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Wn05 Le Madeleine

Landing beach area for US troops on D-Day

Wn05 site overview

What to see

Wn05 La Madeleine Utah Beach is a must-visit site for everyone visiting Normandy. This is the spot where the US 4th Infantry Division landed on D-Day and is the location for many memorials and a superb museum with unique artifacts, amazing vehicles, and even an aircraft!

Compared with other strongpoints further along Utah Beach - where the troops were due to land but were pushed off course by weather and tides - this wasn't as heavily a fortified Widerstandsnest.

However, it was the HQ for the local commander, Lt Arthur Jahnke, and featured over 20 personnel and defensive positions, along with his HQ bunker. Once you know the locations of the remaining bunkers and gun positions you'll realize just how much concrete was here defending the site in 1944.

Many of the original structures were incorporated into the construction of the Utah Beach Museum and if you look closely when walking around inside you'll see where. In the entrance hall there's a long concrete building which was once barracks for the site, while a Vf2a shelter and mortar Tobruk can be found in two of the internal galleries.
Next to the Roosevelt Cafe in front of the museum is the well preserved Vf1a - an early-built personnel shelter for six soldiers which was converted to a comms centre after being captured by the Allies.

One of the most striking features of the site is a bespoke hangar built to display the museum's B-26 Marauder aircraft, the type which bombed this area on D-Day.
In front of the hangar on the beach front you can discover a large, but mostly buried R667 casemate for a 5cm KwK gun which covered the site from the south. Behind this, now covered by sand was a 1694 Ringstand for a similar gun which provided protection along the beach.

Between the museum and car park there are several Tobruks, including an Ic125 type for a 8cm mortar and a Vf8 for a machine gun.

This site is also well known for its numerous memorials and some of these are sited on top of bunkers. Beneath the US Navy Memorial, depicting three US sailors, are a VF7b and and an open emplacement - Geschutzstellung - which once featured a 4.7cm field gun.
The Vf7b is a large, two-room, shell-proof ammunition bunker which is completely buried by sand and vegetation, although the entrance can be seen and it is currently used as a tool store for the landscapers who keep this site in immaculate condition.

Near the 1st Engineer Special Brigade Monument you can walk around the site's second 1694 Ringstand, this one featuring the original 5cm KwK gun in the position it was captured in on the morning of June 6, 1944.
Below the Ringstand is an early Vf1a shelter for six men which is sealed, but you can look through the door to see tributes to the men who landed here.

One of the largest bunkers at the site is the R501 HQ/command bunker, a single-room construction which was adapted to include an escape tunnel, openings on the roof for communications, and defensive Tobruk. This bunker is normally heavily flooded.
To the rear, just before a small wooded area you can find an Ic116 Tobruk which offered protection for the inland side of the complex.

Beyond this, the area was flooded in parts, leaving the main road the only route away from the beach towards St-Marie-Du-Mont. This was known as Exit 2 and was highly prized by the occupying German forces who protected it and the beach front with a series of four 105m guns located inland at Brecourt Manor - the site made famous by the paratroopers from the 101st Airborne led by Lt Richard Winters who assaulted and captured the site on D-Day.

*** More information on the Utah Beach Museum can be found in our Museums section ***


Directions to bunker sites in this area...

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