I know it's not veteran's day but i couldn't help and on that day of days, i'd like to pay my respects and remember an incredible group of men,often neglected, if not ignored in history books : The ultimate brave men of THE FRENCH No4 COMMANDO who were among the firsts to set foot on the beaches of Normandy[SWORD BEACH] June 6 of 1944 fighting along side British and Canadian commandos to free my country .....
It was in OUISTREHAM, just behind Riva Bella on the Normany coast,some 14 km. north of Caen.Because of Ouistreham's strategic position, by the mouth of the river Orne and the Caen canal, it had been heavily fortified, and the German guns could sweep along the beach.
It was given to 177 French soldiers under Commander Kieffer, part of the Royal Marines no.4 Commando, to be first to tread the Normandy soil and take out this obstacle. They left 40 men killed or wounded on the beach, and Kieffer himself was hit, with shrapnel in his leg, but carried on with his men. They were supported by a tank from the 13/18th Hussars of the 27th Armoured Brigade.
The German blockhouse was taken out, and by late morning. Ouistreham had been liberated.
Philippe Kieffer, born in Port au Prince, Haiti, and as his surname suggests, of Alsatian origin, had begun his career as a naval officer before he decided to persuade his superiors to let him create and lead a force modelled on the British commandos. They trained at Achnacarry in Scotland. Commander Kieffer was awarded a Croix de Guerre for his D-Day action and went on to be a Commander in the Legion d'Honneur.