Battle of Cotentin and the fall of Cherbourg

On June 12th, the Allies took Carentan with the aim to protect the beach.

On June 18th, American Paratroopers reached Barneville: this operation allowed “the cut off” of German forces in the Cotentin Peninsula. Controlling Cherbourg harbour was extremely important. Indeed, it would allow the arrival of American ships which could carry men and materials. The task was difficult as Germans present in the town were very resistant. Moreover, the hedgerows and marshes surrounding Cherbourg allowed the German Army to ambush the Allies. The orders of Hitler were clear: “Hold Cherbourg until the last drop of blood and if necessary destroy the port”. On June 19th, the assault is launched.

On June 23rd, American soldiers tried a break in the town and took all part of it two days later. It was possible thanks to the fleet which bombarded German batteries located here, on June 25th. In the following day, the Germans surrendered. However fights carried on because the town was released street by street. Therefore, Americans controlled the town, which caused Hitler’s rage.

On June 27th 1944, one French civilian and two war reporters (an American and an English) announced the Liberation of Cherbourg. There were damages in the port of Cherbourg; as a consequence it was able to handle the first ships from the United States by the end of July. The battle of Cherbourg was the first American great victory in Normandy.