CHERBOURG

 

The 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.

 

Neither of these ports featured in the D Day landings themselves. The failure at Dieppe had shown that a frontal assault on a defended harbour was unwise.

 

However, while the Mulberry harbours could supply the initial build-up, more extensive facilities were needed for the later advance inland.

 

It was hoped that the Americans would be able to take Cherbourg on the 8th day but that was not achieved until the 30th, because Hitler had ordered the garrison to fight to the last man. More of that story is in our Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches. 

 

Casualties were heavy on both sides. The Americans brought in fire support from ships including the battleship Texas which was damaged by counter fire.

 

On Cherbourg Town Hall is a plaque to Sergeant William Finlay the first US soldier to enter the town and on top of Montagne du Roule overlooking the town is the Fort du Roule Museum of War and Liberation.