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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.

All About America

AppleAndroid