Under Lt.Col. James E. Rudder, the 225 Rangers had a very special mission to
accomplish at the Pointe du Hoc: capture that fortified postion and neutralize
the 6-guns 155mm battery that was capable of firing on all the approaches to
Omaha and Utah. The layout of the terrain was making this mission particularly
difficult: a 25m-wide strip of beach overlooked by a 30m high cliff that would
have to be climbed.
It was around 0430 hrs that the ten
LCAs and four DUKWs carrying the troops had been lowered from the transport
ships about 20 kilometres off the coast. Each LCA was equipped with rocket-propelled
knotted climbing ropes and rope ladders that would be used to climb the
cliff. Each landing craft was also carrying extending ladders made of
several sections that could be easily assembled to each others while each
DUKW were carrying 110-foot long firemen' ladders.
The attack plan was that, at H-Hour, D Company would land to the west
of the Pointe while E and F Companies would land to the east of it, and
then they would neutralize the battery emplaced on top.
Due to strong tide currents and low
visibility, the british control boat mistook to Pointe de La Perçée
for the objective, 2km to the east. This forced the Rangers to navigate
along the coast under the german fire which sank one of the DUKWs. Previously,
one of the LCA had already sunk in the rough sea near the start line.
This navigation error caused a 40 minutes
delay on the planned schedule and the follow-up Rangers companies, without
any news from Rudder, would be redirected to Omaha Beach.
At 0710 hrs, the 9 remaining LCAs reached
the eastern side on the cliff on a 400m-wide front and the Rangers landed
on the narrow strip of beach. In less than 5 minutes, the first men were
already on top of the cliff and, after regrouping into small squads, they
moved towards their assigned objectives.