|The United States of America played an important role in the Battle of Normandy. It contributed more men and equipment than any other allied country, starting on June 6th with 5 infantry divisions and ending on August 30th with 6 armoured divisions and 16 infantry divisions. In total, this amounted to more than a million US soldiers. This degree of commitment to the liberation of Europe did come at a heavy cost; In Normandy alone, the US army suffered 20,838 killed, 94,881 wounded and 10,128 missing. |
101st Airborne Division
|Activated on 16th August 1942, the 101st had "no history, but it had a rendezvous with destiny." The division was shipped over the Atlantic in preparation for the invasion of France. The 101st were given the task of dropping onto the Cotentin Peninsula and securing vital objectives such as the causeways leading off Utah Beach and bridges and locks along the Douve River. The drops were scattered and it took several days before the division was organised and had completed its objectives.
The division dropped again during Operation Market Garden, where it secured several bridges between Nijmegen and Eindhoven. After 72 days combat, the division was pulled back to France for rest and relaxation, which was cut short by the German offensive through the Ardennes. Besieged at the crossroads town of Bastogne, the 101st refused to surrender and despite critical shortages of ammunition and medical supplies they held on until the siege was broken by Patton's 3rd Army. No member of the 101st has ever agreed that the division needed to be rescued.||