage before the tide forced them off the beach around 07.00 suffering terrible losses in the proces.

 

After 07.00 hour other forces landed here, infantry as well as tanks and vehicles, and many of them were knocked out. The beach here became clogged with wrecks trying to get to the draw and landings here were ordered to cease somewhwere before 09.00.

The bunker was finally neutralised by a combination of naval guns, rifle grenades and a halftrack around 11.30 and WN 65 was taken around 11.40 . Easy-1 draw was then used as one of the main routes inland by tanks and armoured vehicles. Brushes and houses on the right were not there in june 1944 giving this WN an clear view over the beach.

  

On the photo:

 

Blockhaus which was part of WN65 - view from the front. Note the 50mm AT Gun still inside the bunker and the damage caused by a Naval gun on top. This type of H667 casemate was commonly used on many parts of the Atlantic Wall as it's shape guards the gun opening from direct fire from the sea and it's placed in a position the enfillade the beach . In 1944 it housed some 20 men and a 50mm gun. Also note the hill to the left with the trail which was used on D-Day by US troops to move inland.

 

WN-65 or "widerstandsnest 65" guarded the Easy-1 exit (a.k.a. Ruquet valley) on the Easy Red sector of Omaha.

  

For a photo of WN-65 in june 1944 click here

  

See my other Omaha beach photo's for more viewpoints, panorama shots and notes on the fighting

 

Tonemapped using three (Handheld) shots made with a Nikon D7000, augustus 2012.

View Large On Black

 

The beautiful sandstone cliffs located near Arromanches-les-Bains (Normandy), a small fishing village that lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings, one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion.

With such a beautiful and peaceful sunset it is hard to believe that 70 years ago this beach was part of a major military effort that initiated the Western Allied effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II. On this evening fFamilies were enjoying the sunset as much as I was....let freedom reign!

Sword Beach, was the code name given to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast during the initial assault phase, Operation Neptune, of Operation Overlord; the Allied invasion of German-occupied France that commenced on 6 June 1944. Stretching 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, the beach was the easternmost landing site of the invasion. Sword was divided into several sectors, and each sector divided into beaches; thus the British 3rd Infantry Division, assigned to land on Sword, assaulted a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) stretch of Sword code named Queen Sector - Queen Red, White and Green beaches. Sword Beach, Normandy, France

 

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

 

************************************************

  

The Invasion of Normandy was the invasion and establishment of Allied forces in Normandy, France, during Operation Overlord in 1944 during World War II. At the time it was the largest amphibious invasion to ever take place.

 

Allied land forces that saw combat in Normandy on 6 June came from Canada, the Free French Forces, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In the weeks following the invasion, Polish forces also participated, as well as contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands.[4] Most of the above countries also provided air and naval support, as did the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force,[nb 1] and the Royal Norwegian Navy.[1]

 

The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks and naval bombardments. In the early morning, amphibious landings on five beaches codenamed Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah, and Sword began and during the evening the remaining elements of the parachute divisions landed.

Here it is!

After a few weeks of school, Gaming and building, i'm finally uploading this large Moc.

It has been a real pain in the *** to get every detail right, and i hope my work did well.....

 

Storyline:

Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II. The beach is located on the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel, and is 5 miles (8 km) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary. Landings here were necessary in order to link up the British landings to the east at Gold Beach with the American landing to the west at Utah Beach, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport provided by the U.S. Navy and elements of the Royal Navy.

 

Vehicles used in this MOC:

- Sherman M4-A4 Crab

- M3A1 Halftrack.

 

Minifigures used in this MOC:

- BRiCKiZiMO's printed American's 18x

- BRiCKiZiMO's printed Germans 17x

- My own American's including Uli's Decals 20x

 

BrickArms used in this moc:

- German Heavy weaponry

- German light weaponry

- Grenades, Knifes and Stielhandgranaten.

- American Rifles

- American Bazooka

- Shell's and other Ammo.

- Monopod, U-clip's and Bi-pod's

- German and American Headgear (M1 Steelpot & Stahlhelm V2 & V1

 

Sponsored by BRiCKiZiMO toys

More pictures will follow....

Pegasus Bridge, Benouville, Normandy, France, august 2011

 

Pegasus bridge, crossing the Caen canal near the French town of Benouville, was one of the main targets of the British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard, on the eve of d-day

The bridge lies on the strategic road from Ouistreham to Caen and was captured by the Brithish para's in a swift action in the night of june 5, 1944.

 

Wikipedia: "On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men, led by Major John Howard, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, southern England in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and also "Horsa Bridge", a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River. The force included elements of B and D Companies, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a platoon of B Company, Royal Engineers, and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. The object of this action was to prevent German armour from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach.

Five of the Ox and Bucks's gliders landed as close as 47 yards from their objectives from 16 minutes past midnight. The attackers poured out of their battered gliders, completely surprising the German defenders, and took the bridges within 10 minutes. They lost two men in the process, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance-Corporal Fred Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh drowned when his glider landed. Lieutenant Brotheridge was killed crossing the bridge in the first minutes of the assault and thus became the first member of the invading Allied armies to die in combat on D-Day.

One of the members of the 7th Battalion reinforcements was young actor Richard Todd who would, nearly two decades later, play Major Howard in the film The Longest Day."

 

The original Pegasus now resides in the grounds of the Pegasus Memorial Museum near it's original location.

 

Photo was shot with a Nikon D70 tonemapped using 3 differently exposed (handheld) shots

 

A link to my other photos of the British and Canadian invasion sectors on D-Day

 

A link to my set of photo's and notes of Omaha beach, one of two American sectors during D-Day

 

Text on the memorial at Lepe:

In memory of those who gave their lives during the D-Day Invasion of 1944 when thousands of Allied troops

departed from these shores.

This anchor commemorating the 50th anniversary of the D-Day Landings was presented by Fawley Parish Council

in their centenary year.

  

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B").[1][2]

 

The Mulberry harbours were to be used until the Allies could capture a French port; initially thought to be around three months. However although Antwerp in Belgium was captured on 4 September 1944, the Port of Antwerp was not opened until 28 November as the approaches to the port were held by the Germans until the (delayed) Battle of the Scheldt was won. Two French ports were eventually available; the port of Boulogne on 14 October after Operation Wellhit and the port of Calais in November after Operation Undergo. Montgomery insisted that the First Canadian Army clear the German garrisons in Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (which was held until 9 May 1945) first before the Scheldt although the French ports were "resolutely defended" and had all suffered demolitions so would not be navigable for some time.[3] And the success of Operation Dragoon meant that the southern French ports of Marseille and Toulon were available in October.

 

So the need for the harbour at Gold Beach lessened only about five months after D-Day. It was used for 10 months after D-Day; and over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies were landed at Gold Beach before it was fully decommissioned. The Mulberry harbour at Omaha Beach had been severely damaged in a storm in late June 1944 and was abandoned.

Let's hope it stays this peaceful for many years to come.

 

The town of Arromanches Les Bains lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings, one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built on the Normandy coast, the other one built further West at Omaha Beach. Sections of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand, and more can be seen further out at sea.

Summer Holiday 2011 Napoli

  

Italy Listeni/ˈɪtəli/ (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja]), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica italiana),[7][8][9][10] is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, and is approximately delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two biggest Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

 

Italian territory also includes the islands of Pantelleria, 60 km (37 mi) east of the Tunisian coast and 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Sicily, and Lampedusa, at about 113 km (70 mi) from Tunisia and at 176 km (109 mi) from Sicily, in addition to many other smaller islands. The sovereign states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) and has a largely temperate climate. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the 5th most populous country in Europe. Among the world's most developed countries, Italy has the 4th-largest economy in the European Union, 3rd in the Eurozone and 9th in the world by GDP (IMF, 2012).

 

Italy's capital and largest city, Rome, has for centuries been the leading political and religious centre of Western civilisation, serving as the capital of both the Roman Empire and Christianity. During the Dark Ages, Italy endured cultural and social decline in the face of repeated invasions by Germanic tribes, Muslims and Normans, with Greek-Roman heritage being preserved largely by Christian monks. Beginning around the 11th century, various Italian cities, communes and maritime republics rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking (indeed, modern capitalism has its roots in Medieval Italy);[11] concurrently, Italian culture flourished, especially during the Renaissance, which produced many notable scholars, artists, and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Meanwhile, Italian explorers such as Polo, Columbus, Vespucci, and Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy would remain fragmented into many warring states for the rest of the Middle Ages, subsequently falling prey to larger European powers such as the Holy Roman Empire, France, Spain, and later Austria. Italy would thus enter a long period of decline that lasted until the beginning of the 18th century.

 

After many unsuccessful attempts, the second and the third wars of Italian independence resulted in the unification of most of present-day Italy between 1859 and 1866.[12] From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the new Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialised and acquired a colonial empire becoming a Great Power.[13][14]However, Southern and rural Italy remained largely excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite victory in World War I as one of the Big Four with permanent membership in the security council of the League of Nations, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, which favoured the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship in 1922. The subsequent participation in World War II, at the side of Nazi Germany and Japan forming the Axis Alliance, ended in military defeat, economic destruction and civil war. In the years that followed, Italy abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, and enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, thus becoming one of the most developed nations in the world,[5][15][16][17][18] with the fifth largest economy by nominal GDP by the early 1990s. Italy was a founding member of NATO in 1949 and one of the Inner Six of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and has been a member of the Eurozone since 1999.

 

Italy is considered to be both a major regional power and a leading middle power,[19][20][21][22][23][24] with membership in prominent institutions such as the UN, the EU, the NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the DAC, the WTO, the G4, G6, G7, G8, G10, G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Latin Union, the Council of Europe, the Central European Initiative and the Uniting for Consensus. Italy currently maintains the world's tenth-largest nominal defence budget and is a participant in the NATO nuclear sharing policy. On 1 July 2014, Italy replaced Greece as the seat of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy

  

Naples (Italian: Napoli [ˈnaːpoli] ( listen), Neapolitan: Napule [ˈnɑːpələ]; Latin: Neapolis; Ancient Greek: Νεάπολις, meaning "new city") is the capital of the Italian region Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy, after Rome and Milan. As of 2012, around 960,000 people live within the city's administrative limits. The Naples urban area has a population of between 3 million[3] and 3.7 million,[4] and is the 9th-most populous urban area in the European Union. Around 4 million people live in the Naples metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea.[2]

 

Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC.[5] A larger colony – initially known as Parthenope, Παρθενόπη – developed on the Island of Megaride around the ninth century BC, at the end of the Greek Dark Ages.[6][7][8] The city was refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC[9] and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic.[10] Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.

 

Naples was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II.[11] Much of the city's 20th-century periphery was constructed under Benito Mussolini's fascist government, and during reconstruction efforts after World War II. In recent decades, Naples has constructed a large business district, the Centro Direzionale, and has developed an advanced transport infrastructure, including an Alta Velocità high-speed rail link to Rome and Salerno, and an expanded subway network, which is planned to eventually cover half of the region. The city has experienced significant economic growth in recent decades, and unemployment levels in the city and surrounding Campania have decreased since 1999.[12] However, Naples still suffers from political and economic corruption,[13] and unemployment levels remain high.[14]

 

Naples has the fourth-largest urban economy in Italy, after Milan, Rome and Turin. It is the world's 103rd-richest city by purchasing power, with an estimated 2011 GDP of US$83.6 billion.[15][16] The port of Naples is one of the most important in Europe, and has the world's second-highest level of passenger flow, after the port of Hong Kong.[17] Numerous major Italian companies, such as MSC Cruises Italy S.p.A, are headquartered in Naples. The city also hosts NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples, the SRM Institution for Economic Research and the OPE Company and Study Centre.[18][19][20] Naples is a full member of the Eurocities network of European cities.[21] The city was selected to become the headquarters of the European institution ACP/UE[22] and was named a City of Literature by UNESCO's Creative Cities Network.[23] The Villa Rosebery, one of the three official residences of the President of Italy, is located in the city's Posillipo district.

 

Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe,[24] covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history,[25] and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Naples has long been a major cultural centre with a global sphere of influence, particularly during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras.[26] In the immediate vicinity of Naples are numerous culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Culinarily, Naples is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city. Neapolitan music has furthermore been highly influential, credited with the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin, as well as notable contributions to opera and folk standards. Popular characters and historical figures who have come to symbolise the city include Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, the comic figure Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the Greek epic poem the Odyssey. According to CNN, the metro stop "Toledo" is the most beautiful in Europe and it won also the LEAF Award '2013 as "Public building of the year".[27][28]

 

Naples' sports scene is dominated by football and Serie A club S.S.C. Napoli, two-time Italian champions and winner of European trophies, who play at the San Paolo Stadium in the south-west of the city.

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naples

These are "dolphins", or piers made for ships for the below battle, whose information is extracted from Wikipedia.

 

Shot with the ND1000.. Was quite fun sitting in the cold and waiting for the time to be up.

 

"Prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Lepe was used as a secret manufacturing site. Six massive concrete caissons (type B2 Phoenix breakwaters) were built here and later towed across the English Channel where they formed part of the artificial Mulberry harbours after D-Day. Lepe was also one of the many places on the south coast of England used for the embarkation of troops and equipment for the invasion. Concrete mats like big chocolate blocks were used to reinforce the shingle beach for heavy traffic. Some of these mats can still be seen today along with pier remnants, bollards and various concrete and brick structures. Lepe was also the point where PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) left the mainland. It carried fuel across the Isle of Wight and under the English Channel to the Allied forces in Normandy and beyond."

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha (Mulberry "A") and Gold Beach (Mulberry "B").[1][2]

 

The Mulberry harbours were to be used until the Allies could capture a French port; initially thought to be around three months. However although Antwerp in Belgium was captured on 4 September 1944, the Port of Antwerp was not opened until 28 November as the approaches to the port were held by the Germans until the (delayed) Battle of the Scheldt was won. Two French ports were eventually available; the port of Boulogne on 14 October after Operation Wellhit and the port of Calais in November after Operation Undergo. Montgomery insisted that the First Canadian Army clear the German garrisons in Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk (which was held until 9 May 1945) first before the Scheldt although the French ports were "resolutely defended" and had all suffered demolitions so would not be navigable for some time.[3] And the success of Operation Dragoon meant that the southern French ports of Marseille and Toulon were available in October.

