Pegasus Bridge

So Pegasus Bridge was about a mile from the town I lived in. It crosses the Caen Canal between Merville and Benouville. The D-Day invasion (June 6, 1944) basically started with the capture of this bridge by the British 6th Airborne Division (I could keep going, but I won't).

I didn't know this until Steve (the director of the program) suggested we go to the Pegasus Bridge memorial, just around the corner from where the bridge stands today. The museum was small, but it had a ton of information, maps, and displays from WWII. Outside the museum was the actual Pegasus Bridge (the current bridge is a replica), a tank or two, parts of the gliders used in the landings, and a replica of a full glider.

The first photo below tells the story of the capture of Pegasus Bridge (renamed after the battle):

On D-Day minus one--June 5, 1944, it was the responsibility of the British 6th Airborne Division to establish a bridgehead across the Orne river and the Caen Canal, halfway between the City of Caen and the coast, and to protect the eastern flank of the seaborne landings from a German counter attack. Several parts of the operation had to succeed together to guarantee success, and there was only time to do it once. If the D-Day landings were to succeed, the establishment of these bridgeheads were vital.

At 2300 hours on the night of June 5, six gliders took off from England with a small force of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and Royal Engineers, to seize the crossings over the Caen Canal and the River Orne. Just after 00:15, the gliders crash landed just 50 meters from the bridge over the canal, and the troops poured out and overwhelmed the Germans who were still asleep and taken by surprise.

It goes on to tell the whole story, but the Allies were relieved just in time and were able to secure the bridge.

It was strange to actually walk across the original bridge.

The current Pegasus Bridge is a replica of the original.

Turning to face the other direction is the location where the British 6th Airborne Division actually crash landed to capture the bridge.

I have tons more pictures from the museum, but I can't remember all the details from each one. All the stories I heard are blending together--it's been almost a year since I was there...crazy.

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