Battle of Carentan

The Battle of Carentan was held from 8th to 15th Held in June as part of the Allied Operation Overlord on the French Cotentin Peninsula in the department of Manche in 1944. The town of Carentan located in the hinterland of the beach section of Utah, where the Americans on 6 June ended. She was a key position for the German defenses in Normandy.

Early history

The landings of the VII and V. U.S. Corps at Utah and Omaha beach sections were on the 6th June the 82nd and 101st airborne landings U.S. Airborne Division preceded in the hinterland of the Utah sector between Carentan and Sainte-Mere-Eglise. Their task had been to shield the landings against German flank attacks from troops stationed on the Cotentin Peninsula. Once it was the landing force failed to plan to connect the Utah and Omaha beachheads on Landungstag, the American high command decided on 7 June, bringing about the merger by a concentrated attack of the VII Corps to Carentan and Isigny on V.. The 101 Airborne Division was like taking Carentans set as the only target.

The German-occupied city could very well serve as the starting point of a wedge attack, which could be driven between the V Corps and VII Corps. This had to be prevented by all means to stabilize the beachhead in Normandy. The commander of the 1st U.S. Army General Omar Bradley agreed with the commander of the VII Corps General J. Lawton Collins also agreed that the division needed to be strengthened if they did not succeed in a short time to break through to the units of the Fifth Corps.

The Battle

Than the current commands arrived, was the 101st into fights at St. Come-du-Mont involved. The attack, under the command of Colonel Robert F. Sink the 506th Parachute Infantry was at 04:45 clock on 8 June stated. These four battalion s should be used, on the right flank of the 1st and 2 Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry, in the center the 3rd Battalion on the left flank and the first Battalion of the 401 Glider Infantry.

St. Come-du-Mont

The attack began with barrages on 15 previously foregone German targets. The 3rd Battalion took Droueries and could quickly advance further south. When they reached the road junction east of St. Come-du-Mont, they had come dangerously close to the other two edges. Rapid restructuring was carried out and the first and 2 Battalion was given the task west of St. Come-du-Mont to take defensive positions.

While the 1 Battalion of the 401 Glider Infantry indulged in something that was the 3rd Battalion reached the road to Carentan in the late morning.

The commander of the 3rd Battalion Colonel Julian J. Ewell said to have seen that the Germans were retreating west of St. Come-du-Mont. So he decided, south of the road to take the access roads and bridges. But as his men wanted to rush across the street, they were of German machine gun fire and tank shells received from the houses opposite. From Carentan out they were fired 81mm grenades of mortars. Since they were able to build any radio contact with its own artillery, they moved back to positions east of the road.

On the way, she suddenly stood in the fire of a German counter-attack from the north. Although they could be defeated, but it still remained at a German small hill that towered over the road to the west. The Americans formed a line of defense to the hills from east to west and fought five heavy German raids, which ran until shortly before the hedge, behind which were the Americans.

In the afternoon, Colonel Sink summoned the first Battalion of the 401 Intervene glider infantry. But as she began to advance, the Germans retreated quickly. It has been observed as they moved southward between the railway embankment to the west and the road. About forty-laden trucks on the road fell into the hands of the Americans.

A clever to St. Come-du-Mont patrol found the place completely empty before. The 101 now prepared themselves for access to the four access bridges to the south. The second bridge was blown up by the Germans in the afternoon.

The attack on the access road embankment

On the evening of the 8th June controlled the 101st U.S. Airborne Division defending a bow on the southern flank of the VII Corps, which ran from Chef-du-Pont to the mouth of the Douve. Division on the right flank had the 502 Parachute Infantry positions of chief-du-Pont to near Houesville related. The 327 Glider regiment supported them in the vicinity of the lock and the harbor bridge. In the center of defense was the 506th Parachute infantry on both sides of the dam access to Carentan. The 501 Parachute Infantry stood at four-sur-Mer as a reserve in the backcourt.

The plan of 101 provided for two crossings of the Douve. The left wing was at 01:00 clock on 10 June in the vicinity of Brévands cross the river with the aim to reach the V Corps southwest of Isigny at the bridge over the Vire, while the main army should advance towards Carentan southwest. The right wing had to first approach the dam crossing northwest of Carentan, Carentan itself but around level 30 and take the southwest of the city in possession. The amount was just 30 at the possible escape of the Germans, because the paths to the east and south from the Canal de Vire et Taute and extensive swamp country were closed. In the course should then both edges form a ring around Carentan, the ever drew upon.

