Mulberry harbour at Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, France
On this shore, history was made
As the sun sets on a beach in Normandy, France, what appear to be working barges and boats offshore are actually the remnants of a Mulberry harbour, one of the temporary portable harbors created by the Allies during World War II. Their story began 77 years ago today, on D-Day, when the first of the Allied troops touched down on the Nazi-occupied beaches at Normandy. After the Allies successfully held the beachheads, the Mulberries were towed into place so the artificial harbors could provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain the effort to drive the Germans out of France.
Two Mulberry harbours were built for D-Day. The one known as Mulberry A was constructed off Omaha Beach to aid US forces. Mulberry B was built here, off Gold Beach at Arromanches, to supply British and Canadian troops. Mulberry A was destroyed in a storm just a few days after it was built, but Mulberry B was operational for 10 months after the landings, providing crucial infrastructure to the Allied operation. The innovative feat of military engineering enabled the largest seaborne invasion in history, which in turn laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.