 

So the need for the harbour at Gold Beach lessened only about five months after D-Day. It was used for 10 months after D-Day; and over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies were landed at Gold Beach before it was fully decommissioned. The Mulberry harbour at Omaha Beach had been severely damaged in a storm in late June 1944 and was abandoned.

Arromanches is remembered as a historic place of the Normandy landings and in particular as the place where an artificial port was installed. This artificial port allowed the disembarkation of 9,000 tons of material per day.

 

It was on the beach of Arromanches that, during the Invasion of Normandy immediately after D-Day, the Allies established an artificial temporary harbour to allow the unloading of heavy equipment without waiting for the conquest of deep water ports such as Le Havre or Cherbourg. Although at the centre of the Gold Beach landing zone, Arromanches was spared the brunt of the fighting on D-Day so the installation and operation of the port could proceed as quickly as possible without damaging the beach and destroying surrounding lines of communication. The port was commissioned on 14 June 1944.

 

This location was one of two sites chosen to establish the necessary port facilities to unload quantities of supplies and troops needed for the invasion during June 1944, the other was built further West at Omaha Beach. The British built huge floating concrete caissons which, after being towed from England, then had to be assembled to form walls and piers forming and defining the artificial port called the Mulberry harbour. These comprised pontoons linked to the land by floating roadways. One of these ports was assembled at Arromanches and even today sections of the Mulberry harbour still remain with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand and more can be seen further out at sea

 

70th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, February-May 1944

 

The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a series of four assaults over a period of four months by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy, held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The fight for Cassino was one of the most brutal and costly campaigns involving New Zealand forces in World War II.

 

The New Zealand soldiers’ biggest involvement came, in the third battle, a major assault which started on 15 March. The town of Cassino was almost totally destroyed by a massive bombing raid, following which the 2nd New Zealand Division forces advanced under cover of an artillery barrage. It would be another two months before the German Wermarcht (unified armed forces of Germany i.e. army, navy and airforce) was dislodged from Monte Cassino.

 

In early April the New Zealanders withdrew from Cassino, having suffered almost 350 deaths and many more wounded. In May 1944 the town finally fell to Allied forces - there had been a heavy cost all round. Rome was taken on 4 June, two days before the Allied invasion of Northern France and D-Day 6 June 1944.

 

Monte Cassino held the historic abbey of St Benedict founded in AD 529 which stood on the hilltop above the nearby town of Cassino. The abbey was destroyed down to the foundation walls, only the crypt survived during the bombardment by Allied forces, the town was also left in ruins. Both the town and the abbey were rebuilt after the war on their original sites. Many of the treasures from the abbey had been removed by the Germans, consequently the archives, library and some paintings were saved.

 

The image is from Archives NZ war art collection and depicts a scene from the Battle of Monte Cassino painted by Peter McIntyre an official World War II artist.

 

War art database warart.archives.govt.nz/

Peter McIntyre biography warart.archives.govt.nz/PeterMcIntyre

 

Archives Reference: AAAC 898 NCWA 315

 

Bastia (Corsican: Bastìa) (French pronunciation: ​[bas.tja], Corsican and Italian pronunciation: [basˈti.a]) is a French commune in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the north-east of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse.[1] It also has the second-highest population of any commune on the island after Ajaccio and is the capital of the Bagnaja region and of the department.

 

Bastia is the principal port of the island and its principal commercial town and is especially famous for its wines. Approximately 10% of the population are immigrants. The unemployment rate in the commune has persistently been one of the highest in France, standing at over 20% in 2004.

 

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Bastiais or Bastiaises.[2]

 

The commune has been awarded three flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.[3]

 

Geography

 

Located in the North-East of Corsica at the base of the Cap Corse, between the sea and the mountain, Bastia is the principal port of the island. The city is located 35 km (22 mi) away from the northern tip of the Cap Corse, 50 km (31 mi) west from Elba, an Italian island, and 90 km (56 mi) away from continental Italy which can be seen a few days per year when visibility is excellent.

Bastia seen from the "Pigno"

The city of Bastia as seen from the "Pigno": notice the lack of constructions in the foreground and the city along the coast in the background

 

In terms of geography, Bastia is defined by its position between the sea and the mountain. The city is located on the Eastern side of the "Serra di Pignu", a 960 m (3,150 ft) mountain (see photo opposite). This steep mountain and several hills in the city shape a relief typical of the Cap Corse. This pronounced landscape caused the city to develop mostly on a coastal band about 1.5 km (1 mi) wide, which is a very limited part of the 19.38 km2 (7.48 sq mi) that the commune has.

 

Above all, Bastia is a port, and the sea has of course a significant role in the spatial organization of the city. Bastia possesses nowadays three different ports. The old port ("Vieux Port" in French and "Portu Vechju" in Corsican), located in a remarkable and narrow cove, offers good natural shelter against the climatic hazards of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, it was at the core of the initial development of the city. Nowadays, many pleasure and fishing boats are still there, but it is not as economically vital than the other more modern ports, although its touristic and aesthetic charm almost makes the old port the official emblem of the city. In fact, many cafés, bars and restaurants have moved to its docks to which access is granted by the city for pedestrians only during summer evenings.

 

A bit more to the North is located the commercial and ferry port. As a major economic asset of the city, the "port de commerce" is the pulse of the city. It is even more so during the summer when ferry arrivals and departures of thousands of passengers and cars can sometimes cause long traffic jams along the north–south axis, the national road RN193. In front of the commercial port, the large Saint-Nicolas square represents the heart of the city. Just North of the commercial port, the Toga marina, named after a city neighborhood, is a harbor for leisure boating activities like sailing and yachting. There are also some bars, restaurants and night clubs on its docks.

 

Thus, Bastia is logically organized on a relatively narrow north–south axis which can make access to the city centre difficult under particular circumstances. Nowadays, the city centre is mainly composed of the "citadelle", the stronghold, also called Terra-Nova, with the Genoese Governors' Palace, the old port and its popular quarter and the market plaza, and finally the ensemble of buildings along the "Boulevard Paoli", the main commercial street of the city, which lies from the Justice Court to the Avenue Maréchal Sebastiani.

 

During the last few decades, Bastia and its region have experienced a strong demographic growth, which has cause somewhat of a suburban crawl in the South of the city, because of the congestion of the city center.

Neighbouring communes and villages[4][5]

 

Farinole Ville-di-Pietrabugno Tyrrhenian Sea

Patrimonio Tyrrhenian Sea

Bastia

Barbaggio Furiani Tyrrhenian Sea

 

Geology and relief

 

The commune is located in the Alpine Eastern Corsica region [Note 1] which is formed from "a succession of Autochthons (fixed terrain), para-Autochtons (weakly displaced terrain) and especially Allochthons (highly displaced terrain). The first two coincide roughly with the central depression. The Allochtons are mainly in the area of lustrous schists and ophiolites corresponding to the eastern relief (Cap Corse and Castagniccia)".[6]

 

Its base rests on a granite bedrock (Felsic granites from the Hercynian, plain rocks), which has been covered with oceanic layers of:

 

Sedimentary rocks (Miocene to Quaternary) on the east coast, ranging from the mouth of the Ruisseau de Lupino north to the south bank of the mouth of the Travo

lustrous schists along the entire eastern side of Cap Corse,

ophiolite deposited in eastern Corsica during the Eocene period.

 

Note the presence of copper ore in Cardo which was once the subject of a concession.

 

Geographically, Bastia is characterized by its location between the sea and the mountains. The commune lies on the eastern flank of the "Serra di Pignu" a mountain which rises to 960 m above sea level. This steep mountain with other hills around Bastia forms the typical terrain of Cap Corse. This pronounced relief largely explains the development of the city on a coastal strip of about 1.5 km in width which is a very limited proportion of the 19.38 km2 of the whole commune.

Hydrography

 

The river network is sparse. There are three small streams (or fiumes) flowing from west to east:

 

in the north the Ruisseau Fiuminale rises in the north-west of the commune 400 m north-east of Monte Muzzone (920 m).[7] Along its length of 4.3 kilometres it forms the border between the communes of Bastia and Ville-di-Pietrabugno from its source to the roundabout of the Annunciation. Part of its course is covered in the city from the path of the Annunciation to the port where it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is fed by the Ruisseau de Cardo.[Note 2]

in the centre, the Ruisseau de Lupino is also 4.3 kilometres long with its source in the commune near the Cima Orcaio (769 m).[8] The stream is covered from the Abbatoir crossroad to its mouth.

in the south the Ruisseau de Corbaia, 5.3 kilometres long.[9] Its source is in the old quarry near the Col de Teghime.

 

Climate and vegetation

 

Bastia possesses a Mediterranean climate. The average annual temperature is 15.5 °C (60 °F) and there are about five days of frost per year. Winds are frequent and violent, precipitation copious, but there are also 240 sunny days on average per year

Comparison of local Meteorological data with other cities in France[10] Town Sunshine

 

(hours/yr) Rain

 

(mm/yr) Snow

 

(days/yr) Storm

 

(days/yr) Fog

 

(days/yr)

National Average 1,973 770 14 22 40

Bastia[11] 2602.9 771.3 1.6 33.3 2.7

Paris 1,661 637 12 18 10

Nice 2,724 767 1 29 1

Strasbourg 1,693 665 29 29 56

Brest 1,605 1,211 7 12 75

Climate data for Bastia

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high °C (°F) 25.1

(77.2) 23.9

(75) 27.1

(80.8) 25.2

(77.4) 30.7

(87.3) 33.3

(91.9) 36.5

(97.7) 38.3

(100.9) 34.3

(93.7) 29.7

(85.5) 28.0

(82.4) 24.0

(75.2) 38.3

(100.9)

Average high °C (°F) 13.6

(56.5) 13.8

(56.8) 15.6

(60.1) 17.8

(64) 22.0

(71.6) 25.8

(78.4) 29.1

(84.4) 29.3

(84.7) 25.8

(78.4) 21.9

(71.4) 17.4

(63.3) 14.5

(58.1) 20.6

(69.1)

Average low °C (°F) 5.1

(41.2) 4.9

(40.8) 6.7

(44.1) 8.8

(47.8) 12.4

(54.3) 16.0

(60.8) 19.0

(66.2) 19.4

(66.9) 16.5

(61.7) 13.3

(55.9) 9.2

(48.6) 6.3

(43.3) 11.5

(52.7)

Record low °C (°F) −4.6

(23.7) −5.0

(23) −3.8

(25.2) 0.5

(32.9) 3.1

(37.6) 8.2

(46.8) 10.2

(50.4) 11.8

(53.2) 7.6

(45.7) 2.8

(37) −0.5

(31.1) −3.3

(26.1) −5.0

(23)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 67.4

(2.654) 56.9

(2.24) 59.8

(2.354) 76.2

(3) 49.6

(1.953) 41.0

(1.614) 12.6

(0.496) 20.9

(0.823) 81.1

(3.193) 127.1

(5.004) 113.7

(4.476) 93.0

(3.661) 799.3

(31.469)

Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.9 5.4 3.4 1.7 2.4 5.0 7.1 8.4 8.1 67.0

Average snowy days 0.7 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 2.0

Average relative humidity (%) 73 73 72 74 76 73 70 71 75 76 75 74 73.5

Mean monthly sunshine hours 133.8 157.5 192.0 214.0 268.0 295.6 345.1 304.2 232.0 175.8 133.0 128.2 2,579.3

Source #1: Meteo France[12][13]

Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)[14]

 

The commune has two levels of vegetation as a result of its climate but also the flora:

 

Thermo-mediterranean level: from 1 to 100 metres altitude on the south-facing slope. This level is characterized by a dry summer season from two to three months that promotes wild olives, white asparagus, Mastics, Tree Spurges, Clematis, etc.

Meso-Mediterranean level: from 100 to 1000 m above sea level on the south-facing slope and 0 to 700m on the north slope. This level, with cooler temperatures, is characterized mainly by the holm oak, Maquis shrubland and arbutus but also by cork oak and maritime pine (on the sunny side), the downy oak (on the shady side), chestnut, lavender, broom, cistus, and lentisk.[15] On the heights, between bare rocks, vegetation is stubbly - swept by frequent and violent westerly and south-westerly winds (the Libeccio) which become stronger after crossing the ridge of the Serra di Pigno and blow down along the valleys to the sea. The winds form remarkable lenticular clouds off Bastia.

 

Communication and transport

Road Transport

 

There are three main access roads to Bastia:

 

from the South: by the Route nationale N193. A portion of about 23 km is 2X2 lanes between Arena and Vescovato since the inauguration of the "expressway Borgo-Vescovato" in January 2013. This is the major road axis into the Bastia region because it connects the city of Bastia directly or indirectly to all other Corsican towns (Ajaccio, Corte, Porto-Vecchio, Calvi etc.) while also passing through the main cities of the peripheral region of Bastia such as Furiani, Biguglia, Borgo, and Lucciana where Bastia Poretta Airport is located. This road is also called the Waterfront Route from the Montesoro district because it runs along the seafront up to the Old Port Tunnel which runs under the citadel and the Old Port. This road ultimately ends at Ajaccio.

from the West:, by the D81, a road which goes to Saint-Florent via the Col de Teghime.

from the North: by the D80, which goes in a loop around Cap Corse (the road between Bastia and Pietranera was opened in 1829).

