Mémorial des Batailles de la Marne

 1914 - 1918

Parc du château - Dormans (51700)


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- Cérémonies -


Zone de Texte: Details about liberation day, on August 1944, the 28th


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Liberation of Dormans, on August 1944, the 28th






A few days earlier …


23 June 1944: attack of a train carrying 200-liters gasoline cans between the towns of Troissy and Try; the cans explode and very thick smoke can be seen everywhere.

A few hours later, the railway tracks were bombed as a train carrying German tanks was coming. Those tanks have probably been expected in Normandy!


On august 17th, the Germans start retreat.

On 20th, all kinds of vehicles are seen, going towards Reims.

18 to 65 years old men are ordered to dig trenches in Verneuil. They stay all day long in front of the city hall.

On 21st, they are summoned again but they refuse to go.


Around the 21st, 22nd, two evenings in a row, two large German aircrafts (each dragging a glider) fly at low altitude over the woods called “Bois des chênes”.

 (Day?) At 4:00 p.m., explosion near Port-Bailly. The landing plate carrying a wrecking crane blew up. One of the doors of Courcelle’s waterworks is damaged and can’t be repaired.

Two American bombers drop bombs and attack a German train which is carrying gas cans between Try and Troissy. On this train a plane cabin is burning and the Germans are trying to put out the fire. Barrels flew into pieces, like rockets, higher than Try’s hill, till the main road. There was so much smoke that it seems we were at night.


Then, men are requisitioned to mount guard along the railway tracks but actually to serve as hostages in case of sabotage.

Others are requisitioned for pumping water from Marne river for the locomotive boilers since the station water towers are out of service.


On 25th, men are told to work on the road to Reims but they can’t do much since their shovels and pick’s handle are not strong enough.

On 26th, German tanks situated between Verneuil and Vincelles practise shooting. It is strictly forbidden to go between Dormans and Vassieux.

On 27th, on the main road, the crowd of Germans troop is beating a retreat.

On 28th, at 11.00 a.m., American troops arrive in Chavenay and at 11:30 a.m., they reach Dormans.   


August  1944, the 28th, a witness  remembers 


Since the day before, we see German vehicles driving along the slope of Chavenay, coming from Condé-en-Brie.

At dusk and until very late in the night, hidden behind the gate of a house, we are four or five fellows to look at them. On the road, a German policeman makes them to moving faster.  Around midnight, we left.   


On 28th morning, on the side of Trélou road, at one of the little bridges, there was a four tubes anti-aircraft battery. This battery moved around 8:30 a.m.

The noise of troops was still very loud but, suddenly it appears very quiet. No more noise!    


At 10:00 a.m., we hear a loud explosion: the wooden bridge in Dormans has blown up.  According to some inhabitants, it is the work of one lonely German soldier.

At 11:30 a.m., we can hear vehicle engines and soon, coming from the road of Chavenay and climbing a pile of planks at sawmill, we can see a jeep with a French flag!!  A few minutes later, we are in front of the city Hall place. Lots of people were already gathered among the American tanks, climbed on the tanks and are celebrating …

At 11:50 a.m., a jeep with a machine gun coming through a recess (“Garage Deneux”) shot a German truck trying to escape by the “impasse du clos rigaux”, where was situated their last office in Dormans.


The first US armoured vehicle has been seen at 12:10 at the edge of Dormans moving forward carefully going towards Try. . Five minutes later, the bridge in Try blew up, destroyed by the Germans.


The Americans continue and are stopped in front of the fallen bridge. They are stuck there, an easy target for the German gunmen across the river Marne. In fact, two days earlier, trees along the road between Vassieux and Dormans had been cut so that they could fire easily from the hill between Vincelles and Verneuil!


One of them, in wait on the Semoigne river shore, fires a half-track, near the “château de Try”. Another is between “l’Ermitage” and Verneuil and another one is at 200 meters east from Vincelles and 50 meters below the road. Another one stay at the former garbage dump of Vincelles and destroy four US armoured vehicles.

One near the bridge crossing, another fifty meters further, a third one coming down the slope of Savigny (Gun twisted by a shell) another fires vehicle on the path to Vassieux and a last one nearer from Dormans. There has been four Americans killed and three injured who have been laid in front of Thierry’s house on “15, avenue de Paris” where a first-aid post was settled.


Then, the “Tiger” hidden at the end of Vincelles is being seen to go away by the road of “la Sainte” and leaving through Champvoisy. The tank, situated on the Semoigne shore, frightened four young people from Vassieux. Those ones used guns in the wood below the Try bridge, each time he opens its turret. One of its shells blew up near then, injuring an inhabitant of Try at the buttock. There has also been a house touched by a shell in Vassieux, fired, its inhabitants putting out the house with a pump.

Informed on German position, an American soldier told it by radio to the artillery situated at the trenches of Chavenay. This one pounded the slope above Verneuil. A German tank has been touched and some people were asked to take car of the German soldiers who had been injured. This tank stayed a part of the afternoon to be repaired under a tree at the end of Verneuil and the, tried to escape but it was stopped at Ville-en-Tardenois and its occupants ran away through the fields towards Romigny. The last one to leave the tank threw a grenade inside. They surrendered to the Americans the next day.


Another person remembers:


On 28th, around 11:15 a.m., a German truck drives through Dormans with several army men inside. It turns around at the end of Dormans and heads back to Courthiezy. Then it comes back once again but this time the Americans are there. Germans stop and fire towards the middle of the city. An American tank drives towards it, demolishing a fountain, striking it and immediately the truck catches on fire. Five German soldiers are killed and two or three wounded and get care treatment in Chavenay, in front of the Vignon family’s house .The others are taken prisoners.

In the afternoon there were lots of celebrations and joyful scenes!! By 4:00 p.m., the Americans were ordered to cross the Marne River near Château Thierry and Dormans was left unprotected. Volunteers groups are asked by oldest inhabitants to guard on the river banks. One of them took a prisoner in the evening.

According to one of the people’s in Verneuil, some American soldiers may have crossed through Marne river towards the upper Verneuil on that night but knowing that a group of Germans was here, they stayed hidden waiting for more troops.


The 29th was a day of joy and celebration with flags floating from every window.

A few sad scenes were less joyful when hairdressers were ordered to shave the heads of the French women who had had relationships with Germans.

Other Americans arrived in the morning. A line of tanks, with a bright star drawned, continued on the road to Vincelles.

A group of foot soldiers (infantrymen) slope to the brook in Vassieux, in the direction of Try (each receiving a K ration) where a temporary bridge made of boats had been already established. 

Another unit of GIs arrived on the main road between Soilly and Dormans and crossed the river on the wooden bridge which was not completely destroyed…

Another bridge was set up at the left of the silo allowing the vehicles to come through (where the entrance of the campground is located today). Additional artillery posts were also settled between Vassy and Vassieux ready to shell Verneuil if Germans had stayed …



- o O o -


A few day after


On Tuesday, September 5th, (Sunday, September 10th??) an American flying fortress, going back of a mission, made an emergency landing in a field between Troissy and Mareuil-le-Port, One of the occupants landing off by parachute between Soilly and Dormans.

A helmet and a gun will be found on the site later.






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