SAINTE-MÈRE-ÉGLISE Manche - 12 km north of Carentan
The 82nd Airborne Division took the Germans
by surprise
The drooping of parachutists troops on the back of the Atlantic Wall in the night of 6 June 1944 should gain a strategic advantage to make the landing of the Allied forces successful. The aircrafts that carried the men of the 82nd American Airborne Division underwent a violent fire from the German Flak when they approached the western coast of Cotentin; some aircrafts were damaged and others slightly scattered. Around 1:00 a. m. a house was burning and the alarm bell rang, people of Sainte-Mère-Église attempted to put out the fire. The first parachutists fell on the town in a total chaos. Population sheltered in their houses and the Germans shot several parachutists. Outside the town Lieutenant-colonel Krause who commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 505th Pachutist Infantry Regiment gathered 158 men. The American encircled the town and captured Sainte-Mère-Église at dawn, they made about thirty prisonners.
 
     
 
 
 
Airborne troops Museum 
The museum is situated in a park and consists of two vast buildings. The first one represents a parachute shape and houses a glider, and show cases with weapons and equipment. A film recalls the fighting from 5 to 6 June 1944. In the second building you can see a transport aircraft Douglas C47, uniforms and historic objects, you can view another historic film. Outside a Sherman tank and guns are exposed.

 
  82nd Airborne plaque  
Plaque dedicated to four parachutists of the 505th Parachutist Infantry Regiment - Company C - killed there on 6 June 1944.
Situation : in the town center, Cayenne street
  American Sherman tank
The American Sherman tank M4 made up the main equipment of the Allied armoured divisions; it was armed with a 75 mm gun and steered by a four men crew. 

Situation : in the
Airborne troops Museum  park
 
    505th Parachute Infantry Regiment stele
Stele commemorating the action of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division who liberated Sainte-Mère-Église on 6 June 1944 at 4:30 a. m..
Situation : at the southern gate of the town

  Ridgway/Gavin stele
Stele honoring Generals Ridgway and Gavin and all the liberators of Sainte-Mère-Église.
Situation : in front of the town hall
  82nd Airborne stained glass window
Two stained glass window commemorate the liberation of the town on 6 June 1944 by the 82nd Airborne Division. A para dummy hangs on the bell tower and remembers the story of American parachutist John Steele.

Situation :
in front of the town hall
  Liberty milestone
The 0 kilometer milestone lines the Liberty road, it commemorates Sainte-Mère-Église as the first liberated town in Europe on 5 and 6 June 1944.
Situation : in front of the town hall
 
  La Londe airfield stele
Stele remembering that an airfield was built there (used from 12 June to 26 July 1944) by the 552nd AAA AW Battalion under Colonel Benjamin M. Warfield.
Situation : 2 km north from Sainte-Mère-Eglise, at the edge of D17 road toward Beuzeville-au-Plain
   
    War cemeteries monuments
Thee monuments mark the places of temporary American War cemeteries in the area of Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
Situation : in the town center near the sports ground, at the exit of the town at the edge of the D67 road toward Chef-du-Pont, south of the town at the edge of D70 road, the crossroads next to the freeway
  Liberation boards
A tour in the town is marked with fifteen historic boards that tell about the story of the liberation of Sainte-Mère-Eglise on 6 June 1944 by the American parachutists.

Situation : in the town center, in the north and the east


    Liberation monument
Monument commemorating the liberation of Sainte-Mère-Eglise on 6 June 1944 by the 82nd and 101st American Airborne Divisions.

Situation : on the main place
   
ROAD MAP
 
INTERESTING WEB SITES
US Army official web site about technical units of D-day
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/reference/Normandy/TS/index.htm
Personal web site about the 82nd Airborne Division
http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/5340/division/campaigns/france.html

Page of US Army official web site about units of D-day
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/reference/normandy/UnitList.htm
Web page about the naval forces of D-day
http://www.naval-history.net/WW2194406.htm

Personal web site about the Atlantic Wall in the Cotentin
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/batteries.du.cotentin/index.html
Sainte-Mère-Église tourism office web site
http://www.sainte-mere-eglise.info/
 
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