Utah Beach Memorial | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Utah Beach Memorial

Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Utah Beach Memorial

The Utah Beach Memorial is an American monument in Normandy which commemorates the World War Two D-Day Landings.

Utah Beach Memorial history

On 6 June 1944, as part of the Allied invasion of German-occupied Normandy known as Operation Overlord, the US 4th Infantry Division, part of the VII Corps, landed on Utah Beach.

VII Corps units landed by air and sea to pursue three missions: expand the Allied beachhead, seal off the Cotentin Peninsula, and thrust northward to liberate Cherbourg. The Utah Beach terrain differed from other invasion beaches. Its dunes were relatively shallow, followed inland by expanses of flooded and marshy terrain crossed by narrow causeways.

German defenses included multiple obstacles along the beaches, plus infantry and artillery capable of blocking exits inland. The Germans also reinforced their units throughout the Cotentin Peninsula and enhanced fortifications around Cherbourg.

On Utah beach itself, U.S. forces landed more than a mile away from their intended destination, due in part to strong currents. Luckily for them, this area was actually less well protected.

“We’ll start the war from here!” U.S. Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, shouted upon realizing the mistake. By noon, his men had linked up with some of the paratroopers, and by day’s end they had advanced four miles inland, suffering relatively few casualties in the process.

Utah Beach Memorial today

Comprised of a granite obelisk, the Utah Beach Memorial is a monument to the achievements of this division and their successful landings.

The plot of land where the monument is erected was donated to the United States in perpetuity by the village of Sainte Marie du Mont. The monument was dedicated on June 6, 1984 by General Lawston Collins in the presence of the seven Allied heads of state during the ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

Their is also a museum next to where the monument stands which recounts the story of D-Day in 10 sequences, from the preparation of the landing, to the final outcome and success. This comprehensive chronological journey immerses visitors in the history of the landing through a rich collection of objects, vehicles, materials, and oral histories.

Visitors to the memorial and museum can admire an original B26 bomber, one of only six remaining examples of this airplane still in existence worldwide.

Getting to Utah Beach Memorial

The address is Utah Beach Memorial, Route D329, Normandy, France. The memorial is located at the seaward end of Highway D 913, about 3.6 miles northeast of Ste. Marie-du-Mont. It is easiest to travel to this location by car or bicycle as public transport options are extremely limited.

Their is free parking by the site.

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