Even though the Allied invasion of Normandy (now known as the D-Day) took place seventy-two years ago, many people haven’t forgotten what the U.S., British, Canadian and French forces and their families sacrificed during World War II. The long-awaited Operation Overload was a formidable task as the Germans were in control of the coastline, turning it into an interlinked series of strongpoints, each with guns, pillboxes, barbed wire, land mines, and beach obstacles. With that in mind, the Allied troops launched an extensive bombardment of the assault areas (a simultaneous landing on five separate beaches). By the end of that day, the formidable Atlantic Wall had been successfully breached. The war, which was a turning point in World War II led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Today, the region remains a friendly territory and millions of people visit this inspiring place every year to see museums, monuments, and cemeteries that pay tribute to the courage of the Allied armies. We have listed top ten places that you must include on your travel list to the beaches of Normandy.
10. Pegasus Bridge and Museum
The first and the most important mission on D-Day was carried out on the night of 5-6 June 1944 during World War II by British forces known as the Airborne Division. 180 troops of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, commanded by Major John Howard, captured River Orne Bridge at Ranville and the bridge across the Caen Canal at Bénouville after landing in Horsa gliders only meters from their objectives. The purpose of the operation was to seize the bridges so as to prevent the Germans from crossing to attack the western edge of the landing beaches. Also, it would enable the Allied forces to drive their tanks over the bridge to attack the Germans. The operation which lasted less than ten minutes freed the first house in France and sorrowfully led to the first death of an Allied soldier on D-Day.
The Prince of Wales officially opened Pegasus Bridge, initially known as the Bénouville Bridge (the bridge which was captured, and which was placed on waste ground about 100 meters from its original location in 1993) on 4 June 2000. Pegasus Bridge contains an excellent collection of artifacts from the D-Day operation. Items such as steel helmets which were used by the people who took part in the Operation Overload are found in the museum.