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"Roads in Normandy? Terrain? Modeling" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Tgunner09 Jun 2019 12:06 p.m. PST

Ok, here's an odd one. What was the road network like in Normandy in '44? I would imagine that paved roads, like the old two laned ones you see in the country now in the US, were pretty rare and only connected major towns and villages. The countryside roads- were they graveled? Just bare ground tracks? Perhaps wide enough for a single cart/vehicle to drive down? Maybe like the old cart tracks in the US countryside that are sunken? (like the Sunken Road on the Shiloh Battlefield in Tennessee?) Were these roads tree lined?

Are there any good sources on the web for this? Perhaps books? I want to do Flames of War for the Summer of '44 and have realized just how little I really know about Normandy!


UshCha09 Jun 2019 1:19 p.m. PST

Just get street view doubt it has changed much. Heres on I looked at. get down to street view.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2019 1:34 p.m. PST

Tgunner, if you google "WW2 Normandy photos" you can pick out shots of the 1944 countryside. Lots of unpaved, tree or hedge-lined and narrow--as in tanks could not pass each other, and good luck with jeeps. But judge for yourself.

I think UshCha is probably right in the towns and villages, but not necessarily between them.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2019 3:31 p.m. PST

I believe a lot of them were dirt roads still. Some, more major ones were graveled, especially near towns.

A few were "metaled" or had cobblestones, again, in and near towns and villages.

Swampster09 Jun 2019 3:45 p.m. PST

A previous thread in 2015 came up with this link link

Most of the roads shown have some kind of paving though it looks like they are often without tarmac (asphalt). The surface is close packed stones on a proper bed, so more than just gravel and certainly better than bare ground tracks – though there is at least one of those shown.

The road in UshCha's link seems to be paved but without tarmac. The central strip of grass has also happened to various roads near where I live, even though they have tarmac. When horses were more commonly used, this central strip was less likely to develop as the horses kept it clear.

The road sides depended on which bit of Normandy. The west and south in particular had a lot of tall banked hedgerows. Over by Caen, the area is much more open – some roads have comparatively sparse hedges or tree lines, but many have no boundary between road and field, or between fields. This is very common across France and many other areas of Europe.

Period maps show two grades of road, some of which are unpaved. From what I've compared to modern maps, these are generally what have become farm tracks – no or little prepared surface but something which can be followed and which have gates and small bridges as needed.

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