At this location, we will show you the very places where Lt. Richard "Dick" Winters linked up with other scattered paratroopers from Easy Company (including Bill Guarnere, and Pvt. Lipton). Winters and his men traveled on the road from Sainte-Mère-Eglise to La Fière Bridge.
Thereafter, they joined another mixed group commanded by Col. Cole, consisting of approximately 150 men from the 502nd, 507th, 508th PIR — a real hodgepodge. It was here that they killed their first Germans in an ambush. The Germans, primarily organized in a horse-drawn supply unit, were unaware of Winter's presence while delivering breakfast at the T-junction of D423 and D115 to other German troops.
TOUR # 5: 101st AIRBORNE TOUR FDT
RDV time and place are 8.20am Place de Québec, in the center of Bayeux. Therefore you can only join this tour if you are spending the night before in Bayeux or vicinity.
Our 101st Airborne Tour is an exceptional tour, and will be of great interest to those who saw Steven Spielberg’s famous movie, - Band of Brothers. This tour will enable you to link the fictional movie locations with the real places of the paratroops landings onto Normandy. Many sites on this tour are inaccessible to most other tour companies, and remain secluded from entry. However, due to the generosity of various land owners, and our personal relationship with them, you will have the privilege of seeing places like Brecourt Manor, and many other places where Lt. Winters and members of Easy Company stayed during the first nights of the Invasion.
However, this Tour includes also many spots dedicated to the infamous Screaming Eagles. You will understand the mission assigned to this unit, who had to secure the causeways running to the beach and to assume the link with the Vth Corps coming from Omaha Beach.
This Tour is a special Tour for those you are fond of History and wish to discover strategy in deep learning.
Put on your Boots!
MORNING: Ambush crossroad - Meehan crash to Beuzeville au Plain - Marmion’s farm - WXYZ Les Mézières - Brécourt manor - Sainte-Marie-du-Mont - Colonel Sink creasy ride.
Lunch to Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
AFTERNOON: Château de Bel Enault - Basse Addeville - Hell’s Corner - Saint-Côme-du-Mont and Dead Man’s corner Museum - Purple Heart Lane - La Barquette Lock – Carentan - Brévands.
MEEHAN CRASH TO BEUZEVILLE AU PLAIN
On June 5, 1st Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III boarded a C-47 to parachute into Normandy. Prior to the jump however, he had just been appointed “E” Company Commander, replacing Captain Sobel. Meehan was in plane 66, along with the Company’s staff comprised of 16 paratroopers. His plane crashed in a field at Beuzeville-Au-Plain.
A tour of the site of this crash will not only enable you to see the monument erected in memory of Lt. Meehan, but also the field where the crash actually occurred.
The C-47 carrying Meehan was hit with Anti-Aircraft fire, and caught fire near the rear of the plane. As the fire traveled forward to the cockpit, the paratroopers aboard were unable to jump because the plane's altitude was too low for the parachutes to open. All were lost in the crash that ultimately took Meehan's life as well as his men.
Meehan's last correspondence to his wife was handed off by Meehan to ground crew members as he boarded the fated plane, moments before it took off on it's historic course for the Invasion of Normandy. It read:
"In a few hours I'm going to take the best company of men in the world into France. We'll give the bastards hell. Strangely, I'm not particularly scared. But in my heart is a terrific longing to hold you in my arms. I love you Sweetheart - forever. Your Tom"
On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Easy Company of the 506th fought one of its most important battles of the first day of the Invasion at this location. In a field between Le Grand Chemin and Brecourt Manor, the Germans had taken up an artillery position, aimed at firing on the Beaches where American troops were landing in water craft. In a heavily fortified trench system bordering Brecourt Manor, the Germans had spaced four 105 mm cannons, and were firing a hellstorm of shells on the incoming beach landing craft on Utah Beach.
Lt. Dick Winters of Easy Company led a small group of Easy Company men to this site, and systematically took out all four guns at this site, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for this attack. Several others of his men were also awarded medals for their actions as well. It is said that the strategic tactics employed by Lt. Winters at this particular field are now taught at the American West Point Academy.
Come and discover the field where Lieutenant Winters and a group of paratroopers intuitively organized and led the attack on this German battery with very little planning or briefing. Their courageous actions here, in taking all four cannons out saved countless lives on Utah Beach.
OVERLORDTOUR has obtained a very special permission to enter this farm.
WXYZ LES MEZIERES
The 1st Battalion of the 502nd was assigned the task of capturing “WXYZ” at Mésières. This was a barracks complex of buildings that housed the personnel of the German coastal artillery battery at Saint-Martin-de-Varreville.
With only a limited number of men to send on the WXYZ mission, Lt Colonel Cassidy chose Staff Sergeant Harrison Summers to lead a patrol made up almost entirely of misdropped troopers from other units. You will actually walk the path of these liberators at this site.
Lunch is not included in our fee.
COLONEL SINK'S CRAZY RIDE
This action started from Culoville where Colonel Sink established his 1st Command Post on June 6th.
