No Better Place to Die

Ste-Mere Eglise, June 1944—The Battle for la Fiere Bridge

Robert Murphy, Robert M. Murphy

As part of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, three airborne divisions were dropped behind enemy lines to sow 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 kaleid
Date Published :
June 2011
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
100 + illustrations throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781935149880
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
Available
$22.95
Paperback
ISBN : 9781612008004
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 8 X 5 inches
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Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$14.95

Overview
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The you-are-there story of one of the most ferocious small-unit combats in US history . . .

As part of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, three airborne divisions were dropped behind enemy lines to sow 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 breathtaking in its “you are there” detail.

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.

A selection of the Military Book Club

About The Author
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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.

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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Foreword. By Colonel Mark J. Alexander
Introduction. By Ian Daglish

Part I: “No Better Place to Die.” By Bob Murphy
Chapter 1: Soldiers Tell the Tale
Chapter 2: A Change of Plan
Chapter 3: Operation Overlord: A Pathfinder’s View
Chapter 4: The Battle at La Fière: The Mission of the 1st Battalion, 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment
Chapter 5: Across the Causeway
Chapter 6: The Battle of Chef-du-Pont
Chapter 7: D-Day Plus One: June 7, 1944
Chapter 8: Advance across the Marsh
Chapter 9: Last Enemy Attack and the End of the Normandy Campaign

Part II: Eyewitness Reports: Paratrooper Accounts
Landing Alone on D-Day. By Howard Huebner
“The Hottest Single Incident”: The 1st Battalion, 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment at La Fière. By Mark J. Alexander
The Tank Attack on La Fière Causeway; June 6, 1944. By Marcus Heim
Letter to General Gavin. By John Dolan
“Chief” Turner Turnbull: The Action at Neuville-au-Plain. By Bob Murphy
D-Day in Ste. Mère-Eglise. By Spencer F. Wurst

Part III: Eyewitness Reports: Gliderist Accounts
A Brief History on Gliders. By Bob Murphy
D-Day Glider Landing. By Clinton Riddle
Landing with the Tank Force at Utah Beach. By Lucius P. Young
The 325 Glider Infantry Regiment Attack across La Fière Causeway. By Lee Travelstead
A Medic in Normandy. By Chester Walker
The Fighting at Cauquigny and Le Motey. By Wayne Pierce

Part IV: Eyewitness Reports: French and German Accounts
The Opposition: Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildungs Abteilung 100
The Battle of La Fière, Seen from the Manoir. By Madame Louis Leroux
Manning the Bell Tower at Ste. Mère-Eglise: A German Perspective. By Rudolph May
The Light of Day: June 6, 1944. By Alexandre Renaud, Wartime Mayor of Ste. Mère-Eglise

Part V: Return to Normandy
Epilogue. By Bob Murphy

Acknowledgments

Appendix A: Citations
Robert M. Murphy: Bronze Star Medal with Bronze V Device
Marcus Heim: Distinguished Service Cross
Charles DeGlopper: Medal of Honor

Appendix B: Historical Notes and Documents
Timeline: 82d Airborne Division
The Activation of the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment
Jump Training
The Parachutist’s Creed
Notes on the 505 Pathfinders
Pathfinder Employment for Operation Neptune

Appendix C: Stories for the Next Generation
In Memory of Bill Owens. By Bob Murphy
The Rabbit’s Tale. Or, How a Big French Jackrabbit Helped Win the War. By D. Zane Schlemmer
Christmas in the Bulge, 1944. By D. Zane Schlemmer
Living History, Keeping History Alive: A Tribute to the 82d Airborne Division. By Emile Lacroix

Comments on Research and Further Reading. By Bob Murphy

Editor’s Note. By Gayle Wurst

Index

REVIEWS
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“…brings readers a precise historical memoir …Those wanting an up close and personal memoir …have an opportunity to receive it from an American fighting man who lived to tell the tale.”

- MILITARY

"outstanding memior...accounts and memoirs from many of his comrades plus supporting documents that give a fuller picture of what the 82nd accomplished on D-Day and the dys after."

- WWII History

“…well illustrated with plenty of relevant black and white photographs, this is an absolute gem of a book and a must for anyone interested in the Normandy Campaign.”

- Combat and Survival

“…a fascinating read… really well balanced and authoritative account”

- Military Modelling

"…provides an objective narrative of countless acts of heroism, almost breathtaking in its you are there detail. "

- Reenactor’s Magazine

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