American Infantry in Normandy: Cutting the Cotentin Peninsula

From Utah Beach in the East, to the view at Guernsey / Jersey in the West

  • Sainte Mère Eglise
    Sainte Mère Eglise
Tour Durationapprox. 8 hours
Tour Price€ 695
Pickup timeapprox. 9.00 hrs
Drop-offapprox. 17.00 hrs
Locationin or near Bayeux / Carentan/Cherbourg (Other locations can be arranged)
Capacitymax. 5 persons
Lunchprice is not included in the tourfee. Your guide will discuss arrangements on the morning of the tour.

– UTAH-beach

The smallest of the two American landingbeaches, but very important in according to seize the deep sea harbor of Cherbourg in order to bring in supplies. 

Considered as the most successful with the least casualties of all Normandy landing beaches. 

The beach where General Teddy Roosevelt came ashore, the first seaborn general to land on Normandy soil. 

– Neuville au Plain Crossroad

To prevent the Germans from counterattacking Saint Mère Eglise from direction Cherbourg, a defensive position was created by Paratroopers of the 505th PIR (82nd Airborne Division) at the mainroad (N13) leading to Cherbourg, just North of Saint Mėre Eglise.

– Gourbesville: Monument 82nd AB Div. / 90th Inf. Div. 

June 6th, 1944 at 02.20 hrs Private James Hattrick , I Company 508 PIR, landed in this village. During several skirmishes he killed the German Commanding Officer, upon which he got killed himself, sadly enough.

June 10th, 1944 the 90th Inf. Div. passed La Fière Bridge and 2nd Battalion came under fire at Gourbesville. The village was several times taken by the American 357th Infantry Regiment, but just as many times were thrown out by the German 91st Luftlande (Airborne Infantry) Division.

Finally, at 23.15 hrs on June 15, after 9 days of fierce fighting, Gourbesville fell in the hands of the 90th Infantry Division……. and counted 300 American casualties….

Let’s visit the several monuments and buildings which will tell the story about this tough battle around Gourbesville. 

– Orglandes, German Cemetary

After Gourbesville we continue for the village of Orglandes, like the 90th Infantry Division did after taking the village. 

June 17th the village of Orglandes was finally taken after a joint battle of regiments of the 9th and 90th Infantry Division, in order to control the high grounds in this area. 

Some days later there was a piece of land prepared as a temporary cemetary for American military. 

By the end of June 1944, almost 7.400 German soldiers were buried here as well, albeit on the other side of the field. 

In 1961, this cemetary became officially a German Cemetary, but still under French command. Since 1966 the German Government took over this place, and is responsible for the maintenance of the graves of more than 10.000 German victims of this Battle for Normandy. 

– Pont l’Abbé  :   Crossroads and Douve-Bridge

June 10th the attack on the village of Pont l’Abbé started, from the village of Chef-du-Pont. 

We’ll visit the crossroads, finally seized by the unexperienced American 358th Infantry Regiment (90th Inf. Div.) and the important Bridge over the river Douve,  taken by the battle-hardened Paratroopers of the 508th PIR (82nd AB Division)on June 14th……

– Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte : Crossroads and Douve-Bridge

Walk where they fought : 

June 14th  started the 90th Inf. Div. the attack on the village of Saint-Sauveur.  Visit the location where the 9th Inf. Div. stopped a colomn of 16 German Panzers, at Bonneville. 

Finally, with help of the 508th, 507th and 505th Parachute Infantery Regiments (PIR) of the 82nd AB Div. the village was seized on June 16th, at 22.30 hrs and this opened up the road to Cherbourg in the North, and the gate to the Heart of France. 

– Hill 116  : Mont de Besneville

Visit the High Ground of Hill 116, from where the Germans every military movement could see, and in clear weather, they could even see the islands of Guernsey and Jersey. 

And with the control of this hill, the road to the villages of Portbail and Barneville , the opposite side of UTAH-beach, lay ahead of the Allies. 

– Portbail & Barneville-Carteret 

After capturing these 2 villages at the opposite side of UTAH-beach, the Cotentin Peninsula was cut by the Allies. Ahead of them was the road to Cherbourg. With the 9th Inf. Div. in the West, and the 4th Inf. Division in the North, the battle for Cherbourg could begin. 

Learn to see how close Guernsey and Jersey are to the Normandy Westcoast…

– Hill 145 : Bunker Battle of Britain

Part of the German Radar system in their battle to capture Great Britain. 

Two British efforts (codenames Headache and Aspirines) to disturb this system, succeeded very well. On June 5th this complex was bombed. 

And on June 18, by accident, the 60th Infantry Regiment managed to destroy a complete German convoy, trying to escape to the South of the Cotentin Peninsula….

Camp Patton: St. Jacques de Nehou

Learn where Lt. General Georg Patton had his campsite, while commanding the US 3rd Army. From this place, on August 1st 1944, Patton’s 3rd Army took off to take it’s part in the liberation of Europe. 

– La Fière Bridge and Chef-du-Pont bridge

We continue our tour to another essential mission of the 82nd Airborne Division: the bridges West of Sainte Mère Eglise, spanning the Merderet river and the one outside Chef-du-Pont, amidst the swamp area purposely flooded by German Forces.  

In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the bridges were taken by a company of the 505th PIR as well as elements of the 507th and 508th, followed by a counterattack by the Germans, backed up by tanks.

The following 2 days, this was repeated several times. However, the American paratroopers managed to hold their positions until June 9th. Despite a lack of ammunitions, but backed up by American tanks from UTAH-beach, General James Gavin and his paratroopers led a bloody assault to take control of the road and capture the little hamlet of Cauquigny, for once and for all.

– Iron Mike Monument

Just to pay tribute to the numerous American paratroopers who lost their lives in this area, during this battle that took place from June 6 – June 9, and those who drowned upon landing in the flooded area in the early hours of June 6, 1944,  a statue baptized “Iron Mike” was erected here.