The Battle of Normandy
Cotentin is brimming with history. Come and learn about what happened during this great military operation known as Operation Overlord that took place on Tuesday 6th June 1944, thanks to the historic trails, major sites and museums: Utah Beach, the liberated towns and villages, Airborn museum, the German batteries, etc.
At dawn on the 6th June 1944, the Americans landed on the coast of Normandy. They came from the sea, on the east coast of Cotentin, and arrived on Utah Beach. Their goal was to liberate Cotentin as far as Cherbourg, and to bridge the gap between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach.
Sainte-Mère-Eglise and Carentan
Paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were dropped down over Sainte-Mère-Eglise and the Carentan marshland overnight on the 5th June 1944.
Sainte Mère Eglise was very quickly liberated by morning. In the hamlet of La Fière, the 82nd Division seized the bridge over the river Merderet after a relentless battle that lasted 4 days, beating back several counter attacks.
Carentan would only be liberated on the 12th June, after a bloody battle that lasted 6 days and ended with the Lieutenant-Colonel Cole ordering a bayonet charge, to prevent the town from being bombed.
This town at the heart of the flooded marshland was the only access either by road or by train, and was therefore a major strategic location to be able to form one single front between the two landing beaches: Utah Beach in the department of La Manche and Omaha Beach in Calvados.
The Port of Cherbourg
After landing on the east coast of Cotentin, the Allies’ main goal was to liberate Cherbourg, the strategic deepwater port and the biggest port in the world for transporting materials from England and the United States to the troops fighting to liberate France.