Escoville in 1944 – Calvados – Battle of Normandy

Escoville (Calvados)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: July 18, 1944

Unités engagées :

Drapeau anglais 2nd Bn. Oxf. and Bucks, 6th Airlanding Brigade, 6th Airborne Division

Drapeau anglais 12th Battalion Parachute Regiment, 5th Para Brigade, 6th Airborne Division

Drapeau anglais 51st (Highland) Infantry Division

Drapeau nazi 346. Infanterie-Division

Drapeau nazi 716. Infanterie-Division

Drapeau nazi 21. Panzer-Division


British and Canadian Airborne Forces are responsible for seizing the shore east of the Orne on the night of June 5-6, 1944, which is held by the 716. Infantry Division. This operation is known as Tonga. The 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (6th Airlanding Brigade) and the 12th Yorkshire Battalion Parachute Regiment (5th Para Brigade) are responsible for seizing the Bénouville sector and the bridges over the Orne and Caen Canal In the first minutes of the airborne assault allied in Normandy.

One hour after the success of this mission (coded Operation Deadstick) and the relief carried out by the troops disembarked, the 2nd Ox & Bucks is ordered to secure the shore to the southeast of the bridges, in particular the municipalities of Hérouvillette and D’Escoville, in order to enlarge the area controlled by the Allies.

The approaches of Hérouvillette are reached at the beginning of the afternoon without particular fights and the parachutists continue until Escoville. Around 3 pm, a counter-attack by the Kampfgruppe von Luck of the 21. Panzer-Division rejected the English during their recognition of the commune. The 2nd Ox & Bucks airborne soldiers were reinforced by the other companies of the regiment shortly after 9 pm with the landing of gliders on the Landing Zone “N” (Operation Mallard). The next day, June 7, the English made a new reconnaissance of Escoville: Company D of the 2nd Ox & Bucks progresses under the fire of several self-propelled guns of the Kampfgruppe von Luck. It was during this engagement that Lieutenant Hooper was wounded by the firing of an opposing MG-42 machine gun. Although controlling a small part of the locality, the airborne soldiers retreated back to Hérouvillette and intrenched themselves there, leaving Escoville in the hands of the adversary for many weeks.

Several German counter-attacks carried out by the 21. Panzer-Division aiming to break through the front fail, especially on 9 and 10 June.

In the second half of July, General Montgomery launched a new offensive to capture Caen from the eastern Orne: Operation Goodwood. On July 18, 1944, the British troops massed in the area and progressed due south after one of the most important artillery fire of the Battle of Normandy. It was during this offensive that the commune of Escoville was finally liberated.


Cartes d’Escoville :

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

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