Carentan

carentan center signFour major highways and a railroad converged in the city of Carentan to make it one of the strategic points to link the 2 beachheads Omaha and Utah. 5 days of fear fighting made Carentan a difficult objective to meet. On June 13th the Germans counter attacked Carentan in which the 506th held there positions just long enough to let the American tanks stop the attack. This part is seen in the episode of ‘Band of Brothers’
 
 
Carentan was defended by the 6th Parachute Regiment, two Ost battalions and remnants of other German forces. The 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division, ordered to reinforce Carentan, was delayed by transport shortages and attacks by Alliedaircraft. The attacking 101st Airborne Division, landed by parachute on 6 June as part of the American airborne landings in Normandy, was ordered to seize Carentan..
 
In the ensuing battle, the 101st forced passage across the causeway into Carentan on 10 and 11 June. A lack of ammunition forced the German forces to withdraw on 12 June.
 
 
Carentan
GI´s pointing to a sign post at the center of Carentan. Click to enlarge
 
When the 101st Airborne entered the town of Carentan on June 12, 1944 (D-Day + 6) after heavy fighting on the two previous days, they met relatively light resistance. The bulk of the surviving German defenders (from the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment) had withdrawn to the southwest the previous night after a heavy Allied naval and artillery bombardment. Both sides realized the importance of the city: for the Americans, it was a link between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, and would provide a base for further attacks deeper into German-occupied France. For the Germans, recapturing Carentan would be the first step towards driving a wedge between the two U.S. landing beaches, severely disrupting and possibly even destroying the Allied invasion.
 
 
 
Carentan
Just before the crossing, which does not exist anymore of the railway. Click to enlarge
 
 
 
 
The railway of Carentan now has more protection due to the high-speed trains crossing the town. The roads leading to the crossing of the railroad now has dead ends. See my blog entry about Carentan



Carentan
Carentan railway station. Click to enlarge
 
 
Carentan
Street leading up to the railway crossing. Click to enlarge
 
The 17th SS PzG Division counter-attacked the 101st Airborne on 13 June. Initially successful, its attack was thrown back by Combat Command A (CCA) of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division.
The severe casualties suffered by the 3rd/502d PIR, estimated at 67% of the original force,[10] resulted in the nickname "Purple Heart Lane" applied to that portion of the Carentan-Sainte-Mère-Église highway
 
Carentan 101th airborne at town hall
Carentan 101th airborne in fornt of town hall. Click to enlarge