June 18 1940 : the first battle of Carentan

June 18 1940 is in France well remembered as the call for resistance made by General Charles De Gaulle from London as the French Government surrendered to the Nazis. It is also on this date that a handful of French troops fought in Carentan against German Armored forces of the 7th Panzer Division, the Ghost division, commanded by General Erwin Rommel. This battle took place at the very spot where four long years of harsh occupation later, American paratroopers would fight to liberate Carentan, along the former Highway 13 now called Purple Heart Lane. June 18th therefore reminds the people of Carentan of both the call from De Gaulle, but also the stubborn resistance of French Nay men, supported by the heavy guns of battleship Le Courbet, which allowed over 30 000 British troop of the British Expeditionary Force to evacuate Cherbourg.