 

The road distance to other towns and cities in Corsica is:

 

10 km to Santa-Maria-di-Lota

12 km to Brando

18 km to Patrimonio

19 km to Borgo

20 km to Oletta

23 km to Murato

24 km to Saint-Florent

26 km to Vescovato

29 km to Luri

33 km to Nonza

34 km to Volpajola

36 km to Macinaggio

40 km to Rogliano

46 km to Canari

47 km to Ponte-Leccia

48 km to Centuri

49 km to Cervione

68 km to Corte

68 km to L'Île-Rousse

73 km to Aléria

92 km to Calvi

129 km to Vico

143 km to Porto-Vecchio

145 km to Zicavo

147 km to Ajaccio

171 km to Bonifacio

179 km to Sartène

181 km to Propriano

 

Bus Transport

 

The urban area of Bastia is served by a bus network with 14 routes operated by the Autobus Bastiais company.[16]

Rail Transport

 

The Bastia railway station belongs to Chemins de Fer de la Corse and is located in the city centre. There are services to Ajaccio and Calvi. There are also 7 other Bastia rail stops for suburban services to Casamozza: Lupino, Rivoli, Bassanese, Arinella, Montesoro, Sole-Meo, Erbajolo.

Sea transport

Port of Bastia

The Mega Smeralda Ferry

 

Despite its small size the port of Bastia is the busiest French port on the Mediterranean Sea with 2,291,944 passengers in 2011.[17]

 

This makes it the second busiest French port behind Calais (about 15 million passengers).

 

Ports served from Bastia are:

Port No. of Passengers in 2014 %age

Livorno (Italy) 529,822 24.7%

Toulon 548,071 25.6%

Marseille 253,899 11.9%

Nice 340,007 15.9%

Savona (Italy) 324,512 15.2%

Genoa (Italy) 110,997 5.2%

Other routes 19,790 0.9%

Portoferraio (Italy) 14,283 0.6%

Total 2,141,381 100%

 

Source: CCI Haute Corse - Port Statistics 2014 (p. 12)[17]

 

Domestic traffic is 47.4% against 52.6% international traffic.[17]

No. of passengers per month transiting the port of Bastia in 2011[17]

 

Port Seasonality

 

As shown in the diagram on the right shipping and passenger traffic is characterized by a very marked seasonality. This is explained by the importance of summer tourism for the economy of Corsica. Thus the traffic is multiplied by eleven in the high season (July–August). This seasonality has a very strong impact on the city of Bastia, as on all Corsica. The city must be equipped with the necessary infrastructure to be able to accommodate such numbers of passengers even though it is for a short time each year.

 

Port Passenger Market share

 

There is a clear dominance by Corsica Ferries:

Shipping Company No. of passengers transported in 2014[17] Market share

Corsica Ferries 5,611,350 74.0%

SNCM 854,204 11.3%

Moby Lines 840,000 11.1%

La Méridionale 281,700 3.7%

Total 7,587,254 100%

Air transport

 

The Bastia – Poretta Airport is located 16 km south of the city in the commune of Lucciana. It is the second largest airport in Corsica by passenger numbers after Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport.

 

It serves several French airports including Paris-Orly, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Marseille-Provence, Nice-Côte d'Azur, and Lyon-Saint-Exupery.

 

There are also some European routes such as London, Geneva, and Cologne. The main airlines are Air Corsica, Air France, EasyJet, Germanwings, Luxair, British Airways, and Volotea.

History

Ancient times

 

In Roman times the site of Cardo with the north-eastern district of the current commune of Bastia and Pietrabugno formed a Pieve: the oldest known administrative division. This territory was occupied by the Vanacimi people.[18] Bastia did not exist. Neither Ptolemy, Strabo, or Pliny in the descriptions they made of the island mentioned Bastia.[19]

Middle Ages

 

At the end of the 9th century, the territory or pieve of Mantino depended on the lords Loretesi.[Note 3] They were driven out in 1072 by the Da Furiani, Aschesi or Laschesi, aided by the Marquis of Massa.

 

In 1370 the Republic of Genoa sent two governors to Corsica: Leonello Lomellino and Aluigi Toriorino. Shortly afterwards, considering the great expense and little profit in Corsica, the Republic decided to withdraw and no longer intervene in the affairs of the island. Nevertheless some Genoese gentlemen formed a partnership known as the Maona to try and manage the economy on the island on behalf of the Republic of Genoa. The five partners were: Leonello Lomellino, Giovanni da Balagnera, Aluigi Tortorino, Andreolo Ficone, and Cristoforo Maruffo. They all came with the title of Governor and brought with them a thousand soldiers.[20]

 

After an expedition to Cinarca followed by a short period of peace, Leonello Lomellino returned as governor and to gain an advantage over the Count Arrigo della Rocca with whom he would have to fight, he began by fortifying Aléria. " Then Count Arrigo and his allies once again crossed the mountains and made incursions against Cap Corse: having met no resistance, they went to besiege Aléria which capitulated after four months. Leonello, deprived of all support, returned to Biguglia and from there he went to build the castle of Bastia to maintain his sea communications".[20] [Note 4]

 

"Between the second half of the 12th century and the middle of the 13th century the feudal system was in place at all levels of society and new links were created between the elite of the aristocracy and the Maritime Republics, between representatives of the island's nobility, and between them and the poor. At the same time castles multiplied. They were then owned by fifteen noble families of local or peninsular origin, sometimes fragmented into independent lordships or even [sic] rivals: Bagnaia, Amondaschi, Cortinchi, Pinaschi de Coasini, Lotreto de Nebbio, Loreto de Casinca, Orezza, Avogari, Camilla, Turca, Pevere, de Mari (from the mid-13th century only), and the Marquis de Massa and Corsica".

 

- Daniel Istria - Powers and fortifications in northern Corsica 11th - 14th Century p. 145

 

According to Giovanni della Grossa, the "seigneurialisation" of Loreto would have beene, as with Genoese families of the Cape, usurping the County title acquired during the "people's government". Small lordships that emerged around the courts of the Bishop of Nebbio, probably sometime in the second half of the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th century, were partly absorbed by the lords of Bagnaia before 1247. Then, before 1289, they were recovered and absorbed, like many others in the new lordship of Giovanninello de Loreto. Taking advantage of the Genoese-pisano rivalries, he extended his possessions to the east and west.

 

Written documentation illustrates the business of territorial conquest conducted by Giovanninello during the years 1260–1280. After raiding the castles of Nebbio and Pureto in the Ostriconi, he went on to the conquest of the pieve of Orto, which was then under the control of Bagnaia, and he built two new fortifications: Montebello and Petra di Bugno. These were intended not only to dominate and control the northern part of Bagnaia, whose Cerlino Lake had a certain economic interest, but probably also to neutralise Porto Cardo, which occupied a strategic military position as well as having businesses. It was here that the fortress of Bastia was erected, the residence of the Genoese governors from the 15th century. The agreements between Giovanninello and the commune of Genoa in 1289 demonstrated the importance of this baronial control of land routes and anchorages, a major source of revenue and a guarantee of the security of the territory.[21]

Originally Cardo

La Vetrice Tower

 

Before the occupation of Corsica by the Genoese there were several communities of the pieve of Orto: Soverta, La Vetrice, Belgodere, Astima, and Le Corbaia. All these villages have today almost disappeared. On the coast there was a small hamlet inhabited by fishermen called Porto Cardo which means "Cardo Port".

Modern times

The citadel, built by the Genoese

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries the Franciscans settled in the Pieve of Orto.

 

At the beginning of the 16th century, Monseigneur Agostino Giustiniani, Bishop of Nebbio, described in his Dialogo nominato Corsica:

 

"[...] The pieve of Orto is almost ruined; it contains 340 fires. In this piève is Biguglia with a convent of Friars Minor [...]. With Biguglia there are still these pièves: Furiani, Belgodere, Soverta, La Vetrice, and Corbaia; nowadays, all these villages have almost disappeared."

 

- Agostino Giustiniani in Description of Corsica, translation by Lucien Auguste Letteron in History of Corsica, Bulletin of the Society for Historical and Natural Sciences of Corsica - Volume I - 1888, p. 50. (in French)

 

Continuing, he writes:

 

"It is in this piève Bastia lies, home to the Bishop and Governor of Corsica. Before the last war this city had 700 houses divided into two districts: Terranova and Terravecchia. There was formerly in this place a castle or tower, or rather a fortress of the kind called on the continent Bastie [...]. Terravecchia was an open area which is now burned and ruined largely as a result of the war. The land is very steep on the lower slopes and walking is very painful; on the other hand the Terranova area is generally flat, with fairly wide streets and many modern houses. It is surrounded not only by a solid wall, which forms a continuous enclosure, but a wide and deep moat and magnificent bastions. The wall was begun in the time of Tomasino de Campofregoso, then lord of the island, and completed later through the efforts of the Bank of Saint George. The bastions and the moat were made by that same bank and by the Genoese government during the last war. The bank has added a very beautiful citadel but the benefits do not match the expense it required during its construction; it cost, in fact, 25,000 ducats. Bastia has two convents of Friars Minor, one of Recollects, and the other Capuchin. This city, being the governor's residence, prospered greatly but it also had much to suffer in recent wars. Although the main centre on the island many people were of the opinion that its importance will hardly increase. The first reason they give is that the population of the city is composed of Genoese and Corsicans: the Genoese, from Rivières, belong to the lower class. Most Corsicans also belonged in this class. There is a jealousy and rivalry between the inhabitants of Bastia so great that few mind the interests of the city: they apply themselves only to deceit and to oust each other and that is where we get all the evil. The second reason is that the city has no port. It has in fact a small bay where it is possible to relax on small boats. On the other hand, houses, until now, have been very poorly distributed. There is not one that has a stable nor even a well or a cistern, so that it is necessary to fetch water from the fountain outside. Also in summer the water is very hot because it comes from far away via an aqueduct.

 

The cellars are far from being good. Bastia is built on a rocky ground, where ducts and sewers can be dug only with great difficulty. The city has no pleasant walks and is also very exposed to the West Wind which sometimes lasts for eight or ten days, so we can not leave home because the wind is so strong that it shakes the houses. What is more advantageous for Bastia is to be near fertile country that produces some wine, such as at Cap Corse, and elsewhere wheat, as on the higher pièves. There is a at the doorstep and only a short distance from Piombino and other mainland locations. It is for these reasons, and not for others, that the Board has chosen Bastia to make the residence of its governors: because there is nowhere on the island where the governor would be better off than at Bastia".

 

- Agostino Giustiniani in Description of Corsica, translation by Lucien Auguste Letteron in History of Corsica. (in French)

 

He ends his description as follows:

 

"There were still in the piève of Orto two small villages with the main pieve church dedicated to Saint Mary. These two villages and the church were ruined after the last plague and also because of the negligence of the piévans. After Porraggia comes Punta d'Arco and the Chiurlino Lake, about ten miles long, which can be entered only by very small boats. In this lake is an island, where there is good hunting for wild boar. This place is called the island. There are also two other small islands where fishermen stay: one is called Ischia nova which became famous in the recent wars and the other is called Ischia Vacchia. There is fishing in this lake for cephalic (cefalu or mazzardi), mullet (muggini), and other fish that make excellent Botargo. These fish and eels are taken in large quantities and serve as ordinary food for the inhabitants of Bastia, not to mention the fish that comes from the pièves of Orto, Mariana and Mercurio. Then comes the Port of Lo Pino then the Gulf of Bastia, which is called Portocardo by the sailors. There is then the Ruisseau de S. Nicolas, then successively the Port of Toga, Grigione, the port and Ruisseau di Pietranera where there is a tower."

 

- Agostino Giustiniani in Description of Corsica, translation by Lucien Auguste Letteron in History of Corsica. (in French)

The Genoese era

 

The Genoese soon felt the need to protect Bastia from invasions coming from the sea and began to build a bastiglia (moat) and a citadel in the time of governor Leonello Lomellini.

 

Over time, the Bastiglia (Bastia) has grown, become prosperous, and become more important than Cardo.

 

Its history is in its "bastiglia" or citadel which was originally a walled city. Here it was the sea and the mountains that determined the location of habitations as well as the relief of the island. Bastia was the capital at the time of the Genoese domination. It spread to the slopes later, centred around the water in the Place Saint-Nicolas.

 

Created by the Genoese patrician Leonello Lomellini in 1353 to liaise with Genoa, the city originated on the roack where a tower was built ( a bastiglia, hence its name) and, a hundred years later, was surrounded by walls.

 

At the beginning of the 18th century, many improvements were made in the Punta district, where many shops were built. Bastia and the whole island came under French military domination on 8 May 1769.

 

In 1794, during a war with Revolutionary France, British troops under Admiral Nelson and Lieutenant-General David Dundas briefly captured Bastia.

 

In 1848 Bastia took 44 hectares from Ville-di-Pietrabugno.

Contemporary period

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See also: Italian occupation of Corsica

 

Bastia suffered much damage during the Second World War. Nevertheless Corsica was the first department to be liberated on 4 October 1943 by the Corsican resistance in the Pearl Harbor secret mission (sent by the secret services of the military defence establishment in Algiers) and the submarine Casabianca.

 

The commandos of the secret mission (Roger de Saule, Laurent Preziosi, the cousins Toussaint, and Pierre Griffi) landed in the night of 13 to 14 December 1942 from the submarine Casabianca in the Bay of Topiti. After organizing a network in this region (Piana), they then moved to organize 2nd network at Corte led locally by Pascal Valentini, finally heading for Bastia to organise a 3rd network in the Bastia and Cap Corse region. It was around Hyacinthe de Montera at 35 Bouvelard Paoli that the movement was organized. Laurent Preziosi had already participated in the first meetings in 1941 before returning to Algiers to be recruited for the mission. The movement then organized within the National Front. The radioman, Pierre Griffi was arrested in Ajaccio, severely tortured, and shot in Bastia without talking on 18 August 1943.

 

The turret of the submarine Casabianca is displayed at the corner of the Place Saint-Nicolas on the sea side. A commemorative stone of the first meeting was affixed to 35 boulevard Paoli (above the door).

 

After the war, Bastia gradually emerged as a key economic centre of Corsica. The Bastia agglomeration is the most extensive on the island.

 

During the last fifty years Cardo had the second homes of wealthy Bastiais. Currently Cardo is a district of Bastia on the heights of Pigno. It attracts many people who want to live there as it has all the advantages of a village in the countryside while being close to the city.

