Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Op Ducy - Ste Mere Eglise

D-Day - Ste Mer Eglise

The 101st Airborne Division were to seize and hold the exits from UTAH BEACH capture the LA BARQUETTE LOCH and destroy or capture bridges over the R.DOUVRE.  They were then to establish a defensive line to protect the southern flank.

American Airborne Operation Plan

The parachute drop commenced around 01:40 6th June 1944. In the town of Ste Mere Eglise a fire was burning, illuminating the area, those descending in the area making easy targets for the defending German forces. 

Ste Mere Eglise - Night sky illuminated June 6 1944

101st Airborne Drop Pattern
Among those dropping was Private John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment whose parachute was caught on the spire of the church. He feigned death so the Germans would not shoot him and hung there for two hours. He was eventually rescued and imprisoned by the Germans, but escaped and linked up with his unit.

A memorial on the church commemorates the event.

Paratrooper Memorial Ste Mere Eglise

Church St Mere Eglise 2014
 The town was captured at 05:00 by the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment who met little resistance from a confused German garrison. The town was one of the first liberated on 6th June 1944.

Church St Mere Eglise 1944
Church St Mere Eglise interior

Church St Mere Eglise
Paratrooper Memorial Window