Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken


A Mulberry Harbour was a British designed temporary harbour developed during World War II to offload cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy. Two prefabricated or artificial military harbours were taken across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army. The harbour was towed across in sections and then assembled off the coast of Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of France in 1944.

3 days after D-Day two harbours codenamed Mulberry “A” and “B” were constructed at Omaha Beach and Arromanches, respectively. The one shown here is part of the harbour at Arromanches. However, a large storm on 19 June destroyed the American harbour at Omaha, leaving only the British harbour operating. The Arromanches harbour saw heavy use for 8 months – despite being designed to last only 3 months. In the 10 months after D-Day, it was used to land approximately 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tonnes of supplies. Thus providing much-needed reinforcements in France. In response to this longer than planned use the Phoenix breakwater was reinforced with the addition of extra specially strengthened caisson

The Royal Engineers built a complete Mulberry harbour out of 600,000 tons of concrete between 33 jetties, and had 10 miles (15 km) of floating roadways to land men and vehicles on the beach. The harbour at Arromanches is commonly upheld as one of the best examples of military engineering. Its remains are still visible today from the beaches at Arromanches. Another section of it remains embedded in the sand in the Thames Estuary, accessible at low tide, about 1,000 m off the coast of the military base at Shoeburyness.

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32 comments

  1. Steve Ransome

    Brilliant Mike. You see, I take a photo and that’s it. You take a photo and see so much more than my eyes do. Says it all really. Well done M8y.

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  2. Robin

    Very very informative. Thanks for sharing this – not just excellent photography but a history lesson thrown in to boot…

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    • Mike Hardisty

      I know they say that a picture paints a thousand words, or something like that. However, sometimes I look at a photograph I have taken and think there must be more than just the image. So one of the things I have always tried to do is give a little background to any photograph I post on WordPress. I just think it adds to the overall photograph when there is some additional information.

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  3. Isabelle

    I’ve been to Omaha beach and “La Pointe du Hoc” but unfortunately I’ve couldn’t go to Arromanches and see it !
    Maybe one day I will go back, that’s quite a shame that’s a such beautiful beachs may have to become a such bloody places because the madness of one men… I always will have lot of respect for all this brave men !

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    • Mike Hardisty

      When I visit the beaches I don’t so much see the horror, it’s only when I go to the cemeteries for the war dead nearby that it truly sinks home

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    • Mike Hardisty

      Thank You. I took this several years ago but never really bothered too much about showing it anywhere. I thought it was just right for this week.

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  5. spidersworkshop

    When I was younger I remember waiting on a French beach waiting for a hovercraft to cross the channel. I remember coming across what I thought were bomb shelters, it was haunting. It may not have been what I imagined, but your photo reminds me of that place, and my Grandfather.

    My grandfather crossed into France towards the end of the war, (he was among the first to arrive at the concentration camps). He doesn’t like to talk about what he saw, and he has just been admitted to hospital because of changes in his behaviour. We can’t know what demons he is revisiting in his mind, and I know how proud and strong he used to be…I must be so hard for him.

    Thanks for your beautiful photo and the information; so that people don’t forget.

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    • Mike Hardisty

      They are so big and made of concrete and steel. When you read about them it amazes me that they could float but I suppose the inside being mostly air helps.

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