90th Infantry Division Pic of the Week: Alencon, France.

I trust everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  It’s Monday, and time for the 90th Infantry Division – Picture of the Week.

By August 1944, the 90th Infantry Division had broken free from the Cotentin Peninsula and was racing east, toward Paris.   Near Le Mans, plans changed.  The 90th ID was rerouted north through Alencon, to trap the fleeing German 7th Army in the Falaise Gap.

This 90th Infantry Division – Picture of the Week is an aerial shot of the city of Alencon, France.  Look closely enough and you’ll notice a 90th Infantry Division caravan of vehicles pouring into town via the main road.

Aerial view of Alencon, France, with 90th Infantry Division caravan pouring into town via the main road - August 1944. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo, Courtesy National Archives)

Vintage video footage of the 90th Infantry Division arriving in Alencon, France is also available for purchase at criticalpast.com.

8 Responses to “90th Infantry Division Pic of the Week: Alencon, France”

  1. Tristan says:

    Great photo Mike.
    The town was liberated (without a shoot or burst) by the 2nd French Armored Division, on the 12th of August, 1944. In fact, Alençon is the first French city liberated by French soldiers ; truly a symbol.
    I am very familiar with this region because a part of my family came from there.

    • mikemccoy says:


      You say that the 2nd French Armored retook Alencon without firing a shot. Was the city largely spared from battle damage? Or was there damage from when the Germans came through the first time?

  2. Tristan says:

    neither battle damage nor damage when the Germans came through the first time.
    The only damages were caused by allied bombings during the summer of 1944. The sector of the station was particularly aimed, but ‘only’ 20-25% of the town was destroyed.

    • mikemccoy says:


      Interesting that a city so centrally located would remain largely intact, when others were left in ruins. Was Argentan as fortunate?

  3. Tristan says:

    the case of Argentan was completely different : almost 80% of the city was destroyed. From June 6th to August 20th, the town was bombed by the Allied Air Force and later by the US and French artillery and tanks.
    Here are a few pictures to show you how destroyed the city was :



  4. I am an Englishman who has lived in Alençon for the last eight years and as I have learnt the reason why thtown sufferd very little damage I thought you might like to know.
    De Gaulle’s family were held in what was the castle (and turned into a prison by the Germans) that is in the town centre. Thus bombing and shelling were decided against by the allies. There is a plaque on the wall commemorating several people that were held there before being executed or sent to the camps.
    The castle served as a prison until January 2010.

  5. A.Linder says:

    Reading the WW2 history and the invasion of Normandy
    especially byAntony Beevor D-Day i had the impression that Allencon was thr main supply base of the 7 th German Army defending the Normandy. The fear of the german commanders was that the supply base would be cut off.Did the Allies not know about this and if they knew
    then why was the supply base not pulverised being only
    about 100km from the coast ?
    An army without supplies without food, ammunition etc.
    cannot be very effective.!

    • mikemccoy says:

      A. Linder,

      Thanks for your comment and welcome aboard. I think our friend and French follower Tristan would better be able to answer your question. And perhaps it has to do with De Gaulle, and the content of Peter Wheeler’s comment. I’ll forward it to Tristan, and we’ll see what we can come up with.


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