Dog One

From west to east, the five beach exits (draws) off of Omaha Beach were identified as:

  • Dog One (D-1, Vierville)
  • Dog Three (D-3, Les Moulins)
  • Easy One (E-1, St. Laurent)
  • Easy Three (E-3, Colleville)
  • Fox One (F-1, Cabourg)

As the most obvious points at which an attacker would have to pass through, the draws were heavily defended. Dog One was defended by Widerstandsnester (resistance nest) 70, 71, 72 and 73, and the paved road that passed through the draw and on to the village of Vierville was blocked by two overlapping six feet thick concrete walls designed to stop vehicular traffic.

Although the original D-Day invasion plans had called for direct infantry attacks upon the draws so that troops and equipment could be quickly moved inland, the German resistance nests made this virtually impossible, especially at Dog One, where soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division had been slaughtered after landing across from the draw.

Around noon USS McCook, USS Thompson and USS Texas began shelling Dog One. This brief but intense fire demoralized the Dog One defenders and many of them surrendered quickly. Forces that had made it to Vierville via the bluffs moved in to take the Germans prisoner.

The walls blocking Dog One were destroyed around 3:00 p.m. by the 121st Engineer Combat Battalion of the 29th Division. Ten cases of TNT were used to blow up the walls.

Fact vs. Fiction

The depiction of Dog One in the film is not accurate, as Miller and his men attack through and clear what appears to be a footpath/stairs, and not a road, and the real Dog One exit was not cleared by a Ranger unit (or any infantry unit at that time).

This discrepancy may have been in part due to the environmental damage that would have resulted from the construction of a road similar to that present at Dog One. The beach at Curracloe, Ireland was a protected area that the Saving Private Ryan production crew had to return to its original condition once filming was complete. Carving a road into the beach's bluff may have been more than local Irish officials were willing to allow.