It was always going to be part of the 'Adventure' this visiting of sites and places that remind us of the tumultuous events during World War 2 (WW2) 1939-1945, in this case on the Atlantic coast of France.
The U-Boat pens (WW2 fortified shelters for German submarines) at St Nazaire are still there after 74 years. The construction is of such strength that they are virtually indestructible.
The World War 2 U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire
Below is a link to my article as submitted to another website. It gives a detailed account of my visit over two days.
Also seen at the St. Nazaire docks was the Russian helicopter carrier / assault ship VLADIVOSTOK, built by the French and nearing completion, soon to be handed over to the Russian Navy.
Edit: This ship and another in the same class had their deliveries cancelled after the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia and the subsequent annexation.
The D-Day beaches in Normandy, France.
The largest ever seaborne military operation took place in 1944 on the Atlantic coast of France when tens of thousands of soldiers crossed the English Channel from Great Britain to start the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.
We visited, not for the first time, those beaches along the Normandy coast which saw those men and materiel being disgorged from landing craft. We concentrated on the American sector, the beaches known as Utah and Omaha and the adjacent town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise near Utah beach, south of Cherbourg.
Dedicated to all those who led the way on D-Day
Showing the likeness of Major Dick Winters of Easy Company
An overview of our visit is covered on another website, see link below;
German fortification facing Utah beach
American cemetery at Omaha beachLeadership:-
"Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?
No, but I fought in a Company of heroes"
Staff Sergeant Mike Ranney (101st US Airborne) answering a question from his grandson
"Wars do not make men great, but they do bring out the greatness in good men"
Major Richard D "Dick" Winters, Easy Company, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st US Airborne Division.
This was our last stop on our European Adventure which started in May 2012. We returned to England by ferry from Calais to Dover and made our way across the hills and dales of that 'green and pleasant land' to a place soon to be called home, somewhere in England.
It is time to put roots down again, until the next time, when the travel bug bites. Never say never ....
To all of you who read and followed this Blog over the past 24 months, who contributed with comments and information to enliven the experience, we say a big thank you!
This is Marius and Joan signing off.