A World War II historic guide to discover the D-Day Landing Beaches in Normandy

Travel Normandy guide François Gauthron offers tours of the Normandy landing beaches, World War II battlefield. Come and discover the most famous part of Normandy where took place the Landing and the battle of Normandy in June 1944 to liberate France and Europe. You will be escorted by a qualified bilingual guide who will show you round the major sites of the beaches. Visit the highlights of World War II sites in Normandy with an expert license guide, first the most important sites of the landing beaches.

Normandy Travel

Travel in Normandy with Francois Gauthron


Cauquigny church battle

At dawn on the 6th June 1944 Cauquigny, a small village in the commune of Amfreville, was not looking for a claim to fame. This site become, one of the most important targets of the bridgehead. It was the gateways to the west, opening onto the causeway of La Fière and the point at which the operation to cut off the Cotentin Peninsular from the mainland was to commence.. The future of the US bridgehead would centre here at the Chapel of Cauquigny.

The responsibility for this operation was entrusted to Lt. Col. Timmes, Commander of the 2nd Bn of the 507th Regt, Inf. Paratroopers, of the 82nd Airborne Division. At dawn, he arrived at Cauquigny with a patrol of paratroopers, looked around and noted that everything was quiet. Later in the morning, while he was in a position 800 yards to the north, near the hamlet Les Heutes, he sent Lt Levy and Lt Kormylo from his Bn to secure this bridge. During the morning, Capt. Schwartzwalder and Lt. Marr, from the 3rd Bn, took part in the battle on the east ridge of the Merderet to take the Manor of La Fière. At the same time, General Gavin, with Lt. Col. Ostberg and Maloney, commanders of the first and third Bn respectively of 507th Regt. Went south of Chef du Pont. Here, during the day of the 6th June, the Germans counter-attacked with tanks and a large infantry force. The fighting was furious and the small force of paratroopers quickly realise that they would not be able to hold out for long. Very soon, the ammunition began running out and it became necessary to retreat. Cauquigny was lost! Three days later, General Ridgeway and Gavin decided that the hamlet had to be retaken. In fact, it was decided to make a frontal attack against the Germans, with the support of artillery. On June 9th 1944, at 10.30 am the artillery barrage began and at 10.45 am under cover of a smoke screen, the 3rd Bn of the 325th Airborne Regt started the attack from La Fière bridge to get across the 500 yards of road to Cauquigny. Under a hail of fire, from machine guns, mortars and field artillery the attack was partly repulsed. At this moment, General Gavin ordered Capt. Rae of the 507th Regt to attack and succeed at all costs Much equipment was destroyed and many dead and wounded littered the road. Despite this, the heroism, courage and the vigorous onslaught surprised the enemy, who retreated, losing ground in their turn. The attack by Capt. Rae and his men was decisive. Cauquigny was never lost again. The advance of the 507th Regt did not stop here, it continued to the small village of Motey, 2/3 of a mile west. This operation enabled the bridgehead to be widened north and south.

Following this brilliant action, the enemy was defeated and the passage for the sea-borne forces from the beach was finally opened up.