Cloville in 1944 – Hill 192 – Manche – Battle of Normandy

Cloville & Hill 192 (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: July 11, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion

Drapeau américain 741st Tank Battalion

Drapeau nazi Fallschirmjäger Regiment 9, 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division

History:

As of July 10, 1944, the Americans are only about three kilometers from their objective: Saint-Lô. The 2nd Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Walter M. Robertson, is progressing towards a high point which is located 400 meters southeast of the hamlet of Cloville. This land movement appears as Hill 192 on the maps of staff and allows to have views on Saint-Lô. The area is defended by the paratroopers of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 5 and the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 9 (3. Fallschirmjäger-Division). West of the 2nd Infantry Division, the 38th Infantry Regiment of Colonel Ralph W. Zwicker faces Hill 192 and the third battalion of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 9.

On July 11, 1944, the assault on the 2nd Infantry Division was to be preceded by a massive air raid: 192 P-47 fighter-bombers in 4 groups of 48 aircraft were in charge of destroying all enemy positions and carrying out missions in the Cloville sector and in the area of Hill 192. But the visibility is insufficient and the raid is canceled: a single ground attack mission is maintained for the benefit of the division. At 6 am, Company E of the 38th Infantry Regiment (IR) commenced an assault on the western side of Hill 192, followed by the other units of the regiment at 6:30 am with the support of tanks of the 741st Tank Battalion, a company of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and a company of the 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion. During an hour of fighting, the Americans are opposed to the fierce resistance of German parachutists who do not retreat and the hamlet of Cloville is quickly nicknamed the “Kraut Corner”. Self-propelled guns and German tanks are engaged in the battle but are silenced by the 741st Tank Battalion. Finally, 15 paratroopers are taken prisoner and Company E resumes the advance south of Cloville.

The 1st battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Frank T. Mildren, stormed at 6.20 am but was stopped on the starting line by German artillery and the direct shots that put six tanks out of action. Squadron A of the 741st Tank Battalion. On the right flank of the 38th Infantry Regiment, the 2nd Battalion progressed towards the 972 departmental road (D972) linking Saint-Lô to Bayeux and reached Hill 192. It reached D972 at 19 hours.

Meanwhile, in spite of the lack of armored support during the first part of the day, the infantrymen of the 1st battalion continued to advance towards Hill 192. The Germans defended the position with formidable combativity and the losses were high two sides. Company A progresses on the left flank, C Company on the right flank and Company B is in second position in the center. The Germans, unable to resist any longer, decided to retreat and abandoned Hill 192 to the Americans. They captured it at 1330 hours and continued to advance through a landscape ravaged by artillery fire. All the groves or hedges likely to camouflage Germans are systematically pounded by the assailants. The 38th IR is installed for the night within 200 meters of the D972, the final objective of the day.

Cloville maps:

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