Utah Beach American Memorial France

Overview

The World War II Utah Beach American Memorial commemorates the achievements of U.S. VII Corps forces that landed and fought in the liberation of the Cotentin Peninsula from June 6, 1944 to July 1, 1944.

The monument is a red granite obelisk set in a small park overlooking sand dunes of the historic site.

VII Corps units landed by air and sea to pursue three missions: expand the Allied beachhead, seal off the Cotentin Peninsula, and thrust northward to liberate Cherbourg. The Utah Beach terrain differed from other invasion beaches. Its dunes were relatively shallow, followed inland by expanses of flooded and marshy terrain crossed by narrow causeways.

German defenses included multiple obstacles along the beaches, plus infantry and artillery capable of blocking exits inland. The Germans also reinforced their units throughout the Cotentin Peninsula and enhanced fortifications around Cherbourg.

June 1-5, 1944: Medium and heavy bombers of the U.S. Eighth and Ninth Air Forces attacked German positions.

June 6, pre-dawn hours: Troopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions landed by parachutes and gliders near Ste.-Mère-Église and Carentan.

June 6, 6:30 a.m.: H-Hour. Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division began storming the beach, carried by Navy and Coast Guard vessels. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade and 2nd Naval Beach Battalion landed to clear the beaches for reinforcements.

June 6, 9:30 a.m.: The 82nd Airborne Division completed clearing Ste.-Mère-Église, the first town liberated in France.

June 6-June 14: Reinforcements such as the 9th, 79th, and 90th Infantry Divisions arrived.

June 14: The 101st Airborne Division finished liberating Carentan. Also, VII Corps forces met units pushing westward from Omaha Beach, thus completing the connection of the Normandy beachheads.

June 17-18: VII Corps units reached the Cotentin Peninsula’s western coast, trapping German forces on the peninsula.

June 20: U.S. forces (the 4th 9th, and 79th Infantry Divisions) began attacking Cherbourg’s outer defenses.

June 27: The Germans surrendered Cherbourg.

The Utah Beach Monument is located at the seaward end of Highway D 913, about 3.6 miles northeast of Ste. Marie-du-Mont.

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