Cherbourg, France

  • Location: Cotentin Peninsula, France
  • Department: Manche
  • WW2 Liberation Date: June 27, 1944

In order to provide Operation Overlord forces with the necessary supplies, the Allies needed to establish port facilities in France as soon as possible. Cherbourg, a deep port located on the northern tip of the Cotentin peninsula, was a perfect location, and the capture of this city was a high priority for American forces.

Original plans called for the port to be taken between June 14th and June 21st by the 4th and 90th Infantry Divisions. Temporary "Mulberry" harbors were constructed offshore at Omaha Beach and Arromanches until Cherbourg could be captured.

American Forces of the VII Corps entered Cherbourg on June 24th, and three days later the city's German occupiers formally surrendered. Although Cherbourg was now under Allied control, the Germans had damaged the city extensively, and it took weeks to make the port operational.

Captain Miller mentions Cherbourg after he learns that Private Ryan was last known to be heading towards the village of Ramelle in order to defend its bridge. Miller explains that Rommel needs bridges across the Merderet River in order to move forces across the river to attack the Allied flank as it advances on Cherbourg.