The hill at Mont-Ormel, overlooks the site of the last and one of the bloodiest battles of Normandy. It was here that the Allied forces enclosed the Germans in a pincer movement, forcing tens of thousands of German soldiers to retreat through an ever-narrowing gap – the ‘Falaise gap’ or ‘Falaise pocket’ as it’s often called. The road along which the Germans had to flee became piled high with the carnage of corpses, dead horses, abandoned carriages and tanks, that the Germans called it, ‘the Corridor of Death.’
M. Podyma is a franco-polish veteran, who landed at Arromanches on Gold Beach in July 1944 and fought in the 1st Polish Armoured Division through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany until 8th May, 1945. He played a decisive role in the battle of Mont-Ormel – from August 7th until August 21st, he found himself on the front line. On August 18th, 1944 he was confronted with the 2nd SS Panzer ‘Das Reich’ Division. On August 20th at Boisjos, he saved his Sherman tank and his two radios from destruction – this action allowed the Canadian artillery to direct their fire to the German troops and to circle them.
Since the war, M. Podyma has participated in all the major commemorative events at Mont Ormel. He will be 93 in a couple of months’ time.
Follow me on Twitter @AnnieCDarling and use the hashtag #anniesddayblog to share your thoughts, images and videos with me.