The German Counter Attack on June 18th

The route taken by the 77th     01        02                05                15            16            24                25            German Prisoners in Bricquebec

Early on the morning of June4 18th 1944, the American forces had cut the Cherbourg peninsula at Barneville - Carteret. Later that day the Germans tried to force a route through those lines and that would enable their forces to move north south on the most westerly of the three main roads that linked Cherbourg with mainland France. They set out from Bricquebec in a westerly direction, heading for Carteret. The main German force was the 77th Infantry Division, a unit that had been brought up from St Malo after D-day. This was one of the few German Divisions to be at full strength, but made up of untried troops who were either very young or in their late thirties. Whilst the Americans had only taken the area the night before they had time to get their artillery onto the hills to the south of the road, giving them the advantage of being able to watch the Germans making slow progress along the winding road. The Germans in Normandy relied to a large extent on horses and you can see from casualty list the number of horses and horse drawn supply wagons that were lost. The American’s involved were the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the 60th Division, part of the 9th Infantry Division. They were equipped with 105mm cannons. From the moment the Germans left Bricquebec they came under attack and by the time they had finally managed to get to within a couple of miles of their objective, they had been decimated. Although the list only includes material lost one can imagine how many Germans were killed on this road.

1)      30 Horses – 2 x Ammunition Trucks – 6 x Horse Drawn Carts – 2 x Ammunition Trailers and the road is almost impassable with debris.

2)      1 x Light Tank, possibly a captured French Tank.

3)      4 x Ammunition Carts – 8 x Horses – Major’s Car – 1 x Ammunition Truck – Also an US bomb did not explode.

4)      4 x Ammunition Trucks.

5)      1 x Supply Wagon.

6)      3 x Horse Drawn Ammunition Wagons – 2 x Cannons – 1 x Horse – 2 x Trucks I x Truck with 105mm Cannon – 2 x Ammunition Trucks – 1 x Supply Truck.

7)      1 x Car – Us Bomb did not explode.

8)      1 x Truck.

9)      1 x Truck.

10)  1 x Motorbike and Sidecar

11)  1 x Horse – 1 x Supply Truck.

12)  1 x Staff car used the Commandant.

13)  1 x Motorcycle – 1 x Horse Drawn Ammunition Cart.

14)  1 x Ammunition Truck – 1 x Light Machine Gun – 2 x Motorbike – 1 x 57mm Cannon.

15)  1 x Car  - 1 x Horse Train with a 57mm Cannon – 1 x Horse – 2 x Ammunition Carts.

16)  1 x Handcart.

17)  2 x Ammunition Trucks.

18)  1 x Horse Drawn Ammunition Cart – 1 x Mortar.

19)  1 x Light Machine Gun.

20)  2 x Mortars.

21)  2 x Hand Carts – 1 x Supply Truck -  1 x Ammunition Cart.

22)  1 x Light Machine Gun.

23)  1 x Truck – 1 x 105mm Cannon.

24)  2 x Trucks – 4 x Horses.

25)  I x Tracked Tractor – 2 x Cannons – 2 x Light Cars – 1 x Truck.

26)  1 x Tracked Vehicle – 1 x Cannon.

27)  2 x Tracked Vehicles – 1 x 57mm Cannon – 1 x 105mm Cannon

28)  1 Mortar – 4 x Horses – I x Ammunition Cart.

29)  1 x Tracked Vehicle.

30)  1 x 2.5 Tonne Truck. - 3 x Bikes

31)  31 1 x Truck – I x Cannon – 6 Horses – 1 Ammunition Truck.

What was left of the German force limped back to Bricquebec, very few of them managed to break through the American lines and head south. The Americans were situated on the hills to the south between Sortosville and the windmill at Fierville Les Mines to the south of the road. New wind power turbines mark the American position in the photo's.

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