Monday, June 26, 1944
The days that marked the Battle of Normandy
Operation Epsom continues east of Caen, and the 49th British infantry division succeeds in seizing the village of Fontenay-le-Pesnel, 10 kilometers east of Caen, after heavy fighting against the Hitlerjugend division. Close to this village, the British are struggling to free the town of Raurey.
The 15th Scottish infantry division, supported by Churchill tanks from the 31st British Armored Brigade, is also attacking. Saint-Manvieux-Norrey, located near Carpiquet and its precious aerodrome, is liberated by the 44th Lowland Brigade of Scotland after furious fights that sometimes end in hand-to-hand fight. The locality of Cheux, directly southwest of Saint-Manvieux-Norrey, is liberated in the wake of the 2nd Glasgow Highlander belonging to the 15th Scottish infantry division. The 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers faces the fierce resistance of the Hitlerjugend units.
German general Rommel, who understands the strategic importance of the village of Cheux, located at a crossroads of several other villages, ordered the various SS troops to leave the area of Saint-Lô to rescue the soldiers of the Hitlerjugend, submerged by the Scottish infantry. But the allied aerial superiority is such that no important German movement is possible during the day, under penalty of being mercilessly bombarded.
The British 8th Corps must at all costs take over hill 112, a height that dominates a large part of the Odon region. But this strategic position is strongly defended by the Germans who refuse to abandon the key point of the region. The first British assaults resulted in failures and the Allied ships intervened to support the troops of the 8th Corps by bombing hill 112. The Scots resumed their march, supported by naval artillery and tried to break through the German defenses.
In the Cotentin Peninsula, the Americans accepted the surrender of the general commanding the city of Cherbourg, Lieutenant-General von Schlieben, who accompanied Admiral Hennecke from the Fort du Roule strongpoint. But the city, if officially liberated, is not entirely under control and many points of resistance continue to fight American troops. The civilian population, although harshly tested by bombing and fighting, exults and welcomes its liberators.