The advance

After securing of St. Come-du-Mont, the right flank was ready to attack on the driveway embankment. There were signs that Carentan should not be defended vigorously. The 506 had established outposts on the first two bridges and the next day they made a foray into exploring the outskirts of Carentan. Near the fourth bridge they set fire. The American air reconnaissance reported the evacuation of the city, and that a large gap in the embankment had been blown up, so the road was the best solution to come to Carentan. The driveway embankment retired slim and straight through the marshes and the Americans were able to identify invading German quickly and easily defend themselves in all directions.

The attack was supported by the 502 executed. According to the Colonel Robert George Cole started with the 3rd Battalion shortly after midnight on 10 June. As the pioneers who should repair the bridge No. 2, could not work under enemy fire, but shortly after the attack was canceled. A little later, a patrol was sent out to explore the road. The channel was crossed by them in the Bridge No. 2 in the same boat. When they wanted to continue to Bridge No. 4, them was the way by a large steel gate, called a Belgian Gate, denied. While the effort to open this obstacle, suddenly a mortar shell exploded near them. At the same moment a storm of machine-gun fire and grenades from other German positions along the road began to einzuprasseln it. Although the patrol at 05:30 clock had to pull back, but now it was known that the Germans had not yet abandoned the defense of Carentan.

As the new date for the attack the battalion of the afternoon was announced. This time should the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and the 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion with their guns provide a substantial support. Most of the artillery fire was concentrated on the known and suspected enemy positions, the bridge no 4 were mainly southwest. At noon, it was a pioneer not been able to close the large gap to bridge number 2. According to the Col. Cole and three other soldiers laid planks across the bridge, so that in the early afternoon, the battalion was able to cross one by one the bridge. From the direction of Carentan always a 88mm gun opened fire on the road, but did not the men. The soldiers were crouching or crawling along the dam. When after three hours, most Americans had crossed three bridges were located beyond Bridge No. 2, the Germans opened fire from protected hedges and a large farm on the right side. The men were immediately roll into the trenches. When they tried to advance further smeared a machine gun with many sheaves of the trenches. After three soldiers had been made, the group moved back.

In a long line, man behind man, the battalion moved along the street, unable to defend themselves to the right and left flank. They were constantly under German machine gun fire. The Belgian Gate Bridge No. 4 had to be successively passed under direct fire at them individually. Without the support of artillery, until 23:30 clock shelled the German positions from 16:00, this would have been an impossible task. Part of the G-Company, who led the battalion, took positions right of the bridge, while the rest tried to slip through the narrow opening. Six soldiers managed to get through, but the seventh was hit. The action was stopped immediately and set up a defensive position. Also, three mortars were added.

The Farm

The entire battalion was now sitting firmly. The company I was sitting next to the dam at Bridge No. 3 and was as good as deckungslos

delivered to the German fire. They were hit hard. First of gun fire and against 23:30 clock by two German fighter s, they shot at and n bomb on their position yielded. During a brief truce at midnight of the original 80 soldiers of the company could withdraw only 21 men and two officers to behind the bridge number 2. The cease-fire also took advantage of the H-Company soldiers to smuggle men through the gate at Bridge No. 4.

By 04:00 on the clock 11 June was the 3rd Battalion of the regiment leadership instructed to continue the attack. In the darkness of the G Company and the Company from headquarters came through the gate at Bridge 4 before further. On both sides of the road embankment before they moved. The main item of the Germans seemed to be a large farm on the right of the road, which was surrounded by high hedge, n. He rose significantly on a small hill from the marshland.

When the soldiers first approached the court, they were with rifles, submachine gun n and mortars attacked. A concentrated American artillery fire on the situation changed little. Therefore, Colonel Cole ordered a bayonet attack on the German position. For this purpose he sent fire from the artillery smoke bombs in the area. At 06:15 clock after the gunfire whistled for Cole attack, but he was followed by the original 250 men only 20, another 50 handles with Major Stopka the house. The fact that the Americans were distributed over a wide area for cover, the command had spread everywhere. In addition, the G-company had enemy contact, and was attacked by German troops with machine guns on the floodplain east of the road to Carentan. Here, the commanding officer was injured by a too short shot artillery shell. When the company heard the whistle of Colonel Cole, and saw that the other Americans zustürmten on the farm, they ran hurriedly behind.

