Battle of Le Rouvre 1st August 1944

This battle between American and German soldiers took place right outside the chateau. A division of Patton’s army was sent to Brittany but to get there they had to make their way through Lower Normandy and cross the river that marks the border between Normandy and Brittany. The chateau is situated on the main road that leads to Brittany.

One column took the direct route to pass the chateau and on to Pontorson where a bridge crosses the river. Another column took a route further south to a crossing at Antrain.

This gave the German soldiers an opportunity to ambush the American troops as they knew they would have to pass that way.

They hid 88 mm flak guns in the woods east of the chateau and along the road towards Le Rouvre where there was a farm.

We do not know the date the Germans arrived at Grandchamp. Local people remember the Germans were in the village of Tanis for about 2 years. The Le Chevalier family knew they would be coming. They did not want the German soldiers to find any weapons on the property, so they buried their hunting guns in the garden. They also moved a large cupboard across the door to their wine store.

On the day of the battle the family fled the chateau running across the road through their farm opposite and along a track towards the village. They hid behind a hedge.

At Le Rouvre a German soldier warned the family that lived at the farm a battle was about to start. There were anti tank guns hidden near the road close to a railway crossing. The family ran from the farm and hid in the embankments.

As the American tanks approached Grandchamp the Germans fired on the Americans. For 3 hours there was fighting. A large number of American and German soldiers were killed.

The Dumont family who lived at Le Rouvre farm saw a lot of damage done to the farm in the intense fighting. The farm opposite the chateau also suffered great damage.

We were given some photos by Joel Le Chevalier of the battle and the damage done to the farms.

Joel remembers that for a long time after cattle and horses were kept in the farmyard of the chateau as the damage was so great it took some time to repair the farm buildings.

After the battle the families returned to their homes. The chateau had no damage, the farm opposite had buildings destroyed.

Le Rouvre Farm was still on fire. The road was blocked with damaged tanks and vehicles it remained impassable for 7 days.

The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to First Sergeant John L Morton for his gallantry in action.

Each year on 1st August our village remembers the battle and a memorial has been placed at Le Rouvre. There is a plaque that tells a brief account of the Battle.

This year in September we will be celebrating the liberation of Tanis by the American troops. As well as our open days telling the story of the chateau, we have a talk from a General on the battle and a music festival

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