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Orchies, France 2 Sept. 1944

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Buten42, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    A small battle near the Belgium border with the 1st Battalion of the 67th Armored Regiment being able to encircle a German column heading in the same direction as the American force on September 2nd, 1944. Both the after action report and the 67th History agree with the equipment destroyed, and both give a pretty good account of the duration. Both sources agree the German column had no where to escape and the entire 1st Battalion of the 67th used them for a shooting gallery. Then the two narratives go completely awry. The 67th History reads "there were 300 of the enemy killed, while 20 were taken prisoner". The statement by Lt. Col. Willis T. Smith, CO of the 1st Battalion, 67th (taken on 30 March 1945, which was an attachment to the after action report), states "Approximately 1200 to 1400 prisoners were taken and turned over to the Free French in the town of Orchies, France."

    The 67th History describes the action "The tanks of the Battalion swarmed all over his bewildered forces before he had dug his guns in. For two hours every vehicular weapon in the battalion was brought to bear." "The fury of the attack was attested to by the number of headless, burned corpses and the scattered limbs, although much of the damage was done when the enemy's ammunition carriers burned."

    Don't think 1200 to 1400 humans could survive a shelling of that intensity and duration. Guess history is who writes it.
     
  2. Powerhouse

    Powerhouse New Member

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    Hello,
    I know this small battle and I can give you some precisions :
    - This action not take place in Orchies but at 1km SW ot this city, in Beuvry-la-forĂȘt.
    - The german column was trapped in a field during his retreat by a railway track, the vehicles were unable to cross the mound.
    - This field is surrounded on the east by the railway, on the west and south by a road, and north by a wood.
    - The armerican column was on the road and fire at point blank on the trapped germans.
    I have seen long time ago a photo taken at this place and the number of destroyed vehicle seems to be aprroximatively 30.
    For me, the number of victims of 300 killed is credible, The 1200 or 1400 POW is for me the total amount iof the day.
     
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  3. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    Thanks Powerhouse for the information. Just wondering what a few Free French do with that many prisoners? (if the 1200/1400 is creditable).
     

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