The 101st Airborne Assault
Between 0100 hours and 0200 hours, 900 C47 Dakota aircraft dropped the men of 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
The 101st landed in the Sainte-Marie-du-Mont Sector. General Taylor, commander of the 6,900 paras of the division, was the first American general to land in France. The division, formed in the summer of 1942, was composed of three regiments (501st, 502nd and 506th) and received it’s baptism of fire that morning. The pilot’s lack of experience, the anti-aircraft fire and the flooded marshland led to a wide drop and heavy losses.
Colonel Moseley’s 502nd Regiment dropped on Zone A (Turqueville) before advancing towards the Saint-Martin-de-Varreville Battery. After breaking a leg in the jump, Moseley relinquished command to his deputy, Colonel Michaelis. During a drop which was largely inaccurate, Colonel Cassidy who commanded the regiment’s 1st Battalion was only able to assemble 205 men to secure the Foucarville-Beuzeville-au-Plain sector. At 0115 hours, units of 501st and 506th were badly mis-dropped on Zones C and D in the area of Hiesville, Saint-Come-du-Mont, Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and Vierville. Led by General Taylor, two groups set out towards the exits leading from Utah and Pouppeville.
At 0130 hours, Colonel Johnson, commander of 501st Regiment, was dropped to the south of Angouville-au-Plain. Regrouping 150 men, he advanced in the direction of the bridges over the Douves.