In 1944, Lower Normandy’s three departments had a total of just over 1,900 communes. The first of these to be liberated, contrary to popular belief, was not Sainte-Mère-Eglise (Manche) but Ranville (Calvados), which was taken by British paratroops shortly after 2 am on June 6th.
Due to the unforeseen length of the Battle of Normandy, many communes, located some distance away from the Landing Zones, had to wait many weeks for Allied troops to arrive.
The Manche department was only totally liberated on August 15th. Due to the collapse of the German forces, the liberation of the Orne was far swifter, taking just twenty days, from August 3rd to the 23rd.
The last commune in Lower Normandy to recover its freedom ‑ on August 25th ‑ was Honfleur in the Calvados department, where the fighting had gone on for 81 days.