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Audrieu in 1944 – Calvados – Battle of Normandy

Audrieu (Calvados)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 8, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau anglais 61st Reconnaissance Regiment, 8th Armoured Brigade (Independent)

Drapeau anglais 4th/7th Dragoons Guard, 8th Armoured Brigade (Independent)

Drapeau anglais 24th Lancers, 8th Armoured Brigade (Independent)

Drapeau anglais Nottinghamshire (Sherwood Rangers) Yeomanry, 8th Armoured Brigade (Independent)

Drapeau anglais 6th Battalion Green Howards Regiment, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th Infantry Division

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Panzeraufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung 130, Panzer Lehr Division

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Aufklärungsabteilung 12, 12. S.S. Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Panzergrenadierregiment 26, 12. S.S. Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend

History:

The headquarters of the SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 (12 S.S. Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend) was commissioned by the H.S.-Standartenführer Gerhard Bremer.

In the aftermath of Normandy’s landing, the Panzer Lehr Division set out for the coast to defeat the enemy at sea. Delayed by incessant aerial attacks, the leading elements of the SS-Panzeraufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung 130 set up in firm defense in Audrieu in the evening of June 7, 1944 after having destroyed several English vehicles. The Allies decided to bomb the village abundantly.

On 8 June 1944, the order was given to the SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 to prepare from Audrieu a new offensive towards the coasts. On the same day, the 50th Infantry Division of England was engaged from 8 o’clock in an offensive aimed at breaking the German line of defense: the 8th Armored Brigade was launched in combat with various reinforcements. At 2 pm, the 61st Reconnaissance Regiment was stopped by the S.S.-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 and the Germans made about fifteen prisoners. At 8 pm, Audrieu is at the heart of all the fights with impressive artillery duels that quickly set fire to the whole village: the Allies bombard this commune for exactly one hour and twenty minutes, forcing the Germans to withdraw to the south at Cristot and Hill 103, a land movement dominating the region. The 8th Armored Brigade is then free to seize the ruins of Audrieu.

During the night of 8-9 June, many Germans led by the Abteilungsadjutant Obersturmführer Buchheim managed to infiltrate Audrieu to recover abandoned vehicles during their withdrawal, but they could only save important documents and destroyed radio stations edge.

Numerous allied prisoners were transported to the castle of Audrieu during this period. On June 8, 1944, 22 soldiers of the Royal Winniped Rifles and 2 soldiers of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada were executed. The Germans renew this massacre on the 9th and 11th of June. A total of 66 Canadian soldiers were killed by the Germans in this area (58 soldiers of the Royal Winniped Rifles, 4 of the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, 2 of the 6th Field Company, and 2 of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa).

Audrieu map:

Image : carte du secteur de Audrieu - Bataille de Normandie en 1944

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