Liberation of Louvières in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy

Louvières (Calvados)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 8th, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 743rd Tank Battalion

Drapeau américain 6th Engineer Special Brigade

Drapeau nazi 9. Kompanie, Grenadier-Regiment 726, 716. Infanterie-Division

Drapeau nazi Pionier-Bataillon 352, 716. Infanterie-Division

History:

In 1944, the village of Louvières (and more particularly its castle, known as the castle of Gruchy), houses the command post of the 9th company of the Grenadier-Regiment 726 (716. Infanterie-Division). On the night of June 5 to June 6, 1944, these soldiers were taken under Allied aerial bombardment targeting Omaha Beach but also affecting the hinterland. Three people were killed during the raids preceding the amphibious assault (Bernard Oxéant, 15, Louise Oxéant, 39, and Louis Bernard, 36).

The Germans put up a formidable resistance to the American infantry regiment’s infantry regiment (29th Infantry Division), who manage to get out of the beach as much as possible and who initially seek to secure their beachhead near Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.

On the evening of June 6, 1944, the sappers of the Pionier-Battalion 352 (716. Infantry Division) infiltrate through Louvières and prepare a counter-attack in the night, initially scheduled for 2 am on June 7. Meanwhile, Major General Charles H. Gerhardt, commander of the 29th Infantry Division, gives his orders to the different regiments: the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 115th Infantry Regiment (IR) must reach Longueville at the level of the national road 13 after crossing Louvières.

The Germans finally stormed at 5:30 am towards Ormel and Vierville-sur-Mer, with enough light to fight, forcing the Americans to retreat. Incapable of holding the ground, the sappers of the Pionier-Battalion 352 finally decided to retrench at Louvières. The 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 116th Infantry Regiment (29th Infantry Division) complete the reconnaissance of Vierville and are ordered to continue advancing south-west. The situation is extremely confused, with the Americans having only an incomplete and scattered workforce. German snipers are scattered throughout the area and the attackers spend considerable time searching all the buildings and surrounding woods. Reaching Louvières, the soldiers of the 116th IR are captured by German machine guns and must retreat to Vierville at 17:00, receiving no support capable of reversing the situation.

In the middle of the morning of June 7th, the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 115th Infantry Regiment move towards the west and take the direction of the village of Louvières, which the Germans seek to defend at all costs. Under the blows of the artillery and the enemy snipers, the progression is strongly slowed down: the Americans are unable to seize the commune and after being repulsed, they install themselves in surveillance for the night. Supported by the naval artillery, they restart the action on June 8 at dawn and this time to free the town of Louvières, partly abandoned by the Germans overnight.

Several weeks after the liberation struggles, civilians continued to suffer the ravages of war. On August 6, 1944, two inhabitants of Louvières were accidentally killed by the triggering of an explosive device: Clément Marie, 63, and Julien Robillard, 36 years old.

Map of Louvières:

Back to the Normandy cities in 1944

 

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