Translate German to English - Click here to open Altavista's Babel Fish Translator Click here to learn about all those symbols by people's names.

leftlogo.jpg (20709 bytes)

Upgrade to Premium Membership

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#18638 06/06/2010 12:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,808
BadBob Offline OP
OP Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,808
After Rangers conquered Pointe du Hoc, the job is now to save the fragile cliff from erosion

By: Elaine Ganley, The Associated Press

5/06/2010 1:00

PARIS - The Nazis thought the jagged cliffs were unassailable until the elite U.S. Rangers scaled them in a valiant D-Day assault. Now the rocks are undergoing major surgery to save them from an even greater force Mother Nature.

The cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, the Normandy promontory where the Rangers stared down death, have eroded by 10 metres (33 feet) since June 6, 1944. Today, the job is to strengthen the cliffs, not conquer them, and keep the bunker used by the Nazis as an observation point from falling into the pounding sea.

"If we leave it this way, the cliffs will crumble all by themselves," said Philippe Berthod, director of the Pointe du Hoc operation for GTS, a Lyon-based company that specializes in delicate operations, often on sites with difficult access.

But fixing the cliffs, made of limestone mixed with clay, is just buying time 50 years is an optimistic estimate, Berthod said. Harsh winters and a raging storm can play havoc, he said. "Our work is to slow the erosion phenomenon."

Just like the U.S. Army Rangers, some of the 20 GTS workers are scaling the cliffs on ropes. But they're also using a crane, ton upon ton of cement to fill up gaping holes and metal bars measuring up to 8 metres (26 feet) to nail the sides of the cliff in place. Up top, they are putting what amounts to a safety belt around the once formidable Nazi bunker.

Some 500,000 people visit the Pointe du Hoc each year, although the bunker has been closed to the public since 2004.

"This is saving an important part of our public memory," said James Woolsey of the American Battle Monuments Commission, which ordered the $6 million (5 million) job that started in February and is expected to be finished in October.

The Pointe du Hoc assault to prepare the way for American troops stands out as a particularly valiant D-Day moment.

The U.S. Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion went in with the 5th Battalion to climb the 120-foot spikes of limestone four miles (6 kilometres) west of Omaha Beach to put out of action six 155mm Nazi howitzers. The weapons were capable of firing from concrete bunkers down on the landing sites at Utah and Omaha, two of the five beaches stormed by U.S. and British troops to break Hitler's stranglehold in western France.

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs, only 90 were fit for battle two days later. The rest were dead or wounded but, reads the Rangers Creed, "Surrender is not a Ranger word."

The observation bunker at the promontory on Pointe du Hoc "was the eyes of the entire German operation," said Woolsey.

"The bunker is actually in very good shape," said Woolsey. But "we knew if something was not done soon, the Pointe would fall off the cliff."

To secure the bunker, cement beams linked to 18 stakes to be driven 24 metres (79 feet) into the ground will act as a safety belt for the vulnerable east and west facades.

Despite the courage and prowess of the Rangers 66 years ago, the job of saving the cliffs, at least temporarily, is standard for GTS almost.

In this case, they must work around the tides which wash the sea onto their worksite at the foot of the cliffs. "Every two hours, the tide rises. We can do two tides a day," Berthod said by telephone.

They also use a huge crane at the top of the Pointe du Hoc to lower heavy equipment like backhoes, drills and metal spans to the foot of the cliffs.

Unsightly cement injected into the cliffs will be invisible because rocks on the beaches will be pushed into place to cover the work. "When we finish this job, one must see nothing," said Berthod.

And, one more thing. The workers are under orders to keep the site impeccably clean and make sure they behave correctly no bare chests or shouting.

"We warned them to be respectful," Berthod said. (

#18639 06/06/2010 01:46 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 204
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 204
another site thats need saving.As I walked around holland ,belgium.germany i saw so much that needed saving. I hope they can save this one.

Link Copied to Clipboard
Popular Topics(Views)
2,198,365 SS Bayonets
1,695,186 Teno Insignia Set
1,065,301 westwall rings
Latest New Threads
Wood Grip Army Dagger?
by Guy H. - 05/17/2021 02:15 AM
Database of Christmas Party Daggers.
by den70 - 05/14/2021 08:05 AM
E.G. HJ Knife
by jim39 - 05/14/2021 01:20 AM
Ring award video
by svenga - 05/13/2021 11:55 PM
by benten - 05/11/2021 12:12 PM
Latest New Posts
Wood Grip Army Dagger?
by Guy H. - 05/18/2021 01:12 AM
by benten - 05/17/2021 08:47 PM
Ring award video
by wotan - 05/17/2021 07:43 PM
Personalized reproduction honor ring source?
by Mikee - 05/17/2021 02:06 PM
German ring zvastika
by Gaspare - 05/17/2021 01:22 PM
Forum Statistics
Most Online5,900
Dec 19th, 2019
Who's Online Now
4 members (Guy H., lmrobil, ado, bushido), 43 guests, and 114 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5