The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles
Liberation: June 8th, 1944
110th Field Artillery Battalion, 29th Infantry Division
Grenadier-Regiment 914, 352. Infanterie-Division
IV/Artillerie-Regiment 352, 352. Infanterie-Division
During the Occupation, the Germans set up in the village of Asnieres-en-Bessin the command post of the 4th Battalion of the Artillery-Regiment 352 (AR 352), 352. Infantry Division, which batteries are equipped with field howitzers 10.5-cm-leichte FeldHaubitze 18.
On May 5, 1944, the blacksmith Albert Anne, member of the “Alliance” resistance network living in Asnières-en-Bessin, is arrested by the Gestapo. He is imprisoned in Caen prison (where he is executed on June 6, 1944 by the Germans). On June 6, 1944, US soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division record heavy losses during the assault on Omaha Beach. Opposed to a fierce German resistance, they are notably taken under the fire of the German batteries distributed within the 4th battalion of the AR 352 and can not achieve the objectives envisaged during this first day. Having managed to secure the southern outskirts of Vierville-sur-Mer in the evening of D-Day, the division relaunched its offensive at the first glow of June 7, 1944, especially towards the south and especially Formigny, facing the German soldiers Grenadier -Regiment 914 (352. Infantry Division).
On June 8, 1944, gunners from the 110th Field Artillery Battalion (29th Infantry Division) leave Vierville-sur-Mer and seek a favorable position to support the 115th Infantry Regiment when crossing the river Aure inferior. Their corps commander, Lieutenant-Colonel John Purley Cooper, takes the lead in reconnaissance with three other gunners aboard two Jeeps heading for Asnières-en-Bessin. They are accompanied by two Normans who inform the Americans about the last known positions of the Germans. The village is not under control, the small group of men arrives and cautiously approaches the first houses, ready to fight. But it is the inhabitants who welcome the Americans, the Germans having abandoned Asnières-en-Bessin last night. With humor, Cooper exclaims: “The 110th can be credited with taking Asnières with only six men, including two French farmers!“
After the liberation, several houses of Asnières-en-Bessin are used for the housing of German prisoners in charge of clearing the Normandy coast, supervised by American soldiers. On October 25, 1945, for an unexplained reason, an explosion completely destroyed three stores of explosives, causing the death of thirty German prisoners of war, seven US soldiers and four civilians. The town hall and village school are fully blown and three huge craters testify to the violence of the explosions that have been heard throughout the region. 20 serious wounds were extracted from the various rubble and evacuated to the Bayeux hospital.
Map of Asnières-en-Bessin: