Memorial De Lormeau
Memorial Lormeau. 75 names on a monument
The memorial pays tribute to Lormeau 75 Americans killed during the fighting for the liberation of Plabennec and Plouvien 8 and 9 August 1944. Located in the countryside, on the road between Plabennec Gouesnou, Lormeau the memorial was initiated by the local veterans and opened in 2009 and is dedicated to the American liberators. Author of several books on the subject, Louis Bothorel, plouviennois a writer, did a great job which allowed to find the names of 75 fallen GI's during those bloody days.
Raymond Durken*, Max Lebida*
Mikael Balock*, John A. Banton, William J. Blanck*, Jay D. Blodgett*, William E. Burck, Clifford J. Bye*, Joseph F. Capello, Earnest R. Carson*, Almond Chandler*, Philip Childs*, Frank H. Crowder,
Rufus E. Davis, William J. Ferry, Leslie D. Forrester, James W. Gilbert Jr.*, William E. Gray*, Lowell A. Goebel*, James A. Grubbs*, Adler H. Hammer*, John Heilman*, Walter M. Host*,
Lawrence W. Huffmon*, Raymond A. Keilley*, Jacob Klemm, Franck D. Kukuc *, Joseph Lakatos, Sidney London*, Marion C. Marek*, Frank J. Mc Halol, Charley E. Morris, Donald C. Muttall*,
William Orban, Darrel F. Roberts*, Walter H. Stevens, Thomas R. Smith*, James W. Tanner, Paul W. Tymczyszyn, John W. Watts, William P. Whirley, James L. Wilson*
Earnest P. Bell, Oscar F. Blair*, John W. Daley*, Wesley E. Fertch, Donald S. Nohren, Glenn E. Riland, Frank J. Shoman, James A. Tharp*
Martin J. P. Bakke*, Georges W. Cocks*, Paul Denitti*, Joseph Wagner*
Stanley J. Kowalcik
Joseph H. Brogger, Stanley A. Booth*
Russell H. Clement, Clarence L. Adams
Willard Marlow*, Rosario J. Potvin*
Frank Pecera*, Louis J. Pellerin*, Eric Ziegelstein*
86th CAV RECON:
Rene J. Greinier, Robert M. Price*
* Buried in Brittany American Cemetery of St. James.
In the bright early morning sunshine of 8 August 1944, a quarter ton draped with a white sheet and flying a white flag sped south through the village of Gouesnou to the high ground overlooking the blue estuary and the city of Brest. The German outpost stopped the truck, blindfolded the occupants and drove it to German headquarters in the city. Here Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Mitchell, Division G-2, with his interpreter presented the demand for the surrender “of Brest:
HEADQUARTERS 6TH ARMORED DIVISION
office of the Commanding General
APO 256, U S Army 8 August 1944
MEMORANDUM TO: Officer Commanding German Forces in Brest
1. The United” States Army, Naval and Air Force troops are in position to destroy the garrison of Brest.
2. This memorandum constitutes an opportunity for you to surrender in the face of these overwhelming forces to representatives of the United States Government and avoid the unnecessary sacrifice of lives.
3. I shall be very glad to receive your formal surrender and make the detailed arrangements any time prior to 15:00 this date. The officer who brings this memorandum will be glad to guide you and necessary members of your staff, not exceeding six to my headquarters.
R. W. GROW
Major General, USA
Unfortunately for us the command of Brest had passed on the previous day to General Ramcke of the German 2d Paratroop Division who had slipped in from the south while we approached from the north. He politely but firmly refused, and Colonel Mitchell was escorted to the out post and released. The tired troops prepared to attack.
Yet on Tuesday the 8th, one week after Avranches, the tired troops prepared for the assault on Brest in the morning.
CCB on the right was to become reserve and shift to the rear of the center in the morning. The commander of CCB took over the center column which had had only one battle since Bree on 1 August, and was to attack through Gouesnou. CCA was to attack through Guipavas. The artillery, a total of five battalions, was posted to support all guns being able to reach the city.
One battalion of CCA suffered losses from artillery during the afternoon, and the artillery received counterbattery as it registered in the evening. In the meantime the cavalry was covering the flanks and rear. Intermittent small-arms fire to the north and northeast was heard during the day. The trains moving into Plouvien were fired upon by small arms and artillery from the rear!. Something was building up in the north. The absence of cub planes and the presence of the highest hedges we ever encountered made visual observation extremely difficult. About dark—2230 hours—the mystery was solved by the capture of Lt. General Spang, Commander of the 266th Division, who drove his car into an artillery position from the rear. His division which we by passed at Morlaix was marching towards us from the rear trying to get to Brest ! All through the night small-arms fire burst from every hedgerow around the division CP, the PW cage and all along the rear.
That proved to be the final “if” in our failure to capture Brest. Orders were issued during the night for all commands to leave a screen facing Brest, to reverse their directions, attack north in the morning, destroy the enemy in our rear and secure and assemble in the Plouvien area.
The battle of 9 August was a massacre, CCB in the center, led by 15th Tank Battalion and the 9th Infantry hit the enemy main body (896th, 897th, and 898th Infantry) killed over 200 and captured 1000, CCR on the west (now the left) flank struck an enemy column at Bourg Blanc where the 50th Infantry with some of the 69th’s tanks destroyed the heavy weapons company of the German 851st Infantry, other mortars, machine guns, and an 88. CC A on the other (east) flank with the 68th’s Tanks and the casualty-depleted 44th Infantry caught part of the enemy at Plouvien and completed the debacle. A group of our fighter bombers joined in the action and completely wiped out a column of enemy trains and artillery on the Plouvien—Lesneven Road.
The remnants of the German division were gathered in during the ensuing two days. Our artillery enjoyed the unique experience of having some batteries firing south against Brest, and some north at the same time. The cavalry which had covered the division rear during the allnight skirmishing pulled to the flanks and extended the cordon about Brest preventing the Germans from entering or leaving the city.
On the afternoon of 9 August a battalion of the 28th Infantry, 8th Division, arrived by truck from Rennes and was given the mission of securing commanding ground near Guipavas to cover our projected renewal of the interrupted attack on Brest. The same day Task Force “A,” of VIII Corps reached Lesneven, and although unable to assist in the Brest, operation, was a great protection to our rear and covered the debarkation of supplies at the now enemy-evacuated Morlaix. But further attack on Brest was not destined for the 6th Armored. Before readjustments had been completed, orders arrived 12 August to merely contain the fortress with a single Combat Command and move the balance of the division to Lorient.
Source: An Epic of Brittany.
Brigadier General R. W. Grow, United States Army.
Military Review. Vol XXVI Nº 11 - Feb 1947
Unit history CCB