Heraldry

Arms of Bastia

Blazon:

 

Azure, a fortress Argent, turreted, masoned, windows, and port of Sable on a terrace in base Vert.

  

Administration

 

List of Successive Mayors[22]

Mayors from 1770 to 1941

From To Name

1770 1778 Pierre Poggi

1779 1789 Pierre-François Rigo

1789 1791 B. Carrafa

1791 1794 Jean-Baptiste Galeazzini

1794 1795 Casimir Poggi

1795 1796 Pierre-Antoine Casella

1796 1798 Jean Benedetti

1798 1798 Dominique Bozio

1798 1798 Paul-Louis Stefanini

1798 1799 Jean-Baptiste Ristori

1799 1800 Pierre-Antoine Casella

1800 1800 Ignace Agostini

1800 1808 Pierre Giovellina

1808 1814 Charles Cecconi

1814 1815 Charles Vanucci

1815 1815 Pierre Antoni

1815 1816 Romuald Ficarella

1816 1818 Antoine Carbuccia

1818 1820 Joseph Graziani

1821 1827 Jean-Antoine Didau

1828 1831 Antoine-Hyacinthe Lota

1831 1833 Antoine-Pierre Lota

1833 1840 Antoine-Hyacinthe Lota

1840 1843 Antoine-Joseph Casevecchie

1843 1848 Antoine-Sébastien Lazarotti

1848 1848 Philippe Caraffa

1848 1851 Horace Carbuccia

1851 1854 François Lota

1854 1858 Vincent Piccioni

1858 1865 François-Hyacinthe d'Angelis

1865 1870 Antoine Piccioni

1870 1871 Antoine Fabiani

1871 1879 Ignace Bonelli

1871 1871 Patrice de Corsi

1879 1881 Jean-Jacques Ajaccio

1881 1882 Auguste Etretti

1882 1888 Ignace Bonelli

1888 1903 Auguste Baudin

1903 1903 Sébastien Gavelli

1903 1912 Auguste Baudin

1912 1917 Jean-Baptiste de Caraffa

1917 1919 Lucien Dupello

1919 1937 Emile Sari

1937 1941 Hyacinthe de Montera

 

Mayors from 1941

 

From To Name Party Position

1941 1943 Joseph Gerardi

1943 1945 Jacques Faggianelli

1945 1947 Hyacinthe de Montera

1947 1968 Jacques Faggianelli Radical

1968 1989 Jean Crucien Zuccarelli MRG

1989 1997 Emile Pierre Dominique Zuccarelli PRG

1997 2000 Albert Calloni

2000 2014 Émile Zuccarelli

2014 2016 Gilles Simeoni

2016 Pierre Savelli

 

(Not all data is known)

Inter-communality

 

The Agglomeration Community of Bastia includes 5 communes with a total population of 57,276 in 2010.

Cantons

 

Bastia is divided into four cantons:

 

Canton of Bastia-1

Canton of Bastia-2

Canton of Bastia-3

Canton of Bastia-4

 

Security

 

Bastia has a police station located in the Rue du Commandant Luce de Casabianca.

Twinning

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France

 

Bastia has twinning associations with:[23]

 

Germany Erding (Germany) since 1980.

Italy Viareggio (Italy) since 1980.

 

Demography

 

In 2010 the commune had 43,008 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.[Note 5]

Population change (See database)

1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851

- 11,336 7,922 9,316 9,531 13,610 14,568 15,004 15,985

1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896

16,002 19,304 21,535 17,850 17,572 20,100 20,765 23,397 22,552

1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954

25,425 27,338 39,412 33,094 36,376 44,628 52,208 49,327 42,729

1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2010 -

31,375 38,746 42,810 44,020 37,845 37,884 43,008 -

 

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

  

Population of Bastia

Education

 

The commune has:[24]

 

10 kindergartens

13 primary schools

5 colleges

7 High schools

 

There is also a research institute of the engineering school of Arts et Métiers ParisTech (ENSAM). This institute was opened in 2000 and offers doctoral programs and specialized Masters in the field of renewable energy.

 

Bastia is the location of one of five regional institutes of administration (IRA) in France for the training of future administrative officials.

Health

 

Bastia has a hospital in the Paese Novu district (Falconaja Hospital) and a clinic (Maymard Clinic) in the city centre as well as another clinic specializing in ophthalmology (Filippi clinic) in the Saint-Antoine district.

 

Around the city there is also the Zuccarelli Clinic (Toga district) and a polyclinic 2 km from the centre of town at Furiani.

Sports

 

SC Bastia is the football club for Bastia. The Armand-Cesari Stadium is located in the neighbouring commune of Furiani. The club was a finalist in the UEFA Cup competition in 1978 and winner of the Coupe de France in 1981. They were also finalists in the Coupe de France in 1972 and 2002, Champion of France in Ligue 2 in 1968 and 2012, as well as National Champion of France in 2011. In 2015 SC Bastia played and lost the final of the League Cup against PSG, 20 years after playing them in the same competition in 1995. The club currently plays in Ligue 1.[25]

 

Besides SC Bastia there are two other amateur footbal clubs: CA Bastia who currently play in the Championnat National and ÉF Bastia. A fourth club, the Football Corsica Club Bastiais (FCCB) disappeared after playing in six amateur championships in Corsica in the 1950s Historically each of these four clubs was supported by a different part of the city: the Place Saint-Nicolas district were blue (SC Bastia), the Old Port was black (CA Bastia), the citadel and the Saint Joseph district were white (EF Bastia), and the market area was red (FCCB). Sporting dominance has overshadowed other clubs in Bastia over time. At the end of the 2012/2013 season there were for the first time two professional clubs in Bastia: SC Bastia in Ligue 1 and the CA Bastia promoted from National, for a total of four Corsican professional football clubs (with AC Ajaccio in Ligue 1 and GFC Ajaccio, relegated to National but retaining its professional status).

 

Bastia was also a city-stage in the Tour de France 2013: the arrival point of the first stage from Porto-Vecchio and starting point for the second to Ajaccio.

Town planning

View from the Citadel

Coloured façades in the Old Port

 

Bastia is primarily a port city so the sea has a predominant place in the spatial organization of the city. Nowadays Bastia has three different ports.

 

The Old Port: located in a narrow cove that offers good protection against the Mediterranean weather. It was therefore at the heart of the initial development of the city. Today it still is home to many yachts and fishing boats but it is not so economically vital for the city than the other modern ports, although its tourism and aesthetic appeal makes it an almost official emblem of Bastia. Many bar-cafes and restaurants have opened on its quays whose streets are pedestrian access only in the summer.

The Commercial Port: a little north of the Old Port, it is the major economic asset of the city. This is especially true in the summer period when thousands of arrivals and departures of passengers and vehicles can sometimes cause long traffic jams along Route nationale N193 despite the existence of a tunnel under the Old Port. Opposite the commercial port is the vast Place Saint Nicolas which is the heart of the city.

The Toga Marina: north of the commercial port partly in Ville-di-Pietrabugno is occupied by many sailboats and yachts. There are also several bars, restaurants and nightclubs on its quays.

 

The city centre and outlying urban areas

 

Today the city centre consists mainly of the citadel (also called Terra Nova), the Palace of the Governors, the Old Port with its surrounding neighbourhood and the market place, and finally all the buildings along the Paoli Boulevard - the main commercial street of the city which stretches from the courthouse to the Avenue Maréchal Sebastiani.

 

In recent decades Bastia and its region have had strong demographic growth which has now grown beyond the municipal boundaries.

The Village of Cardo

 

Bastia has several hamlets and districts that are, from north to south:

 

Cardo: a village northeast of the city, Cardo was one of the first inhabited places in the area.

Le Fango: an area which has developed recently on the mountainside. It includes in particular the prefecture of Haute-Corse, Bastia railway station, and the Lycée Giocante de Casabianca.

Gradiccia

Saint Antoine

Fort Lacroix

La Citadelle

Saint Joseph

Monserato

Lupino: a district south of the city, the first to be developed mainly with social housing.

Paese Novo: a residential district overlooking Montesoro on the old "Imperial road" that bypasses the town via the heights. Bastia Hospital is located in this district.

Montesoro: another residential district south of Bastia. It has large groups of new buildings with many shops. Montesoro also has large schools: technical and vocational schools, and a secondary education college.

Erbajolo: another district at the southern end of town. It marks the beginning of the industrial zone south of Bastia agglomeration. It has the largest commercial area in the city (Hyper U) and a football stadium.

 

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war...BUT I ASK HAVE WE LEARNED ANYTHING...MY mums brother who obviously i never met died in a wellington bomber.

   

Bergen, Norway.

 

www.gettyimages.no/detail/photo/bergen-by-night-norway-ro...

 

History of Bergen from english wiki:

 

Bergen received status as a city in 1070 AD during king Olav Kyrre's rule, according to the encyclopedia Store norske leksikon.

 

Gitte Hansen's 2004 Ph.D. dissertation proposes that "Bergen was founded as a handelsknutepunkt [a crossroads for trading] sometime during the 1020s or 1030s".[6] Later, in a 2004 NRK article, she said that "A king decided at the start of the 11th century, that here a city ought to be."[6] Furthermore she said that king Olav Kyrre "was not the first [king] to start building a city [in Bergen].

 

The city was built on part of a royal estate, Alrekstad.

 

"The sagas tell that Olav Kyrre built a Christ Church at Holmen (later Bergenshus)"—made of wood—according to the encyclopedia Store Norske Leksikon.

 

In 1068 the Diocese of Bergen was established.

 

Around 1100 the export (through Bergen) of dried cod from the northern Norwegian coast started, eventually becoming the principal export traded from Bergen.

 

Before the year 1110, Munkeliv Abbey was built.[9]

 

The monarchy moved its quarters from the foot of Mount Ulriken, and at the new location wooden structures were eventually replaced by masonry, i.e. Haakon's Hall.

 

In 1163 the city's cathedral, the Christ Church, was the site of the first royal coronation in Norway.

 

The bishopric of Selja was moved to Bergen either in 1163[2] or, together with the relics of Sunniva, in 1170.

 

In 1181 the Birkebeiner defeated their opponents in the Battle of Bergen during the civil war era in Norway. "[The present-day neighbourhood] Engen was the battlefield in 1181 during the battle between king Sverre's men and bondehæren [the farmers' army]", according to the encyclopedia Bergen byleksikon.)

 

After the 1181 Battle of Bergen

Bergen was granted monopoly in regards to trade from the North of Norway, by king Haakon Haakonsson (1217-1263). Stockfish was the main reason that the city became one of North Europe's largest centres for trade at the time.

 

In 1281, a sixth coronation was held at Christ Church—the last one held there.

  

Hieronymus Scholeus's impression of Bergen. The drawing was made around 1580 and was published in Civitates orbis terrarum.

Some functions of the city were lost to Oslo during the reign of King Haakon V (1299–1319).

 

Bergen was Norway's most important city in the 13th century.[

 

In 1343 (or in the 1350s) "the first Hanseatic commercial settlement was established in Bergen", according to Natascha Mehler.[15] German merchants formed a colony—protected by the Hanseatic League. Sources vary about whether it "was not an isolated German ghetto, but operated in vibrant interaction with its surroundings", or it was "separated from the Norwegian bysamfunn [city community]". This Kontor was located at Bryggen in Bergen.[16] The Hanseatic merchants lived in their own separate quarter of town, where Middle Low German was spoken, enjoying exclusive rights to trade with the northern fishermen who each summer sailed to Bergen.[17] During this century the Hanseatic merchants acquired monopolistic control over the trade in Bergen.

 

In 1349, the Black Death was inadvertently brought to Norway by the crew of an English ship arriving in Bergen.

 

By the late 14th century, Bergen had established itself as the centre[clarification needed] of the trade in Norway.

 

On 22 April 1393[20] the Sacking of Bergen occurred. In 1395 the Victual Brothers attacked again.

 

In 1428, the city was attacked by the Victual Brothers,[21] and they succeeded in burning the royal castle and much of the city.

 

During the Reformation, the Kontor at Bryggen experienced an economic backlash.

 

In 1560, the Kontor at Bryggen came under the legal jurisdiction of the authorities of Norway.

 

From around 1600, the Hanseatic dominance of the city's trade gradually declined in favour of Norwegian merchants (often of Hanseatic ancestry).

 

In 1630 the Hanseatic League was dissolved, but the Kontor continued operating.

 

In 1665, the city's harbour was the site of the Battle of Vågen, where an English naval flotilla attacked a Dutch merchant- and treasure fleet supported by the city's garrison.

 

In 1754, the operations of the Kontor at Bryggen, ended.

 

Until 1789, Bergen retained its monopoly to mediate trade between Northern Norway and abroad.

  

A photochrom of Bergen near the end of the 19th century. Visible are Domkirken in the bottom left side, Korskirken in the middle, the bay (Vågen) with its many boats and the Bergenhus Fortress to the right of the opening of Vågen.

The website dagsdato.no has said that on 23 September 1814 the city had chosen representatives for the extraordinary [session of] Norway's parliament, but sogneprest Jonas Rein was not chosen.

 

In the 1830s, Oslo (the capital) surpassed Bergen as Norway's most populous city.

 

In 1882 the city's phone company was established.

 

In 1883 the rail line to Voss was completed—Vossebanen.

 

In 1897 a trolley service started operating.

 

In 1900 utility services for electricity started.

 

In 1909 the rail line to Oslo opened—the Bergen Line.

 

In 1917 the pier Skoltegrunnskaien opened.

 

In 1932 the road to Hardanger was completed, connecting Bergen to a significant part of Norway's road network.

 

World War II

During World War II Bergen was occupied on the first day of the German invasion on 9 April 1940, after a brief fight between German ships and the Norwegian coastal artillery. The German cruiser Königsberg was badly damaged by Norwegian coastal artillery at Kvarven Fort, and sunk by British bombers the following day, 10 April 1940, in the harbour. On 20 April 1944 the Dutch cargo ship Voorbode anchored off the Bergenhus Fortress, loaded with over 120 tons of explosives, blew up, killing at least 150 people and damaging historic buildings. The city was subject to some Allied bombing raids, aiming at German naval installations in the harbour. Some of these caused Norwegian civilian casualties numbering about 100.

