Photo Credit: Auguste Chauvin

The Liberation of Perpignan

On November 12th 1942, the Germans invaded ‘ la zone libre’ (the unoccupied part of France) and arrived in Perpignan.

First the airport was taken over by  a detachment of the Luftwaffe, installed with anti-aircraft protection, and a bunker built on the hill at Peyrestortes, which still exists today.

liberation  Perpignan

Next they took over the coast, creating “Mittelmeerkustenfront”, a barrier of fortifications to prevent any landing, found all along the Mediterranean coast.
Cap Béar  in Port-Vendres was particularly fortified, bunkers and machine gun tracks which still exist today.

The Liberation of Perpignan
The Liberation of Perpignan

In 1944 10000 German soldiers were stationed in the department.

Between 1943 and 1944, 9000 hectares of land were mined.

The Liberation of Perpignan

Early 1944, facing an imminent allied landing, the Germans evacuated  Collioure. On 2 February 1944 the prefecture evacuated anyone living within 15 Kms of the coast. Many villages were completely emptied.

liberation  Perpignan

On 19 August 1944 the Germans blew up most installations before the arrival of the allied landing in Provence. In Perpignan the ammunition dump was destroyed, taking with it warehouses, a convent…

liberation  Perpignan

In Port-Vendres, the depot containing sea mines was dynamited. Fortunately it did not all go up, or it would have destroyed the whole town. Many building were destroyed however to cause maximum confusion for future Allied landings.

liberation  Perpignan

Towards the end of August 1944, resistance fighters from all around the region fought Germans and French militia to take back Perpignan. The fighting started in the Rue Mailly. By morning the German major Parthay had been captured, marking the end of the German occupation, made official on August 18, 1944.

liberation  Perpignan

With Thanks to Estève Valls of NordSudCom

Share it!

Leave a Comment