"There’s a jeep and driver parked over there doing nothing. Let’s go out and see if we can’t locate Bob Wolverton. We’ve got to find out if those bridges have been taken. If they haven’t we’ll have to get some people to do the job".
Colonel Sink to Major H.W. “Hank” Hannah his S3 officer.
Following his way...
CHATEAU DE BEL ENAULT
The Château de Bel Enault lies just west of the hamlet of Addeville and was built a century before WWII by a wealthy French botanist.
On D-Day, the stately château was being used as a German command post. Col. Howard Johnson of the 501st PIR parachuted into the field just across the road from the front entrance and was fired on by a German soldier...
Taking a circular position around the crossroad located east side from La Barquette, Colonel Johnson and his group made a brilliant strategic move at this location, and captured/killed more than 350 German paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 6th German Parachute Regiment as prisoners. One hundred fifty of these paratroopers were either killed or wounded.
Major R. J. Allen assembled forces at Addeville, less than a mile northwest of the La Barquette locks. A defense line and an aid station were set up at this location.Colonel Johnson ordered Allen to abandon the defense of this village and to bring his troops down to nearby canal locks as reinforcements. Due to these orders, it became necessary for Major Carrel, regimental surgeon for the 501st, and the walking wounded, to move also. A local cleric, Father Sampson, helped to attend severely wounded soldiers at this location as well.
In the first days of June 1944, Carentan was a key position between the two American landing beaches of Utah and OmahaPassing the Bridge known as number 4, we will follow the steps of the 2nd Battalion 506th turning around the city by Hill 30 and progressing by a road running down to the centre town. We will take you into the city, comparing your physical location to historic photos taken at the same locations during the Invasion. You will also visit the famous site known as “Bloody Gulch” where members of “Easy Company held their position along the rail road during a counter attack made by elements of German falshirmjager reinforced with the 17th SS Gotz von Berlichingen.
After the attack on the German batteries at Brecourt Manor, Lt. Winters crossed this town on the way to Culloville, where he spent his first night after the Invasion. Sainte-Marie-du-Mont was secured by the 101st airborne which linked up with the 4th Inf. on June 6th.
Come discover why the church tower at this location was hit and partially destroyed by the German guns as elements of the 101st under the command of Captain Patch conducted operations at this location.
The very first newsreel of the airborne invasion in Normandy shown in movie theatres in the United States was filmed at this particular farmhouse.
Due to special permission given by the owner to our tour company, you will have the privilege of actually entering this farm, and being in the exact locations of many of the best known American press photographs taken during WWII at this site. Some of the photos show Stopka’s task force displaying the first Nazi flag captured by the 101st Airborne Division. Many famous photographs in D-Day and WWII books were taken at this site.
OVERLORDTOUR has obtained a very special permission to enter this farm.
DEAD MAN’S CORNER MUSEUM
The Dead Man's Corner Museum is located in a house at the intersection of two roads at this location, near St-Come-du-Mont.
The house at Dead Man's Corner has been recently purchased by the Carentan Historical Center, and is currently being developed as the Dead Man's Corner Museum. As the initial site in the Carentan Historical Center system, this historic building houses an impressive collection of authentic WWII German and American airborne artifacts directly related to the location.
PURPLE HEART LANE
The location of the Purple Heart Lane is North of the strategic Objective Carentan run the RN 13. At the time of the Invasion, the solid elevated embankment of the road offered little in the way of cover or concealment as it moved over four rivers en route to Carentan.
Hitler had ordered the 6th Para Regiment to defend Carentan to the last man. German commander Colonel Von Der Heidte had decided to make a stand above the town just below bridge number 4.
LA BARQUETTE LOCK
German control of back flooding the lowlands behind Utah Beach and the Douve and Merderet River valleys was accomplished by opening and closing the lock gates at the appropriate times over a two year period.
Colonel "Skeets" Johnson, commander of the 501st Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, attacked the Germans here from the north early D-day morning with 150 men. The Germans withdrew south, several hundred feet to prepared positions. US Navy counter fire against two German 88s in Carentan silenced the German guns there. On D-day +1, German paratroopers of the 1st Battalion, 6th Parachute Regiment counter-attacked from the top right towards the T-junction. (Hell’s Corner ) Although out-manned the Americans bluffed the Germans into surrendering. In error, German artillery killed many of their own comrades as the German POWs were being marched into captivity. Today, the Liberte' Expressway across these lowlands near Carentan passes very close to the lock.
Here, the plan at the time of the Invasion was for 3rd Battalion 506th PIR, supported by two platoons of C Company 326th AEB, to parachute into Normandy, landing at Drop Zone "D" which was to the south of VIERVILLE and east of ANGOVILLE-AU-PLAIN.
From this DZ, the American paratrooper forces were to strike southward as soon as possible and seize the two bridges near LE PORT at the mouth of the RIVER DOUVE. The bridges were to be expanded into a bridgehead as soon as possible. By seizing the high ground in the direction of BREVANDS, the 3/505th began a strategic movement toward the American forces that would be moving northward from OMAHA BEACH.