Men of H Company reached the farm first, but found it deserted. The enemy fire was coming from a tall hedge that ran perpendicular to the road. The Americans stormed the area and killed the Germans with hand grenades and bayonets. The only German resistance that still existed then, was in the south, was fired from where ever the Americans. Colonel Cole wanted the advance actually leave immediately continue on, but in terms of forces, the battalion was no longer capable of doing. All Americans gathered near the farm. There, I found out that the units were messed up in the battle maze and had suffered some heavy losses. Therefore, the first Battalion of the 502 Parachute Infantry command transmitted on the position of the 3rd Battalion also continue the attack.

The command reached the first Battalion north of Bridge No. 4 Under the leadership of Colonel Cassidy soldiers crossed in heavy German counter fire the bridge and reached the fields at the farm. But instead of continuing to advance, the mind first Battalion as a reinforcement for the 3rd By the German fire they had just suffered such losses and were just in disarray as their comrades.

On the right flank, the U.S. managed to take a position of the Germans, as they were about to perform a change of position. The Germans retreated quickly back into the southern houses and the Americans followed them. There they were compared to the rest of the day. The small American group was so advanced the furthest and was located about 140 m away from the rest of the battalion. Another group installed in a rear corner behind the farm two machine guns with which the area east to the orchard n and the road was covered until the next intersection. Despite all this was not a coordinated attack, and Colonel Cole was very concerned about the situation because he could not estimate on both sides without wireless connection in the farm. He also felt the help of artillery as hardly effective. The retreat was restricted by the river and its own backup also was not available. Furthermore, you almost never got off the German defenders to face and had to estimate their positions and distances based on the volume of gunfire.

The German counter-attack

In the morning increased the intensity of the German artillery and mortar fire. The Germans began a counterattack. One of the most violent raids came over the orchard and was the American south and east of the farm. But with the new machine gun positions, the attacker could be forced to abort the attack.

Through an unexpected lull just before noon resulted for the Americans the opportunity to build the left flank again. The C Company came from Bridge No. 4 before up to a cabbage field between hedge Two and Three, so that she could take the next hedge and the road under fire. The Company A was right behind them.

At noon, the units were informed of the regimental leadership on a request from the German for a cease-fire and the fire was set. Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, the operation of the 101 U.S. Airborne Division was directed against this, since he was now even able to salvage the American victims. Major Douglas T. Davidson, the regimental doctor, then went with two German delegates through the enemy lines to ask the commander in Carentan to a cease-fire. An interview was refused and Davidson returned empty-handed back to the bridge No. 4. At this moment the German side in an unprecedented intensity opened fire from all available weapons and guns. Colonel Cole immediately asked for the regiment to fire management permit, but he did not get because Davidson had not yet returned. However, the Americans at the forefront precipitated their decision and began zurückzufeuern. Since they had observed the German movements during the cease-fire, they were convinced that they had served to strengthen the enemy positions and to prepare a heavy artillery attack.

The renewed German attack brought Americans to their limits. The right flank was forced to retreat, but the machine gun position on the farm helped the other to keep their positions. The soldiers in the cabbage field on the left flank held their positions against repeatedly put forward German attacks from nearby hedges and ditches. They came to the Americans sometimes so close that they could hear the sound of the shutters when reloading. The enemy was the American battalions no chance to rescue the wounded. Although the German artillery was rather weak, but the mortars fired continuously.

On the German side, the Parachute Regiment 6 was under the commander of the Knight’s Cross holder Major Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte (the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen” assumed) the brunt of the battle.

The American Success

Against 18:30 clock the regiment Colonel Cole wanted to inform management about its withdrawal decision, but the radio was broken. Cole assumed that only significantly increased artillery support could help his men. When the radio message was finally discontinued, the situation changed abruptly. The complete American artillery immediately began an intense bombardment of the German positions, the fire had to be placed very close to the American positions. Two soldiers were killed. The bombardment lasted only five minutes, but that was enough to move the Germans to retreat into the city. Emitted patrols were able to confirm this. The first 3 and Battalion were finally able to retire against 20:00 clock. The second Battalion took over the now newly conquered areas. This opens the way to Carentan was fought free of the north, but the 502 Parachute Infantry was too weak to continue the attack. The 506 Parachute Infantry was ordered as a relief to take the place eventually.

Movies

•Band of Brothers Episode 3: Carentan (Rated: 16/18, since two different versions rated this episode are commercially available)

Games

•Battlefield 1942 (USK: 16)

•(USK: 18)

•(USK: 18)

•Call of Duty (Multiplayer Only) (USK: 18)

•Company of Heroes (USK: 16)

Operation Overlord

Battle of the Second World War

1944

Basse-Normandie

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