On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
In 2014 we took a family trip with our grown sons to London, Normandy, and Paris for two weeks. We spent three days in Normandy, a visit that had been on my bucket list for years. I’ve been reading WW2 history for over 50 years and wanted to see the sites in person. We stayed in an Air BnB apartment in Bayeux, the only town near the landings that was completely undamaged in the war.
Our first day was to see the sites of the US Airborne landings and the museums related to them.
In the square of Ste Mere Eglise, a parachute effigy dangles from the church, commemorating what happened to John Steele when his parachute snagged on the spire.
The Airborne Museum in Ste Mere Eglise had a C47, the plane my uncle Roger (IX Troop Carrier Command) flew to drop the 101st Airborne the night before the landing, and tow Waco gliders on June 6th. The only thing he ever told his family was “I towed gliders over Normandy.” In the last few years my brother and I did a lot of research and found out he flew in Normandy, Dragoon (Southern France), Market-Garden (Holland), resupply of Bastogne, jerrycans of gasoline for Patton’s advance, Varsity (Rhine crossing), and evacuation flights for wounded and POWs.
This C47 is painted as The Argonia, flown by Charles Young, who wrote a very good history of USAAF Troop Carrier, “Into the Valley”.
Waco CG-4 glider. There are some good histories of glider operations and troops. One by Gary Best, “Silent Invaders: Combat Gliders of the Second World War” opened with this quote from Walter Cronkite after his experience in Market-Garden: “I’ll tell you straight out. If you’ve got to go into combat, don’t go by glider. Walk, crawl, parachute, swim, float – anything! But don’t go by glider.”
Waco CG-4 glider.
While the 82nd landed at Ste. Mere Eglise, the 101st fought near Carentan, here. “Band of Brothers” included their Normandy experience.
The 101st was in the hedgerow countryside, much of which looks the same as it did in 1944. This is the Angoville-au-Plain, the Cursed Drop Zone. The Germans had already identified this area as favorable for parachute landings and they were set up for an ambush. Many of the paratroopers were killed before they touched ground.
Thank you for the comments and photos. If you haven’t been to the WW2 museum in NOLA, put it on your list, it’s amazing and has a lot of aircraft.
This motherfucking guy:
Isn’t their big income from tourism? Does Florida really benefit if LGTBQ+ people and their allies refuse to step foot there? Because what the actual fuck?
They are pushing the boundaries hard and we need to push back harder.
@Mary G: Sorry frosty, I meant to put the DeSantis in the earlier tread, but I didn’t notice I was in OTR until the edit window timed out. Looking at these places and seeing places where men whose shoes the Republican Party establishment aren’t fit to lick, wow. All the planes seem such crude and unsafe technology now, but America worked miracles to get them made and deployed to make the massive effort of D Day start the beginning of the end of the war.
Thank you for these photos! They bring back memories of my last trip to the Normandy area. We also drove through the “Operation Market Garden” area, and all I can say is WTF!
The glider looks like an amazing piece of single use technology. Get it done and leave it there!
Thanks for the pictures and comments!
Thanks frosty. Great photos.
@Mary G: It’s not a problem here, but if you want, I can move this to the previous thread.
@Lapassionara: Operation Market Garden was a very costly failure. At a time when Allied forces were bringing in most of their supplies in over the Normandy beaches, and burning rubber and fuel to bring them to the front, Eisenhower should have made Montgomery first clear the Scheldt estuary that led to the port of Antwerp.
British forces had captured Antwerp, with its immense port facilities intact, on September 5. But they stopped there long enough to let the Germans extract their forces stranded in Northeast France, and dig in along the 30 mile estuary.
The Allies needed Antwerp badly as a port, but between the grueling fight to clear the estuary shores, and minesweeping and removal of obstacles by the Navy, the first cargo ship did not unload at Antwerp until the latter half of November. Not surprisingly, Montgomery gave the costly and unglamorous task of clearing the Scheldt to the Canadians under his command.
J R in WV
Montgomery seems to have been a terrible strategist, and tactically only cared about how he would look in the after battle reports. Self-centered upper-class under-achiever — typical British nearly-royal asshole.
But Ike couldn’t relieve him, or assign him to a non-warfare role, in order to keep the Brits involved with the Allied war strategy. Because he was upper-crust, don’t you know!