About 150 miles northwest of Paris and just a few miles south of D-Day invasion beach Sword lies the small village of Bénouville.  Historically, Bénouville is known for little except for a very significant British operation that took place there just after midnight on June 6, 1944.  At 12:15AM, three Horsa gliders containing dozens of troops of the British 6th Airborne Division landed within 50 yards of a bridge (now known as “Pegasus Bridge”, after the insignia of the British airborne) that spanned the Caen canal.  Their objective was to capture and hold the bridge in order to prevent an armored German flanking counter-attack of the Juno (Canadian) and Sword (British) beach landings to take place at dawn.  Also, they wanted to prevent the Germans from destroying the bridge, so Allied forces could use it for their push west.  Only two men died in the operation, which was over in ten minutes.  Café Gondrée is located on the west side of the canal.  The Gondrée family still owns the café, which was the first building liberated in France after four years of German occupation.

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