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Le Vintrou in Tarn, Occitania, France — Western Europe
 

Corps Franc Du Sidobre - Stele de Betges

 
 
Corps Franc Du Sidebre - Stele de Betges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Col. James F. Jamison, USMC (Ret)
1. Corps Franc Du Sidebre - Stele de Betges Marker
Inscription.  
Corps Franc Du Sidobre-Stele De Betges

Samedi 12 août 1944, en début d'après-midi, 3 side-cars allemands, dont au moins un avec un fusil-mitrailleur, venant du RIALET descendent de la D53 vers PONT DE L'ARN. Ils évacuent un blessé par balles, suite à l'escarmouche du matin avec le CORPS FRANC DU SIDOBRE. Arrivés dans un virage près de la ferme de BETGES, les 3 side-cars se trouvent nez à nez avec le commando US du 2671 Bataillon Spécialistes Reconnaissance (OSS Opérations Group) qui rentre à pied à SAN FE près du BOUISSET, l'arme à la bretelle. Une intense fusillade s'engage. Le sergent Bernard GAUTIER et le T/S Robert SPAUR, sur la route, l'un genou à terre autre debout, tirent un chargeur entier de leur pistolet-mitrailleur Thompson sur la patrouille allemande qui riposte au fusil-mitrailleur Le reste du Commando U.S. se replie en grimpant le talus vers BETGES.

Le bilan est lourd: côté allemand I tué et un blessé grave, le gradé. L'un des parachutiste US mortellement blessé a la force de courir jusqu'au petit chemin qui descend vers le ruisseau, il sera retrouvé assis contre un arbee, mort,
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L'autre parachutiste US également mortellement blessé continuera jusqu'au pont qui enjambe le ruisseau. Il sera retrouvé mort, allongé sur le ventre, la téte dans le ruisseau.

Les 3 side-cars font demi-tour et remontent au RIALET. Du café HOULES ils téléphonent à la Kommandantur pour demander du renfort. Sur ordre du Capitaine LAGUEUX, les corps des 2 soldats US tués ne sont récupérés que le lendemain par Marvel GUEROULT, MDL, Chef. Il fallait que l'on sache que les américains étaient là en appui du Maquis. Ils seront inhumés le mardi 15 août au cimetière proche, après une messe à l'église et avec les honneurs des autres parschutistes U.S. en d'on peloton du CORPS FRANC DU SIDOBRE.

Les corps de Bernand GAUTIER et Robert SPAUR reposent actuellement au cimetière américain de DINOZE près d'EPINAL dans les Vosges. Ils avaient été parachutés dans le Tarn près de SAUSSONNIERES Lundi 7 août 1944.

(remainder of French text not transcribed due to illegibility)

(English translation:)

Saturday August 12, 1944, at the beginning of the afternoon, 3 German sidecars, including at least one with a machine gun, were coming from RIALET and descending along the D53 towards PONT DE L'ARN. They were evacuating one of their wounded, following a skirmish that morning with the CORPS FRANC DU SIDOBRE. Arriving in a bend in
Corps Franc Du Sidebre - Stele de Betges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Col. James F. Jamison, USMC (Ret)
2. Corps Franc Du Sidebre - Stele de Betges Marker
the road near the farm of BETGES, the 3 sidecars came face to face with the commandos of the US 2671 Battalion Specialists Reconnaissance (OSS Operations Group), who were returning on foot to SAN FE near the BOUISSET, carrying their weapons on their shoulders. An intense firefight ensued. Sergeant Bernard GAUTIER and T/S Robert SPAUR, on the road, one kneeling, the other standing, fire an entire magazine from their Thompson submachine gun on the German patrol, who then retaliated with their machine gun. The rest of the U.S. Commandos retreated by climbing the embankment towards BETGES.

The toll is grim: on the German side, one killed and one seriously injured, an officer. One of the mortally wounded US paratroopers has the strength to run to the small path that goes down to the stream - he will be found sitting against a tree, dead. The other US paratrooper, also mortally wounded, made it to the bridge over the stream. He will later be found dead, lying on his stomach, his head in the stream.

The 3 sidecars turn around and go back to RIALET. At the Cafe HOULES they telephoned the Kommandantur to ask for reinforcements. On the orders of Captain LAGUEUX, the bodies of the 2 US soldiers that were killed were not recovered until the next day by Marvel GUEROULT, MDL, Chief - knowing that the Americans were there in support of the Maquis. They were buried on Tuesday,
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August 15 in the nearby cemetery, after a mass at the church and with the honors of the other U.S. paratroopers and the CORPS FRANC DU SIDOBRE platoon.

The bodies of Bernand GAUTIER and Robert SPAUR currently rest in the American cemetery of DINOZE near EPINAL in the Vosges. Gautier and Spaur had only parachuted into the Tarn near SAUSSONNIERES on Monday August 7, 1944 (i.e., 5 days before their death).
 
Erected 2004 by ancien de CORPS FRANC DU SIDOBRE.
 
Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, World II. A significant historical date for this entry is August 12, 1944.
 
Location. 43° 32.913′ N, 2° 27.081′ E. Marker is in Le Vintrou, Occitanie (Occitania), in Tarn. Memorial is on D53, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Le Vintrou, Occitanie 81240, France. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 6 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Corps Franc du Sidobre - Stele de Montledier (approx. 5.9 kilometers away).
 
Also see . . .  Le Vintrou. Un nouveau site pour la stèle de Betgès (La Depeche, July 11, 2019, in French). Article indicates that the memorial was relocated. (Submitted on September 14, 2022.) 
 
Additional keywords. Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 14, 2022, by Col. James F. Jamison, USMC (Ret) of Coronado, California. This page has been viewed 79 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 14, 2022, by Col. James F. Jamison, USMC (Ret) of Coronado, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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May. 20, 2024