Saint Lô d'Ourville -- Carrefour d'Olonde
The Last Battle For France June 17th - 18th 1940
At point "A" Denneville Station had one cannon of 75 mm.
At point "B", again by the railway there was a selection of machine guns and
mortars. Point "C" in the village of St Sauveur de Pierrepoint two 75 mm cannons
were placed, again by the railway. At the cross-roads to the north called,
Carrefour d'Olonde "E" another 75 mm cannon manned by the Senegalese and British
Royal Artillery troops was in position. Eight members of the Royal Artillery
died here and are buried in the Village Churchyard at Denneville. On the retreat
they had driven over mines placed in the road by the French, who thought that no
Allied troops remained to the south.
The final point of resistance was "F". This was the railway station at St Lô
d'Ourville. Ships of the French Navy positioned themselves on either side of the
Cotentin Peninsular to fire on the approaching Germans. The four ships were the
Courbet, later scuttled as a block ship on D-day, the Amiens, Flore and
Melpomeme. The first contact on June 18th was at point "A" which shelled the
first elements of the 7th Panzer, when three vehicles were set on fire and Lt
Isermayer was killed. The Germans retreated to La Haye to report the situation
Another point of contact was at "C" St Sauveur de Pierrepoint, which exchanged
fire with the Germans.
The church suffered some damage in the exchange of fire. Whilst the last battle
for France was taking place, the armistice was about to be signed between the
Germans and the French Government. Rommel sent a captured French soldier through
the lines with a white flag with a message that the armistice had been signed
and that they should cease hostilities.
The French, knowing nothing of this, asked for time (eight hours) and sent a
messenger on a cycle to St Sauver Le Vicomte to telephone the military
authorities to verify the facts of the signing. The armistice in fact had not
been signed, so the battle commenced.
The French felled large trees to block roads and the German's advance.
One by one the French points of resistance fell to superior fire power, the old
75 mm cannon was no match for the Panzers. The French positions had been
augmented during the battle by French farmers using their hunting rifles. Many
of the French defending the line were taken prisoner, but others escaped to the
Channel Islands and escaped to England to join the Free French Forces.
By the evening of June 18th, Rommel was in Barneville staying at the Hotel des
Voyagers. France had fallen and the armistice was signed.
The last battle had bought thirty six hours, in which all the British troops had
been taken off at Cherbourg and many Frenchman also had found sanctuary in
England ready for the time, four years later to the day, when the Cotentin would
Part of the old French fortification can still be seen on the crossroad's.
The Carrefour d'Olonde also featured during the summer of 1944 when it was held
by the American's, with the German's just to the south at La Haye du Puits.
This crossroad was the jumping off point for the Americans of the 90th Division
on July 3rd 1944.