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Battlefield Europe D-DAY + 70 Years

May 2014 my father and I drove from France to Belgium, into Germany, Holland and Luxembourg to some of the main battle sights of Canadian forces in WWi and WWii. It was a very sobering experience. One we will never forget. Here are some of the locations we visited.

Bastogne, Belgium

Bastogne, Belgium became the center of inspiration in December 1944 when the German army encircled the city and the US 101st Airborne and threatened to destroy the city and the unit. Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe received a demand for surrender from the German commander, his reply, "NUTS". They held the German offensive off and General Patton's 3rd army finally broke through the encirclement and gave the 101st relief. This was the last major offensive of the German army determined to stop the allies from advancing into Germany. The Battle of the Bulge.

Waterloo, Belgium

This battle between the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Allied forces under Wellington and the Prussian Army under Blucher. On Sunday, June 18, 1815 these forces squared off and battled for the freedom of Europe. By the end of the day some 75,000 soldiers were killed or wounded.

Bruges, Belgium

The movie 'The Monuments Men' told the story of a the Nazis pillage of some of the great treasures of humanity in the war and the allies quest to protect them or recapture them and return them. One of the pieces they tried to save was the Madonna and Child statue by Michelangelo in a Bruges church, a British officer, Donald Jefferies was killed trying to save the statue. The statue was recovered in a salt mine and returned to the Church of Our Lady in Bruges on November 12, 1945. So we had to go see this statue for ourselves.

Passchendaele, Belgium

Passchendale is a particularily important site for Canada. in October 1917, Canadian forces began an attack to take the important town of Paschendale. The 100,000 Canadians that took part in the battle were victorious in defeating the Germans. Although 4,000 Canadians died and 12,000 were wounded in the battle. in over 100 days of fighting around Passchendale almost 500,000 people died for only an 8 km gain of ground.

Ypres, Belgium

So much of World War 1 was fought around Ypres. Hill 62 was an important location where the Canadian army defeated the Germans and held key location on the outskirts of the city.

Essex Farm

It was here in a bunker on Essex farm in May 1915 Lieutenant Colonel Dr. John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields.

Vimy Ridge

The battle for Vimy Ridge was the first time that all four Canadian divisions fought together in the war. April 9 - April 12 1917 Canadians fought for control of Vimy Ridge and for their victory and to honor the fallen heroes and the unknown fallen Canadians in France this amazing and moving monument was built.

Mont Saint Eloi Abbey

This abbey was founded in the 7th century and abandoned and damaged in the French revolution after 1799. It was further damaged from the battles of WW1 and stands at it did after the war.

Dieppe, France

Dieppe was the site of a mostly failed assault on German forces on 19th August 1942. 6,086 men were sent ashore to gather intelligence and sabotage German defenses along the coast. Of the 6,086 men sent to Dieppe, 5,000 were Canadians. Within 6 hours or so, the Germans had killed, wounded or captured almost 68% of them.

D-Day

Canada house on Juno Beach was the first liberated home in Europe on D-Day. The Canadians landed on Juno and met all of their objectives that day.

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach is one of the landing beaches the Americans used to get a foothold on mainland Europe June 6, 1944.

Point Du Hoc

Point Du Hoc was the highest point between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach and was a critical objective on D-Day. US Rangers scaled the cliffs to take the point on that day and after 2 days of fighting the Germans they finally succeeded. 225 Rangers landed and 90 were left at the end of the battle. Large craters dot the landscape on the point, from the bombs dropped by allied planes in preparation for D-Day.

Sainte-Mere Eglise

Paratroopers landed in Sainte-Mere Eglise in the early morning of June 6, 1944 to become a part of the D-Day invasion. Many were captured and killed as they parachuted down. One man, John Steele, landed on the steeple and hung there until the Germans captured him. He later escaped and rejoined his Battalion.

Utah Beach

21,000 men of the 4th U.S. Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach on D-Day and by the end of the day had pushed 6 miles into France and only suffered 197 casualties.

La Cambe German war Cemetery

No markers or road signs really exist to direct you here. We stumbled across this cemetery on our drive through Normandy. 21,000 German Soldiers are interred here.

Sculpture at the Caen War Museum.

Thanks for following our journey and lest we never forget the many men and women who answered the call to take up arms and fight for the liberation of their fellow humans. Wars are never good, it is sad such a few men with big egos and power can sacrifice millions of their countrymen for no reason.

www.livelifegreat.ca

Created By
brad girard
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