(At the bottom of this page, two trips)
On the coming pages you find the next part of the battle for
Normandy. It’s the logical sequel to ‘Operation Overlord’, June 6, 1944. If you have not visited those
pages, I recommend, you visit these first, starting at the
On this homepage you make a tour along the beaches and the objects who are still there, that reminds us
of the ‘day of days’.
On the coming pages the battle continues to close of the Cotentin and the march towards
Cherbourg. Later there will be something on te battle for Caen, Operation Cobra The breakout tot eh south by
the American troops), and pages on the surrounding of the German troop in the so called ‘Falaise Pocket’.
CARENTAN IS TAKEN
Carentan was one of the more important points that had to be taken. This town lay at the crossroads
towards Insigny-sur-Mer and Omaha Beach. The attack on Carentan came from the northwest across the bridges
from LaCroix Pan to Carentan. The last bridge was the most heavy defended by the Germans.
Lt.Col. Cole, commander of the 3rd Battalion,
502nd PIR, 101st Airborne Divison, decides the most orthodox method for an attack on the bridge.
On June 11 he tells his men to fix bayonets on their rifles, and after a whistle blow, the men storm
the bridge. The bridge was taken, and the paratroopers consolidated at a farm a couple of hundred yards
to the right of the bridge.
Reinforcements from the 1st Battalion follows the 3rd Battalion, and secures the area. From the north
327 Glider and the 1st Battalion 401 Glider, and parts of the
501st PIR of the 101st Division on the eastern side of Carentan.
An M7 Priest from the 14th Armored Field
Artillery Battalion, 2nd Armored Division
moves thru Rue Holgate, Carentan, June 18, 1944
(The railroad crossing has since been removed)
Lt.Col Cole had the idea to take Hill 30, near the village of Billonnerie, south of Carentan.
But after the bayonet attack by the 3rd Battalion, it was out of the question, the men were exhausted.
1st Battalion went ahead. On June 12 the attack was continued from the west and east of Carentan.
From the west units of the 506th PIR attacked the town (later reenacted for the HBO TV-series 'Band of Brothers').
The bridge where Lt.Col. Cole his bayonet attack ordered, and awarded him a Medal of Honor, is
no longer there. The small Madeleine creek has been moved a bit with a bent for the new roundabout.
On the spot of the bridge, is now the roundabout with the route from Carentan towards
St-Côme-du-Mont. To see the farm where the men after the bayonet attack took refuge, can be found
after taking the third exit on the roundabout from Carentan (head for the southwestern industrial area)
The farm is on the left, some hundred yards from the roundabout. There is a marker near the house
(with a mention, there was another bayonet attack on a cabbage field from the house?).
The farm where Lt.Col. Cole
and his men consolidated
Despite some heavy counter attacks by the Germans on Carentan, the town stayed in hands
of the 101st Airborne. On June 12 the first contact was made with troops of 29th Infantry Division from Omaha Beach. On June 13 also units of the 2nd Armored Division in Carentan and the connection between Utah and Omaha was a fact.
Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor
(on the back) speaks to his men how proud he is.
The picture above is of interest. The picture is was taken on June 20 1944 on the place du Valnoble
in Carentan and shows the back of Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor who speaks to his men. In front of him we
see the men who were awarded for their efforts from June 6 onwards. From left to right:
Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, 101st Artillery ,
LTC Julian L. Ewell, 501st PIR, Lt. George Craft, G/502nd PIR, T/4 ?, 327th GIR, T/5 Robert E. Wright, Medic,
501st PIR, (unknown), Pvt Walter H. Sanderson, D/502nd PIR (later KIA), Pvt. David C. Gifford, D/502nd PIR
(later KIA), S/Sgt Bruno E Schroeder, HQ/506th PIR, S/Sgt Harry A. Clawson, H/506th PIR (later KIA),
S/Sgt Frederic A. Bahlau,
On July 14, 1944, civilians and GI’s
lay flowers on place de La République
Below you can chose from two routes to the north of the Cotentin.
Click on the map, and you will be brought to the route of your chose.
The first, the one towards the
northwest of the Cotentin, is the longest, 180 km long.
The second daytrip, to the northeast, is around 150 km.
Both trips start from Ste.Mère-Eglise.
(You are free to chose which trip you prefer.)