16 May 2009

No Better Place To Die - Ste-Mère Eglise, June 1944 - The Battle for La Fière Bridge

In the early hours of D Day, the 505th Regimental Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division was dropped in Normandy. Its task was to seize the vital crossroads of Ste Mère Eglise, and to hold the bridge over the Merderet River at nearby La Fière. Benefiting from dynamic battlefield leadership, the paratroopers reached the bridge, only to be met by wave after wave of German tanks and infantry desperate to force the crossing.

Reinforced by glider troops, who suffered terribly in their landings from the now-alert Germans, the 505th not only held the vital bridge for three days but launched a counterattack to secure their objective once and for all, albeit at heavy cost. In No Better Place to Die, Robert M. Murphy provides an objective narrative of countless acts of heroism, almost breathtaking in its “you are there” detail.

Robert M. Murphy (1925-2008) joined the US Army in October 1942, serving with the 82nd Airborne in Italy, Holland, Africa, and Normandy. He received the Purple Heart (3), Valor (2), Bronze Star, Medal of Honor as well as the highest honor given by France, "The Legion of Honor".

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