Villeneuve-Loubet

After having previously liberate Grasse, the First Special Service Force has the task to take Villeneuve-Loubet. On August 24, the FSSF reached the Hill of Redon and were ambushed by Germans fired from mortar shells. Six Forcemen of the 5-2 are injured, but none are killed. This bombardment is followed by a violent artillery fire on a hill to their left. Faced with this unexpected resistance, the FSSF withdraws to Roquefort-les-Pins following a change of plan.

The day of 25 August is mainly marked by artillery fire because the Germans bomb the positions of the FSSF Villeneuve-Loubet before and the Americans do the same thing for the Germans in the city itself. The 2nd Regiment intends to attack the city at dusk on the 25th. In the afternoon, Captain Adna Underhill’ 2-2 takes position on the hills south of the ‘Aspre of Redon’ where the village and the Chateau de Villeneuve are clearly visible for a possible helping hand to those who have the mission to attack the city. From there, they can see the Mediterranean and the city of Antibes and are also almost reached by mistake by the shells of the navy. They also discover that French civilians are refugees in a small cave in the small isolated valley of Cireuil, at the foot of the hill on which had just taken position Forcemen.

The shells falling on Villeneuve come from the Navy but also from the 602nd Glider Field Artillery Battalion and the A Company of the 2nd Chemical Battalion. At the end of the afternoon of 25 August, the B Battery 602nd takes position at Terres Blanches south of Roquefort, very close to the front line and are taken apart by mortar shells forcing them to withdraw. On the same day at the same time, the 1st Regiment of the FSSF reached the bridge of La Colle which had already jumped and are taken apart by the mortar fire as the 602nd.

While the 1st Regiment is badly manhandled by artillery fire at La Colle and Roquefort, the 2nd Regiment is planning its attack on Villeneuve for the night of 25 to 26 August. The 5-2 and 6-2 must lead the assault with 4-2 in reserve. Some Villenevois decide to cross the lines during the day to provide information to the allies. Among them is Lolo Fournier, who is only 17 years old. Meeting a first control of the Germans, Lolo passes and meets the Americans. He returned to the village with his pockets full of chewing gum and chocolates and armed with a 1911 colt. He persuaded three other men to accompany him and rejoin the Americans. Finally night falls around 21h and the night assault of the 2nd Regiment begins. The Forcemen begin to progress on Aspre de Redon through the forest, guided by the 4 French know all the surroundings.

The attack on Villeneuve-Loubet and the capture of the castle

The 6th Company must overtake Villeneuve from the north and take the castle and the village from behind, while the 5th Company must make a frontal attack on the village and the bridge. Part of the 6th Company, guided by Marius Bardana manages to cross the Loup River - where all the bridges were destroyed by the German sappers - to bypass the German defenses and to reach the entrance of the castle without firing a shot of fire. Arriving at the castle, which is inhabited by a marquis, the Forcemen find closed door and wait until 4 am. Finally, they take prisoner a dozen German having had their machine gun positioned in the towers. They were asleep! Just like those sleeping in a field next door. No shots are fired. Most of the prisoners are Polish.

After that, the Forcemen enter the field and others go up to the tower with Captain Piette. A German pak40 is in the distance and shooting on the castle. Immediately an FM BAR is put in battery and the servants are put in flight.

During the storming of the village by the 6-2, the Forcemen discovered some German defenders and also see French having waited so long in their house because of the bombings, to relieve the bladder. The company's squad to attack the village is faced with violent and accurate small arms fire. Captain Larry Piette recovers a platoon left in reserve and brings him to the scene of the action.

In the hands of the Americans and Canadian Forces, the Germans do not take long to attack by storming the castle where it now serves as an observation post. The battle is raging and many shells fall on the castle.

Lt. George Parnell of the 887th Engineer Company is in action near the destroyed bridge of Villeneuve where he demolishes the road with his men. They are attacked by artillery and mortar fire and are grounded for several hours. The Forcemen at Villeneuve-Loubet are also supported by 602nd FAB gunners firing from right to left without stopping during the counterattack.

Around noon more than thirty Germans are taken prisoner by ... Two Villeneuvois! Without weapon. In fact, it is about a German officer and about thirty Polish handed to the 2nd Regiment after their entry in the city in the care of the two young men.

The Germans are now launching a serious counter-attack from the wooded hill south of the castle. During the counter-attack, Harold Webb sits on a large armchair in front of a murderer observing the Germans. Every time a patrol passes, they water them.

While most Forcemen repel counter-attacks from the castle, some like the Pfc. Henry Blackman are fighting outside the castle. Blackman fights with a machine gun and grenades on the German approach axis and relaunches several enemy grenades on his opponents and even disrupts a counterattack by taking them to task, forcing them to retreat. He is badly wounded shortly after by mortar fire and receives the Silver Star for his actions today.

In the evening, most of the Germans are repulsed and the shots cease little by little. The 1st Lt. William Story commander of the 4-2 arrives in Villeneuve-Loubet and sees there no presence of the enemy. Story is then ordered to establish a defense line on the outskirts of the city.

On the night of 26-27, the Germans counter-attack and set fire to several buildings around the fortress to try to scare off the Forcemen. This does not matter and after a short grenade fight, the Germans withdraw and Villeneuve is finally captured.