Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sainte-Mère-Église in Manche Département, Basse-Normandie, France — Lower Normandy (Atlantic Coast)
 

82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day

 
 
82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 19, 2012
1. 82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day Marker
Inscription. 5–6 juin 1944 — les 82e et 101e Divisions U.S.A. de parachutistes libérent ce canton

5th–6th June 1944 — The 82nd and 101st Div. U.S.A. of paratroops liberate the district
 
Location. 49° 24.51′ N, 1° 19.041′ W. Marker is in Sainte-Mère-Église, Basse-Normandie, in Manche Département. Marker is on Rue Général de Gaulle just south of Rue Général Koenig, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in the town square. Marker is in this post office area: Sainte-Mère-Église, Basse-Normandie 50480, France.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. In Remembrance of the Airborne Spirit (a few steps from this marker); Clifford A. Maughan P.F.C. (within shouting distance of this marker); House on Fire at Sainte-Mère-Église (about 180 meters away, measured in a direct line); General Gavin’s Foxhole (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); 6 June 1944 at LaFiere Bridge (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); PFC Charles DeGlopper Memorial (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); 80th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion, 82nd Airborne Div. U.S. Army (approx. 3.4 kilometers away); U.S. Coast Guard Memorial at Utah Beach (approx. 10.4 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Sainte-Mère-Église.
 
Regarding 82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day.
Marker with Church image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 19, 2012
2. Marker with Church
In the background, on the other side of the square, stands the church that gave the town its name. High up on a spire (beside the upper part of the inscription in this view) can be seen the silhouette of a parachute and mannequin commemorating Pvt. John Steele (click to enlarge). For a close-up see Fig. 3.
Lying 8 km (5 miles) inland from the Normandy coast, the small town of Sainte-Mère-Église was well behind German coastal defenses on D-Day, June 6, 1944. As part of the overall Allied landing, code-named Overlord, this town was a major objective and drop zone for U.S. paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. They arrived en masse between midnight and 2 a.m. on the 6th, suffering many casualties during their jumps.

A lucky exception was Pvt. John Steele of the 82nd’s 505 Paratrooper Infantry Regiment. His chute caught on a spire of the town’s church, leaving him dangling helplessly, but he managed to survive by playing dead for several hours. He was briefly taken prisoner by the German occupying troops but later escaped. His ordeal was portrayed by actor Red Buttons in The Longest Day, the classic D-Day movie (20th Century Fox, 1962).

By late morning on the 6th the town was essentially in Allied hands, although heavy fighting continued for several more days. Many residents consider Sainte-Mère-Église the first town in occupied France to be liberated during World War II (although similar claims are made by two towns nearby).
 
Categories. War, World II
 
Predicament of Pvt. John Steele image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 18, 2012
3. Predicament of Pvt. John Steele
Church from the West image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 18, 2012
4. Church from the West
Above the main entrance is a stained-glass window (behind tree here, but see Fig. 5).
Church from the East image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 18, 2012
5. Church from the East
82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 2, 2015
6. 82nd and 101st Airborne on D-Day Marker
View from the church.
Sainte-Mère-Église Church Organ image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 2, 2015
7. Sainte-Mère-Église Church Organ
This organ inside the church was dedicated on the 40th Anniversary of the liberation of the town. It is dedicated to "the civilian and military victims of W.W. II."
Stained-Glass Window of Church image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, August 18, 2012
8. Stained-Glass Window of Church
To either side of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are stained-glass renderings of U.S. paratroopers, honoring their arrival in this town on D-Day.
Stained-Glass Window of Church image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 2, 2015
9. Stained-Glass Window of Church
This stain glass window was dedicated on the 25th anniversary of D-Day. It honors the veterans of the 505th, 82nd Airborne Division.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 599 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.   6, 7. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   8. submitted on , by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.   9. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement