Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument

Overview

The World War II Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument is located on a cliff eight miles west of Normandy American Cemetery, which overlooks Omaha Beach, France. It was erected by the French to honor elements of the American Second Ranger Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. James E. Rudder. During the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches on June 6, 1944, these U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot cliffs and seized the German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops at Omaha and Utah beaches. At a high cost of life, they successfully defended against determined German counterattacks.

By mid-1944, German forces manned formidable defenses along the French coast. Of concern to the Allies were German 155mm artillery positions on Pointe du Hoc. They could wreak havoc on Utah and Omaha Beaches. Lt. Col. James E. Rudder, commanding the 2nd Ranger Battalion, received the mission to land at 6:30 a.m., scale the 100 foot cliffs, and disable the German positions. Lt. Col. Max F. Schneider’s 5th Ranger Battalion would follow and reinforce them.

June 6, 5:50 a.m.: Naval bombardment of Pointe du Hoc began, including guns of the battleship USS Texas. Three companies (70 men per) of Rudder’s 2nd Ranger Battalion were to land at Pointe du Hoc at 6:30 a.m., but were delayed. Per plan, Schneider’s command (plus three companies of the 2nd) joined the Omaha Beach assault.

June 6, 7:10 a.m.: Two landing craft were lost, but the Rangers debarked and started up the cliffs. They pressed upward, supported by the destroyer USS Satterlee. One of the Rangers’ DUKWs was disabled by enemy fire en route to Pointe du Hoc. The engine failed. Three Rangers were casualties, including one killed.

June 6, 7:40 a.m.: Most of the remaining Rangers reached the top.

June 6, 9:30 a.m.: The Germans had previously moved the guns southward from their initial prepared positions. Despite fierce resistance, Rangers found and destroyed the guns pushing onward to cut the highway south of Pointe du Hoc.

June 6-8: After fighting two days, only about 90 Rangers stood when relieved by Schneider’s Rangers and the 29th Division from Omaha Beach.

The monument consists of a simple granite pylon positioned atop a German concrete bunker with tablets at its base inscribed in French and English. The monument was formally transferred to ABMC for perpetual care and maintenance on January 11, 1979. This battle-scarred area on the left flank of Omaha Beach remains much as the Rangers left it.

Location
France

Visiting Hours

Pointe du Hoc is open to the public daily. Hours of operation for the visitor center are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 15 to September 15, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. It is open on host country holidays. To ensure your safety, stay on the designated walking path. Because the site has remained relatively unchanged since 1944, large bomb craters and uneven ground fill the landscape.

Contact Us

Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument
14450 Cricqueville-en-Bessin
France
tel Phone: +33 (0)2 31 51 62 00

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