- Point of Interest
- 53 Boulevard de la Mer, 14960 Asnelles, France
On D-Day, Gold was the code name for the beach where the 50th British Infantry Division was to land. It was located between Ver-sur-Mer and Asnelles on the Normandy coast. Despite fierce resistance from some German strongholds, the 50th Division accomplished the farthest breakthrough inland of all Allied seaborne forces, as it came close to Bayeux that same day.
The 50th British Infantry Division led by Major General Douglas Graham had been seasoned in the North African campaign. On D-Day, Gold was the code name for the beach that was assigned to this division. It was located between Ver-sur-mer and Asnelles on the Normandy coast.
The battlefield was made up of flat areas interrupted by sand dunes which concealed vast swamps. The topography made this landing easier than the ones on Omaha Beach and Juno Beach. The former was too steep while the latter, as it was urbanized, forced the Canadian troops to fight in the village streets.
The German strategists considered Gold an unlikely landing beach. For this reason the defences were relatively weak. The German heavy artillery batteries, located slightly further inland, were swiftly and effectively bombarded by ships and by planes.
The first British soldiers set foot on Gold Beach at 07:25. Even though the operations went fairly well, they had to overcome fierce resistance in the area called La Rivière, between the landing beach and the village of Ver-sur-Mer. Another unit, which landed almost unopposed east of Asnelles, had to deal with a German strongpoint at Le Hamel. The British troops managed to take that stronghold by the end of the day with the support of tanks. In the meantime, additional units had landed and gone further inland. They accomplished the farthest advance on D-Day of all Allied seaborne forces. This swift move made it possible to take Arromanches in the evening and, the day after, the town of Bayeux which fell into British hands almost undamaged.
Battle of Normandy
Fought between the iconic landings on 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August, the Battle of Normandy is often overlooked. Yet this campaign decided the course of the war in Northwestern Europe. The losses were huge: more than 100.000 people were killed during the 80 days, 20.000 of them civilians.