US Army Captures Carnetan
To complete the capture of Carentan, Gen.
Courtney Hodges of First Army created a task force under Gen. Anthony McAuliffe to coordinate the final assault. The mission to take Hill 30 was reassigned to the 506th PIR, the attack along the Bassin à Flot was renewed, and the 501st PIR was relieved of its defensive positions to circle behind the 327th GIR and approach Hill 30 from the east. The movements were covered by an all-night artillery bombardment of Carentan using naval gunfire, Corps artillery, 4.2-inch mortars, and tank destroyers that had joined the 327th GIR along the eastern canal.
Two battalions of the 506th moved down the Carentan causeway after dark, passed through the 2nd/502nd PIR at 02:00 on June 12, and marched cross country to Hill 30 (the village of la Billonnerie), which they captured by 05:00. The 1st Battalion took up defensive positions facing south across the highway, while the 2nd Battalion was ordered north to attack the city. The 501st PIR during the night moved into position behind the 327th Glider Infantry, crossed the canal, and reached Hill 30 by 06:30.
At 06:00 Carentan was attacked from the north by 1st/401st GIR and the south by 2nd/506th PIR. Both units encountered machine gun fire from the rear guard, but the 2nd/506th was also sporadically shelled by artillery to the south of Carentan. Despite this, both units swiftly cleaned out the rear guard in a short fight near the railroad station and met at 07:30 in the center of town. The 1st/506th PIR engaged in more serious combat south of town when it had to rescue Col. Sink's command post, surrounded because it had pushed too far towards the German lines in the dark.
In the afternoon both the 506th and 501st advanced southwest but after a mile were stopped by heavy contacts with new German units including a few tanks. The 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division had intended to counterattack to retake Carentan, but its assault guns were held up in the assembly areas by Allied air attacks. Instead infantry units dug in on higher ground below the city and battled the paratroopers until dark.
During the night of 11-12 June Carentan was set ablaze by artillery, naval guns, 4.2-inch mortars, and several tank destroyer guns which fired on point targets from the 327th Glider Infantry's positions along the canal.
The 1st and 2d Battalions, 506th Parachute Infantry, moved out at 0200 on 12 June. Near the farmhouse which had been Colonel Cole's command post they left the highway and moved cross country directly south to Hill 30 (Map No. 18).