Utah Beach

Located on the east coast of the Cotentin Peninsula, Utah Beach was one of two beaches targeted by the U.S. VII Corps. Utah Beach was chosen so that Allied forces could capture the port city of Cherbourg on the northern tip of the Cotentin.

Forces assaulting Utah Beach included:

  • 9th U.S. Air Force
    • 276 B-26 Marauder medium bombers
  • Task Force 125 (Force U)
    • 865 naval vessels
  • 4th Infantry Division
    • 8th Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
      • 2nd Battalion
  • 90th Infantry Division
    • 359th Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
      • 3rd Battalion
  • 70th Tank Battalion
    • Company C
  • 237th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 1106th Engineer Combat Group
  • 101st Airborne Division (via landing craft)
    • 327 Glider Infantry Regiment
    • 401st Glider Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
    • 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion
    • 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
    • 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion
    • 81st AAA / AT Battalion (partial)
  • 82nd Airborne Division (via landing craft)
    • 325th Glider Infantry Regiment
    • 401st Glider Infantry Regiment
      • 2nd Battalion

Landing behind Utah Beach were units from two U.S. airborne divisions.

  • 101st Airborne Division
    • 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
      • 3rd Battalion
    • 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
    • 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
      • 1st Battalion
      • 2nd Battalion
      • 3rd Battalion
    • 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
    • 81st AAA / AT Battalion (partial)
  • 82nd Airborne Division
    • 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    • 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    • 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    • 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
    • 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion
    • 80th AAA / AT Battalion
    • 82nd Signal Company
    • 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
    • 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

German defenders at Utah Beach included:

  • 243rd Infantry Division
    • 920th Grenadier Regiment
    • 921st Grenadier Regiment
    • 922nd Grenadier Regiment
  • 352nd Infantry Division
    • 914th Grenadier Regiment
  • 709th Infantry Division
    • Sturm Battalion A.O.K. 7
    • 729th Grenadier Regiment
      • 649th Ost Battalion (attached)
    • 739th Grenadier Regiment
      • 795th Georgian Battalion (attached)
    • 919th Grenadier Regiment
    • 1261st Artillery Regiment
  • 91st Luftlande Division
    • 6th Parachute Regiment
    • 1057th Grenadier Regiment
    • 1058th Grenadier Regiment

Utah Beach's five miles of coast were divided into three sectors:

  • Uncle Red
  • Tare Green
  • Victor

June 6, 1944

Units began to land on Utah Beach at 6:30 a.m., but strong currents pushed most of the landing craft out of position. Hitting the shore at Victor sector, further south than originally planned, the American troops encountered a weaker defending force than that arrayed behind Uncle Red and Tare Green sectors.

Resistance at Utah Beach was significantly lighter than Omaha Beach, and units were able to move inland quickly while taking relatively light casualties. Of the 23,000 men of the 4th Infantry Division that landed on Utah Beach on June 6th, there were only 197 casualties.

Within five hours units from the 4th Infantry Division were able to link up with some of the 101st Airborne Division paratroopers that had landed behind Utah Beach in the early hours that morning.

Although not seen in the film, Utah Beach was the location where Peter Ryan, one of Private James Ryan's brothers, was killed.