Brouay in 1944 – Calvados – Battle of Normandy

Brouay (Calvados)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 16, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau canadien de 1944 The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, 9th Canadian Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division

Drapeau anglais 24th Lancers, 8th Armoured Brigade (Independent)

Drapeau anglais 6th Battalion Green Howards Regiment, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th Infantry Division

Drapeau anglais 7th Battalion Green Howards Regiment, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th Infantry Division

Drapeau anglais 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, 147th Infantry Brigade, 11th Armored Division

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902, Panzer Lehr Division

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Aufklärungsabteilung 12, 12. S.S. Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend

Drapeau nazi S.S.-Panzergrenadierregiment 26, 12. S.S. Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend


In the aftermath of the Normandy landing, the Allied forces engaged in Calvados did not achieve the original objectives. General Montgomery decided to restart the action on June 7, 1944 in order to seize the city of Caen: it was the launch of Operation Perch.

On June 7, 1944, soldiers of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regiment (commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel P. C. Klaehn), belonging to the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, advance towards the commune of Brouay but fail to be seized by the presence of elements of the Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902 belonging to the Panzer Lehr Division.

These isolated elements belonging to the Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902 do not have liaison with their unit and the Germans do not know if they are still in position. On 8 June 1944, the SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 and the 3rd Battalion of the SS Panzergrenadier Regiment 26 of the 12th SS Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend were ordered to settle in Brouay with a view to preparing a new offensive towards the coast .

The SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 and the 3rd battalion of the SS-Pz.-Gren.Rgt 26 reached the outskirts of Brouay around noon and discovered with surprise the isolated elements of the Panzer Lehr, cut off under the constant fire of the Allied artillery. Of the rest of their unity, amidst the scattered bodies of their comrades killed in battle. From Brouay, the Germans hired Allied armored tanks, which headed south to Audrieu. English tanks belonging to the 24th Lancers (commanded by the 8th Armored Brigade, 50th Infantry Division) reconnoiter midday in the direction of Brouay but retreated when the 3rd Battalion SS-Pz.-Gren.Rgt 26 engages them.

At 1900 hours the Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902 prepared to counter-attack in the direction of the coasts: the movement order was slow to arrive because the German soldiers awaited the arrival of the tanks on the front line. Finally, the Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902 was moved to Tilly-sur-Seulles on the night of 8 to 9 June in order to seize Bayeux (although some elements of this unit, in contact with the Allies and Sometimes encircled, can not retreat and remain there until 9 June). An allied artillery observation aircraft flies over Brouay to correct the shooting of the warships: Oberst Gutmann, commanding Panzergrenadier-Lehr-Regiment 902, is injured and must be replaced by the Oberstleutnant Willi Welsch.

The SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 12 loses 80 soldiers: 18 killed (4 non-commissioned officers, 14 non-commissioned members), 48 wounded (2 officers, 8 non-commissioned officers, 38 privates) and 14 (missing (1 non-commissioned and 13 privates).

From 8 to 11 June 1944, the front remained relatively stable in the sector of Brouay: the two camps reorganized while engaging a permanent artillery duel.

On June 11, 1944, the 69th Infantry Brigade (commanded by Brigadier Y. Carson Knox) ​​of the 50th Infantry Division went on the attack and the 6th Battalion Green Howards Regiment, progressing from Audrieu to Brouay, Is taken under the fire of 3 / SS-Pz.-Gren.Rgt 26 near the railway. At dusk, the 6th Battalion Green Howards Regiment moved north of Brouay. Installed defensively on the depth, the Germans managed to repel this attack but lost 67 men in total (27 killed, 30 wounded, 10 missing).

As of June 15, the Germans began to withdraw their units located in the sector of Brouay. On the night of the 15th to the 16th of June, they recovered to the south at the level of the departmental 9 between Saint-Manvieu-Norrey and Fontenay-le-Pesnel. The Allies realized the situation and decided to launch an attack at the same time: the 49th British Infantry Division was in charge of seizing the commune of Cristot, south of Brouay. From 15 June to 23:00 until 16:00 at 04:00, the Allies carry out a continuous artillery fire in order to prevent their opponent from sleeping. A few hours before the beginning of the offensive planned for noon, the warships bombard the land between Brouay and Cristot; A quarter of an hour before the assault, they are fighter-bombers targeting the Germans still in the area.

In the early afternoon, the 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (belonging to the 147th Infantry Brigade of the 11th Armored Division) took over Brouay. English soldiers discover a ruined village, dotted with explosive traps left by the Germans, before continuing their reconnaissance towards the wooded areas to the south. A large-scale sweep was organized on 17 June with the support of 14 Centaur tanks.

As early as June 1944, a military cemetery welcomed the remains of the Anglo-Canadian soldiers killed in the vicinity. In mid-July 1944, the 53rd (Welsh) Division set up a field hospital in Brouay to take care of the wounded soldiers during the violent fighting in the vicinity.

Today, 368 British soldiers and 2 Canadian soldiers are buried in the Brouay military cemetery. 7 of them could not be identified (1 from the Royal Air Force and 6 from the British Army).


Brouay maps:

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