Road to Carentan (4)

fought as good as I could. The only problem that occured was that some of Normandies meadows were and still are pretty empty, so I had to im...

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fought as good as I could. The only problem that occured was that some of Normandies meadows were and still are pretty empty, so I had to improvise there. Here some information about what took place in the area in June 1944:June 10th 1944, St Come-du-Mont, Carentan area, Normandy. It was midhnight when the order from the High Command came. The 502nd Airborne of the 101st Airborne Division was ordered to progress onto Carentan, which marked a point of high strategical value. All important routes in the area met here, without Carentan, the boys from the beaches wouldn't be able to advance into the inland. Since June 6th, the Airborne Rangers gathered a nearly legendary reputation, when it was to secure important crossroads and strategical landmarks to ensure a happy "Welcome" to the Infantry and Tank Divisions from the beaches.When the order came to the 502nd, led by Lt. Col. Cole, the men lingered in their emplacements in the South of St. Come-du-Mont. Their order: Secure the causeway, that trailed like a snake through the marshlands, flooded by the Germans. Bit by bit they advanced - but the Germans didn't mean to make it easy for them. The road led oder four bridges, dividing the causeway into four sectors. All bridges except of number two were intact, latter was blowed up by the Wehrmacht. So the offensive had to be moved for a start, because the engineers, who where up to repair the bridge, weren't able to work under enemy fire. So Cole and his men crossed the channel by boat, without enemy contact they could reach bridge number four, which marked the end of the causeway. There was just one problem - a Belgian Gate blocked their way, a barricade against soldiers and tanks. When engineers tried to open or move that gate, a mortar grenade detonated next to them and the enemy opened fire on their position. Immedeately, retreat was ordered.In the afternoon, another attempt was started to cross bridge number four, bridge four had been repaired and artillery support had been granted. When the men lingered between bridge three and four, the Germans opened machinegun fire and an 88 attacked them, again, retreat was ordered, but six men of G-Company advanced, crouching underneath the Belgian Gate to the other side of the bridge. The men, who remained on the causeway, consulted three mortars and dug in. After men of the H- and I-Company witnessed an airstrike in the afternoon, soldiers of the H-Company crouched on the others side too. When the G-Company was ordered to advance onto the farm, which was used as a base structure for German MG-gunners and from where the causeway was attacked again and again, at 0400 in the next morning, they were attacked by machineguns and mortars again.In the course of the morning, the G-Company advanced, using smoke grenades. When they reached the farm, it was empty. In the moment they recognized that, Germans opened fire with MGs from the hedge behind the farm, however, this danger was averted by bajonetts and grenades.Then, the Germans retreated to the southern houses and the G-Company took a stand in the farmhouses. They set up two MGs in the southern hedgerow, one focusing the next Crossroad, the other providing cover to the southern fruit ochard.In the meantime, a small group of men pursuaded the Germans and had a hard engagement with them, seperated by 150m by the safe farm.Short after that, the Germans launched a counter offesive, which was able to be stopped because of the two MGs in the hedgerow.The next day, G- and H-Company were backed up by A- and C-Company. Latter advanced on the road to Carentan, until they came to a small cabbage field next to the street.When the Germans asked for cease-fire and the American legate came back from the trial, the Wehrmacht by proxy by the 6th. Fallschirmjgerregiment, opened fire from all available guns and another counter offensive was launched. The right flank broke down because of its low manning, however the left flank was involved in close range comabt in the ditches and hedges.In the end, the American artillery was able to break the German resistance and the heavily outmanned 502nd was replaced by the 506th to march onto Carentan.

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