Battle of Bloody Gulch

Battle of Bloody Gulch

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = Battle of Bloody Gulch
partof = Battle of Carentan, Battle of Normandy

caption =
date = June 13, 1944
place = Carentan, Normandy, France
territory =
result = United States Victory
status =
combatant1 = flagicon|USA|1912 101st Airborne
flagicon|USA|1912 2nd Armored
combatant2 = flagicon|Nazi Germany 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division
flagicon|Nazi Germany 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment
combatant3 =
commander1 = flagicon|USA|1912 Robert Strayer
commander2 = flagicon|Nazi Germany Friedrich von der Heydte
commander3 =
strength1 =
strength2 =
strength3 =
casualties1 =
casualties2 =
casualties3 =
notes =

The Battle of Bloody Gulch took place near Hill 30 (U.S. Army designation) approximately one mile (1.6 km) southwest of Carentan in Normandy, France on June 13 1944, between elements of the German 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division and 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment, and the American 501st, 502nd and 506th, Parachute Infantry Regiments (PIR) of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, reinforced by elements of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division.


When the 101st Airborne entered the town of Carentan on June 12, 1944 (D-Day + 6) after heavy fighting on the two previous days, they met relatively light resistance. The bulk of the surviving German defenders (from the 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment) had withdrawn to the southwest the previous night after a heavy Allied naval and artillery bombardment. Both sides realised the importance of the city: for the Americans, it was a link between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, and would provide a base for further attacks deeper into German-occupied France. For the Germans, recapturing Carentan would be the first step towards driving a wedge between the two U.S. landing beaches, and possibly destroying or severely disrupting the Allied invasion.

The remnants of the 6th Fallschirmjäger resupplied and were reinforced by assault guns and panzergrenadiers of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division on the night of June 12-13. The combined force counterattacked northeast towards Carentan at dawn on June 13th, just as the 506th and 501st PIR were attacking southwest to enlarge the American defensive perimeter around the town. The 506th took the brunt of the attack, and by 10:30 a.m., the outnumbered and outgunned paratroopers were pushed almost back to the outskirts of the city. The 2nd Battalion of the 502nd PIR took up positions to the right of the 506th, but by 1:00 p.m. they too had suffered many casualties, and the German attack was on the edge of breaking through their defenses.

At this critical point, tanks, infantry and artillery from Combat Command A of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division counterattacked southwest from Carentan, inflicting severe casualties on the Germans and forcing them to withdraw. The American victory led to the linkup of forces from Utah and Omaha beaches, creating a secure lodgement area for further American operations.

The battle in fiction

The fight was popularized with the release of the HBO series "Band of Brothers" (in the episode "Carentan"), which portrays the 506th PIR's part in the battle.

The video game " and " portrayed a fictional group of soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole (a Medal of honor recipient), on their journey to take Carentan. The final level of "Road to Hill 30" is the Battle of Bloody Gulch, which concludes with the tanks of the 2nd Armored Division arriving on the battlefield. The strategy game "Company of Heroes" also shows the defense of Carentan, with the same results but more defense situations are added such as barbed wires, mines and machine gun emplacements which can be placed near the main bridges causing different result every time.

External links

* [ Map - "German Counterttack on Carentan 13 June 1944" -]
* [ "The Battle of Carentan, 8-15 June" -]
* [ "The Battle of Bloody Gulch" (near the bottom of the page) -]

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