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History

The battle at Maisy was strategically important during the D-day landings.  It was a battle which helped secure the foothold gained by the landings.

To quote the Top Secret British Cabinet meeting of July 1944… “Maisy was the only gun battery still offering resistance to the invasion and it was still firing at us on the 9th of June.”

It was the US Army Rangers job to stop that firing and they did so under fire and under extreme conditions. There was a 5 hour battle… smoke, bullets and explosions and devastation everywhere. Rangers were wounded but their bravery and the mission they undertook had never been discussed before – until the site was re-opened.

But re-open it did. The opening in 2006 was welcomed by the local towns people of Grandcamp and Maisy. It was attended by a large number of French, American and German dignatories.

Not to mention the return to Normandy for the ceremony of 3 WWII Ranger veterans. Jack Burke, James Gabaree and Daniel Farley…. all men from A Company of the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion – who landed at Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944.

The opening of the site in 2006 was welcomed by the local towns people of Grandcamp and Maisy. It was attended by a large number of French, American and German dignitaries. Not to mention the return to Normandy for the ceremony of 3 WWII Ranger veterans – Jack Burke, James Gabaree and Daniel Farley…. all men from A Company 5th Rangers who landed on Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944.

Please click on an image to enlarge it.  All images are © Gary Sterne

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We are also very honoured to have the monument to the Groupes Lourds (French heavy bomber unit) on the site. They bombed the Maisy Batteries on the evening of the 5th of June 1944 and it was in fact one of the first times in WWII that the French had bombed German positions in their homeland.

Each year we welcome back some of the veterans of this unit. We shortly add more information about this unit on the website.

We are delighted to see the ever increasing number of German Army (Bundeswehr) officers and men each year. Many have visited Maisy on a number of occasions and use their visits to study the military significance of the site as an education tool.

Three years ago we found the body of a German officer still lying in the trench where he had fallen.  His body was re-buried with full military honours by the German Ambassador to France in 2009 at the La Cambe cemetery.

His identity tags state that he was an officer in the 1716th Artillery – a unit who were stationed at Maisy on D-day.

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Maisy Battery is a big place…. it is a significant position in the defence of Normandy and it is emotive.

Once a school visits the site they always come back – year on year.  Tour guides visit once and then add Maisy to their tour programme every time.

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If you would like to take part in one of our “One Direction” guided tours of the area from Omaha to Maisy – or just of the site on its own – then please contact us.  We will be happy to help in any way we can.

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We would like to add our deepest thanks to our friends Jim Gabaree, Jack Burke, Dan Farley and all the US Ranger veterans. Without their support for our work, it is quite possible that it would not have happened. In reality what they did for us cannot be measured in words – but a personal thank you goes out to them.

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Over the years we have had the honour of meeting many of the surviving Ranger veterans.

We have never failed to be amazed by their strength of character and their dedication to preserving the Ranger traditions and history.

Their clarity of purpose and training during WWII enabled us all to exercise the freedoms we have today and we will continue those values on their behalf.

In conjunction with the Normandy Ranger Veterans Association we will strive to promote and educate people on the  actions and history of the WWII Ranger battalions in Normandy.

Maisy is a historic place… in so many ways it touched a huge number of people – from the pilots who were shot down by the AA guns… others who risked their lives to bomb it from above. The Navy men shooting at it, soldiers landing on the beaches in front of its guns on the beaches – all the way up to the US paratroopers who landed on the site by accident on the morning of D-day and who tried unsuccessfully to fight their way out. The US Rangers who were given the task of taking the site on the 9th of June 1944 – and even the local people who lives under the German occupation of their houses and land.

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A special thank you goes to my good friend John Chatel who passed away recently. His help and enthusiasm for the work at Maisy was a great inspiration to us and his participation in the project over many years was invaluable. He is sadly missed.Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 18.07.33

To Mr Stephen Spielberg….. Sir, when you think of making  Saving Private Ryan, part II – remember, the true stories about the Rangers in Normandy are far more exciting that the fictional ones !

The story has yet to be told in full about the battle for Maisy and events surrounding the Rangers missions for D-day…  In time it will be, and another book is being written right now which covers this historic time.

It is going to be a book of further surprises for historians around the world.  Watch this space…

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