The Cover Up at Omaha Beach: Maisy Battery and the US Rangers

friendlyfire

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I have recently read the book by Gary Sterne about the tactical blunder by Allied command.His book covers how he found the Maisy Battery by chance.In 2004 Sterne who was at that time an amateur historian,an avid collector of military relics from the Second World War.He found an old D-Day unofficial map of the Normandy arena near Omaha Beach in a US Army uniform that he had bought in a market.On the map,a point was indicated with the words "area of high resistance".

He then set out to find the area on the map,it was near Grandcamp-Maisy.He found concrete surfaces that turned out to be the roofs of bunkers. Sterne did not know exactly what he had discovered, but what he did know was that it was a large complex.The area was an overgrown field, he soon found a huge bunker complex not only was it overgrown but had also been buried with a metre of top soil.Over the next few years he purchased 15 hectares of land that contained the Maisy Battery.He then cleared the area and opened it up for public viewing.

A few questions come up in his book..."The Cover Up at Omaha Beach" indicates a cover-up that has to do with Omaha Beach. But what did actually happen on this Allied landing beach in Normandy that had to be hidden?

Did Rommel use Pointe du Hoc as a ruse?

Allied commander Dwight Eisenhower, had pointed Pointe du Hoc as "Target No.1" on D-Day.But his intelligence was either wrong or did they know that the guns had been moved not days before but months before.The Guns of Maisy Battery shelled the landing beaches for three days after D-Day.Were the Rangers giving the wrong priority by Eisenhower who primarily designated the wrong objective.So after the war Maisy battery had needed to disappear more of a political decision than a military blunder.A French Resistance leader in the area had told his contacts in England that were no guns at Pointe du Hoc.

As Sterne said in his book
"Maisy Battery was probably the largest combined German gun Battery and HQ complex outside of Cherbourg and Le Harve and it was not seen by anyone at all since the war-which makes it one of the most significant military finds of the last 60 years and a huge potential local tourist site"
Well fair play Gary Sterne he turned the narrative upside down by following his instinct about the Pointe du Hoc mission. We have had dozen of books and films not even mention the Maisy Battery.His book is worth a read loads of testimonies of surviving Rangers they had massive losses,Of some 220 men who started up the cliff at Pointe du Hoc, fewer than eighty were effective that night.

A place worth visiting when in Normandy.


Maisy Book | Maisy Battery

Maisy Battery | Maisy Battery. D-day 1944, Omaha Beach – Pointe du Hoc
 


jpc

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Visited point du Hoc last year.
When you see the size of the shell craters.
And the concrete bunkers flung around.
It's incredible that any one survived.
The guns were stashed in behind a copse according to the story boards on the site.
We passed grand camp Maisey but I didn't realise it's significance.
Interesting story.
 

friendlyfire

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Maybe a movie on the way Jmcc?
 

friendlyfire

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Found this
In 1944 the mayor of Grandcamp was a man called Jean Marion. He was also the head of the resistance in the area. In a 1953 interview with writer Cornelius Ryan (The Longest Day) he stated that ‘The mystery of the Pointe du Hoc guns is this. They had never been mounted. Guns were immobile; had never been installed.’ In fact, this is information Marion also reported to London by radio on two occasions before D-Day.
Strange,wonder if the resistance knew about Maisy, the complex was built by the Todt Organisation under strict security by forced labour from Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
 

sgtharper

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"Cover up"? I read about this years ago, the fact that the supposed German gun-battery at Pointe-Du- Hoc was found to be unoccupied has been known for years, it even features in The Longest Day (film and book) for God's sake. :rolleyes:
 

jmcc

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Reading the book atm. It looks like Maisy was quite a substantial installation.
 

toconn

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"Cover up"? I read about this years ago, the fact that the supposed German gun-battery at Pointe-Du- Hoc was found to be unoccupied has been known for years, it even features in The Longest Day (film and book) for God's sake. :rolleyes:
Indeed , standard knowledge for years !
 

friendlyfire

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"Cover up"? I read about this years ago, the fact that the supposed German gun-battery at Pointe-Du- Hoc was found to be unoccupied has been known for years, it even features in The Longest Day (film and book) for God's sake. :rolleyes:
Have you read the book in the OP yet sarge?

One must remember that I was researching this at a time when the sixty-year secrecy laws were still in force and 1944 records had not been released. In contemporary accounts of the events errors have crept in, for example, in one of Stephen Ambrose’s books on D-Day he states that the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc are 300ft high. To the casual reader this simple mistake could make the whole cliff assault a much harder proposition – in reality the cliffs are near to 100ft high. There is no mention of the 5th Battalion of the Rangers in the film Saving Private Ryan, for example. It was the 2nd Battalion shown getting off the beach, yet the 5th Battalion were instrumental in the break-out from Omaha Beach, as you will read later. Antony Beevor’s best-selling book, D-Day, the Battle for Normandy, makes no mention of Maisy at all, but quotes in graphic detail virtually every action in Normandy. So why are so many books missing the Maisy Battery?
The above quote is from the book, do you disagree with his review of bestselling authors covering WW2 no mention of the Maisy Battery?

You have brought up Cornelius Ryan well this what Gary Sterne has written in his book....
Perhaps is it also that in most other books attention has been focused on the activities of the Rangers on Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc – after all why would authors consider a gun battery elsewhere down the coast to be of interest. The big-selling, widely acclaimed books don’t mention Maisy, so why should other authors?
Perhaps it is a mixture of the two, who knows for sure. I do however commend Cornelius Ryan for his research undertaken in the 1950s, which I have seen and it is superb. He did know Maisy existed, but the remit for his work, The Longest Day, only extended to 6 June 1944 – D-Day. Had he been able to cover other Ranger activities over a longer period, I am 100 per cent sure he would have written about Maisy.
It was 54 years before the Maisy Battery was discovered by chance,substantial D-Day files remained TOP SECRET information keep away from the public.Military blunders would be kept from the public record for as long as possible,in my view I think that the Maisy Battery should have been "Target No1" at Omaha beach. For the Battery to have fired on the beach for three days is a massive blunder no matter what way it is dressed up.The cover-up didn't happen by chance,Sterne has written a true account with factual historical information.
 

Trainwreck

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NEWS HEADLINE:

MAJOR MILITARY OPERATION DOESN'T GO EXACTLY TO PLAN
Story on page 5.
 


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