Four 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..
GI´s pointing to a sign post at the center of Carentan.
Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse is a small town just 10 km west of Caen. The town was captured by 7th Canadian Brigade on 7th June. German Mark V Panthers and Mark IV tanks of the 12th Panzer Division re-took the town again.
‘C’ squadron of the 6th Canandian Armoured Regiment had lost contact with their infantry on D-Day and advanaced through Bretteville with no opposition. Later they withdrew again from Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse. The town was eventually captures by 7th Canadian Brigade on 7th June. German Mark V Panthers and Mark IV tanks re-took the position again.
Crossing at Bretteville. Click to enlarge.
On 6 June 1944 in Normandy, the 3rd British Infantry Division under General Rennie slammed ashore around 7:30 am. The vehicles of the 79th Armoured Division, the engineers and the tanks of the 13/18th Hussars landed on Sword Beach, Queen sector. The special tanks tanks neutralized the fortifications of the beach.
Many of those buried in Hermanville War Cemetery died on 6 June or during the first days of the drive towards Caen.
The cemetery contains 1,003 Second World War burials, 103 of them unidentified.
But when the assault waves arrived on the beaches, some German positions were still offering resistance. At La Brèche d’Hermanville, the 2nd East Yorkshire and the 1st South Lancashire suffered losses facing the German machine-guns. The position – Cod – was a strong bastion, the Germans had reinforced the houses along the coast with concrete and trenches. The Commandos of the 4th Special Service Brigade and the 1st Special Service Brigade were brought with the second wave and moved toward their objectives. The 8th Brigade progressed toward Hermanville-sur-Mer, the town was liberated by the 1st South Lancashire around 9:30 am.
At the Straits of Calais were several gun emplacements that could bombard England. One of the most famous is Batterie Todt. This complex consisted of four huge bunkers (Turm’s) with 380mm Siegfried cannons. Originally intended as a naval artillery guns but were later used as railway artillery.
The barrel of a gun weighed 103 tonnes and had a length of 19 meters. It could shoot a projectile of 490 kg 55 km far. A projectile of 790 kg 53 km. The light projectile(490 kg) took about 33 seconds to reach Dover, the heavier took 9 seconds longer(the difference was over 600 meters in depth and 64 meters laterally).