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Sainte Marie-Du-Mont was the first French village liberated following the D-Day landings on Utah Beach.
Many of the farms and houses around the area were requisitioned by the Germans, including La Princerie and these were liberated by the 101st Airborne parachutists who landed in drop zone C in a field behind our house.
Forever marked by the fierce fighting between the Germans and Americans, 12 plaques around the village centre graphically portrait the stages of liberation.
La Princerie is ideally located within a short drive of the landing beaches.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy.
The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings.
A 1,200 plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels.
Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on the 6 June and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.
The westernmost of the five beaches, Utah is on the Cotentin Peninsula, west of the mouths of the Douve and Vire rivers. Amphibious landings at Utah were undertaken by United States Army.
Tasked with securing the key crossroads at Sainte-Mère-Église and controlling the causeways through the flooded farmland behind Utah so the infantry could advance inland.
While some airborne objectives were quickly met, many paratroopers landed far from their drop zones and were unable to fulfill their objectives on the first day.
Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha.
Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day.
The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared.
Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach.
Taking Gold was the responsibility of the British Army.
The central of the five areas, was located between Port-en-Bessin on the west and La Rivière on the east.
High cliffs at the western end of the zone meant that the landings took place on the flat section between Le Hamel and La Rivière.
The objectives at Gold were to secure a beachhead, move west to capture Arromanches and establish contact with the American forces at Omaha.
Taking Juno was the responsibility of the Canadian Army.
The invasion plan called for two brigades of the 3rd Canadian Division to land on two beach sectors focusing on Courseulles, Bernières and Saint-Aubin. It was hoped that the preliminary naval and air bombardments would soften up the beach defences and destroy coastal strong points.
The landings initially encountered heavy resistance from the German 716th Division; the preliminary bombardment proved less effective than had been hoped, and rough weather forced the first wave to be delayed.
Stretching 5 miles from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, the beach was the easternmost landing site of the invasion.
Taking Sword was to be the responsibility of the British Army with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided by the British Royal Navy as well as elements from the Polish, Norwegian and other Allied navies.
The initial landings were achieved with low casualties, but the advance from the beach was slowed by traffic congestion and resistance in heavily defended areas behind the beachhead.
Further progress towards Caen was halted by the only armoured counter-attack of the day, mounted by the 21st Panzer Division