Three companies of the 2nd Ranger Battalion were chosen to attack Pointe-du-Hoc. Led by Lt. Col. James Rudder, 225 Rangers were assigned the task of landing on the beach, climbing the cliffs, and taking out the guns.
A navigation error led the Rangers to land three miles away, delaying them and costing them the element of surprise. And "despite rigorous Allied aerial and naval bombardments, the [Germans] remained and desperately attempted to ward off the the attackers with grenades and small arms fire," reads a sign at Pointe-du-Hoc. Eventually, however, the Rangers, using specially designed climbing equipment, reached the top.
"Upon reaching the top they found only empty gun emplacements among the craters of the preinvasion bombardments. The force then gradually advanced inland where two Rangers spotted the well-camouflaged 155mm gun battery, now positioned south of the point and sitting mysteriously silent. With the enemy gun crews close by, the two men employed thermite grenades and destroyed the guns. At the end of the day, [Col.] Rudder sent a message to V Corps saying, 'Located Pointe-du-Hoc--mission accomplished--need ammunition and reinforcement--many casualties.'"
Indeed, of the original 225-man attack force, just 90 combat-effective men remained after the attack.
June 28, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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