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D-DAY MONUMENT, COURSEULLES-SUR-MER, CALVADOS, BASSE-NORMANDIE, FRANCE



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KEY: Location markers are coloured from Green meaning exact to Red meaning gone or unknown (details here)


Number of Photos:
10
Sample Photo

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Location Category ID:
6035
Address: Quai des Alliés, 14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer
Telephone:
Email:
Opening Times: Accessible at any time
Official Website:
Other Links: Normandy44LaMemoire
Tanks in France
Leo Gariepy and First Hussars
Juno Sector
Juno Beach Centre
Latitude, Longitude: 49.33565885 , -0.45799792
Location Accuracy: 10
Tanks Previously Here:


A specialised vehicle designed specifically for D-Day, one of the ‘Funnies‘, was the Sherman DD amphibious tank. From early 1943 79th Armoured Division had experimented with swimming tanks with some success. These were Valentines and it was felt that they were not sufficiently powerful to go into action during the Invasion and so the technique was adapted to the Sherman. The modifications included the fixing of a metal and canvas frame around the edge of the hull above the tracks, and the fitting of large propeller screws at the back of the hull. These propellers were powered from the rear track idler wheels and this method of using the tracks for propulsion on land and in the water gave the system its name of ‘Duplex Drive‘ or ‘DD’.
When the canvas frame was erected around the hull, to a height some away above the top of the turret, sufficient water was displaced to make the vehicle float. While this arrangement was seaworthy in good conditions, it was easily swamped in rough seas and many Sherman DDs were lost on D-Day. For example, 13/18th Hussars launched forty Sherman DDs three miles offshore. Some were lost out from the shore, and others drowned at the water’s edge. Nonetheless, thirty-three tanks did survive to fight their way across the beach. The ability of the DD to swim in to a beach and to go immediately into action on landing was invaluable. On hitting the shore, they needed only to lower the front edge of the canvas frame to bring their main armament to bear and in many cases were the most powerful weapon available to support the assaulting troops.
There is an NTL Totem nearby that reads as follows:

COURSEULLES-SUR MER : THE FIRST ALLIED PORT
THE STRONGPOINT AT JUNO
As at Bernières, the beach had been booby-trapped. Ahead of the fortified positions, antitank mines and heavy shells had been placed on the top of all kinds of obstacles quickly set up on ROMMEL’s orders. In addition, the defences east of the mouth of the Seulles consisted of 26 concrete constructions with field guns, heavy machine-guns, mortars and flamethrowers to rake the beach.

THE LIBERATION OF COURSEULLES
At about eight a.m. on 6 June 1944, behind schedule, due to the bad weather and losses caused by the booby-traps, the 7th Canadian Brigade came ashore on either bank of the Seulles. Some fierce fighting took place, but Canadian losses turned out lower than anticipated. Courseulles was liberated at ten a.m. One of the major difficulties of the day was the bottleneck in the narrow streets, here as in other villages of the sector! Fortunately, the German air force was almost non-existent. By evening on “D.DAY”, 24,000 men and 2,000 vehicles had been brought ashore.

BEHIND THE “GOOSEBERRY”, A REAL HARBOUR
Behind a line of sunken ships which provided a breakwater, the tiny port of Courseulles was quickly repaired. As early as 8 June, it was used to bring in reinforcements and equipment.
It was at the boundary between Courseulles and Graye that General de GAULLE landed on 14 June. From there, he went on to Bayeux.

It is of interest to note that the road behind the tank has been named after Leo Gariepy. Over the road another relic, a German Kwk 39 anti-tank gun with some signs of battle damage, can be seen on a small plinth on the pavement.


1) M4A4 Sherman Duplex Drive Amphibious Tank American / British


Number of Photos:
13
Sample Photo from Tank with UniqueID 770

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Unique ID: 770
Serial Number: A possible serial number is detectable on the towing lugs; it is hard to decipher but could be “051” or similar.
Registration:
Name: “BOLD / AUDACIEUX” painted on right hull side.
Other Identification: “CT 453671” painted on left hull side.

Many Sherman DDs, and other vehicles from landing craft, that were lost on D-Day remain on the sea-bed to this day. This M4A4 DD, or Sherman V DD in British parlance, was snagged by fishermen’s nets three miles off the Normandie beaches. It was then recovered by M. Jean Demota, who held the salvage rights to that part of the shore, in 1971. His company brought it to the beach and Canadian engineers, with a recovery vehicle, towed it off the beach - freeing the tracks in the process. A large part of the money for the project was raised by Leo Gariepy, an ex-sergeant who had commanded the first DD to land at Courseulles on D-Day and who made his life in France after the war. The vehicle was treated for rust then dedicated as a memorial to its crew and its Canadian unit. It is now on display in Place 6 Juin, Courseulles-sur-Mer in Calvados. It appears to be in relatively good condition, although it is of course missing its canvas frame and many other external fittings.

There is a metal sign nearby that reads “JUNO BEACH. At 0730 hours 6th June 1944, the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (First Hussars) in support of the 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 3 Canadian Infantry Division, assaulted and overpowered enemy defences between Courseulles-sur-Mer and Bernieres-sur-Mer. This tank, recovered from the sea nearly 27 years after launching, is dedicated by the First Hussars, to the memory of all who participated in this operation”.

It is of interest to note that the road behind the tank has been named after Leo Gariepy. Over the road another relic, a German Kwk 39 anti-tank gun with some signs of battle damage, can be seen on a small plinth on the pavement.
The Sherman has a series of plaques fixed to each side of the hull (some have been added since the tank was photographed for the first edition). One reads as follows:

A
LEO GARIEPY
1912-1972
CITOYEN D’HONNEUR DE
COURSEULLES-SUR-MER
GRACE A QUI CE MEMORIAL A ETE ERIGE
EN SOUVENIR DE SES FRERES CANADIENS
TOMBES A L’AUBE DU 6 JUIN 1944
TO LEO GARIEPY
1912-1972
CITIZEN OF HONOUR OF
COURSEULLES-SUR-MER
BY WHOSE GRACE THIS MEMORIAL
HAS BEEN ERECTED
IN REMEMBRANCE OF HIS CANADIAN BROTHERS
FALLEN AT DAWN 6 JUNE 1944

Another reads: “JUNO BEACH. At 0730 hrs the 6th of June 1944, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders assaulted enemy defences between Courseulles-sur-Mer and Bernieres-sur-Mer. Suffering heavy casualties, they advanced on into Germany”.