 

On the morning of 8 May 1945, Wehrmacht's superior officer in Norway announced that he would follow orders to capitulate.

 

The resistance groups in Bergen were Saborg, Milorg, "Theta-gruppen", Sivorg, Stein-organisasjonen and the Communist Party.

 

After World War II[edit]

9 July 1974 saw an accident on Ulriksbanen, which led to the largest rescue operation in the municipality, since World War II.[28] Four people died.

 

In 1979 Bergen's old quayside, Bryggen, was listed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

 

From county to municipality[edit]

Bergen was separated from Hordaland as a county of its own in 1831. It was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipality of Bergen landdistrikt was merged with Bergen on 1 January 1877. The rural municipality of Årstad was merged with Bergen on 1 July 1915. The rural municipalities of Arna, Fana, Laksevåg, and Åsane were merged with Bergen on 1 January 1972. The city lost its status as a separate county on the same date.Bergen is now a municipality, in the county of Hordaland.

 

From 1831 to 1972, Bergen was its own county. In 1972 the municipality absorbed four surrounding municipalities, and at the same time became a part of Hordaland county.

 

In 1772 Hospitalssognet—relating to St. Jørgens Hospital—consisted of Solheim, Kronstad, Landås and all of Årstad, according to a map from that year.

 

Fires

In 1170 or 1171, the first great fire occurred.

 

In 1198, the Bagler-faction set fire to the city in connection with a battle against the Birkebeiner faction during the civil war. In 1248, Holmen and Sverresborg burned, and 11 churches were destroyed. In 1413 another fire struck the city, and 14 churches were destroyed. In 1428 the city was plundered by German pirates, and in 1455, Hanseatic merchants were responsible for burning down Munkeliv Abbey. In 1476, Bryggen burned down in a fire started by a drunk trader. In 1582, another fire hit the city centre and Strandsiden. In 1675, 105 buildings burned down in Øvregaten. In 1686 a new great fire hit Strandsiden, destroying 231 city blocks and 218 boathouses. The greatest fire to date happened in 1702 when 90 percent of the city was burned to ashes. In 1751, there was a great fire at Vågsbunnen. In 1756, a new fire at Strandsiden burned down 1,500 buildings, and further great fires hit Strandsiden in 1771 and 1901. In 1916, 300 buildings burned down in the city centre, and in 1955 parts of Bryggen burned down.

 

1918 campaign to revert to former name[edit]

In 1918, there was a campaign to reintroduce the Norse form Bjørgvin as the name of the city. This was turned down – but as a compromise the name of the diocese was changed to Bjørgvin bispedømme.

152mm Gun, Atlantic Wall, Longues-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

 

This 152mm gun is part of a battery of 4 guns at Longueville sur Mer, Normandy France.

Situated between Omaha beach (US sector) and Gold beach (British sector) this battery played a role during D-Day as it was capable of firing at the invasion ships. The whole complex at Longueville consists of the four guns as well as a command bunker, several machine gun emplacements and an observation bunker overlooking the sea (which can be seen in the 1960 move "The Longest Day").

  

On the night before the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944, the battery was subject to heavy bombing from allied air forces. Some 1500 tons of bombs were dropped bust most hit the small town of Longueville rather then the guns though it did destroy the communication lines between the commanc centre and the guns. The bombing was followed from 0537hrs on the morning of the landings by bombardment from the French cruiser Georges Leygues as well as the U.S. battleship Arkansas. The battery itself opened fire at 0605hrs and fired a total of 170 shots throughout the day, forcing the flagship HMS Bulolo to retreat to safer water without doing any real damage .

  

Three of the four guns were eventually disabled by British cruisers Ajax and Argonaut, though a single gun continued to operate intermittently until 1900hrs that evening.

  

Shot with a Nikon D70 and Tokina 12-24mm lense, july 2010.

  

A link to my other photos of the British and Canadian invasion sectors on D-Day

  

A link to my set of photo's and notes of Omaha beach, one of two American sectors during D-Day

The Piccadilly Circus station on the London Underground is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself.

    

The Circus is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue of an archer popularly known as Eros (sometimes called The Angel of Christian Charity, but intended to be Anteros). It is surrounded by several noted buildings, including the London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre. and Ripley's believe it or not !

 

The phrase it's like Piccadilly Circus is commonly used in the UK to refer to a place or situation which is extremely busy with people. It has been said that a person who stays long enough at Piccadilly Circus will eventually bump into everyone they know. Probably because of this connection, during World War II, "Piccadilly Circus" was the code name given to the Allies' D-Day invasion fleet's assembly location in the English Channel. n this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning "circle", is a round open space at a street junction.

 

The name 'Piccadilly' originates from a 17th century frilled collar named piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making piccadils lived in the area.

These coastal pillboxes were built by Italians/Germans during WWII to protect Italian coasts from Allied military invasion. The fortified systems of Sardinia were planned from autumn 1941 up to December 1942. Fortunately D-Day occured in another country... However they are still well preserved. This one is part of a group of six in circular position in north Sardinia.

Omaha Beach - Fox Red sector, Normandy

 

Omaha Beach

 

Omaha beach is a stretch of beach roughly 5 miles or 8 km. long between Vierville-sur-Mer and Ste Honorine des pertes on the coast of Normandy. It was one of the five designated landing areas for the biggest invasion ever during WWII in the summer of 1944.

Omaha was divided into ten sectors by the Allies; codenamed (from west to east): Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green and Fox Red.

 

On june 6, 1944 -D-Day - the initial assault on Omaha was to be made by two Regimental Combat Teams (RCT), supported by two tank battalions, with two battalions of Rangers also attached. The RCT's were part of the veteran 1st Infantry division ("The Big Red One") and the untested 29th div.("Blue and Grey") , a National Guard unit.

 

The plan was to make frontal assaults at the "draws" (valleys) in the bluffs which dominate the coast in Normandy. Codenamed west to east they were called D-1, D-3, E-1, E-3 and F-1 . These draws could then be used to move inland with reserves and vehicles.

 

The German defenders were not stupid; they knew the draws were vital and concentrated their limited resources in defending them. To this end and lead by the famous "Desert Fox" Field-Marshall Erwin Rommel they built "Widerstandsneste" with AT guns, mortars, MG's in Tobruk's, trenches and bunkers. These were manned by soldiers of the German 716th and 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front . All in all some 1100 German soldiers defended the entire Omaha beach sector.

 

Preliminary bombardments were almost totally ineffective and when the initial waves landed at low tide they met with fiece opposition of an enemy well dug in and prepared. Most of the floating tanks (Sherman DD type) never made it to the beach due to the rough seas or were taken out by AT guns. Their role to support the infantry following them was reduced to almost zero before the battle even begun.

 

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the app. 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties were especially heavy amongst the first waves of infantry and the "gap assault teams" made by Combat Engineers - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting channels through the beach obstacles.

 

Situation at Dog Green and Easy Red by mid morning was so bad with nearly all the troops essentially pinned down on the beach gen. Eisenhower seriously considered to abandon the operation; in "First Wave at OMAHA Beach", S.L.A. Marshall, chief U.S. Army combat historian, called it "an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster."

 

As the first waves of infantry, tanks and combat engineers landing directly opposite the "draws" were pinned down it was up to forces landing on the flanks of these strongpoints to penetrate the weaker German defences by climbing the bluffs. Doing this they had to overcome minefields and barbed wire as well as machinegun fire from German positions but they did and they were able to attack some key strongpoints from the side and the rear, taking them out by early afternoon.

This happened on several spots at Omaha and essentially saved the day: individual acts of initiative by lower ranked officers and courage like that of First Lieutenant Jimmy Monteith, who led a group of men to take one of the key German widerstandsneste and was killed in action, succeeded where a flawed plan failed. By the end of the day most of the German strongpoints had been taken and the battle was won - albeit at a terrible cost.

  

On the photo

 

Standing on the beach of Fox Red sector near the Easy-3 Exit looking towards the east. Note the cliffs used as shelter against the German fire by the first waves of infantry .

 

Tonemapped using three (Handheld) shots made with a Nikon D70 and a Tokina 12-24 mm f/4.0, augustus 2012.

  

See my other Omaha beach photo's for more viewpoints, panorama shots and notes on the fighting

 

For a map of the eastern part of Omaha click here. The German WN's are marked as well as the Draws and beach sections.

 

Click here for a (large) panorama shot taken from the exact position of the German MG42 which was responsible for many casualties on Easy Red and Fox Green

 

HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum.

 

Construction of Belfast, the first Royal Navy ship to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1938. Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour, Belfast was the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at the time. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

 

In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast's expected scrapping and preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence was established, and reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971 the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year.[7] As a branch of a national museum and part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection, Belfast is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, by admissions income, and by the museum's commercial activities.

 

Belfast is a cruiser of the second Town class. The Town class had originated in 1933 as the Admiralty's response to the Imperial Japanese Navy's Mogami-class cruiser, an 11,200-ton cruiser mounting fifteen 6-inch guns with a top speed exceeding 35 knots. The Admiralty's requirement called for a 9,000 ton cruiser, sufficiently armoured to withstand a direct hit from an 8-inch shell, capable of 32 knots and mounting twelve 6-inch guns. Seaplanes carried aboard would enable shipping lanes to be patrolled over a wide area, and the class was also to be capable of its own anti-aircraft defence.[8] Under the Director of Naval Construction the new design evolved during 1933.[9] The lead ship of the new class, the 9,100-ton HMS Southampton, and her sister HMS Newcastle, were ordered under the 1933 estimates.[10] Three more cruisers were built to this design, with a further three ships built to a slightly larger 9,400-ton design in 1935–36.[10] By 1935, however, the Admiralty was keen to improve the firepower of these cruisers to match the firepower of the Japanese Mogami- and American Brooklyn-class cruisers; both were armed with fifteen 6-inch guns.[9] The Admiralty rejected a design featuring five triple turrets as impractical, while an alternative design fitting four quadruple turrets was rejected as an effective quadruple turret could not be developed.[11] In May 1936 the Admiralty decided to fit triple turrets, whose improved design would permit an increase in deck armour.[12] This modified design became the 10,000-ton Edinburgh subclass, named after Belfast's sister ship HMS Edinburgh.[10] Belfast was ordered from Harland and Wolff on 21 September 1936,[13] and her keel laid on 10 December 1936.[13] Her expected cost was £2,141,514; of which the guns cost £75,000 and the aircraft (two Supermarine Walruses) £66,500.[14] She was launched on Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March 1938, by Anne Chamberlain, the wife of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.[13] From March to August 1939 Belfast was fitted out and underwent sea trials.[13][1]

 

When completed, Belfast had an overall length of 613 feet 6 inches (187.0 m), a beam of 63 feet 4 inches (19.3 m) and a draught of 17 feet 3 inches (5.3 m). Her standard displacement during her sea trials was 10,420 long tons (10,590 t).[3] She was propelled by four three-drum oil-fired Admiralty water-tube boilers, turning Parsons geared steam turbines, driving four propeller shafts.[1] She was capable of 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h; 37.4 mph) and carried 2,400 long tons (2,400 t) of fuel oil.[3] This gave her a maximum range of 8,664 nautical miles (16,046 km; 9,970 mi) at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph).[4]

 

Belfast's main armament comprised twelve Mk XXIII six-inch guns in four triple turrets. With a rate of fire of up to eight rounds per gun per minute, her main battery was capable of a maximum rate of fire of 96 rounds per minute.[4] Her secondary armament comprised twelve 4-inch guns in six twin turrets. Her initial close-range anti-aircraft armament was sixteen 2-pounder "pom-pom" guns in two eight-barrel mountings, and two quadruple Vickers .50 machine guns. She also mounted six Mk IV 21-inch torpedo tubes in two triple mounts, and fifteen Mk VII depth charges.[1][3]

 

Belfast was protected by a 4.5-inch (110 mm) main armour belt, with deck armour of 3 inches (76 mm) over her magazines, and 2 inches (51 mm) over her machinery spaces.[3] Her six-inch turrets were protected by up to 4 inches (100 mm) of armour.[4]

 

Belfast's aviation capability was provided by two catapult-launched Supermarine Walrus amphibious biplanes. These could be launched from a D1H catapult mounted aft of the forward superstructure, and recovered from the water by two cranes mounted on either side of the forward funnel. The aircraft, operated by the Fleet Air Arm's HMS Belfast Flight of 700 Naval Air Squadron, were stowed in two hangars in the forward superstructure.

