← Happy Birthday, Chim!
Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » PHOTO: Normandy, 1947….
I was in Brittany in 1976, and there were still pill-boxes (filled in), out on the beach at Trebeurdan. To an eighteen-year-old who thought WW2 was from a prior age, this was quite a shock.
Ditto seeing the combat damage I saw in Naples, Italy when I first visited there in 1976.
Ditto on seeing bullet scars in stone buildings in Osnabruck, Germany in 1984. We were taking the train from Amsterdam to Bremen and other cities along the way had similar marks, but Osnabruck stood out.
I was in Arcachon in 2000, and we swam out to a concrete bunker that still had remnants of the bolts that held down some armament on its top.
That looks like a section of temporary pier – notice the bollards for tying vessels to.
You are correct. They towed floating docks over then sank them to form a temporary pier to unload all of the vehicles, equipment, supplies, ammunition, food, etc. that they used. They would have been left behind after the war and stayed in place until they either rusted or were disposed of for salvage.
And quite a lot of the hardware for the Mulberry harbors is still there today, sitting on or near the beaches.
My guess is that it was one of the floating piers used for the bridges that connected the beach with the modular “Mulberry Harbors” that were established out in deeper water.
They are pretty visible in photo #10 on this page: http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/miracleharbor.htm
The piers, Mulberry’s, were built to allow the ships to be unloaded without using the landing craft. Unfortunately, three weeks after D Day, a storm came up. Supposedly the worst storm in years It tore up the piers. The ships had to go back to the old unloading into landing craft like these piers had never been built and towed across the English Channel. They waited until Cherbourg was cleared after the Germans sabotaged it. Or, so my memory serves me. (Look up Mulberry harbor in Wikipedia).
The Mulberry at Omaha was destroyed. The Mulberry serving the British beaches was damaged but repaired and continued in use.
My dad’s friend Max worked on those floating docks. Dad always said Max was in, “the Army’s Navy.” They built a huge, long piers for trucks with supplies to drive ashore on, directly from boats… They called them “Mulberry Harbours”: http://www.war44.com/misc/images/5/Mulberry_harbour_WWII.jpg
I hate to dishonor the poignancy of this lovely photograph, but if this was found on your computer in the U.S.A you would be imprisoned for possession of child porn.
I was in Munich in 2007, and there are still churches and other buildings with bullet scars. I guess not repaired for historical reasons.
I noticed that in many cities was I was in Europe in 1984. East Berlin looked like they hadn’t really bothered at all, any buildings which hadn’t been built after the war usually showed some signs of bullet holes. Bomb craters along the roads and rail lines were common in East Germany and Hungary once you got out of heavily populated areas.
You can still walk on a carpet of human bones from the german retreat from russia as described in this book….(from Dan Carlin’s fantastic Episode called Ghosts of the Ostfront)
The most haunting part of Donovan Webster’s book is when he takes several planes and a bunch of cars to get to this spot in the middle of nowhere, on the steppes of southern Russia, to see something that very few people know is there, especially outside of Russia, and he says he had a guide with him and they pulled the car up to this spot, and it was in the middle of a very flat plain, and he could see way off into the distance, all the way to the horizon, miles away, and he says that he and the guide got out of the car, their boots crunching on the snow-filled field, and the guide told him to look down, and Webster says when his eyes adjusted to the blinding white of the snow and the plains, he could make out strange shapes in the snow, and the guide picked up one of these shapes and showed it to Webster, and it was a bone — a human bone — and he and Webster begin walking around this field, picking up clavicles, and thigh bones, and jaw bones, and pieces of skulls, and they are everywhere. He says there are also jackboots that you come across, and all sorts of leather gear, all the refuse and debris of human existence that you might imagine still sitting around this field. And he says you can look off into the horizon and these bones are sticking up out of the snow as far as you can see, for miles. The guide tells him that this is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of how far this bone field, he calls it, stretches. This bone field is a monument, an inadvertent commemoration of an important event, with many, many, many lessons to teach modern people today, and it’s out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest major city is a place called Volgagrad, which may not ring a bell in your memory. But Volgagrad used to have another name. It used to be called Stalingrad.
I’d be nervous about the kids playing out there two years out from battle. Wondering if there are any forgotten mines, or them finding war debris like grenades etc.
Wonderful photo. “Where are the men of yesteryear?”
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change )
You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change )
Connecting to %s
Notify me of follow-up comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.
Join 405 other followers