Couvonges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Couvonges
Location of Couvonges
Couvonges is located in France
Couvonges
Couvonges
Couvonges is located in Grand Est
Couvonges
Couvonges
Coordinates: 48°46′34″N 5°01′37″E / 48.7761°N 5.0269°E / 48.7761; 5.0269Coordinates: 48°46′34″N 5°01′37″E / 48.7761°N 5.0269°E / 48.7761; 5.0269
CountryFrance
RegionGrand Est
DepartmentMeuse
ArrondissementArrondissement of Bar-le-Duc
CantonCanton of Revigny-sur-Ornain
IntercommunalityCommunauté de communes du pays de Revigny sur Ornain
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Daniel Poirson
Area
1
4.56 km2 (1.76 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01)[1]
162
 • Density36/km2 (92/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
55134 /55800
Elevation146–208 m (479–682 ft)
(avg. 284 m or 932 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Couvonges is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

Couvonges massacre[edit]

In August 1944 German troops en route to Saint-Dizier to face General George S. Patton's XII Corps[2] killed a number of civilians and destroyed most of the town. This is also referred to as the Massacre de la vallée de la Saulx.

According to Edward R. Koudelka, Special Agent for the US Counter-Intelligence Corps, the 29th Regiment of the 3rd Panzergenadier Division was camped near a wooded area on the edge of town when a German officer and several soldiers were shot on 27 August by French resistance fighters.[3] In retaliation, Major General Hans Hecker, who was in command of the division, ordered the execution by firing squad of twenty-six randomly selected Frenchmen. About sixty other civilians were killed in the neighboring towns of Robert-Espagne,[4] Beurey-sur-Saulx and Mognéville.

The bodies were buried in a mass grave in a field near the town, but a local resident was able to obtain a photograph of the bodies before burial. According to Koudelka's informants, at 11 am on 29 August fifty-four of the town's sixty houses were burned, although the church was left standing. A total of 329 houses were looted and burned in the three towns.

Aftermath[edit]

Koudelka gathered evidence for use in the Nuremberg Trials, however Major General Hecker was released in 1947 and never tried.[5][6] The case was assigned to the Military Court of Metz, which identified eight German soldiers (out of about fifty who participated in atrocities). In 1950, the four officers, two warrant officers and two soldiers were convicted. The judgment was delivered on 28 May 1952 and the sentences were pronounced in absentia: four received death sentences and four were sentenced to hard labor for life.[7][8]

Memorial[edit]

Charles de Gaulle participated in a memorial service on 28 July 1946.[3] A memorial was inaugurated on August 29, 1949 by General André Zeller, commander of the 6th military region. The monument is located in the town of Beurey-sur-Saulx.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Pierre Mangin, De la Meuse à la Moselle avec l’armée Patton (septembre-octobre 1944). Verdun, Impr. Typo-Lorraine (1997) ISBN 2950506429
  3. ^ a b Couvonges: La seconde guerre mondiale: le 29 août 1944 (in French)
  4. ^ Robert-Espagne: C'est en France! (in French)
  5. ^ Edward R. Koudelka, Counter Intelligence: The Conflict and the Conquest. Ranger Associates, 1986; p. 137. ISBN 0934588090
  6. ^ Hans Hecker Biographical Information
  7. ^ Jean-Pierre Harbulot, Massacres of August 29, 1944 in the valley of the Saulx. Actes des XXIIèmes Journées d'études meusiennes qui se sont tenues à Ancerville, 1 and 2 October 1994. Society of Letters, Arts and Sciences of Bar-le-Duc, 1999.
  8. ^ Report of 29 pages dated 12 April 1945, written by the quartermaster chief Leon Hurel, brigade commander. Archived 18 December 2012 at Archive.today (in French)
  9. ^ HOMMAGE AUX MARTYRS DE LA VALLÉE DE LA SAULX des villages de Robert-Espagne - Beurey-sur-Saulx - Couvonges - Mognéville - Trémont-sur-Saulx. (in French)