Badge of the Deuxième D.B.

6. Arrival in Normandy. (21 April - 8 Sept 1944)

© Copyright 2000 Gaston Eve

Information from "L'Odyssee de la Deuxieme Compagnie de Chars" Editions Lyonaises by General Jacques de Witasse :
Both the battle for Italy and the allied landings in south France included a large contingent of French colonial troops with the Première Division Français Libre attached. Leclerc refused to have his Division attached to an "ex-Vichy" army.
The 2me DB was instead allocated to General Patton's Third US Army, to be precise to 15 Corp along with US 5th Armoured, 79th & 90th Infantry Divisions, all under command of General Wade H Haislip, an american educated in Paris and fluent in french.
1st Aug: Land at Utah Beach, then on to St Mère Église, Le Hay du Puits, then along the Lessay-Coutances road through the Lessay gap. 6th Aug: Reach Coutances. 9th Aug: Reach Avranches. 10th Aug: Depart Avranches at dawn, reach Chateau-Gontier then Le Mans, only liberated hours earlier by the Americans. 11th Aug; Depart Le Mans in the morning, pass several destroyed tanks of 12th RCA ["Régiment Chasseurs D'Afrique"]. Bivouac overnight. 12th Aug: Cross Alençon on an unauthorised dash for Paris but were rapidly called back. A unit is detached and at 6 pm that same day sent from north to south through the Forêt d'Ecouves to rendevous with 1st RMSM, commanded by Roumiantzoff, who was already crossing the forest from the opposite direction (south to north). The RMSM had encountered German armour hidden in the trees and things were getting hot. 13th Aug; On the evening following the fight in Forêt d'Ecouves, the unit is put to rest south of Argentan and spend the next 10 days blowing up Germans trying to escape from the Falaise pocket.

Leclerc arrives on Utah beach
General Leclerc arrives on "Utah beach" Normandy.
Capitaine Jacques de Witasse, company commander for the european campaign
Far left Captain Jacques de Witasse, company commander.
View of damage to front of Montereau at Alençon
The front of the original Montereau, preserved at Alençon. It was pierced by three 75mm armour piercing shells.
Routine maintenence
Routine maintenance, cleaning the cannon of one of the company's tanks. Men not yet identified.