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Hill 112

Hill 112 is one of the dominant hills southwest of Caen. Located between the Odon in the north and the Orne in the southeast, one had a good overview of the battlefield from here. Not only was Caen and the airport clearly visible, but also the hills south of the Orne. Hausser called the hill "the key to the back door of Caen".

Hill 112 was already included in Operation Epsom (26-30 June 1944). The aim of this operation was to cross both the Odon and the Orne from a starting point located west of Caen. The goal: the upper area to the northeast of Bretteville-sur-Laize, just south of Caen. To get here, Hill 112 had to be taken. For the Allies only a stopover to the final goal, for the Germans, however, the point that had to be defended at all costs.

On 28 June, the units of the 11th Armored Division at Toumauville crossed a bridge over the Odon. The next goal would be the Orne, for which they should get hold of Hill 112. The next day at 5:30 am B Squadron of the 23rd Hussars received the order to take Hill 112. The march went via Baron-sur-Odon towards L'Égalité to turn right towards the hill, along the straight old Roman road that still exists.

During the morning, B Squadron would get stuck on the German defense; it was further strengthened with units of C Squadron and infantry of the 8th Rifle Brigade. The heavy fighting would last all day. The British managed to reach and take Hill 112. That was accompanied by heavy losses. About 40 Sherman tanks were shut down. However, 11th Armored Division was in a far-advanced position; the flanks were not protected. Through the Ultra messages the Allies were informed that additional German reinforcements were sent to the front. This was II. SS Panzer Corps. It was therefore decided to give up this vulnerable position and to retreat to the Odon valley. Operation Epsom ended with a bridgehead over the Odon, but not over the Orne.

Operation Jupiter had to change that. This operation started on 10 July and was aimed at taking the hill crest with Hill 112 and the villages Baron and Fontaine-Étoupefour in front. The operation was in line with Montgomery's plan to tie as many German armored divisions around Caen as possible and to let the American troops break out in the west. For this, new attacks have been carried out around Caen, including Jupiter. After taking the ridge, other units would make a moving movement and bridgeheads would have to strike over the Orne. Once over the river Orne was a relatively flat area, ideal for armor units to quickly make an advance to the south and to secure the vital roads around Caen.

Unfortunately, the British did not manage to conquer the hill this time either. Many German units were written off, so the operation still seemed successful. It would take until August 4 before the 53rd Welsh Infantry Division won the hill without much opposition.

At the end of the 1940s, the first monument for the 43rd Wessex Division was placed on the hill. The top of the hill is not at the Churchill tank and the other monuments, but more to the south. If one now looks south, one sees an old orchard on the left and a small forest on the right. This last forest was not there in 1944 yet. Only the orchard was there. The top of the hill lies at the western corner of the old orchard, near the entrance to the new memorial forest.

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