News / Europe

On the Scene: D-Day Re-enactments in France

D-Day Visitors Re-Enact WWII Events Across Normandyi
X
June 06, 2014 9:41 PM
As VIPs gathered for ceremonies in Normandy Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, thousands of visitors from across the world have also traveled to the region. Many have come in World War II vehicles and period dress. Henry Ridgwell reports from Normandy on the celebrations that are happening alongside the remembrance services.
Henry Ridgwell
— Old wartime songs ring out across Carentan town square as visitors enjoy the early summer sunshine.

Today Carentan is a peaceful corner of France. Seventy years ago it saw some of the most ferocious fighting of the Battle for Normandy.

Parachutists with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division landed nearby and fought house-to-house with Nazi troops giving the Allies a continuous front joining the Utah and Omaha landing beaches.

This week, Carentan has held some of the most colorful anniversary events.

Crammed into an original U.S. Army jeep and trailer, sporting World War II military fatigues, boots and accessories, Frank Ducros and his friends have traveled 1,400 kilometers to get here from the south of France.

Speaking French, Ducros says it has been his dream to come to these D-Day celebrations, explaining that he's been collecting this kind of memorabilia — the clothing, shoes, replica guns... and of course the jeep — for a decade now.

In Carentan's harbor, original WWII amphibious vehicles, including a landing craft  used on the D-Day beaches, staged a re-enactment of the Allied advance.

Further west lies Pegasus Bridge — a strategic crossing over the Caen canal, which saw one of the most iconic events of the invasion.

In the first hours of D-Day, members of the British 6th Airborne Division landed nearby in gliders and managed to hold the crossing to prevent an effective German counter-attack further west on the landing beaches.

Several British naval vessels have visited Pegasus Bridge this week. On board, crew stood at attention as they passed D-Day veterans watching from the shoreline.

Among them was Les Reeves, who was in the Royal Armored Corps and drove a tank onto Juno Beach on D-Day morning.

"When we landed, we were waterproofed up to the turret," he recalls. "So my periscope, the little periscope that was on the Churchill tank, all you could see was the water!"

Local resident Catherine Mayou brought her grandson along to meet the veterans.

"We want teach our grandson the importance of it, because we must not forget," she says.

Across Normandy, army-style camps have sprung up on farms and village squares to cater to visitors, and the anniversary has attracted a modern day invasion of period military hardware, along with thousands of visitors in wartime dress.

Local residents have given them a warm welcome. The bonds of friendship between nations sealed 70 years ago in battle remain strong.
 
  • While under heavy machine gun fire from the German coastal defense forces, American soldiers maneuver off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft during the Allied landing operations at Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • A Coast Guard LCI, listing to port, pulls alongside a transport ship to evacuate the troops and wounded just before the craft capsized and sank during the invasion of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Members of an American unit reach Utah Beach on a life raft after their landing craft was hit and sunk by German coastal defenses. Here soldiers help their exhausted comrades ashore during the Normandy invasion, June 6, 1944. 
  • British troops wait for the signal to move forward during the early Allied landing operations in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Assault vehicles storm the beach as Allied landing craft invade the shore of Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. 
  • American paratroopers fly over the English Channel enroute to a 100-mile front during the invasion of the Normandy coast, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Special British commandos move inland from the beaches at Normandy under enemy shell, mortar and sniper fire, France, June 6, 1944.
  • American troops move to the interior of northern France, June 6, 1944. 
  • Soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Flotilla at Juno Beach, near Bernieres-sur-mer, during the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
  • German prisoners of war are led away by Allied forces during landing operations at Utah Beach, Normandy coast, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Landing craft loaded with American troops are guarded overhead by barrage balloons, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Allied forces using amphibious trucks follow foot troops ashore during the early invasion of the Normandy coast, June 6, 1944. 
  • British commandos pass through the streets of a town near Caen, France, June 6, 1944.
  • Following the first Allied landings on the French coast troops began to move inland, passing through villages where they were given a warm welcome, June 6, 1944.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid