We strive to make The D-Day Assault your guidebook to the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings–and beyond. As soon as guidebooks are published, changes are inevitable. Roads, hours of museums and other travel features often change. Check back to this website frequently to see all updates. The authors want your feedback, positive or negative, on your experiences in Normandy–or just to tell us if something has changed (and you have found a great restaurant or museum/memorial).
Two interesting museums and a memorial site near Carentan that we left out in “The D-Day Assault” are definitely worth a visit:
The Normandy Tank Museum and A-10 Airfield, opened on June 1, 2013, houses the WWII collection of Patrick Nerrant and his sons, Stéphane and Olivier. Their collection is comprised of a number of fully restored American military vehicles and aircraft, including several tanks, a M 7 Priest (motorized 105mm howitzer), motorcycles and a L4H Grasshopper (Piper Cub) in its D-Day markings. Touts itself as the largest museum in Normandy with 10,170-square-feet of exhibition halls, with more than 40 vehicles. More than 11,000 artifacts from the war on 10 acres. The museum is situated on a 1944 airstrip. Tank rides and demonstrations are featured.
The museum, located off the old N 13 just east of Carentan, can be reached by exiting the “new” N 13-E 3-E 46 autoroute at the Carentan interchange. Enter the north roundabout to double back on the “old” N 13 (now D 974, the Ave. du Cotinten) for 1 km, just past the village of La Fourchette. Phone: +33 (0) 2 33 44 39 45; contact@ Normandy-tank-museum.fr; www.normandy-tank-museum.fr. Open daily from April 1 to October 31, 0900-1800; November 1 to March 31, 1000-1700; closed from December 31 to January 31. Admission charged.
Dead Man’s Corner Museum (Centre Historique des Parachutistes du Jour-J) and The Airborne Memorial Wall
This gem of a museum is located in a small house at the junction of D 913 and D 974 between St-Côme-du-Mont and Carentan. The building was used as a German command post on D-Day. Today, the museum exhibits a fascinating collection of mementos, uniformed mannequins and equipment used by the airborne forces, American and German, that fought here. The name “Dead Man’s Corner” was given to the intersection by men of the 101st AD because of a dead tank crewman hanging from an exit hatch of his disabled Stuart at the intersection. Phone: +33 (0) 2 33 42 00 42; firstname.lastname@example.org. Open daily from 0900-1800 except Sundays, October 1, April 30, December 24 and 25 and January 1. Admission charged.
The “Airborne Memorial Wall” is a small commemorative wall, located behind the museum, bearing plaques honoring individuals from the airborne units that fought here. Among the men so honored to date are Richard Winters, Bill Guarnere and Darrell C. “Shifty” Powers, all members of Easy Company, 506th PI, 101st AD, Stephen E. Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers.”
The Cole Bayonet Charge Memorial
This new memorial stele is located just off D 974 about a kilometer southeast of the Dead Man’s Corner Museum. It is very near bridge #4 over the Douve River where LTC Robert G. Cole led his 3rd Battalion, 502nd PR in its famous bayonet charge on June 11, 1944. Military personnel, including a contingent from the 101st AD, and civilian dignitaries dedicated the memorial in an impressive ceremony on June 4, 2014.
A four-foot square, flat, granite slab bearing a lithograph depicting Cole, 1SGT Ken Sprechier and PVTs Allen Emory and Edward Sower adorns the base of the stele. All four men were cited for their bravery during the attack, with Cole receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously. In September, a German sniper near the Dutch town of Best killed Cole during the opening days of Operation Market-Garden, just before the Medal of Honor could be officially awarded. Another memorial to Col. Cole stands near Best.
Musee Airborne. New exhibit hall, Operation Neptune, which features a C47 cargo plane, interactive experience of a squad of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division as they prepare to jump into Normandy. First major construction since 1984 at the museum. Contact: www.airborne-museum.org.
The Museum of the Order of Liberation, within the Army Museum‘s Invalides complex, is closed for renovation until June 18, 2015. It is part of the 9.50 Euro entrance fee that gets you into Napoleon’s Tomb and the Army Museum (with extensive displays on the Normandy campaign).
Two recent histories concerned with D-Day that you should be aware of:
Macintyre, Ben. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (2012).
Beevor, Anthony. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (2009).
Read Macintyre if you want to know how close an abandoned mongrel dog, Babs, came to bringing down the entire double cross system, thus putting Operation Fortitude in jeopardy.
Read Beevor if you want an up-to-date account of the Battle of Normandy from D-Day planning through the fall of Paris.