Belfonds in 1944 – Orne – Battle of Normandy

Belfonds (Orne)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: August 12, 1944

Deployed units:

Image : drapeau américain Régiment de marche du Tchad, 2ème division blindée

Image : drapeau américain 501ème régiment de chars de combat, 2ème division blindée

Drapeau nazi 9. Panzer-Division

Drapeau nazi 116. Panzer-Division


On July 4, 1943, the American bomber B-17 Flying Fortress F-80 BO registered 42-29960 and named “Nymokymi” participates in a raid on the factories Gnome and Rhone in Le Mans. It belongs to the 384th Bomber Group, 544th Bomber Squadron of the 8th Air Force. Touched by a German fighter, it crashed west of Belfonds near the place called La Philippière. The 2nd Lieutenants Francis Mercer Hackley (navigator) and Donald W. Irvine (bomber) were killed in the crash, 2nd Lieutenant Clifford C. Dartt (co-pilot) and S/Sergeant Paul G. Welch were taken prisoner and six other members Crew (Flying Officer Gordon B. Erickson, S/Sergeant George Ashworth, Left Gunner, S/Sergeant Willard E. Freeman, Shotgun, S/Sergeant Robert H. Penly, Mechanic, S/Sergeant Frank J. Wingerter, right gunner) managed to escape with the support of the local French resistance. 18 of these resisters were arrested by the Germans and deported, 7 never returned from captivity.

During the Battle of Normandy and the establishment of a large trap in which the Allies hoped to capture several hundred thousand Germans, the Americans plan to close this pocket north of Belfonds. On August 11, 1944, the soldiers of the 2nd French Armored Division under General Leclerc were ordered to reach Carrouges: Major General Wade H. Haislip, commander of the XV Corps to which the French division belonged, Leclerc must cross the western part of the forest of Ecouves, recognize these woods then Belfonds before heading towards Carrouges.

But on August 12, 1944, Leclerc took the initiative to cross the spindle that separated him from the 5th Armored Division east of the forest of Ecouves, encumber the roads of Sées before taking the direction of Belfonds from 13 hours. The tanks of the 501st battle tank regiment (commanded by Colonel Warabiot) and the infantrymen of the 9th “Nueve” Company of the Chad march regiment, led by Captain Dronne, liberated the commune in the early afternoon. They are guided by elements of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) of the Orne.

Belfonds maps:

Image : Carte de Belfonds dans l'Orne