Today, on this 80th anniversary of D-Day, our Pic of the Day features a depiction of a World War II Ranger helping his modern-day brother over the top at Pointe du Hoc, France.

Pointe du Hoc is located between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast of France. At the time of the invasion, it was fortified by the Germans with concrete bunkers and gun pits. The cliffs, about 100 feet high, provided a strategic vantage point for the Germans to defend against the Allied invasion.

The Mission
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder, was tasked with scaling the cliffs to destroy the German artillery positions. The mission was critical as these guns could potentially disrupt the landings on both Utah and Omaha beaches. The Rangers used ropes, ladders, and grappling hooks to climb the cliffs under heavy enemy fire.

The Assault
Despite the formidable challenge, the Rangers reached the top of the cliffs. They found that the primary artillery guns had been moved inland but were able to locate and destroy them. The Rangers then held their position against counterattacks until reinforcements arrived.

Out of the 225 men who started the mission, only about 90 were still able to fight by the time reinforcements arrived two days later.

The successful capture of Pointe du Hoc was a pivotal moment in the D-Day invasion. It demonstrated the bravery and skill of the Rangers and significantly contributed to the success of the Allied invasion by removing a significant threat to the landing forces.

Pointe du Hoc is preserved as a historic site, with many of the original bunkers and fortifications still in place. The site includes a memorial dedicated to the Rangers who fought and died there, and a visitors’ center provides historical context and details about the operation. The scars of battle, including craters from bombs and shells, are still visible, offering a poignant reminder of the fierce combat that took place.

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