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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid