Sainte-Mere-Eglise Travel Blog› entry 2 of 12 › view all entries
I was always fascinated about the history of World War II and so I read a lot of books about it and watched a lot of movies and documentaries. But it wasn't enough anymore, I wanted to see the places where it all happend. So ,Normandy was something I certainly wanted to see. Lucky for me, friends of ours bought a second home there so the invitation to stay at their home was a good opportunity to explore the surroundings.
Sainte-Mere-Eglise was one of the first villages we visited when we were in Normandy for the first time. We explored the Airborne Museum near the famous church. Here is some information about the town.
The town's main claim to fame is that it played a significant part in the World War II Normandy landings because this village stood right in the middle of route N13, which the Germans would have most likely used on any significant counterattack on the troops landing on Utah and Omaha Beaches.
The early landings, at about 0140 directly on the town, resulted in heavy casualties for the paratroopers. Some buildings in town were on fire that night, and they illuminated the sky, making easy targets of the descending men. Some were sucked into the fire. Many hanging from trees and utility poles were shot before they could cut loose. The German defenders were alerted.
A famous incident involved paratrooper John Steele of the 505th PIR, whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below.
Later that morning, about 0500, a force led by Lt. Colonel Edward C. Krause of the 505th PIR took the town with little resistance. Apparently the German garrison was confused and had retired for the rest of the night. However, heavy German counterattacks began later in the day and into the next. The lightly-armed troops held the town until reinforced by tanks from nearby Utah Beach in the afternoon of 7 June.
If you are going to Sainte-Mere-Eglise someday I certainly can recommend the wonderful restaurant "Auberge Le John Steel" which has excellent food in a idyllic ambiance.