'Iron Mike' 82nd Airborne Memorial
Location and info
The bridge over the Merderet river at La Fiere to the west of Sainte-Mere-Eglise was one of the key D-Day objectives for the US 82nd Airborne - but it wasn't an easy task and resulted in three days of battles between the paratroopers and the occupying German forces. The Germans, who were even supported by tanks, counter attacked repeatedly after loosing the bridge and were finally defeated on June 9.
The attack and subsequent defence of the river crossing was led by General James Gavin and he is remembered on the plinth of the Iron Mike statue which stands overlooking the river today within a small memorial park dedicated to the US paratroopers.
The statue is similar to one at Fort Bragg, the home of the 82nd Airborne both then and today.
Back towards Sainte-Mere-Eglise on the D15 road, less than 100metres from the memorial, is a small dip in the roadside verge surrounded by a small fence - this is the foxhole where General Gavin based himself during the battle for La Fiere. Be careful on the road if you plan to get a close up view.