D Day landing beaches lie between two major ports. In the
west there is Cherbourg and roughly 100 miles away to the
east is Le Havre.
of these ports featured in the D Day landings themselves
because the failure at Dieppe had shown that a frontal assault
on a defended harbour was probably going to fail.
while the Mulberry harbours could supply the initial build-up
after the 6 June more extensive facilities were needed for
the later advance inland.
was hoped that the Americans would be able to take Cherbourg
on the 8th day but that estimate was later revised to the
15th day after it was discovered that the Germans had moved
extra troops into the area.
the 19th June heavy storms destroyed the American Mulberry
harbour making it even more urgent that Cherbourg be taken
and on 22 June the US V11 Corps began a fierce attack on
the port. Hitler demanded that the defenders fight 'to the
last man'. Casualties were heavy on both sides and the Americans
brought in fire support from ships at sea including the
battleship Texas which was damaged by counter fire from
the port's batteries.
Germans did fight on until all hope had gone and it was
not until 30 June that the last post fell.
Cherbourg Town Hall is a plaque to Sergeant William Finlay
the first US soldier to enter the town hall and on top of
Montagne du Roule overlooking the town is the Fort du Roule
Museum of War and Liberation.
full story is in our book Major
and Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide Normandy D-Day Landing