 

1939–1942: Commissioning, prize capture, mining, and repairs

 

Belfast sailed for Portsmouth on 3 August 1939, and was commissioned on 5 August 1939, less than a month before the outbreak of the Second World War. Her first captain was Captain G A Scott with a crew of 761, and her first assignment was to the Home Fleet's 2nd Cruiser Squadron. On 14 August Belfast took part in her first exercise, Operation Hipper, in which she played the role of a German commerce raider attempting to escape into the Atlantic. By navigating the hazardous Pentland Firth, Belfast successfully evaded the Home Fleet.[15]

 

On 31 August 1939 Belfast was transferred to the 18th Cruiser Squadron. Germany invaded Poland the following day, and Britain and France declared war on 3 September. Based at Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands, 18th Cruiser Squadron was part of the British effort to impose a naval blockade on Germany. On 1 October 1939 Belfast left Scapa Flow for a patrol in the North Sea, and on 9 October intercepted a German liner, the 13,615-ton Cap Norte, 50 miles (80 km) north-west of the Faroe Islands. Disguised as a neutral Swedish vessel, the SS Ancona, Cap Norte was attempting to return to Germany from Brazil; her passengers included German reservists. Two other vessels were captured that day, and all were steamed back to Scapa by prize crews from Belfast.[15] Under the Admiralty's prize rules, Belfast's crew later received prize money.[16]

 

On 10 November Belfast was taken off the northern patrol and reassigned to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. This squadron was to form an independent striking force based at Rosyth. On 21 November, Belfast was to take part in the force's first sortie, a gunnery exercise. At 10:58 a.m. she struck a magnetic mine while leaving the Firth of Forth. The mine broke Belfast's keel, wrecked one of her engine and boiler rooms and injured twenty-one of her crew. The tugboat Krooman, towing gunnery targets for the exercise, released her targets and instead towed Belfast to Rosyth for initial repairs.[17]

 

Initial assessments of Belfast's damage showed that, while the mine had done little physical damage to the outer hull, causing only a small hole directly below one of the boiler rooms, the shock of the explosion had caused severe warping, breaking machinery, deforming the decks and causing the keel to hog (bend upwards) by three inches. On 4 January 1940 Belfast was decommissioned to Care and Maintenance status, becoming the responsibility of Rosyth Dockyard, and her crew dispersed to other vessels. By 28 June she had been repaired sufficiently to sail to Devonport, arriving on 30 June.[18]

 

During her repairs, work was carried out to straighten, reconstruct and strengthen her hull. Her armoured belt was also extended and thickened. Her armament was updated with newer 2-pounder "pom-pom" mountings, and her anti-aircraft armament improved with eighteen 20 mm Oerlikon guns in five twin and eight single mountings, replacing two quadruple 0.5-inch Vickers guns. Belfast also received new fire control radars for her main, secondary and anti-aircraft guns. Her November 1942 radar fit included one Type 284 set and four Type 283 sets to direct the main armament, three Type 285 sets for the secondary guns, and two Type 285 sets for the 2-pounder anti-aircraft guns. She also received a Type 273 general surface warning radar, Type 251 and 252 sets for identification friend or foe (IFF) purposes, and a Type 281 and Type 242 for air warning. Her 1942 electronics suite also included a Type 270 echosounder.[5] Due to her increased topweight, a bulge was introduced into her hull amidships to improve stability and provide extra longitudinal strength. Belfast was recommissioned at Devonport on 3 November 1942, under the command of Captain Frederick Parham.[5] Her beam had increased to 69 ft (21 m) and her draught to 19 ft (5.8 m) forward and 20 ft 2 in (6.15 m) aft.[5] Her displacement had risen to 11,550 tons, making her the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy.[19]

1942–1943: Recommissioning, Arctic convoys and Battle of North Cape

Main articles: Arctic convoys of World War II and Battle of North Cape

 

On her return to the Home Fleet Belfast was made flagship of the 10th Cruiser Squadron, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Robert Burnett, who had previously commanded the Home Fleet's destroyer flotillas.[20] The squadron was responsible for the hazardous task of escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union, operating from Scapa Flow and bases in Iceland. Her radar suite reduced Belfast's need for aerial surveillance, and her aircraft were disembarked in June 1943.[21] Belfast spent 1943 engaged on convoy escort and blockade patrol duties, and on 5–6 October formed part of the covering force during Operation Leader, an airstrike against German shipping in northern Norway near Bodø by the aircraft carrier USS Ranger.[22]

Drawing of Scharnhorst as she appeared in December 1943.

 

On 26 December 1943, Belfast participated in the Battle of North Cape. This battle involved two strong Royal Navy formations; the first, Force One, comprised the cruisers HMS Norfolk, HMS Sheffield and Belfast (the 10th Cruiser Squadron) with three destroyers, and the second, Force Two, comprised the battleship HMS Duke of York and the cruiser HMS Jamaica with four destroyers. On 25 December 1943, Christmas Day, the German Navy's Gneisenau-class battleship Scharnhorst left port in northern Norway to attack Convoy JW55B, which was bound for Russia. The next day Force One encountered Scharnhorst, prevented her from attacking the convoy, and forced her to turn for home after being damaged by the British cruisers. As Scharnhorst did so, she was intercepted by Force Two and sunk by the combined formations. Belfast played an important role in the battle; as flagship of the 10th Cruiser Squadron she was among the first to encounter Scharnhorst, and coordinated the squadron's defence of the convoy. After Scharnhorst turned away from the convoy, Admiral Burnett in Belfast shadowed her by radar from outside visual range, enabling her interception by Duke of York.[23]

1944: Tirpitz and D-Day

 

After North Cape, Belfast refuelled at Kola Inlet before sailing for the United Kingdom, arriving at Scapa to replenish her fuel, ammunition and stores on New Year's Day 1944. Belfast sailed to Rosyth on 10 January, where her crew received a period of leave. February 1944 saw Belfast resume her Arctic convoy duties, and on 30 March 1944 Belfast sailed with the covering force of Operation Tungsten, a large carrier-launched Fleet Air Arm airstrike against the German battleship Tirpitz.[24] Moored in Altafjord in northern Norway, Tirpitz was the German Navy's last surviving capital ship.[25] Forty two Fairey Barracuda dive-bombers from HMS Victorious and Furious made up the strike force, escorted by eighty fighters. Launched on 3 April, the bombers scored fourteen hits, immobilising Tirpitz for two months, with one Barracuda shot down.[25][24] Belfast underwent minor repairs at Rosyth from 23 April to 8 May, while her crew received a period of leave. On 8 May Belfast returned to Scapa and carried the King during his pre-invasion visit to the Home Fleet.[26]

HMS Belfast's 4 inch guns bombarding German positions in Normandy at night

 

For the invasion of Normandy Belfast was made headquarters ship of Bombardment Force E flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton, and was to support landings by British and Canadian forces in the Gold and Juno Beach sectors. On 2 June Belfast left the River Clyde for her bombardment areas. That morning Prime Minister Winston Churchill had announced his intention to go to sea with the fleet and witness the invasion from HMS Belfast. This was opposed by the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the First Sea Lord, Sir Andrew Cunningham. An intervention by the King eventually prevented Churchill from going.[26]

 

The invasion was to begin on 5 June but bad weather forced a 24-hour delay. At 5:30 a.m. on 6 June Belfast opened fire on a German artillery battery at Ver-sur-Mer, suppressing the guns until the site was overrun by British infantry of 7th Battalion, Green Howards. On 12 June Belfast supported Canadian troops moving inland from Juno Beach and returned to Portsmouth on 16 June to replenish her ammunition. She returned two days later for further bombardments. On the night of 6 July Belfast was threatened at anchor by German motor torpedo boats ("E-boats"). She evaded them by weighing anchor and moving to the concealment of a smokescreen.[27] Belfast fired her last round in anger in European waters on 8 July, in company with the monitor HMS Roberts and the battleship HMS Rodney, as part of Operation Charnwood.[nb 1] On 10 July she sailed for Scapa, the fighting in France having moved beyond the range of her guns.[27][29] During her five weeks off Normandy Belfast had fired 1,996 rounds from her six-inch guns.[30]

1945: Service in the Far East

 

On 29 July 1944 Captain Parham handed over command of HMS Belfast to Captain R M Dick, and until April 1945 Belfast underwent a refit to prepare for service against Japan in the Far East which improved her accommodation for tropical conditions, and updated her anti-aircraft armament and fire control in order to counter expected kamikaze attacks by Japanese aircraft. By May 1945 Belfast mounted thirty-six 2-pounder guns in two eight-gun mounts, four quadruple mounts, and four single mounts. She also mounted fourteen 20mm Oerlikons.[31] Her two aftmost 4-inch mountings were removed, and the remainder fitted with Remote Power Control. Her empty hangars were converted to crew accommodation, and her aircraft catapult removed.[6]

 

Her radar fit now included a Type 277 radar set to replace her Type 273 for surface warning. Her Type 281 air warning set was replaced by a single-antenna Type 281B set, while a Type 293Q was fitted for close-range height-finding and surface warning. A Type 274 set was fitted for main armament fire direction.[32] On 17 June 1945, with the war in Europe at an end, Belfast sailed for the Far East via Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, Port Said, Aden, Colombo and Sydney. By the time she arrived in Sydney on 7 August Belfast had been made flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the British Pacific Fleet. While in Sydney Belfast underwent another short refit, supplementing her close-range armament with five 40mm Bofors guns. Belfast had been expected to join in Operation Downfall, but this was forestalled by the Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945.[6]

Post-war service 1945–50

 

With the end of the war, Belfast remained in the Far East, conducting a number of cruises to ports in Japan, China and Malaya and sailing for Portsmouth on 20 August 1947. There she paid off into reserve, and underwent a refit during which her turbines were opened for maintenance. She also received two more single Bofors guns, in place of two of her single 2-pounder mountings.[31] She was recommissioned on 22 September 1948 and before returning to the Far East visited her home city of Belfast arriving on 20 October. The following day, 21 October 1948, the ship's company marked Trafalgar Day with a march through the city. The next day Belfast took charge of a silver ship's bell, a gift of the people of Belfast.[33] She sailed for Hong Kong on 23 October to join the Royal Navy's Far East Station, arriving in late December. By 1949, the political situation in China was precarious, with the Chinese Civil War moving towards its conclusion. As flagship of the 5th Cruiser Squadron, Belfast was the Far Eastern Station's headquarters ship during the April 1949 Amethyst Incident, in which a British sloop, HMS Amethyst was trapped in the Yangtze River by the communist People's Liberation Army. Belfast remained in Hong Kong during 1949, sailing for Singapore on 18 January 1950. There she underwent a minor refit between January and March 1950 and in June she joined the Far East Fleet's summer cruise.[34] On 25 June 1950, while Belfast was visiting Hakodate in Japan, North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel, starting the Korean War.[35]

Korean War 1950–52

March 1951: Belfast fires a salvo against enemy troop concentrations on the west coast of Korea

 

With the outbreak of the Korean War, Belfast became part of the United Nations naval forces. Originally part of the US Navy's Task Force 77, Belfast was detached in order to operate independently on 5 July 1950. During July and early August Belfast undertook coastal patrols and was based at Sasebo in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture. From 19 July Belfast supported troops fighting around Yongdok, accompanied by the USS Juneau. That day Belfast fired an accurate 350-round bombardment from her 6-inch guns, and was praised by an American admiral as a "straight-shooting ship".[nb 2][36] On 6 August she sailed for the UK to pay off and recommission, and arrived back at Sasebo on 31 January 1951.[36]

 

During 1951 Belfast mounted a number of coastal patrols and bombarded a variety of targets. On 1 June she arrived at Singapore for refitting, arriving back on patrol on 31 August. In September 1951 Belfast provided anti-aircraft cover for a salvage operation to recover a crashed enemy MiG-15 jet fighter. She conducted further bombardments and patrols before receiving a month's leave from operations, returning to action on 23 December.[37]

 

In 1952 Belfast continued her coastal patrol duties. On 29 July 1952 Belfast was hit by enemy fire while engaging an artillery battery on Wolsa-ri island. A 75 mm shell struck a forward compartment, killing a British sailor of Chinese origin in his hammock and wounding four other Chinese ratings. This was the only time Belfast was hit by enemy fire during her Korean service. On 27 September 1952 Belfast was relieved by two other Town-class cruisers, HMS Birmingham and HMS Newcastle. She had steamed over 80,000 miles (130,000 km) in the combat zone and fired more than 8,000 rounds from her 6-inch guns during the Korean War. She paid off in Chatham on 4 November 1952 and entered reserve at Devonport on 1 December.[38]

Modernisation and final commissions 1955–1963

After modernisation; showing the enclosed bridge, lattice mast and twin Bofors mountings

 

In reserve, Belfast's future was uncertain: post-war defence cuts made manpower-intensive cruisers excessively costly to operate, and it was not until March 1955 that the decision was taken to modernise Belfast. Work began on 6 January 1956. Changes included replacing her 4-inch guns with more modern weapons, and protecting key parts of the ship against nuclear, biological or chemical attack. This last consideration meant enclosing her bridge, creating a two-tiered, five-sided superstructure which radically altered her appearance. Her crew accommodation was also improved, her tripod masts replaced with lattice masts, and timber decking replaced with steel everywhere except the quarterdeck. Belfast recommissioned at Devonport on 12 May 1959.[39] Her close-range armament was standardised to six twin Bofors gun, and her close-range fire direction similarly standardised to eight close-range blind fire directors fitted with Type 262 radar.[21] Her 1959 radar fit also included Type 274, retained for main armament direction, Type 277Q and 293Q for height-finding and surface warning, Type 960M for air warning, and 974 for surface warning.[40] In order to save weight, her torpedo armament was removed.[40]

 

Belfast arrived in Singapore on 16 December 1959, and spent most of 1960 at sea on exercise, calling at ports in Hong Kong, Borneo, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Australia, the Philippines and Japan. On 31 January 1961 Belfast recommissioned, under the command of Captain Morgan Morgan-Giles. On her final foreign commission Belfast joined a number of exercises in the Far East, and in December 1961 she provided the British guard of honour at Tanganyika's independence ceremony in Dar-es-Salaam.[41]

 

The ship left Singapore on 26 March 1962 for the UK, sailing east via Guam and Pearl Harbor, San Francisco, Seattle, British Columbia, Panama and Trinidad. She arrived at Portsmouth on 19 June 1962. Recommissioned in July, she made a final visit to Belfast from 23–29 November, before paying off into reserve on 25 February 1963. In July 1963 Belfast was recommissioned for the last time, with a crew of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and a number of Sea Cadets flying the flag of the Admiral Commanding Reserves, Rear Admiral Hugh Martell. Belfast sailed for Gibraltar in company with sixteen RNR minesweepers for a two-week exercise in the Mediterranean on 10 August.[42] Martell's obituarist considered this commission a well-judged contrivance which 'did much to restore the confidence and image of the new RNR' which had undergone an acrimonious amalgamation with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1958.[43]

Reserve, decommissioning, and preservation efforts 1963–1971

 

Belfast returned to Devonport on 24 August 1963 and paid off into reserve. From May 1966 to 1970 she was an accommodation ship, moored in Fareham Creek, for the Reserve Division at Portsmouth.[42] While HMS Belfast lay at Fareham Creek the Imperial War Museum, Britain's national museum of twentieth century conflict, became interested in preserving a 6-inch turret. The turret would represent a number of classes of cruiser (then disappearing from service) and would complement the museum's pair of British 15-inch naval guns.[42][28] On 14 April 1967 museum staff visited HMS Gambia, a Crown Colony-class cruiser also moored in Fareham Creek at the time. Following the visit the possibility was raised of preserving an entire ship. Gambia had already severely deteriorated, so attention turned to the possibility of saving Belfast. A joint committee was established by the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence, which reported in June 1968 that the scheme was practical and economic. However, in early 1971 the government's Paymaster General decided against preservation.[42] On 4 May 1971 Belfast was 'reduced to disposal' to await scrapping.[42]

HMS Belfast Trust 1971–1977

HMS Belfast as museum ship

The bow of a large blue warship, moored on a river, with a bridge in the background.

