Francja / Pomnik

German strong point Wn 65 of Ruquet Valley




​​​Located at the bottom of two slopes, the Ruquet Valley was one of the four natural exits from Omaha Beach that allowed the troops of the 1st American Infantry Division to escape from the Easy Red Beach area. This beach exit was strongly defended by a German strong point, called Wn 65.

​​​During Occupation, German forces fortified access to the Ruquet valley between Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Mer considerably. They built a vast anti-tank ditch, dug across the width of the valley parallel to the beach, supplemented by machine gun stations, mortars, and a vast set of trenches. The German defensive system was also based on two fortified strong points, called Wn, which prohibited access to the Ruquet Valley.

Located to the east, on the heights of the plateau, was the Wn 64 and its 76mm cannon, of Russian origin. On 6 June, this went off shortly before 10:00. On the other side, built down near the beach and defended by about twenty German soldiers, was the Wn 65, a 50mm piece under casemate with a 50mm barrel gun, an anti-tank piece, and a 75mm camouflaged gun.

It was against this position that American forces planned to land the US 1st Infantry Division’s first waves of assault before exiting the beach. Wn 65 was neutralised at around 11:30 by the firing of 4 shells from a Destroyer, which approached 1km from the edge. Wn 65 was then used as HQ by Engineer units (Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group) and later as an advanced HQ of the 1st infantry division. As for the anti-tank ditch, it was quickly filled by the American Engineer's bulldozers shortly before noon.

Finally, the first convoys of heavy equipment were rushed inland along a small road leading from the Ruquet Valley to the village of Saint-Laurent. This road had been built by the American Engineers, under German shellfire, between 12:00 and 14:00. The Ruquet Valley became the first clearing axis at Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944.

Today, several plaques and monuments built near the bunker of Wn 65 recall the events of 6 June. A plaque on the blockhouse, which still contains its cannon and has been transformed into a souvenir monument, indicates that the Provisional Engineers, in charge of the artificial port of Omaha operation, used this place for a time. Next to the blockhouse stands a stele that was erected in honour of the 2nd American Infantry Division, which landed here on 7 June 1944.

​​​​104 Rue de la 2ème division US​, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer​, 14170