A new monument

This memorial was erected by the descendants & friends of the 83rd Infantry Division on June 5, 2024 honoring the event of their first battle which launched from this spot on July 4th, 1944. The importance of this memorial at Meautis cannot be overstated. The battle of July 4th resulted in over 450 soldiers killed and many wounded. This number marks one of the deadliest battles of the entire war for the division. At the end of day 1, the inexperienced 83rd was now devastated by the loss of life and wounded as they started their month-long march through “hedgerow hell” fighting yard to yard, field to field, village to village until operation Cobra.

Short history of the battle

The 83rd was held in reserve until after D-Day, and entered France on 21 through 24 June. They landed across Omaha Beach and took over defensive positions near Carentan, where they relieved the 101st Airborne around the end of the month. Stephen Ambrose, in his book “Band Of Brothers,” quotes one of the men of the 101st Airborne about the arrival of the 83rd. He said they were “so clean looking, with a full compliment of men in each unit. Even the paint on their helmets looked as if they had just been unpacked.” That would soon change.

On 4 July, the 83rd Division left Carentan and moved south toward Sainteny, a short march of about four miles that quickly turned into a six-day battle claiming over 1,400 casualties in the first 24 hours. By the time Sainteny was taken on 10 July, that number multiplied to 3,264. On the first day, the 83rd jumped off along the Carentan-Periers road, with the entire division artillery in support.

The assault against the German 17th SS Division and 6th Parachute Regiment was slow and costly. They fought their way through swamps that the Germans created by flooding the fields. The Germans knew the routes that the 83rd would have to take, and from concealed positions dug beneath the hedgerows, they ranged in on the advancing GIs with mortars and artillery.

Detailed accounts

Longtime Association Historian, and 83rd descendant, Dave Curry published many accounts of the 83rd Division from their entire route through Europe. His work can be read on his website which he has dedicated to his father. Among the many accounts on his site are the following talking about the Meautis battle. Click the link to learn more: