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No Better Place To Die: Ste-Mère Eglise, June 1944 (Paperback)

The Battle for La Fière Bridge


By Robert M. Murphy
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 16-page photo section
ISBN: 9781935149880
Published: 1st May 2011

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“Those wanting an up-close and personal memoir of small unit infantry during Operation Overlord have an opportunity to receive it from an American fighting man who lived to tell the tale.” Military Magazine, November 2010

As part of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, three airborne divisions were dropped behind enemy lines to sew confusion in the German rear and prevent panzer reinforcements from reaching the beaches. In the dark early hours of D-Day, this confusion was achieved well enough, as nearly every airborne unit missed its drop zone, creating a kaleidoscope of small-unit combat. Fortunately for the Allies, the 505th Regimental Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division hit on or near its drop zone. Its task was to seize the vital crossroads of Ste Mère Eglise, and to hold the bridge over the Merderet River at nearby La Fière. Benefiting from dynamic battlefield leadership, the paratroopers reached the bridge, only to be met by wave after wave of German tanks and infantry desperate to force the crossing. 

Reinforced by glider troops, who suffered terribly in their landings from the now-alert Germans, the 505th not only held the vital bridge for three days but launched a counterattack in the teeth of enemy fire to secure their objective once and for all, albeit at gruesome cost. In No Better Place to Die, Robert M. Murphy provides an objective narrative of countless acts of heroism, almost breath-taking in its “you are there” detail.

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About Robert M. Murphy

No World War II veteran is better known in 82nd Airborne circles than Robert M. (“Bob”) Murphy. A Pathfinder and member of A Company, 505th PIR, Bob was wounded three times in action, and made all four combat jumps with his regiment, fighting in Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and Holland. He was decorated for valor for his role at La Fière, and is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. After the war, he was instrumental in establishing the 505th RCT Association, of which he is the current president. He is also a past president of the 82nd Airborne Veterans’ Association.

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