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.
Today where are leaving Carentan and our lovely stay at the B&B . If you want to see the landing beaches and the Airborne landings this is one of the best options as you are in the center where the actions has been taking place. Nancy is running a great B&B and even makes her own bread, jam, yoghurt (I wonder what she does not make by her own). The rooms are great and large.
Carentan bailey bridge
CarentanThe nature around Carentan is very nice especially if you like Oysters. One road you should drive during dusk is the small road to left side of the river Diver to the ‘Parc Naturel Regional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin’. Just out of Carentan you cross a side arm of the river on a original Bailey bridge. At the end of the long road you can see the sun going down in the see.
In the harbor of Carentan lies an original Landing Craft (PA30-4).
Carentan landing craft
Off we go to Clecy near Caen (and the Falaise pocket)
The battle did not go as planned for the Allies, instead dragging on for two months, because German forces devoted most of their reserves to holding Caen, particularly their badly-needed armor reserves.The old city of Caen—with many buildings dating back to the Middle Ages—was largely destroyed by Allied bombing and the fighting. The reconstruction of Caen lasted until 1962. Today, little of the pre-war city remains.
On Gold Beach in Normandy, the situation of Arromanches-les-Bains was particular : the beach was embedded between two twenty meters height cliffs, where the defences had been built by the Germans. At 7:30 a. m, on 6 June 1944, the British troops – the 1st Hampshire and the 1st Dorset – landed eastward from Arromanches, in Le Hamel, without artillery support.
In this area the fortifications of the beach were built up with two strong points : the WN 36 and the WN 37. In a short time the 1st Hampshire lost three commander-in-chief facing WN 37. The breakthrough was achieved in the afternoon with the landing of tanks and reinforcements. Vehicles and infantry quickly moved inland. A company of New-Hampshire liberated Saint-Côme-de-Fresné, after heavy shelling of open sea anchored battleships. The British entered in Arromanches-les-Bains in the evening around 9:00 p. m.
Arromanches beach front. Click to enlarge