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Posted on Jul 7, 2004 in War College

The Invasion of Normandy: Cherbourg Part II

By Shane Sohnle

Street Scene
Mitchell Jamieson #V-76
Pen & wash, circa 1944

Napoleon and the GI – Cherbourg
Mitchell Jamieson #238a
Ink & wash, 1944

The statue of Napoleon on the Cherbourg waterfront presided over the incessant unloading of supplies via amphibious DUKW "ducks" by African-American troops of the U.S. Army. Napoleon is pointing towards England and the inscription on the base says, "I resolve to rival at Cherbourg the marvels of Egypt." Actually, the Germans with their slave labor from all over Europe and their massive concrete defensive structures came closer to this goal than did Bonaparte.


Cherbourg, July 4, 1944
Dwight Shepler # 154
Watercolor, 1944

The first note of a gaiety in a grim month of fighting was a concert by the Cherbourg band on July 4, 1944, in the slightly battered Place de la Republique. An army sound truck announced the event throughout the liberated town, and the battled-dazed populace flocked to the scene, putting on the bright clothes they somehow had saved for such an event. Some of the spectators were just returning to town with their goods and chattels after flight to the outskirts during the siege. The program concluded with "The Star Spangled Banner," "God Save the King" and the "Marseillaise."

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