Wooden Ramps

wooden ramps

Among the many defensive constructions that littered the beaches on the Normandy coast were wooden ramps that were designed to destroy incoming landing craft.

The ramps were a simple design that consisted of wooden logs arranged so that the longer of the logs was angled upwards and supported by two (and sometimes four) shorter logs.

Pointed towards the beach, this configuration would flip over small craft and send their occupants into the cold water of the English Channel. Although mines were sometimes added to the tip of the longer log, exposure to salt water often corroded these explosives and they were not as effective as originally planned.

Fact vs. Fiction

The production team on Saving Private Ryan mistakenly placed most of the wooden ramps facing towards the sea instead of towards the beach. Although such a placement would probably have had some kind of negative effect on incoming forces, this was not historically accurate and did not represent how the Germans deployed the wooden ramps.

A few of the ramps are placed accurately, however, as can be seen in the scenes depicting the dead Sean Ryan on Omaha Beach and the later D-Day +3 scenes, which show a long shot of the beach with ramps facing in both directions. Some sources indicate that the ramps were all placed in the wrong direction initially, and that as many as possible were switched once the error was discovered.


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