Watch the 101st Airborne Division Silver Star awards ceremony, which took place on 20 June 1944 at the Place De La République in Carentan, France. The footage from this video has virtually never been seen before.
At the ceremony is Major Maginnis, the military superintendent of the city and acting Mayor Mr. Joret, in this role because of the death of Doctor Caillard, who was killed on June 6, 1944. The commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, is also there front and center, standing proudly facing his men.
Facing Major General Maxwell standing left to right are:
Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, 101st Artillery;
LTC Julian L. Ewell, 501st PIR;
Lt. George Kraft, G/502nd PIR;
T/4 Webster, 327th GIR;
T/5 Robert E. Wright, Medic, 501st PIR;
Pvt. Walter H. Sanderson, D/502nd PIR, later KIA;
Pvt. David C. Gifford, D/502nd PIR, later KIA;
S/Sgt. Bruno E Schroeder, HQ/506th PIR;
S/Sgt. Harry A. Clawson, H/506th PIR, later KIA;
S/Sgt. Frederic A. Bahlau, H/506th PIR (he would receive a 2nd Silver Star during WWII).
The campaign between the Nazis and Allies for the city of Carentan occurred between 10 and 15 June 1944, fiercely within the city and while converging on the entrances of Carentan, France. Carentan had to be wrested from the hands of the Germans to establish a continuous defensive line against expected German counterattacks while the Allies linked up with the Utah Beach and Omaha Beach frontlines.
The Nazis were defending Carentan with four divisions of the Wehrmacht – 2 regiments of the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6 (6th Parachute Regiment) of the 2nd Fallschirmjäger-Division and two Ost Heer battalions.
The Germans ordered reinforcements to Carentan. The 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division, heading to Carentan, was delayed by the unavailability of transport vehicles and because of aircraft attacks by Allied Forces.
This left an opening for the attacking 101st Airborne Division, which had been ordered to seize Carentan from Nazi hands. The 101st Airborne had landed by parachute and glider on 6 June on the outskirts of the city.
In the ensuing combat, the 101st pushed forward across the causeway into Carentan on 10 and 11 June 1944. A shortage of ammunition forced the German forces to retreat on 12 June. The 17th SS PzG Division launched a counter-attack against the 101st Airborne on 13 June.
The counter-attack was successful, in the beginning, but the counter-attack was thwarted by the Airborne troops and reinforcements from the U.S. 2nd Armored Division of the CCA (Combat Command A).