Day two of my tour of the Normandy D-Day landing beaches took me to the town of Carentan. An historically important place in the story of the liberation of Normandy, the Battle of Carentan took place between 7th and 13th June 1944. Carentan was heavily defended by the German 6th Parachute Regiment, the 101st Airborne were tasked with moving towards Carentan with the objective of driving the Germans out of the town and linking up with the American forces coming west from Omaha Beach.

If you enjoy museums, The D-Day Experience at Carentan is a must! Filled with interactive displays including a flight simulator on board a real 1943 C-47, the museum tells the story of the D-Day preparations, landings and the Battle of Carentan through the eyes of American paratrooper, Lt Col ‘Bull’ Wolverton. Packed with artefacts, fans of the TV series, Band of Brothers, will be interested to see some of the items which belonged to Major Dick Winters.

Also part of the D-Day Experience site is the Dead Man’s Corner museum. Once home to the HQ of the German paratroopers of the 6th regiment also known as ‘The Green Devils’, it was here that the Germans fought US forces fiercely for three days. Today it is filled with historical artefacts which immerse you in the history of the building; it is a strangely eerie experience.

Why the grisly name? On 7 June 1944, an American tank was destroyed at the intersection in front of the building, its crew were incinerated. The tank remained there for days with the dead commander, Sgt Anthony Tomasheski, hanging from the turret. Soldiers began referring to the location as ‘Dead Man’s Corner’.

Allow a full morning to explore this fantastic museum.

Next on the itinerary, Utah Beach, only a 15 minute drive from Carentan. The western most beach of the five landing areas, it was assaulted by the US 4th infantry division and taken with relatively few casualties compared to Omaha. It’s a beautiful beach and there are quite a number of impressive memorials here and also a large museum.

The final point of historical interest for the day was a brief trip to the town of Saint Mere Eglise. It was here that US paratrooper John Steele landed on the pinnacle of the church tower on the night of 5 June 1944. Eventually, he was spotted by the Germans and taken prisoner, he escaped four days later.

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