Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder, commander of the Provisional Ranger Group consisting of 2nd and 5th US Rangers, set about training his men and developing techniques to get up the hundred-foot-high cliff. Rocket fired grapples, ladders of various types and even free climbing of a similar lose cliff on England’s south coast were practiced.
On D-Day everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Lesser men would have given up, with the force having navigated towards the wrong headland, been continuously under fire as they motored back towards Pointe du Hoc, shipping water in the rough seas, craft sinking and few of the saturated grapples reaching the cliff top. None the less determined Rangers with German infantry hurling grenades down on them struggled up the cliff but the guns were not there.
With the Rangers fanning out across the wrecked battery and into the fields beyond the guns were found in an orchard and destroyed with thermite grenades. Mission accomplished but at 1300 hours there was no sign of the relieving force from Omaha. Colonel Rudder with his radios barely working appealed for help but with a near disaster at Omaha, neither help or relief was forthcoming. Consequently, the 200 Rangers fought on against mounting pressure in an equally epic battle until finally relieved two days later.
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Table of Contents
1 Origins of the US Rangers 9
2 The German Defenders of Normandy 27
3 The D-Day Ranger Plan 55
4 Embarkation and Passage 79
5 Ranger Force B at OMAHA Beach 99
6 Pointe du Hoc: Escalade and Assault 115
7 Ranger Force C at OMAHA Beach 136
8 Finding the Guns and Holding the Pointe 164
9 The Relief Column 190
10 Subsequent Operations 201
Appendix I A Tour of Pointe du Hoc 222
Appendix II A Tour of the Inland Position 226
Appendix III A Visit to OMAHA Beach DOG Sector 228