Shoulder Flash of the British 6th Airborne


Pegasus Bridge


This was the first objective of Operation Overlord and was attacked at 15 minutes after midnight on 6 June 1944.  The British 6th Airborne landed 3 gliders near the Pegasus Bridge.  Commanded by Major Howard, his glider landed within 50 meters of the German held draw bridge and the other 2 were within 75 and 100 yards respectively.  Once the British seized and held the bridge, the Germans would be unable to use it to cross the Orne river from Caen and thus, keep German armor off of Sword beach during the landings scheduled for the next morning.  Seize and hold they did; this is a place of great pride for the British people.  Look at the picture showing the location of Major Howard's glider.  This is and example of extreme aviation precision and military execution.  Simply amazing!   Military intelligence was obtained by Georges and Thérèsa Gondrée.  Due to the fact that the wife grew up in Alsace Loraine, she spoke fluent German.  The family served homemade wine to the 50 Germans who guarded the bridge and the wife, would listen to them talk on the front patio.  From these "lose lips" she was able to inform the allies of the garrison strength, the weapon types, and most importantly, the location of the detonation button which was connected to the destruction charges which were fastened on the bridge.  Without this information, the attack would not have been possible. 

Click Pictures to Enlarge

Me in front of the Pegasus Bridge.

Wartime home of Gondrées which is on the West bank of the Orne river.

Bridge raising.

German anti-tank gun which was not manned when the gliders landed.

British tank on West side of the river.

French monument to the first location of Operation Overlord.

Poppy flowers are popular tributes at European battle sites.

Major Howards bust next to the monument designating the location of landing of glider #1.

Amazingly only 50 meters away.

This is the wartime bridge which was upgraded after the war. It now rests at the Pegasus museum on the North side of the Orne river.

Another angle of the original Pegasus Bridge.

Fiberglass mock-up of a WWII British Horsa glider.

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