Hill 122 The battle of Mont Castre and le Plessis-Lastelle Page 2

There are three monuments around the hill firstly at La Gauterie there is a marker to the 82nd and 90th. A little further round the hill at the water pumping station there is one to the 712th Tank Regiment, and finally at Plessis-Lastelle there is a monument to the 90th. Jim Flowers a tank commander in the 712th tried to relieve the third Battalion of the 358th on July 10th, who were surrounded by a force of German Paratroopers. With a force of four Sherman’s he traversed the forest, not really a suitable terrain for tanks. One tank became bogged down in a marsh to the right of the monument, but continued two give covering fire. The other three continued but were soon knocked out by a 88 mm gun hidden in the hedgerow. The surviving crews defended their position whilst their tanks burned around them. Jim Flowers had been hit in the leg and he used his belt as a tourniquet, as well as the injury to his leg his hands were also badly burnt. Some of the crew managed to make it back through the enemy lines, but Jim Flowers and an infantry man remained, together with one of the crew who has suffered terrible burns in the attack. These three were unable to escape. The next day a German patrol passed by and Jim Flowers emptied his machine gun in their direction, but the Germans did not return his fire. In an exchange of artillery fire a shell burst near the three survivors causing more injuries to the infantryman who later died, and severing Jim Flowers other leg. He was later visited by a German medic who treated his wounds as best he could and was left to die. The two survivors were found by Lieut. Lovett of the 357th who arranged the evacuation of them both. Jim Flowers recovered and was a frequent visitor to Normandy until his death in 2002, despite having two artificial legs he walked without the use of a stick, often visiting the corner of the field where he so nearly died. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, his nations second highest award.  (The first picture shows the exact spot where the tank was hit, nothing grows there even today)

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