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MEMORIAL, ÉCOUCHÉ, ORNE, BASSE-NORMANDIE, FRANCE



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Number of Photos:
2
Sample Photo

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Location Category ID:
6083
Address: Avenue du Général Leclerc, 61150 Écouché
Telephone:
Email:
Opening Times: Accessible at any time
Official Website:
Other Links: Normandy44LaMemoire
Tanks in France
Latitude, Longitude: 48.71595478 , -0.11709452
Location Accuracy: 10
Tanks Previously Here:


This Sherman tank is displayed on a low angled plinth at a road junction at the entrance to Écouché. There is a label in front of it on the right hand side; it reads as follows:

VISITEURS QUI VOUS ARRETEZTO VISITORS WHO STOP
Le Char MASSAOUA appartenant à la 1ère Compagnie du 501 R.C.C. de la 2ème Division Blindée du Général LECLERC particapa à la libération d’ ECOUCHE le 13 Août 1944.
Il fût malheureusement atteint par des obus ennemis et parmi les membres de son équipage il y eut un grand bléssé, le radio Louis LEONARD.
Ce Char demeura sur place à l’entrée de notre Cité et à la fin de la guerre, Monsieur CHABLE alors Maire, demanda et obtint qu’il resta là ou il avait contribué à libérer ce coin de sol Francais.
La Municipalité décida de l’ériger en monument du “SOUVENIR ”.
En Aout 1947 le Général WARABIOT notre Libérateur l’inaugura officiellement en en Septembre 1952 à l’occasion du Rassemblement National des anciens de la 2ème D.B. qui eut lieu à Ecouché il fût le centre d’une manifestation à laquelle prirent part Madame la Maréchale LECLERC, Monsieur GERVAIS Préfet de l’Orne, Monsieur PLIVARD Maire, et de très nombreuses personnalités civiles, militaires et religieuses.
A l’entrée de la Ville, il reste le souvenir des heures graves et vibrantes à la fois qui furent vécues de Juin à Août 1944.
The Char MASSAOUA belonging to the 1st Company of 501st R.C.C. of the 2nd Armoured Division of General LECLERC participated in the liberation of ECOUCHE on August 13 1944.
Unfortunately it was hit by enemy shells and among the members of its crew there was a severely wounded person, the radio operator Louis LEONARD.
This Tank remained in place at the entrance to our City and at the end of the war, Monsieur CHABLE, then Mayor, asked and obtained that it remained there where it had helped to liberate this corner of French soil.
The Municipality decided to erect the monument in its “memory”.
In August 1947 General WARABIOT our Liberator officially inaugurated it, and in September 1952 at the National Rally of veterans of the 2nd D.B. held in Ecouché it was the centre of an event in which took part Madame Maréchal LECLERC, Monsieur GERVAIS Prefect of Orne, Monsieur PLIVARD, Mayor, and many civilian, military and religious personalities.
At the entrance to the City, it remains as a monument to the grave and vibrant hours that were lived through from June to August 1944.


1) M4A2 Sherman Tank American


Number of Photos:
6
Sample Photo from Tank with UniqueID 775

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Unique ID: 775
Serial Number:
Registration: “420830” painted on nose.
Name: “MASSAOUAH” painted on hull sides (previously “MASSAOUA”).
Other Identification:

This M4A2 is now named with the spelling “Massaouah” although the accompanying plaque and label use the previous spelling. The plaque is mounted in front and reads as follows:

MASSAOUAMASSAOUA
EN HOMAGE
A LA 2EME D B
LIBERATRICE
D’ECOUCHE
13 AOÛT 1944
IN HOMAGE
TO THE 2ND ARMOURED DIVISION
LIBERATOR
OF ECOUCHE
13 AUGUST 1944


There are three large holes in the armour on the left hand superstructure side. The rubber is missing from much of the tracks and many of the roadwheels; this is consistent with the tank having been penetrated and then burned out.

There is a large display board behind the tank with photographs, maps and information about the battles that took place around Ecouché. The English text describing the background of this tank reads as follows:

The Massaouah
It takes its name from a victory won by the Foreign Legion in Erythrea. Thanks to the mayor at this time, the firm put in charge of collecting war wrecks donated the tank to the commune in commemoration of its liberation. It only needed to be moved a few metres.
In September 1952, General Vézinet, President of the National Association of the friends of the 2nd DB recounted the history of this tank:
“…The morning of the 13th August, the first division of the 501 RCC enters Ecouché.
The Massaouah is stationed on the western outskirts of the city, ready to block the road to Falaise from the columns of the 116th Panzers who are flowing towards them from the west. In the middle of the afternoon the opportunity the team has been waiting for presents itself: a “Mark IV” comes along, spots the Massaouah, manoeuvres itself into a firing position and prepares to open fire. It never has a chance to start. At the first shot, at 800 metres, the “Massaouah” puts it out of commission: the Keren Is avenged”.

The end of the Massaouah:
“On the 15th of August the Massaouah is still in its position on the outskirts of Ecouché, where the section is recuperating after the preceding hard days. Whilst the other crews are carrying out maintenance on their machines, the Massaouah and the Bir Hakeim are keeping watch. Suddenly some German tanks hidden in a wood north-east of Ecouché on the other side of the Orne river, open fire unexpectedly. The first shell hits the ground at the feet of Aspirant Malin; the second shell hits the Bir Hakeim; the third shell penetrates the ammunition compartment of the Massaouah which catches fire. A counter offensive firing occurs but it’s too late: the Massaouah is lost. Sergeant Major Mahaeo, thrown out of the turret, is unscathed (he will later die courageously in Massaouah II in front of Baccarat). Ancel, the first pilot, is safe and sound, but Léonard, the radio charger, has a broken foot, while the rifleman receives a heavy blow in the chest”.


The phrase “the Keren is avenged” is, of course, a reference to the Sherman at Le Vieux-Montmerrei (q.v.).