French Interest in Our Falaise Gap Photo

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

The other day we received a comment on this blog from a Paris university student who is interested in the battle of the Falaise Gap, in Normandy, which was a victory for the Allies in pushing the Germans out of the region. Five days after the battle in August 1944, the 111th passed through the area and my dad took three photos of scene—he was obviously trying to create a panorama. It then took 70 years for Photoshop to come along and simplify the process of turning his three old photos into one; see below:Image

Our new friend Tristan in France found our blog; he is from Argentan, south of Falaise, Here is what he told us: “The encirclement of the German troops by Allied forces took place between Argentan and Falaise, near Chambois, Trun, and so on (you can check these towns on Google maps). I have managed to locate one photograph your father took in the Gap: it shows destruction scenes with a large angle. He took the picture on the road from TOURNAI SUR DIVES to AUBRY EN EXMES (see the shape of the road and the horizon line). He had probably climbed on a vehicle to take this picture.”

He then attached a recent photograph taken from almost EXACTLY the same spot:Image

So if any of you are in Normandy and wish to stand exactly where the 111th Ordnance Co. passed through on their way to Paris 70 years ago, you can use Tristan’s information to find the spot.

Tristan told me that he is 20 years old and in his third year of university; his major is history, “of course!” He said, “I have always been interested in history, but as I grew up I ‘specialized’ in contemporary warfare, especially WWII. I have a special interest in the Normandy Campaign and in the Falaise Gap, since everything occurred near my hometown.”

He noticed our photo of the destroyed tank at the battle for Hill 192 near St. Lo, Normandy, and told us he did a bit of research. He learned that “the Sherman tank shown in the photo was an M4 from the 741st Tank Battalion, destroyed on July 11th, 1944, while supporting the 2nd Infantry Division. The battalion lost about a dozen tanks during the attack.”

Merci, Tristan! Keep in touch.

  1. Terry Cross says:

    What a wonderful connection! I hope to be there one day.

  2. StephieD says:

    Wow, that’s neat. I like how you’re getting photos of the exact same places all these years later. Very interesting!

  3. Kay McAnally says:

    This just gets more and more weird and wonderful! Who’d a thought you’d have two documentary photographers in the family (and then some!)

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