- Point of Interest
- 53 Boulevard de la Mer, 14960 Asnelles, France
Le Jour J, le nom de code Gold fut attribué à la plage où devait débarquer la 50e division d’infanterie britannique. Cette plage était située entre Ver-sur-Mer et Asnelles sur la côte normande. Malgré la forte résistance de certains bastions allemands, parmi toutes les forces maritimes alliées, la 50e division fut celle qui accomplit la plus grande percée à l’intérieur des terres, car elle arriva à proximité de Bayeux ce même jour.
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.
On néglige bien souvent l’importance de la Bataille de Normandie, qui s’est déroulée entre le célèbre débarquement allié du 6 juin 1944 et la libération de Paris le 25 août de la même année. Pourtant, elle exerça une influence décisive sur le cours de la guerre au nord-ouest de l’Europe. Le coût humain de cette bataille fut colossal : plus de 100 000 personnes furent tuées en l’espace de 80 jours, parmi lesquelles 20 000 civils.