The Great Casemate of the

Crisbecq battery


Memorial of the 1st Battalion / 4th Division

 

Utah Beach 6.6.1944 / Crisbecq 6.7.1944

 

 

 

Our thanks to Douglas Johnson, American citizen "US Army Veteran", thanks to whom the names of the soldiers of the 4th US division who died in Crisbecq are again honored every year since 2019 on the site of the fightings of June 1944 . Without the precious information given by Douglas during his first visit in 2017, Crisbecq would most certainly have remained a simple place to visit the landing beaches among many others.


Commemorations of D. Day 2021 : placing of the commemorative plaque dedicated to the soldiers of the 4th ID killed in Crisbecq

 

77 years after the events, tribute was finally paid to them

at the scene of their fights, on the memorial of the large pillbox of Crisbecq



1st Battalion, 22d Infantry

 

The leaders of Combat Team 22 pictured in the marshalling area just before loading for the assault on D. Day.

 

Seated on right : Lt Colonel S.W. Brumby, Commanding Officer 1St Bn 22nd Infantry

 

 

 

1st Battalion, 22d Infantry

 

Preparations for the landing

 

 

 

 

 


Landing on Utah Beach and mouving for Crisbecq from June , 1944

 

Road map of the Landing on June 6

 

 

 

The 1st battalion facing Crisbecq June 7 / 10, 1944

 

Road map of the 22nd regiment for the capture of Cherbourg

 

Crisbecq will in fact be the only strong point of the Atlantic Wall for Utah Beach stopping the American troops for 6 days

 

 

 

After 2 days of hard fighting, part of the 1st battalion (companies b and c) gave up attacking Crisbecq from the front and began to bypass the battery from the south by attacking Fontenay.

 

On June 9 and 10 Crisbecq was to be contained by a force of tank destroyers and infantry and was to be neutralized by division artillery at the time of the attack. The containing force, commanded by Maj. Huston M. Betty, consisted of Company C, 22d Infantry ; Company C, 4th Engineer Combat Battalion; Company C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion.


 

1st Battalion, 22d Infantry

 

Capt. Thomas Shields of Company A

(Distinguished Service Cross)

 

On June 7, 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry began its first attack against the Crisbecq battery, seizing the village of Saint-Marcouf.

 

Moving out of the village, the Battalion was stopped by fire from the 75mm guns of Crisbecq.

 

A German counterattack forced 1st Battalion to pull back. It was during this engagement that Captain Tom Shields was killed.

 

Shields had assumed command of the "1st Battalion" to replace Lt colonel S.W. Brumby (himself   seriously wounded during the first battles against Crisbecq).

 

Ordering the Battalion to withdraw from the battlefield, he called in artillery fire upon his own position to cover the withdrawl, then was grievously wounded. .

 

He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross

 

 

 

" Distinguished Service Cross "


Capture of the pillbox

 

This photo was taken when American troops arrived on June 12, 1944

The pillbox is still intact and the cannon is still in place

 

 

 

 

 


 

Then came the period of oblivion for 77 years

 

Photograph of the pillbox when scrap metal dealers arrived on 1947

 

The cannon was being dismantled by the scrap metal dealers, and the unused shells during the fighting were put out side

 

Dud Skoda - 210 mm / 135 kg


 

77 years later an official tribute is finally paid to the American soldiers who fought in Crisbecq by the representatives of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society



Memorial of the 364 th  E.G.S.R.

 

7.7.1944

 

 

On June 4, 2021, during cleaning work, the SIMMONS Henry's Dog Tag was found in the rubble of the pillbox

 

It was during the cleaning work of the Grande Casemate (with a view to the creation of the memorial of the 4th ID in Crisbecq) that an improbable discovery was made and revealed a completely different story. unknown, also occurred in this Crisbecq pillbox.

 

By scratching the rubble a dog tag appeared in the light. Sheltered from bad weather inside the bunker for 78 years, it was in excellent condition and perfectly legible.

 

It made it possible to very quickly identify the soldier and his unit thanks to the archives of the American army.

 

Simmons' name was associated with that of 7 other American soldiers accidentally killed in Normandy on July 7, 1944

 

Given the violence of the explosion, out of the 8 soldiers of the 364 th killed in this explosion 4 of them had never been found.

 

Following an error in the writing of the accident report on july 1944, their death had been located in Fontenay sur mer instead of Crisbecq and their trace was forever disappeared for the US Army (D.P.A.A).

 

It is therefore by pure chance that this story reappeared 78 years later. A commemorative plaque was placed at the scene of their death in July 2021.

 

 

June 4, 2021, discovered inside the large pillbox Crisbecq of the Henry Simmons's Dog Tag , American soldier MIA in Normandy July 7, 1944

 

S. Henry and several other Engineer soldiers had been reported missing but the precise location of their accidental death could never be determined due to a violent explosion.

 

It was therefore in this dynamited pillbox that this accident had occurred

 

 

Plaque in memory of the disappeared from Crisbecq

 

 

 

The discovery of Simmons's dog tag has allowed us to know this story of the 8 missing of Fontenay.

Unfortunately the photo of Simmons remains a mystery to us.

 

Only the photo of Mack Homer is known. We were able to bring it back to life on this historic site through a commemorative plaque placed on July 27, 2021.

 

 


 

And schortly after, an other discovery !!!

 

 

But the story did not end there, after the summer during the cleaning of the bunker before winter, a second Dog Tag was found on October 19, 2021

 

But the story did not end there, after the summer during the cleaning of the pillbox before winter, a second Dog Tag was found on October 19, 2021

 

Less than 4 meters from the first Dog Tag that of a second soldier Dog Tag was found in the same conditions

 

 

MACK HOMER dog tag

 

The Mack Homer dog tag, discovered on october 19, 2021

 

 

Mack HOMER

 

Mack Homer before the Landing

 

 

 

Ring found shortly after, engraved with the initials "M.H."

 

Mack Homer had been reported missing too during this accident

 


 

Mack and Henry are now together again for eternity

 


Photograph of the pillbox just after the accidental explosion of July 7, 1944

 

Destruction of the Casemate

 

Photograph of the pillbox after the accidental explosion of July 7, 1944 which caused the death of 8 American soldiers of the 364 th Engineer General Service Regiment 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Douglas Johnson and his friends visiting Crisbecq for the 75th D-Day anniversary