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As They Appear Today

Photos by Joseph Balkoski
Last update September 7, 2010

A typical sunken road in the legendary Norman bocage. "Combat in the bocage was like fighting in a maze." (Beyond the Beachhead, page 160.)

The Aure River Marais (marsh). Here a platoon of Company E, 115th Infantry under Lt. Kermit Miller crossed the marsh during the night of June 8, 1944 and ambushed an enemy force in nearby Colombieres. Miller was killed the following day. "Slopping through the odorous swamp, the platoon took five hours to traverse two-and-a-half miles." (Beyond the Beachhead, page 167.)

The Vire River near Auville, where Capt. King's Company K, 175th Infantry boldly attacked across the river against heavy German fire on June 9, 1944. "About the only thing that went wrong was that I got shot through both legs by a Kraut machine gun -- so I needed one of the ambulances." (Capt. John King, as related in Beyond the Beachhead, page 182.)

The church in St. Clair sur l'Elle, seized by the 116th Infantry on June 13, 1944. Several days later, a German paratrooper infiltrated into the town and climbed the church steeple (see arrow) to harass nearby 29ers with sniper fire. "The Stonewallers could make out a church steeple through the mist as they approached St. Clair . . . Reaching the town square, the 29ers noticed with amusement that St. Clair's World War I memorial, a statue of a 1918 French infantryman (see arrow) was headless." (Beyond the Beachhead, page 194.)

The road leading to Montmartin-en-Graignes where Company E, 175th Infantry was ambushed on June 12, 1944. The enemy fired sub-machineguns across the top of the hedgerow on the left. Gen. Cota took shelter behind the opposite hedgerow near the lane on the right. "The Yanks promptly dropped into the roadside ditches. Muttered one prone 29er, 'Christ! I never knew my dog tags was so thick!'." (Beyond the Beachhead, page 199.)

CLICK HERE for historical information on the 29th Infantry Division