|The Battle of Jebsheim,
France from a French
point-of-view Page 3
| THE EVACUATION- SPRING 1940
In 1940 during the German invasion, Jebsheim was part of the second zone of evacuation (
after Artzenheim, Kunheim, etc).
Before the departure of the population, all machines, agricultural and otherwise, had been
numbered, house keys had been left at the Obrecht Restaurant, horses requisitioned by the
military and cattle taken to Schoppenwihr Park where the German invaders had the good
fortune of finding them.
Most of the inhabitants had taken refuge with relatives or friends in the vicinity of Ribeauville or
in the Munster Valley. The rest were evacuated to the Lot-et-Garoone region.
There remained in the village only a few old men who were beyond mobilization (The Safety
Guard) who made the rounds and prevented looting.
When the long range artillery (posted in the Western Border and in the middle of the village)
began firing towards Bade, the return fire was not long in coming. The first objective of the
German return fire was evidently the steeple of the church, suspected rightly or wrongly of being
an observation post for French artillery. In short time incendiary bombs set several farms on
fire, then the entire middle of the village with the church, the city hall, the school, the parsonage,
the stable containing the communal bulls (so famous), the Obrecht Restaurant, and ten or so
farms were burnt to the ground. In fact everything that is now between the numbers 50 to 70
and 47 to 67 of the Grand Rue was destroyed.
Returning from the evacuation in the summer of 1940, many of the inhabitants of Jebsheim
could not find their homes and had to seek lodging elsewhere.
Between 1940 and 1945, the middle of the village was cleared of charred debris, and two
farms were rebuilt at the back of the village (as model "Erbhof"). As for the church, the
occupation authorities were in no hurry to rebuild it. Thus in 1945, the middle of the village was
a large no-man's land that, covered with snow at the end of January, caused the Allied troops
to believe that there were two villages at this spot. Their joy in announcing on the 27th of
January that Jebsheim was occupied was quickly tempered later in the day..
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE SECTOR OF JEBSHEIM - JANUARY 1945
Here is the unanimous opinion of all those who took part in the fights of the Pocket of Colmar.
Won after a battle that raged without pause for an entire month, include the major engagements
of the northern part of the pocket- Kilstett, Obenheim, Rossfeld, Illhaeusern, and Grussenheim,
and the major fights of the industrial cities to the south--Mulhouse and Cernay, it can definitely
be said that it was at JEBSHEIM that the enemy broke and that the victory of Colmar was won.
The 19th German Army was defeated and chased from the left bank of the Rhine. The enemy
lost three-fourths of its men during the Colmar campaign.
The victory was sealed by the more than 20,000 prisoners taken, 70 tanks and 80 cannons
captured intact, thousands of machine guns, trucks, vehicles by the hundreds, shells and
munitions by the millions fell into Allied hands.
OFFICIAL COMMUNIQUE OF JANUARY 29, 1945:
To the north, in the 2d Army Corps commanded by General de Monsabert, the French and
American divisions, vying with each other for courage and endurance, advance 15 kilometers
and approached the canal of the Rhone to the Rhine--
We are all along the border of the Colmar Canal and today after had fighting, our infantrymen
and our armored divisions have taken Grussenheim and Jebsheim.
(A short concise statement that on the surface would never began to cover the actions
described in the following account of the Battle of Jebsheim and in the statements of the citizens
Before beginning the battle accounts lets first take a look at the forces in the area:
The Allied forces present:
The 2d Army Corps, (2CA) commanded by General de Monsabert, was to form the north
wing of the Pocket of Colmar passing by Jebsheim--it was made up of: (All French units unless
The 3rd Infantry Division(3rd DI) commanded by General Guillaume
The 2d Armored Division (2 DA) commanded by General LeClerc
The 5th Armored Division (5DA) commanded by General de Vernejoul reinforced by the 1st
Regiment of Paratroopers commanded by Lt. Colonel Faure, reinforced by the Shock Battalion
The 1st Division of Mechanized Infantry (1stDMI)commanded by General Garbay
The 3rd American Infantry Division (3rdDIUS) commanded by General O'Daniel reinforced by
the American 254th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division and later the 28th
American Infantry Division (28th DIUS) commanded by General Cotta.
The 2d Group of Moroccan Cavalry (2d GTM)of Colonel Latour.
The Alsace-Lorraine Brigade and some elements of the French Forces of the Interior
The German Forces present:
The 198th Infantry
The 225th National Grenadier Regiment of the 16th Division
The 223rd National Grenadier Regiment
The 3d Company of the 654th Anti-Tank Division
The 2d Battalion of the 198th Infantry
Diemer's Fighting Unit
The 67th Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2d Mountain Division
The 137th, then the 136th Mountain Regiment
The 525th (Schw) Anti-Tank Division