HMS Belfast berthed in the Pool of London; Tower Bridge and City Hall can be seen behind.

Established 1971

Location Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, London

Visitor figures 240,769 (2010)[7]

Director Phil Reed[44]

Public transit access London Bridge station

Tower Hill station

Website hmsbelfast.iwm.org.uk

Imperial War Museum network

Churchill War Rooms · HMS Belfast · Imperial War Museum Duxford · Imperial War Museum North

 

Following the government's refusal, a private trust was formed to campaign for the ship's preservation. The HMS Belfast Trust was established; its chairman was Rear-Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles, captain of Belfast from January 1961 to July 1962.[42] As Member of Parliament (MP) for Winchester, Morgan-Giles addressed the House of Commons on 8 March 1971. He described Belfast as being in "a really wonderful state of preservation" and that saving her for the nation represented a "case of grasping the last opportunity".[45] Among the MPs who spoke in support of Morgan-Giles was Gordon Bagier, MP for Sunderland South, who served as a Royal Marine gunner aboard Belfast and was present at both the sinking of the Scharnhorst and the Normandy landings. Speaking for the government, the Under-secretary for the Navy, Peter Michael Kirk, said that Belfast was "one of the most historic ships which the Navy has had in the last 20 years",[45] but that he could not prevent the stripping of the ship's removable equipment, as this was already too far advanced to be halted. He did, however, agree to postpone any decision on Belfast's scrapping to allow the Trust to put together a formal proposal.[45]

 

Following the Trust's efforts, the government agreed to hand over Belfast to the Trustees in July 1971, with Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gibson as her first director. At a press conference in August the Trust announced "Operation Seahorse",[nb 3] the plan to bring Belfast to London. She was towed from Portsmouth to London via Tilbury, where she was fitted out as a museum.[46] She was opened to the public on Trafalgar Day, 21 October 1971. The date was significant, as Belfast was the first naval vessel to be saved for the nation since HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.[47] Though no longer part of the Royal Navy, HMS Belfast was granted a special dispensation to allow her to continue to fly the White Ensign.[48]

 

Now a museum, the ship's opening was well received: in 1972 the HMS Belfast Trust won the British Tourist Authority's "Come to Britain" trophy.[49] Support for the ship's restoration was received from individuals, from the Royal Navy, and from commercial businesses; in 1973, for example, the Worshipful Company of Bakers provided dummy bread for display in the ship's NAAFI and bakery.[49] By 1974 areas including the Admiral's bridge and forward boiler and engine rooms had been restored and fitted out. That year also saw the refurbishment of the ship's Operations Room by a team from HMS Vernon, and the return of Belfast's six twin Bofors mounts, along with their fire directors.[49] By December 1975 Belfast had received 1,500,000 visitors.[49] In 1976 Belfast was reaffiliated with the successors to the British Army's Royal Ulster Rifles, the Royal Irish Rangers,[nb 4][49] and in the same year the Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society restored the ship's Bridge Wireless Office to working order.[49][50][nb 5]

Imperial War Museum 1978-present

 

By 1977 the financial position of the HMS Belfast Trust had become marginal, and the Imperial War Museum sought permission to merge the Trust into the museum. On 19 January 1978 the Secretary of State for Education and Science, Shirley Williams, accepted the proposal stating that HMS Belfast "is a unique demonstration of an important phase of our history and technology".[51] The ship was transferred to the museum on 1 March 1978,[49] and became the Imperial War Museum's third branch, Duxford aerodrome having been acquired in 1976. In October 1998, the HMS Belfast Association was formed to reunite former members of the ship’s company.[52] The Imperial War Museum's Sound Archive also seeks to record oral history interviews with former crewmen.[49]

Preservation

A floating crane was moored alongside HMS Belfast during the installation of her new masts; September 2010.

 

Since being brought to London Belfast has twice been drydocked as part of the ship’s long-term preservation. In 1982 she was docked at Tilbury, and in June 1999 Belfast was towed to Portsmouth. This was the first time she had been to sea in 28 years and required a Certificate of Seaworthiness from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.[49] While in dock, her entire hull was cleaned, blasted, and repainted, her hull blanking plates inspected and an ultrasonic survey carried out.[53] She is not expected to require further drydocking until 2020.[49] While under tow to Portsmouth she was delayed by bad weather and arrived a day late: it had been intended that she would arrive on 6 June 1999, the fifty-fifth anniversary of the Normandy landings.[54] Following the maintenance work, Belfast was repainted in a camouflage scheme officially known as Admiralty Disruptive Camouflage Type 25, which she had worn from November 1942 to July 1944. This was objected to by some, due to the anachronistic conflict between her camouflage, which reflects the majority of her active Second World War service, and her present configuration, which was the result of Belfast's extended refit from January 1956 to May 1959.[49] With the establishment of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships in 2006, Belfast was listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection.[55][nb 6]

 

On 9 May 2010 a ceremony was held aboard Belfast to mark the 65th anniversary of end of the war in Europe. Veterans of the Arctic convoys were in attendance to receive medals from the Russian Ambassador Yuri Fedotov. During the ceremony it was announced that, as part of the restoration of the ship, two new masts had been manufactured at the Severnaya Verf shipyard near Saint Petersburg.[57] The production of the masts, to replace corroded originals, had been supported by a number of Russian businesses at a reported cost of £500,000.[58][nb 7] The restoration of the masts involved removing the fittings from both masts, allowing them to be individually restored. The old masts were then cut down in sections, the new masts erected, and the original fittings replaced.[61] On 19 October 2010, the new masts were dedicated at a ceremony attended by HMS Belfast veterans, by Prince Philip and officials from the Russian embassy and government.[62]

Interpretation

Arctic messdeck in a forward compartment

 

When Belfast was first opened to the public, visitors were limited to the upper decks and forward superstructure.[49] As of 2011, nine decks are open to the public. Access to the ship is via a walkway which connects the quarterdeck with the pedestrianised footpath on the south bank of the River Thames. The Imperial War Museum's guidebook to HMS Belfast divides the ship into three broad sections.[63] The first of these, 'Life on board the ship', focuses on the experience of serving at sea. Restored compartments, some populated with dressed figures, illustrate the crew's living conditions and the ship's various facilities such as the sick bay, galley, laundry, chapel, mess decks and NAAFI.[64] Since 2002 school and youth groups have been able to stay onboard Belfast overnight, sleeping in bunks on a restored 1950s mess deck.[49][65] The second section, 'The inner workings', below the waterline and protected by the ship's armoured belt, contains core mechanical, electrical and communication systems. As well as the engine and boiler rooms, other compartments include the transmitting station (housing the ship's Admiralty Fire Control Table, a mechanical computer), the forward steering position and one of Belfast's six-inch shell rooms and magazines.[66] The third section, 'Action stations', includes the upper deck and forward superstructure with the ship's armament, fire control, and command facilities.[67] Areas open to the public include the operations room, Admiral's bridge and gun direction platform. During 2011 two of these areas were reinterpreted. The operations room was restored to its appearance during Exercise Pony Express, a large British-Australian-American joint exercise held off North Borneo in 1961. The reinterpretation included an interactive audio-visual plotting table.[68] [nb 8] In July 2011 the interior of Y Turret, the aftmost 6-inch turret, was redisplayed using audio-visual and atmospheric effects, seeking to evoke the experience of a gunner at the Battle of North Cape.[71] To emphasise the range of the ship's armament, the forward six-inch guns of A and B Turrets are aimed at the London Gateway service area on the M1 motorway, some 12½ miles away on the outskirts of London.[72] A 4-inch gun mount and a shell hoist are kept in working order and used during blank-firing demonstrations by the Wavy Navy re-enactment group.[73][74] In addition to the various areas of the ship open to visitors, some compartments have been fitted out as dedicated exhibition space. Permanent exhibitions include 'HMS Belfast in War and Peace' and 'Life at Sea'.[49] The cost of admission to HMS Belfast includes a multilingual audio guide,[75] and the museum also hosts an online virtual tour.[nb 9]

 

HMS Belfast is also the headquarters of the City of London Sea Cadet Corps,[76] and her prestigious central London location means she frequently has other vessels berth alongside; in October 2007 Belfast hosted the naming ceremony of the lighthouse tender THV Galatea with the Queen and Prince Philip in attendance.[77]

2011 Accident

 

On 29 November 2011 two workmen suffered minor injuries after the section of the gangway connected to the ship collapsed while it was undergoing renovation works. [78]

Notes

 

^ A 15-inch gun from HMS Roberts is one of the pair now on display outside Imperial War Museum London[28]

^ The admiral is not identified in Wingate (2004), but may have been Rear Admiral John Higgins, for whom Juneau was flagship.

^ Operation Seahorse was named for the ship's badge, which shows a seahorse (which also appears on the City of Belfast's coat of arms) wearing a red gorget over waves.[13]

^ Amalgamated into the Royal Irish Regiment in 1992.[49]

^ The Society operates the amateur radio callsign GB2RN from the ship's Wireless Office.[50]

^ Belfast is one of three vessels with such listing in London, the other two being the tea clipper Cutty Sark and the coastal steamer SS Robin.[56]

^ The Russian companies included United Industrial Corporation (OPK), SeverStal and Sovcomflot. Assistance was also received from Lloyd's Register.[59][60]

^ The reinterpretation was supported by £150,000 from DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation.[69][70]

^ See hmsbelfasttours.org.uk. The virtual tour includes views of areas not normally accessible to the public, such as the cable locker, ASDIC compartment, 4-inch magazine and the Admiral's Flat. Access to some of these areas is restricted for safety reasons, and the Flat is occupied by museum offices.[49]

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

Nan Red sector - Juno Beach

Saint Aubin-Sur-Mer, Normandy, France

 

This was the easternmost part of the Canadian assigned Juno Beach on June 6, 1944, codenamed "Nan Red".

 

Juno or Juno Beach was one of five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during the Second World War. The sector spanned from Saint-Aubin, a village just east of the British Gold sector, to Courseulles, just west of the British Sword sector. The Juno landings were judged necessary to provide flanking support to the British drive on Caen from Sword, as well as to capture the German airfield at Carpiquet west of Caen. Taking Juno was the responsibility of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and commandos of the Royal Marines, with support from Naval Force J, the Juno contingent of the invasion fleet, including the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The beach was defended by two battalions of the German 716th Infantry Division, with elements of the 21st Panzer Division held in reserve near Caen.

 

The first units of the North Shore Regiment's "A" and "B" companies touched down on Nan Red at 08:10 in chest-deep water. They were tasked with securing Saint-Aubin and clearing defences in the village. "B" Company landed to find that the Saint-Aubin strongpoint "appeared not to have been touched" by preliminary naval bombardment. The two assault companies faced a 100-yard (91 m) sprint across open beach in the face of fire from Saint-Aubin. "A" Company suffered the heaviest casualties, incurring many fatalities from beach mines.

 

"B" Company faced stronger opposition at the strongpoint, yet managed to breach the seawall and barbed wire. The strongpoint's 50 mm antitank gun was still active, and the thick concrete casemates protected it from infantry fire. By 08:10 Sherman tanks of the Fort Garry Horse and Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) tanks of the 80th Assault Squadron, Royal Engineers, had landed at Nan Red, and began to assist "B" Company in clearing the gun emplacement. The 50 mm gun knocked out four of the squadron's tanks, while the North Shore's machine-gun platoon flanked the position. The right section of the strongpoint was eliminated by antitank guns and combat engineers, while the central antitank gun was silenced by petard shells from the British AVREs. When the North Shore captured the strongpoint, approximately half the defenders were killed; 48 German soldiers surrendered. (source: Wikipedia)

 

For a photo of the same beach after the invasion click here

 

A link to my other photos of the British and Canadian invasion sectors

 

A link to my set of photo's and notes of Omaha beach, one of two American sectors

 

Nikon D70 with Tokina AT-X 124 12-24 f/4. Photo taken at dusk , july 2010.

   

June 5th 1944 The first units of the Allied Invasion of France prepares to take off from an airfield somewhere in England.

Omaha Beach, Fox Red sector, Normandy , France

 

Omaha Beach

 

Omaha was divided into ten sectors, codenamed (from west to east): Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green and Fox Red. On june 6, 1944 -D-Day - the initial assault on Omaha was to be made by two Regimental Combat Teams (RCT), supported by two tank battalions, with two battalions of Rangers also attached. The RCT's were part of the veteran 1st Infantry division ("The Big Red One") and the untested 29th ("Blue and Grey") , a National Guard unit.

 

The plan was to make frontal assaults at the "draws" (valleys) in the bluffs which dominate the coast in Normandy , codenamed west to east they were called D-1, D-3, E-1, E-3 and F-1 . These draws could then be used to move inland with reserves and vehicles.

 

The Germans were not stupid; they knew the draws were vital and concentrated their limited resources in defending them. To this end they built "Widerstandsneste" with AT guns, mortars, MG's in Tobrul's, trenches and bunkers, manned by soldiers of the German 716th and - more recently - 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front. All in all some 1100 German soldiers defended the entire Omaha beach sector of over 5 miles.

 

Preliminary bombardments were almost totally ineffective and when the initial waves landed at low tide they met with fiece opposition of an enemy well dug in and prepared.

