Skip to comments.WN60 (June 6, 1944)(Photos taken this week)
Posted on 06/06/2013 8:31:40 AM PDT by servo1969
I'm camping at Colleville-sur-Mer, which should be a familiar name to those of you who are familiar with D-Day. Not only do I have a quick walk to the beach, but that walk happens to take me straight into the area of some of the hardest fighting that day. The eastern-most thrust on Omaha walked into a meat grinder, and one part of that grinder was a German position known to them as WN60.
WN60 is on a high bluff to the east of where the eastern push by the Big Red One attemped to move up the draw towards Colleville-sur-Mer. In addition to all they faced there (WN61 and extensive bunkers with 88's and other nasty things that had just been completed), WN60 could and did rain down fire on the beach.
The team sent to take out the position made it to be base of the bluff, the only place where the site could not put direct fire down onto them.
The downfall of WN60 was a small draw on it's western flank, where the troops could filter around and up without being seen if they went very carefully and single file. It took an hour to force into the draw, and another hour to come up behind and assault the position.
If you enlarge this photo, you can just make out the edge of the draw below; and, you can see down to the larger draw for the route to Colleville. You can also probably make out the 88 bunker, which was sited to fire down the beach. A "bookend" bunker was down at the far end of Omaha, sited to fire back up the beach. Nor were those the only guns sited on the beach.
The position is complex, with observation bunker(s), multiple mortar and gun pits, ammunition storage, trenches, and it was still being built/expanded when the invasion happened.
When you think of the day, think of the hundreds of such complexes that greeted our troops. Imagine having to run 300 or more meters over open sand with no cover while at their mercy.
My father and I both served in the 16th Infantry Regiment who made the landing at Colville Sur Mer. Both of use served post WWII (my father spent WWII in another division in the Pacific), but we got to know many veterans of D-Day including Captain Joe Dawson who led his G Company up the draw and were the first to gain the heights of the bluff. E Company and G Company, who landed at East Red Beach suffered the highest casualties of all of the units landing across the beach in Normandy on D-Day.