Liberation of Le Theil in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy

Le Theil (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 21st, 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 nazi Kampfgruppe Rohrbach, 709. Infanterie-Division


On February 15, 1944, the commune of Theil witnessed the crash of the American B-26 Marauder bomber registered 41-31682. Hit by the German anti-aircraft defense during a bombing mission of La Glacerie, it crashed at 10:56 on the current departmental 26, near the locality Le Doucet. Lieutenant Winston W. Hunt (co-pilot), Lt. Michael G. Koury (navigator) and Staff Sergeant Clyde M. Lawrence are killed in the crash. Lieutenant Thomas L. Alford (pilot) is seriously injured and dies as a result of his injuries. Technical Sergeant Robert M. Arthur (radio operator) and Staff Sergeant Clarence R. Dalrymple (forward gunner) survive but are taken prisoner.

On June 17, 1944, German forces north of the Cotentin Peninsula were ordered to retreat at a line of defense protecting Cherbourg. These declines extend until June 19: the Americans of the 4th Infantry Division, who progress towards the Val de Saire, accelerate the pace so that their opponents do not have time to reorganize.

On June 20th, the 22nd Infantry Regiment is sent to Hill 158, a high point dominating the area. They perform the reconnaissance of Theil without a hitch: the Germans of the Kampfgruppe Rohrbach (709. Infanterie-Division) left the sector the day before and wait for the Americans further north. However, the following days, they infiltrated several times in the opposing lines, exploiting a salient of the front between the hamlet Pinabel and Le Theil. To secure the current Route des Hauts Vents, which supplies their men north of Theil, the Americans are holding the Troop B of the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron until June 26th. Units under the command of the 4th Reconnaissance Troop are placed in reserve at Theil, able to intervene for the benefit of the troops on the front line.
The capture of Maupertus-sur-Mer and Cherbourg by the Americans puts an end to the threats hovering over Le Theil.

In 2016, the commune of Le Theil becomes Gonneville-le-Theil.


Map of Le Theil:


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