D-Day Experience (Dead Man's Corner)

Parking

There is a large free car behind the museum. At busy times the vehicles also park along the roadside.

Toilets

There are well-maintained toilets in the black building next to the gift shop.

Gift Shop

There is a large gift shop in the black building, and an excellent militaria shop in the old building.

Located near Saint-Côme-du-Mont, the older of the buildings at the museum and the land upon which it sits has as much historical significance as the artefacts displayed within. On the night of 6th June 1944 it was occupied by German paratroopers or Fallschirmjäger. The term "Dead Man's Corner" derives from an event which took place on 8th June when an American Stuart tank was knocked out on the intersection outside building. The tank commander, Lt. Walter T. Anderson, tried in vain to escape and sadly died as he was half out of the tank's turret hatch. The body remained slumped in that position for several days and the tank was used as a point of reference for other American soldiers - "the corner with the dead man" or "dead man's corner".

Co-founded in 2004 by Belgian Michel de Trez, a man with a passionate interest American airborne forces and author of some very detailed (and expensive) books on the subject, the D-day Experience is perhaps the most dynamic museum in the region. It began as a small exhibition with a couple of life-sized dioramas and a limited amount of US Airborne exhibits, plus the best shop of all the Normandy museums. It has expanded considerably since 2015 and continues to be developed with a new structure housing both the main collection of exhibits, much increased, along with a unique flight simulator incorporated into the fuselage of a genuine C-47 aircraft.

Visitors are first greeted with some rare and impressive items from the airborne forces, including uniforms, weapons and personal items along with multimedia displays. Fans of the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" starring Damien Lewis will recognise many of the names of the men whose possessions sit behind the glass. Serious attention to detail was paid when designing the interior of the museum, right down to the style of the descriptions of the items on display. The interior of the upstairs section has been finished in olive drab and is designed to resemble the inside of a C-47 aircraft.

The main attraction at the D-Day Experience, however, is 'Stoy Hora' - a C-47 in the colours of an aircraft that carried members of the 101st Airborne Division to Drop Zone D (the "Bloody DZ") as part of Operation Neptune. This aircraft has been partly restored and partly converted into what is probably the most unique flight simulator in the world. After being briefed by a 3D hologram of an actor dressed as Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, visitors are taken aboard the 'Stoy Hora' and instructed to strap in. What follows is an amazing seven minutes of a simulated take off and flight, from an airfield in England to the flak-filled skies above 1944 Normandy. This really is an amazing piece of work by the museum team, and should be on everyone's "to do" list when visiting the D-day beaches.

After the flight simulator, visitors disembark and carry on with the rest of the museum's exhibits. These are well laid out with bi-lingual descriptions. Another highlight is the jeep inside a section of Waco CG-4 glider that has been stripped of it's canvas skin to reveal every support strut and control cable- revealing both the complexity and fragility of these flying machines.

The shop at Dead Man's Corner deserves special mention. There is, understandably, an airborne feel to the items in the regular gift shop but there are a lot of interesting (and expensive) items here which don't generally appear in the other museum shops around the Normandy. The gift shop is situated inside the hangar building, but visitors should make a point of visiting the other one inside the house. It is a place quite unlike anything else in Normandy and is accessible without having to pay to enter the museum itself. Here shoppers will find literally hundreds of items particularly geared towards the re-enactor community, but as well as reproduction uniforms and all manner other equipment there are glass cases full of genuine antique knives, patches, documents, rations and other personal items. Following a lottery win, this would be one of our first places to visit.

As part of the new expansion, a large fully paved car park is now available, and there are well kept toilets inside the hangar building. Visitors should also make sure they check out the 'Belgian Gate' and German 88mm on display outside between the two buildings.

As the museum continues its journey of development, 2019 will see the addition of a 4K movie theatre. We are very excited about the film that the museum will be producing.

For those who are interested, these two excellent videos give a little more insight into the work behind the new D-Day Experience:
Video 1  
Video 2  
Video 3


Updated: July 2016


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