The invasion of Italy started with the invasion of Sicily when an ideal platform was created to make the jump to the mainland of Italy (and Europe). It ended until the surrender of German forces in Italy in May 1945. No campaign in Western Europe cost more than the Italian campaign in terms of lives lost and wounds suffered by infantry forces. It is estimated that between September 1943 and April 1945 some 60,000 Allied and 50,000 German soldiers died in Italy.
Photo’s included on the website are photo’s taken during operation Slapstick (Invasion Sicily), opration Avallanche (Salerno), operation Slapstick (Taranto).
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.
This pole marks the landing area of Utah beach. It is the start of the Liberty Road with milestones through France. It is here that Theodore Roosevelt comes to shore with his men. The planned landings should take place at 2km higher at ‘La Grande Dune’ but he ended up at La Madeleine, where there is little resistance.
From 1942 to June 1944, the old fisherman’s hut sheltered by dunes, what is now Roosevelt Café was used for the German Todt organization. Right next to the house was a bunker found by the Germans was used as a communication post. A nice comparison photo is to be made of a former bunker now a restaurant.
The main building became immediately after D-Day the U.S. Army 1st Engineer Special Brigade Communications Group accommodations. Between June and November 1944 the bunker was used as a communications center for the U.S. Navy, who oversaw the traffic between the fleet and the front. The 39 radio operators of the Command Task Group supported the NOIC (Naval Officer In Charge).
From the bunker, which is part of the Restaurant section are dated WW2 photos to find. The side view of the bunker still has two black / white painted windows as on the pictures to see that just after D-Day were taken. Mr. Methivier has made to his life’s work to identify veterans who during WW2 where living in his building . Behind large plexiglass sheets are handwritten messages to see soldiers who left behind their traces here just after D-Day.