Saint-Sylvain in 1944 – Calvados – Battle of Normandy

Saint-Sylvain (Calvados)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: August 10, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau polonais 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1 Dywizja Pancerna

Drapeau anglais 1st Battalion The Black Watch, 154th Infantry Brigade, 51st Infantry Division

Drapeau anglais 7th Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 154th Infantry Brigade, 51st Infantry Division

Drapeau nazi Schwere SS Panzer-Abteilung 101

Drapeau nazi 12. SS Panzer-Division “Hitlerjugend”

Drapeau nazi 272. Infanterie-Division


The six weeks of the siege of the city of Caen allow the German forces to fortify the defenses of many communes in the south, and Saint-Sylvain is one of them. In order to penetrate this enemy front in the direction of Falaise, the British trigger Operation Totalize on the night of August 7 to 8, 1944, which starts with aerial and land bombardments. Saint-Sylvain was then defended by elements of the SS Panzer-Division, the Schwere SS Panzer-Abteilung 101 and the 272. Infantry Division.

The Polish soldiers of the 1st Armored Division (“1 Dywizja Pancerna“) commanded by General Stanislaw Maczek reach St. Sylvain as of 9 August but are slowed down by the German resistance that is fierce. The 8th battalion of foot hunters, nicknamed “bloody shirts” and belonging to the 3rd Infantry Brigade (commanded by Colonel Wladyswladec) is at the heart of the battle but it is fixed. In the impossibility of repelling the Germans, the Poles multiplied the requests for support of the artillery and the allied planes: at nightfall, they managed to enter the village of Saint-Sylvain but do not control That two-thirds and the situation is precarious for both sides.

During the night of August 9-10, 1944, the Polish soldiers were reinforced by the English soldiers of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch and the 7th Battalion The 159th Infantry Brigade, 51st Infantry Division, which were responsible for securing the surroundings The village and the surrounding woodlands. The Germans counter-attack several times during the night and the English of the 154th Infantry Brigade relaunched the action and seized the whole of Saint-Sylvain in the early morning of August 10th.

Saint-Sylvain maps:

Image : carte de la commune de Saint-Sylvain