Liberation of Brix in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy

Brix (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 20th, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division

Drapeau nazi 709. Infanterie-Division


The commune of Brix is ​​confronted with the fights of the liberation since November 1943, because of its proximity with a German base of assembly and launching of rockets V2, then under construction. The site, located on the territory of Sottevast but on the edge of the village of Brix, was the subject of eleven aerial bombardments until May 1944: these raids also affect the town.
On April 20, 1944 at 18:57, the US B-17 bomber registered 42-37890 of the 568th Bomber Squadron (390th Bomber Group, 3rd Bombardment Division) was hit by German anti-aircraft defense. Uncontrollable, a burning engine, the bomber explodes in flight. Lieutenant Richard L. Mann (pilot), Lieutenant John E. Vaughan (co-pilot), Technical Sergeant Robert T. Wedemeyer (left gunner) and Corporal Bernard A. Anderson (radio operator) are found killed on the ground, their parachute not having opened. The bodies of Lieutenant McKinnon Cameron (bomber), Staff Sergeant Mark I. Overstreet (machine gunner), Staff Sergeant Raymond Zucco (ventral turret gunner), Staff Sergeant Walter E. Hermanau (right gunner) and Private First Class Walter J. Kwoka (front turret gunner) are also found on the ground, without parachute. Staff Sergeant Jesse W. Roberts (submachine gunner) is the only survivor, but is taken prisoner by the Germans.

On the evening of June 19, 1944, US soldiers of the 314th Infantry Regiment (79th Infantry Division) conduct their baptism of fire. Initially placed in reserve of the division in the sector of Biniville, they are engaged at 19:20 following a German counterattack which fixes the progression of the 315th Infantry Regiment (IR) with the hamlet of Délasse. The division, which is moving towards Cherbourg, wants to revive its action along the current national road 13.

The second battalion of the 314th IR, motorized, progressed in front and reached the hamlet of La Croix Jacob at the first light of day, at 4:15 am on June 20. On its left flank, the 3rd battalion exceeds Sottevast and continues towards Saint-Martin-le-Gréard. The second battalion reached the commune of Brix in the morning, which it exceeds without delay to jostle the German troops and prevent them from reorganizing. In their flight, the latter leave their equipment intact, without having the time to make them unusable by carrying out the regulatory destructions. The Americans thus recover many operational armored vehicles.

The first battalion, placed in reserve of 314th IR, is in charge of cleaning the pockets of resistance and to recognize the villages (including Brix) and the surrounding points of interest, such as the V2 rocket base at Sottevast.

Map of Brix :

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