Securing the guns at the top of the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc was considered to be a primary objective of the Allies on D-Day. From the top of the 100 ft cliffs, the Germans had a distinct advantage. With commanding views of both Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east the Allies considered it a key defensive stronghold which had to be taken out. German long-range artillery on the point could direct deadly fire onto either of the American landing beaches The 2nd Ranger Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel James E. Rudder was given the mission of taking out the guns at the top of the cliffs.
The blockhouses on Pointe du Hoc were 50 ft by 50 ft requiring almost 2,000 cubic feet of concrete and 40 tons of metal.
155mm gun barrel
These guns were made in France weighing 14 tons each and with a range of over 12 miles.
The men of D,E, and F Companies succeeded in achieving the incredible task of of scaling the cliffs within minutes of landing despite the very slippery rock face, ropes heavy with sea water and the fire of defending troops.
After scaling the cliffs the Rangers faced a deadly fight. Isolated on Ponte du Hoc, deprived of reinforcements, and facing a powerful German counter-offensive, Rangers took cover in the bomb craters left by the Allied bombings of May and June.
View from top of the cliff