Sainte-Mere-Eglise: The 82nd Airborne Drops into France
In Normandy on the night of June 5/6, 1944, the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division overcame countless SNAFUs to take a key village.
By Flint Whitlock The night of June 5, 1944, was pretty much like every other night in Sainte-Mère-Église since the Germans had occupied Normandy and the Cotentin Peninsula in the summer of 1940: dark, quiet, chilly, and mostly boring. While there had been innumerable overflights by Allied aircraft (probably taking reconnaissance photos) and the occasional aerial bombing, Normandy was still considered good duty for anyone who had had his fill of war on the Eastern Front and was recovering from wounds psychological and physical. Here in Normandy there was plenty to eat and drink (especially Calvados, the strong brandy made from apples), scenery that hadn’t been mostly destroyed by heavy fighting, and French people who seemed to, if not exactly warmly welcome, at least be resigned to and tolerate the presence of foreign soldiers on their soil. When not on actual watch, looking for the first signs of an invasion that might or might not come to this location, the soldiers in Normandy had busied themselves by following Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s orders to so strongly fortify the coast that the Allied invaders would not stand a chance, that they would, as Rommel had put it, be driven back into the sea. This night, with the peninsula cloaked in darkness, and the farmers and villagers fast asleep beneath the cloud-obscured moon and the German soldiers—who were on watch in their observation bunkers straining with the help of strong French coffee to keep their eyelids op
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3 thoughts on “Sainte-Mere-Eglise: The 82nd Airborne Drops into France”
My Father Richard Inglat was in the 82nd Airborne, all I know of his involvement is that he parachuted on the 5th of June. He never spoke of his experience. I would love to know more about his role!
Rest in peace to those who remain and thankful for the people of St. Mere-Eglise for remembering their service. My cousin, 2nd Lt. Richard Hoag, perished that night:
“Fortunately for the 436th all of their aircraft returned to Membury, albeit many having sustained damage, Night Fright herself taking around one hundred hits, putting her out of service for repairs for four days. The Group’s glider pilots were not so lucky, out of the the seven men lost by the Group, the 79th TCS lost 1st Lt. John Walls and 2nd Lt. Richard Hoag, both due to ground fire, with a number of others injured. Between the 9th and 13th of June the 436th carried out a number of sorties, towing CG-4As for resupply and troop movements to LZs near St-Mere-Eglise.”
Any comments and photograph’s available of US DUKWs removing or supporting the 82 AB at Utah Beach or other inland locations near or at ST Mere-Eglise, France?