 

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red, scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties were especially heavy amongst the first waves of soldiers and the gap assault teams - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting channels through the beach obstacles. German gunfire from the bluffs above the beach took a heavy toll on these men. The demolition teams managed to blast only six complete gaps and three partial ones; more than half their engineers were killed in the process.

 

Situation at Dog Green and on Easy Red on the other end of Omaha by mid morning was so bad with nearly all the troops essentially pinned down on the beach gen. Eisenhower seriously considered to abandon the operation; in "First Wave at OMAHA Beach", S.L.A. Marshall, chief U.S. Army combat historian, called it "an epic human tragedy which in the early hours bordered on total disaster."

 

As the US first waves assault forces and combat engineers landing directly opposite the "draws" were pinned down it was up to forces landing on the flanks of the strongpoints to penetrate the weaker German defences by climbing the bluffs. Doing this they had to overcome the minefields and barbed wire as well as machinegun fire from German positions but they did and they were able to attack some key strongpoints from the side and the rear, taking them out by early afternoon.

This happened on several spots at Omaha and essentially saved the day: individual acts of initiative by lower ranked officers and courage like that of First Lieutenant Jimmy Monteith, who led a group of men to take one of the key German widerstandsneste and was killed in action, succeeded where a flawed plan failed.

 

On the Photo:

Standing on Fox Red and looking west towards Fox Green and Easy red. Fox Red is the easternmost sector of Omaha Beach and has a natural barrier of sand stone cliffs near the edge of the beach. On june 6 troops men of the 3/16th RCT used the cliffs here as a natural protection against the relentless MG fire from the German Widerstandsneste WN-60 and WN-61 guarding the Easy-3 exit near Colleville; one of the biggest "draws" in the terrain which would allow heavy weapons and tanks to go inland.

 

Some of the iconic pictures of d-day were taken here in the early hours of june 6 when the first assault waves of the 1st infantry division attacking the Colleville draw were pretty much pinned down on the beach. Many assault boats designated for the Easy Red sector ended up here due to the strong current, the heavy fire from the Germans at Easy-3 and the proximity of the cliffs here which offered at least some protecion. Check this photo.

 

A smaller exit, code named Fox-1 near here was used to breach the german defenses and eventually take the strong WN's to the west.

 

Official US Army history:

"Four sections of Company L had landed and reorganized on the western end of Fox Red sector, where the bluff, merging here into a partial cliff just beyond the highwater shingle, afforded good cover. The company commander was killed as he exposed himself to direct the fire of some nearby tanks, and 1st Lt. Robert R. Cutler, Jr., took command. The sections were moved west, out of the shelter of the cliff and to a position where they were just below the strongpoint commanding F-1 draw. Two tanks were called on for fire support. As a scheme of maneuver, Lieutenant Cutler sent three sections and headquarters, 2d and 3d Sections leading, up the draw a little to the west of the strongpoint. There were no hostile prepared positions at the head or the west side of the draw. The heavy brush gave good cover from enemy small-arms fire, and the 2d and 3d Sections worked to the top in squad columns without serious losses, despite crossing enemy minefields. Here the 2d Section moved left and got in position to take the strongpoint from behind; a little to the right, the 3d and 5th Sections moved a short distance inland and organized a hasty defensive position. The three sections kept in contact with each other and with the beach." ("Omaha Beachhead", AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION official US War department series)

 

"Private Steve Kellman's story:

"In the pre-dawn darkness aboard the HMS Empire Anvil, 21-year-old Private Steve Kellman, a rifleman in L Company, 16th Infantry, felt the crushing weight of the moment: "In the hours before the invasion, while we were below decks, a buddy of mine, Bill Lanaghan said to me, ‘Steve, I’m scared.’ And I said, ‘I’m scared, too.’"

Then, about three or three-thirty that morning, an officer gave the order and Kellman and Lanaghan and the nearly 200 men in L Company began to climb awkwardly over the gunwales of their transport and descend the unsteady "scramble nets," just as they had done in training so many times before.

"The nets were flapping against the side of the vessel, and the little landing craft were bouncing up and down," said Kellman.

"It was critical that you tried to get into the landing craft when it was on the rise because there was a gap ­ the nets didn't quite reach and you had to jump down. That was something we hadn¹t practiced before. We had practiced going down the nets, but the sea was calm. This was a whole new experience."

 

"We circled in our landing craft for what seemed like an eternity," recalled Steve Kellman. "The battleships opened up and the bombers were going over.

Every once in a while, I looked over the side and I could see the smoke and the fire, and I thought to myself, ‘we're pounding the hell out of them and there isn¹t going to be much opposition.’

As we got in closer, we passed some yellow life rafts and I had the impression that they must have been from a plane that went down, or maybe they were from the

amphibious tanks that might have sunk; I don’t know.

These guys were floating in these rafts and, as we went by, they gave us the ‘thumbs up’ sign. We thought, ‘they don't seem very worried ­ what the hell do we have to be worried about?’ But, as we got in closer, we could hear the machine-gun bullets hitting the sides of the vessel and the ramp in front." "While in training, we were told of all the things that would be done in order," recalled Harley Reynolds. "But to see it all come together was mind-boggling." What Reynolds saw was a heavily fortified, enemy-held beachhead that had barely been touched by Allied bombs and shells. (..) All but five of the 32 amphibious Sherman tanks had sunk, carrying their crewmen to their deaths.

There was not so much as a single bomb crater on the beach in which to hide, and the German gunners were all alert and zeroed in on the narrow strip of beach, five miles long, code-named "Omaha."

(The Battle for Easy Red, Fox Green By Flint Whitlock)

 

Shot with a Nikon D7000 and Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm F4 lens, august 2012. Tonemapped using three differently exposed (handheld) shots.

 

See my other Omaha beach photo's for more viewpoints, panorama shots and notes on the fighting

  

For a map of the eastern part of Omaha click here. The German WN's are marked as well as the Draws and beach sections.

The town lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day landings , one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built on the Normandy coast, the other one built further West at Omaha Beach. Sections of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand, and more can be seen further out at sea.

 

Today Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and War Cemeteries, there is also a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and in particular, the Mulberry harbours.

Omaha Beach, Fox Red sector, Normandy , France

 

Omaha Beach

 

Omaha was divided into ten sectors, codenamed (from west to east): Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green and Fox Red. On june 6, 1944 -D-Day - the initial assault on Omaha was to be made by two Regimental Combat Teams (RCT), supported by two tank battalions, with two battalions of Rangers also attached. The RCT's were part of the veteran 1st Infantry division ("The Big Red One") and the untested 29th ("Blue and Grey") , a National Guard unit.

 

The plan was to make frontal assaults at the "draws" (valleys) in the bluffs which dominate the coast in Normandy , codenamed west to east they were called D-1, D-3, E-1, E-3 and F-1 . These draws could then be used to move inland with reserves and vehicles.

 

The Germans were not stupid; they knew the draws were vital and concentrated their limited resources in defending them. To this end they built "Widerstandsneste" with AT guns, mortars, MG's in Tobrul's, trenches and bunkers, manned by soldiers of the German 716th and - more recently - 352nd Infantry Division, a large portion of whom were teenagers, though they were supplemented by veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front. All in all some 1100 German soldiers defended the entire Omaha beach sector of over 5 miles.

 

Preliminary bombardments were almost totally ineffective and when the initial waves - on this sector units of the 1st American division "The Big Red One" and combat engineers of the 299th - landed on low tide they met with fiece opposition of an enemy well dug in and prepared.

 

Casualties were heaviest amongst the troops landing at either end of Omaha. At Fox Green and Easy Red, scattered elements of three companies were reduced to half strength by the time they gained the relative safety of the shingle, many of them having crawled the 300 yards (270 m) of beach just ahead of the incoming tide. Casualties on this spot were especially heavy amongst the first waves of soldiers and the demolition teams - at Omaha these were tasked with blasting 16 channels through the beach obstacles, each 70 meters wide. German gunfire from the bluffs above the beach took a heavy toll on these men. The demolition teams managed to blast only six complete gaps and three partial ones; more than half their engineers were killed in the process.

 

Situation here, on Easy Red and at Dog Green on the other end of Omaha by mid morning was so bad with nearly all the troops essentially pinned down on the beach gen. Eisenhower seriously considered to abandon the operation.

 

As the US first waves assault forces and combat engineers landing directly opposite the "draws" were pinned down it was up to forces landing on the flanks of the strongpoints to penetrate the weaker German defences by climbing the bluffs. Doing this they had to overcome the minefields and barbed wire as well as machinegun fire from German positions but they did and they were able to attack some key strongpoints from the side and the rear, taking them out by early afternoon.

This happened on several spots at Omaha and essentially saved the day: individual acts of initiative by lower ranked officers and courage like that of First Lieutenant Jimmy Monteith, who led a group of men to take one of the key German widerstandsneste and was killed in action, succeeded where a flawed plan failed.

 

On the Photo:

 

Fox Red is the easternmost sector of Omaha Beach. I was facing towards the east with St. Honorine des Pertes in the far distance. Fox Red was the only sector on Omaha with this kind of natural protection so close to the water. On june 6 men of the 3/16th RCT used the cliffs here as a natural protection against the relentless MG fire from the German Widerstandsnests WN-60 and WN-61 guarding the Easy-3 exit near Colleville; one of the "draws" in the terrain which would allow heavy weapons and tanks to go inland.

 

Shot with a Nikon D7000 and Tokina AT-X Pro SD 12-24mm F4 lens, august 2012. Tonemapped using three differently exposed (handheld) shots.

 

Some of the iconic pictures of d-day were taken here in the early hours of june 6 when the first assault waves of the 1st infantry division attacking the Colleville draw were pretty much pinned down on the beach. Check this photo.

 

As it was a smaller exit, code named Fox-1 near here was used to breach the german defenses and eventually take the strong WN's to the west.

 

Official US Army history:

"Four sections of Company L had landed and reorganized on the western end of Fox Red sector, where the bluff, merging here into a partial cliff just beyond the highwater shingle, afforded good cover. The company commander was killed as he exposed himself to direct the fire of some nearby tanks, and 1st Lt. Robert R. Cutler, Jr., took command. The sections were moved west, out of the shelter of the cliff and to a position where they were just below the strongpoint commanding F-1 draw. Two tanks were called on for fire support. As a scheme of maneuver, Lieutenant Cutler sent three sections and headquarters, 2d and 3d Sections leading, up the draw a little to the west of the strongpoint. There were no hostile prepared positions at the head or the west side of the draw. The heavy brush gave good cover from enemy small-arms fire, and the 2d and 3d Sections worked to the top in squad columns without serious losses, despite crossing enemy minefields. Here the 2d Section moved left and got in position to take the strongpoint from behind; a little to the right, the 3d and 5th Sections moved a short distance inland and organized a hasty defensive position. The three sections kept in contact with each other and with the beach." ("Omaha Beachhead", AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION official US War department series)

 

"Private Steve Kellman's story:

"In the pre-dawn darkness aboard the HMS Empire Anvil, 21-year-old Private Steve Kellman, a rifleman in L Company, 16th Infantry, felt the crushing weight of the moment: "In the hours before the invasion, while we were below decks, a buddy of mine, Bill Lanaghan said to me, ‘Steve, I’m scared.’ And I said, ‘I’m scared, too.’"

Then, about three or three-thirty that morning, an officer gave the order and Kellman and Lanaghan and the nearly 200 men in L Company began to climb awkwardly over the gunwales of their transport and descend the unsteady "scramble nets," just as they had done in training so many times before.

"The nets were flapping against the side of the vessel, and the little landing craft were bouncing up and down," said Kellman.

"It was critical that you tried to get into the landing craft when it was on the rise because there was a gap ­ the nets didn't quite reach and you had to jump down. That was something we hadn¹t practiced before. We had practiced going down the nets, but the sea was calm. This was a whole new experience."

 

"We circled in our landing craft for what seemed like an eternity," recalled Steve Kellman. "The battleships opened up and the bombers were going over.

Every once in a while, I looked over the side and I could see the smoke and the fire, and I thought to myself, ‘we're pounding the hell out of them and there isn¹t going to be much opposition.’

As we got in closer, we passed some yellow life rafts and I had the impression that they must have been from a plane that went down, or maybe they were from the

amphibious tanks that might have sunk; I don’t know.

These guys were floating in these rafts and, as we went by, they gave us the ‘thumbs up’ sign. We thought, ‘they don't seem very worried ­ what the hell do we have to be worried about?’ But, as we got in closer, we could hear the machine-gun bullets hitting the sides of the vessel and the ramp in front." "While in training, we were told of all the things that would be done in order," recalled Harley Reynolds. "But to see it all come together was mind-boggling." What Reynolds saw was a heavily fortified, enemy-held beachhead that had barely been touched by Allied bombs and shells. (..) All but five of the 32 amphibious Sherman tanks had sunk, carrying their crewmen to their deaths.

There was not so much as a single bomb crater on the beach in which to hide, and the German gunners were all alert and zeroed in on the narrow strip of beach, five miles long, code-named "Omaha."

(The Battle for Easy Red, Fox Green By Flint Whitlock)

  

See my other Omaha beach photo's for more viewpoints, panorama shots and notes on the fighting

  

For a map of the eastern part of Omaha click here. The German WN's are marked as well as the Draws and beach sections.

These are "dolphins", or piers made for ships for the below battle, whose information is extracted from Wikipedia.

 

Shot with the ND1000.. Was quite fun sitting in the cold and waiting for the time to be up.

 

"Prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Lepe was used as a secret manufacturing site. Six massive concrete caissons (type B2 Phoenix breakwaters) were built here and later towed across the English Channel where they formed part of the artificial Mulberry harbours after D-Day. Lepe was also one of the many places on the south coast of England used for the embarkation of troops and equipment for the invasion. Concrete mats like big chocolate blocks were used to reinforce the shingle beach for heavy traffic. Some of these mats can still be seen today along with pier remnants, bollards and various concrete and brick structures. Lepe was also the point where PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) left the mainland. It carried fuel across the Isle of Wight and under the English Channel to the Allied forces in Normandy and beyond."

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