Sign-Posted Battlefield Exploration

The French aren't noted for being the best at signposting things. In the pre-Sat Nav era it was not uncommon for visitors to be following road signs towards their destination, only for the signs to suddenly just stop - often, it seemed, just as the traveller arrived at a three-way junction. However, in Normandy there are eight chronolgical routes which are well signposted and guide visitors on a detailed Sign-posted Overlord battlefield routesjourney around the key events in the timeline of Operation Overlord - from the landings on 6th June 1944 to the closing of the Falaise Pocket in August.

The colour-coded map show here shows the different routes and some of the stops along the way (clock on the map to enlarge). The routes themselves are also adorned with numerous tall, blue panels known as "Totems". The totems have an overview of the route in question on one side with some French and English text on the other, explaining the significance of that particular site or area. Some of the totems are also "Géo Points" at which visitors can use smartphones or tablets to get additional information. You can read more about these on our Digital D-Day page.

Below we give a quick summary of each of the suggested eight routes. For each route there is a link to download a .gpx file which can be imported into certain navigation devices. At the bottom of the page is a larger version of the thumbnail map, which may be useful if you want to print this page to accompany your visit. You can also click here to download a PDF version of the map.



The Eight Routes

Overlord - The Assault

Overlord - The Assault

Overlord l'Assaut  Yellow Route: Overlord - The Assault

This route concentrates on the British and Canadian sectors and the activities of D-Day itself, including the airborne assault.


   Route length - 117km

   Approximate Duration - 5 hours

   Download GPX file
D-Day - The Onslaught

D-Day - The Onslaught

D-Day Le Choc  Purple Route: D-Day - The Onsalught

This route focuses on the American landings at Omaha Beach, along with the captures Carentan and St Lô.


   Route length - 120km

   Approximate Duration - 6 hours

   Download GPX file
Objective - A Port

Objective - A Port

Objectif un Port  Orange Route: Objective - A Port

Concentrating on the American landings at Utah Beach and the airborne assault, this route follows the mission to capture Cherbourg.


   Route length - 101km

   Approximate Duration - 5 hours

   Download GPX file
The Confrontation

The Confrontation

L'Affrontement  Light Green Route: The Confrontation

Starting from Bénouville this route looks at the stalemate around Caen and southward advance to consolidate the beachead.


   Route length - 121km

   Approximate Duration - 6 hours

   Download GPX file
Cobra - The Breakout

Cobra - The Breakout

Cobra La Percée  Dark Green Route: Cobra - The Breakout

This route follows General Bradley's attack southwards down the Cotentin peninsula pushing the Germans back towards Brittany.


   Route length - 209km

   Approximate Duration - 6 hours

   GPX Not Available
The Counter-Attack

The Counter-Attack

Le Contre-Attaque  Red Route: The Counter-Attack

The route takes in locations around the German counter attack at Mortain following the American breakout at Avranches.


   Route length - 197km

   Approximate Duration - 6 hours

   Download GPX file
The Encirclement

The Encirclement

L'Encerclement  Brown Route: The Encirclement

From Alençon to l'Aigle this route helps visitis understand how the Falaise Pocket was closed from the south, trapping the fleeing Germans.


   Route length - 145km

   Approximate Duration - 6 hours

   Download GPX file
The Outcome

The Outcome

Le Dénouement  Blue Route: The Outcome

This route deals with the decisive battle around the Falaise, the closing of the pocket and the final defeat of the German army in Normandy.


   Route length - 126km

   Approximate Duration - 5 hours

   Download GPX file


Overview Map

Overview of the sign-posted battlefield routes in Normandy
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