‘Omaha’ refers to a section of the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel 8 kilometers (5 mi) long, from east of Saint Honorine des Pertes to west of Vierville sur Mer on the right bank of the Douve River, where 101 Airborne Chaplain Father Francis Leon Sampsondropped in on D-day, estuary and an estimated 150-foot (45 m) tall cliffs. Landings here were necessary to link the British landings to the east at Gold with the American landing to the west at Utah, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guaed , with contributions from the British, Canadian and Free French navies.
On D-Day , the untested 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed “Blue and Gray” under command of General Cota, Norman Daniel “Dutch”
along with nine companies of the U.S Army Rangers under command of Brigadier General Robert Tryon Frederick.
redirected from Pointe du Hoc, were to assault the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed “The Big Red One” under command of Major General Clarence Ralph Huebner
was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.
The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of eight kilometres (5 miles) depth, between Port en Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah. Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division. under command of Generalleutnant Dietrich Kraiss, Of the 12,020 men of the division, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53-kilometer (33 mi) front. The Germans were largely deployed in strongpoints along the coast—the German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line.
The young German soldier Franz Gockel, then 17 years old, killed hundreds of American soldiers from his post in Widerstandnest 62 and back home after the war Franz Gockel tried to forget his Normandy adventures and resumed work in the family company and took the leading of the company eighteen years later and expanded it successful. Coping with a trauma Gockel returned to Normandy in 1958 to meet friendly French families who welcomed him very hearty. Gocke. Gockel made an effort for the German-French and German-American reconciliation and replied on invitation of American Veteran Associations to meet in the USA.
Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared. Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequent delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.
The 29th Division had heavy casualties during there European campaign: total 20.620, killed 3.887, wounded 15.541, missing 347 and prisoner of war 845.
The 1st Division had total 20.659 casualties, killed 3.616, wounded 15.208, missing 499 and prisoner 1.336.