Turqueville in 1944 – Manche – Battle of Normandy

Turqueville (Manche)

The cities of Normandy during the 1944 battles

Liberation: June 7, 1944

Deployed units:

Drapeau américain 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

Drapeau américain 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

Drapeau américain 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division

Drapeau américain 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division

Drapeau américain 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 101st Airborne Division

Drapeau nazi Ost-Bataillon 795, 709. Infanterie Division

Drapeau nazi Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6, 91. Infanterie Division


Turqueville was occupied in the spring of 1944 by Georgian soldiers serving under German uniform and belonging to Ost-Battalion 795 (709. Infantry Division) commanded by Hauptmann (captain) Stiller. They are soldiers recruited from prison camps who volunteered to fight. Their command post is located in this commune.

In May 1944, during the planning phase of Operation Overlord by the Allies, Turqueville was initially the objective of the 12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division but plans were changed: it was the 8th Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel James A. Van Fleet who is in charge of seizing it on D-Day.

On June 6, 1944, the Allies began the assault in Normandy and parachutes began in the Cotentin. Turqueville is located approximately one kilometer southwest of the “A”drop zone (planned for the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division) and the problems of dropping are particularly numerous: Several parachute sticks of the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) are dropped in the immediate vicinity of the village. A stick of the 1st battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) lands directly in Turqueville. 23 American paratroopers are taken prisoners in the area and are settled in a village house.

When the landing on the beaches begins, on the dawn of D-Day, the Allies fall behind schedule and the 8th Infantry Regiment is unable to extricate itself entirely from the Utah beach and then from the marshy area, Beginning at noon. Meanwhile, Ost-Battalion 795 is retreating and settling on a new line of defense centered on Turqueville, although it is encircled to the west by paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division and to the south by those of The 101st Airborne Division. Shortly after 9 o’clock in the morning, Major von der Heydte, commander of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 (91. Infanterie Division), decided to counterattack and repel his enemies to the sea. He triggered a maneuver directed towards the beaches from Turqueville. His second battalion remained fixed by shots coming from Sainte-Mère-Eglise. The Americans did not succeed in penetrating the line of defense and continue their progress towards Sainte-Mère-Eglise. The 2nd battalion of the 8th Infantry Regiment rounded Turqueville by the south while the 1st Battalion settled for the night to the east of the commune.

The following day, June 7, 1944, at the end of the morning, the 1st battalion commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Conrad C. Simmons stormed Turqueville. One of the American prisoners in the village speaks Russian: Sergeant John Svonchek, belonging to the staff of the 4th Infantry Division (he is captured by the Georgians in the morning with Lieutenant-Colonel Gorlan A. Bryant, deputy Of the Chief of Staff of the division). He began talks with the soldiers of Ost-Battalion 795 and persuaded them to surrender: 75 Georgian soldiers decided to stop the resistance. But others, commanded by German cadres, still hold the village and defend themselves against the assaults of the 8th Infantry Regiment. But the position shortly after: 174 Georgian and German soldiers are captured and American prisoners are released.

Turqueville maps:

Image : carte de Turqueville


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