Liberation of Gonneville in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy

Gonneville (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 26th, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 22th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Reconnaissance Troop, 4th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain D Company, 70th Tank Battalion, 4th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain B Company, 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion

Drapeau américain 44th Field Artillery Battalion, 4th Infantry Division

Drapeau nazi Kampfgruppe Rohrbach, 709. Infanterie-Division

History:

On June 19, 1944, under the pressure of US divisions, the bulk of German troops in the north Cotentin fell back around Cherbourg. On the right flank, the 4th Infantry Division is progressing in the sector of the Val de Saire and seeks to prevent the Germans from reorganizing there.

The Americans are targeting Cherbourg and key points in the area, including the Maupertus airfield. On June 20, the 22nd Infantry Regiment (4th Infantry Division), commanded by Colonel Hervey A. Tribolet, deployed patrols to the village of Gonneville, which precedes the aerodrome.

The next day, June 21, the regiment was ordered to seize Hill 158, located in the territory of Gonneville, north of Haye de Digosville de Haut, which dominates the area and particularly the Maupertus airfield. After the start of an artillery preparation, the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, supported by the tanks of B Company of the 70th Tank Battalion, begin their advance at 16 hours. They are attacked by enemy anti-aircraft guns and early in the evening, the 1st battalion is stopped by the German artillery. The 3rd Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur S. Teague, nevertheless manages to secure the surroundings of Hill 158 and installs a defensive device for the night. They do not have time to blow that the Germans counterattack from the southeast: they are units belonging to Kampfgruppe Rohrbach who have bypassed the 22nd Infantry Regiment to attack flank. Oberst Helmuth Rohrbach, commanding officer of the (Fest.) Grenadier-Regiment 729 (709. Infanterie-Division), gathers in his Combat Task Force (in German Kampfgruppe) elements of his own regiment and the (Fest.) Grenadier -Regiment 739. The Germans cut the lines of communication and supply of the 22nd Infantry Regiment (IR) which is isolated from the rest of the 4th Infantry Division.

The next morning, June 22nd, the 2nd battalion of the 22nd IR under the command of Major Earl W. Edwards attacked on Hill 158 to reconnect with the 3rd Battalion and put an end to his isolation. A supply convoy of food and ammunition is also sent, escorted by tanks, but it is taken under the fire of artillery and heavy German machine guns: suffering heavy losses, it is obliged to turn around . A second convoy is deployed: it falls into an ambush and the Americans record the loss of two light tanks, three semi-tracked, three 57-mm antitank guns and several Jeep. The 22nd IR is unable to continue the progression towards Gonneville and Maupertus. Throughout the day, elements of the German Kampfgruppe Rohrbach continue to infiltrate through the US lines, preventing the 22nd IR from coordinating its actions. Colonel Tribolet’s soldiers once again value their defensive positions for the night.

On June 23, the US Infantry received support from the 4th Infantry Division (4th Troop), tanks from the 24th Cavalry Squadron and B Squadron from the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion. Throughout the day, the infantry battalions consolidate their lines and reduce the pockets of resistance in the immediate vicinity of Hill 158, backed by the American artillery which is pounding the enemy line, in order to prepare for the attack of the 2nd battalion. direction of the west while the rest of the 22nd IR remains facing Gonneville. The regiment can thus cover the fighting of the capture of Cherbourg against the German forces located in the northeast of the Cotentin. The offensive was launched at 19:30 but it was quickly stopped by German fire.

On June 24, the Troop F of the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, supported by the Stuart tanks of Squadron D of the 70th Tank Battalion, attacked from the Bois de Blanqueville north, but the Germans held out. It was not until June 26 that the 22nd Infantry Regiment relaunch the offensive again: at 11 am, the 1st and 2nd battalions attack the village, supported by the guns of the 44th Field Artillery Battalion. Having managed to overtake Gonneville, they immediately engaged in furious battles to seize Maupertus and its aerodrome, which extend until June 27.

In 2016, the municipality of Gonneville becomes Gonneville-le-Theil.

 

Map of Gonneville:

Back to the Normandy cities in 1944

 

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