Liberation of Saint-Jean-de-Daye in 1944 during the Battle of Normandy

Saint-Jean-de-Daye (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: July 7th, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 105th Combat Engineer Battalion, 30th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 743rd Tank Battalion, 30th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 852nd Engineer Aviation Battalion

Drapeau américain 366th Fighter Group, 71st Fighter Wing, 9th Tactical Air Command

Drapeau nazi Grenadier-Regiment 914, 352. Infanterie-Division

Drapeau nazi Kampfgruppe Heinz, 275. Infanterie-Division

History:

The 120th Infantry Regiment (30th Infantry Division) of Colonel Hammond Birks, who held defensive positions south of Montmartin-en-Graignes since June 15, 1944, resumed his offensive towards Saint-Jean-de-Daye on July 7, 04:30: the 1st battalion receives the mission to seize this village, while the 3rd battalion must recognize the right flank of the regiment towards the hamlet of La Goucherie.

Company C of the 105th Combat Engineers Battalion (30th Infantry Division) is engaged to support the mobility of the 120th IR when crossing the Vire and Taute Canal. Three makeshift bridges are set up: two are destroyed by direct fire and the last remains intact. At 13:45, the infantrymen cross the canal and secure the bridgehead despite the shells of the German artillery, allowing sappers to strengthen the bridge during the afternoon. The American tanks of the 743rd Tank Battalion advance closer to the infantry and cross the channel in their turn. The 2nd Battalion, designated as a reserved element, is responsible for securing the various points used for the crossing. From 6:15 pm, the progression of Americans is faster and the objectives are reached before dark. The commune of Saint-Jean-de-Daye is liberated, the German combatants of the combined battle group under the orders of the colonel Heinz (275. Infanterie-Division) folded towards the southwest.

On July 8 at 05h39, the 120th IR resumed the south of Saint-Jean-de-Daye in the direction of Pont-Hébert, this time with the 2nd Battalion on its right flank and the 3rd Battalion on the left, while being supported by two platoon tanks of D Squadron 743rd Tank Battalion.

From 31 July to 29 August 1944, the sappers of the 852nd Engineer Aviation Battalion set up an airstrip called “ALG A-18“, located southwest of Saint-Jean-de-Daye. Built late, this airfield does not play a particular role during the Battle of Normandy but is still used for allied supply. It is returned to the French government only seven days after its official opening.

Map of Saint-Jean-de-Daye :

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