This lock was one of the objectives (The strategic lock) of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the American 101st Airborne during the Allied landings on June 6, 1944. The aim was to capture the structure to prevent the Germans from flooding the combat zone. However, the marshes were already flooded, but this was not visible on aerial photos due to the tall grass that covered the area, giving the illusion of a dry prairie.
Colonel Howard R. "Skeets" Johnson (1903-1944), commander of the 501st PIR, arrived at La Barquette at the crack of dawn on June 6, wading or swimming with 150 men from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion and HQ Company. Some thirty paratroopers from the 506th PIR temporarily joined them, but continued eastwards to the Port de Brévands, where they were to occupy two bridges over the Douve.
Johnson ordered fifty soldiers to cross the lock and occupy the south bank. The remaining paratroopers set up a defensive position on the north bank to prevent any counter-attack from that direction. The southern end of the lock was completely deserted, and the buildings around it perfectly empty. So the paratroopers occupied the area, digging holes to shelter from sporadic mortar and automatic weapons fire, the source of which they could hardly judge.
By 6:00 a.m., the Barquette lock was under control, but "Skeets" Johnson felt his position was uncomfortable. He wanted to reinforce his troop, so he took charge of a small group to fetch Major Allen, who had managed to gather a hundred men with whom he had engaged the Germans at Basse-Addeville. As the reinforced group reached the lock in the early afternoon, it came under fire from mortars and 88s on the high ground. Colonel H.R. Johnson requested support from the cruiser USS Quincy to silence the German batteries.
Johnson spent the afternoon reinforcing his position on both sides of the river, deploying the two hundred and fifty men he now had at his disposal. He sent out patrols in the vicinity, and a group failed to dynamite the N13 bridge over the Douve, as the fire was too heavy on that side. The paratroopers continued to come under sporadic fire, but the Germans made no serious attempt to retake the lock.
On the morning of June 7, artillery fire resumed. By late afternoon, Germans from 1/FJ reg 6 (1st Battalion of the 6th German Parachute Regiment) were retreating towards Carentan across the flooded marshes, unaware that American paratroopers were positioned at La Barquette. Seeing the troop coming, Johnson set up an ambush, turning the bulk of his forces northward with six of his eight machine guns. In the ensuing battle, the Germans suffered severe losses: 150 casualties (killed or wounded) and 350 prisoners. Only around twenty managed to regain their lines. The Americans suffered 10 killed and 30 wounded. They nicknamed the place Hell's Corner, where two roads meet, forming a "Y".
Taking this position proved useless at the time, as the marshes were already flooded. It did, however, make it possible to keep an eye on the river crossing, and indirectly facilitated the northern part of the American attack on Carentan, which began on Saturday June 10 at Brévands, as well as the deadly frontal assault along the main road the following day.