Carentan

Carentan

Carentan

Carentan was a strategic early goal of the D-Day landings in 1944 as capturing the town was necessary to link the Utah and Omaha beaches which were divided by the Douve River estuary (Nearby fields were flooded by the Germans up to the town's outskirts). The town was also needed as an intermediate staging position for the capture of the cities of Cherbourg and Octeville, with the critically important port facilities in Cherbourg.

In the immediate aftermath of the landings, the priority for the Allies at Utah Beach was to link up with the main Allied landings further east, and this job was tasked to the 101st division, who had landed in the area and had been conducting raids against inland targets—mainly artillery emplacements helping secure and cut off the landings from such threats as well as reinforcements. On June 9, the 101st Airborne Division had reorganized sufficiently from the haphazard scattering of its units and managed to cross the flooded Douve River valley exploiting their superior training and utilizing the few causeways passing through the flooded fields, and they captured Carentan the next day after a dawn attack in the all-day hard fought house to house fighting in the Battle of Carentan, where the German troops fought from strong prepared positions amongst the stone houses of the town. The capture of the town gave the Allies a continuous front joining Omaha to Utah Beach. Possession of the town was maintained despite a German armour reinforced counterattack just to the south-west of town on the 13th known as the Battle of Bloody Gulch.

On 15 June, engineers of the Ninth Air Force IX Engineering Command began construction of a combat Advanced Landing Ground for fighter aircraft south of the town. Declared operational on 25 June, the airfield was designated as "A-10". It was used by P-47 Thunderbolts of the 50th Fighter Group until mid-August, then as a support airfield for supplies and evacuation of wounded personnel until November when it was closed.


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