The Latest: US Army Rangers recreate D-Day cliff assault

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

U.S. Army Rangers are climbing the jagged cliffs of Normandy's Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them 75 years ago in a valiant D-Day assault.

Elderly veterans looked on Wednesday as members of the 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one, seagulls swooping above them.

They're recreating a journey taken by the U.S. Army's 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions to destroy Nazi guns atop the cliffs. The operation helped prepare the way for Allied troops landing on beaches a few kilometers (miles) up the coast to break Hitler's stranglehold on France.

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later.

Wednesday's event was part of extensive ceremonies in France and Britain marking the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion.

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5:10 a.m.

Queen Elizabeth II is set to join British Prime Minister Theresa May and other world leaders for a ceremony on the southern coast of England that will start two days of commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

More than 300 World War II veterans plan to be at Wednesday's ceremony in Portsmouth to mark the dangerous operation that took Allied troops across the English Channel to land on beaches in German-occupied France.

Also expected are presidents, prime ministers and other representatives of the countries that fought alongside Britain: the U.S., Canada, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also was invited to honor the invasion.

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Follow all the AP's coverage of D-Day at https://apnews.com/WorldWarII

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