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Sainte Mère Eglise


Sainte-Mère-Eglise and its surroundings are a strategic area along the national road 13 connecting Cherbourg to Paris, at the cross of 5 departmental roads. On the night of 5 to 6 of June, 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division had some difficulties to blow up the bridges over the moat and establish the line of defense as it was planned. Flooding marshes was a real obstacle. Sainte-Mère-Eglise was a lock, an important crossroad to take and hold to then cut the Cotentin and avoid the German reinforcements arrive to Cherbourg, objective key of the beaches landing: it is the only deep-sea port able to receive refueling for the Battle of Normandy. Utah Beach and Omaha Beach were both taken by American soldiers. Gold and Swords beaches were both under British control, and Juno Beach, was taken by the Canadian army.


During this landing in Normandy, about thirty men landed in the town of Ste Mère Eglise, twenty between them on the church square. An important fire exchange took place, but at 4 o'clock in the morning, the American flag was hoisting on the town hall. Two German counter-attacks took place the next day at the entrances to the city. US forces were tested then but they held up well. The parachutists aimed to defend several bridges, notably at La Fière and Chef-du-Pont. From 7 June at noon, troops disembarked at Utah Beach reinforced the landed troops.


Distance : 93 km