January 3, 2018

1944. Pierre Lefevre Reports from Brussels

BBC War Correspondent Pierre Lefevre in Belgium
"Pierre Lefevre, a Free French war correspondent, making a broadcast as a Sherman Firefly tank moves up to the battle area, 5 August 1944" (Photo by Bert Hardysource)
This broadcast transcript by French war correspondent Pierre Lefevre is from Bill Downs' files. The text in parentheses was originally crossed out.
Pierre Lefevre

BBC Brussels

September 11, 1944

Hallo BBC this is Pierre Lefevre reporting from Brussels.

On the east bank of the Albert Canal sharp fighting took place yesterday. Our armoured patrols reached a point 6 miles north of Beeringhem. At a road junction on the way there was a lively encounter, and the enemy fought quite hard.

But the best news of yesterday's fighting is that we have got a bridge intact over the Scheldt—the river Escaut—and our troops have used the river crossing thus find themselves only a mile and a half from the Dutch border. This bridge is near a little village called De Groot barrier. Further south at Bourg-Léopold the fighting goes on, although there seems little hope for the garrison of the Lèopold barracks (as we are on the Albert Canal and as Liège is now firmly in American hands).

The preparations for the battle go on and TAF are already doing their share of the battle, weakening the enemy in every way before the land fight. Off the Flushing peninsula 5 ships of med size were attacked by Typhoons loaded with bombs. None got away: one was destroyed, the other four damaged. On the Rhine, on the Escaut, everywhere barges have been attacked.

And there is no doubt that the fighter-bombers of the TAF must also be putting their pinpoint attacks on enemy HQs into full play. The technique of striking HQ buildings, forward administrative centres, either during the enemy's withdrawal or during his advance, has been largely responsible for the disorganization of the enemy's staff work.

A senior officer of the RAF told me that since D-Day no less than 450 HQs were attacked by our fighter-bombers. In a pit at Landelin, this officer told me he had seen 14 senior German officers buried together. All had been killed in one attack. Yesterday's score for attacks on rail and road transport is high. 5 locomotives were destroyed in the day, 54 were hit. 11 barges were sunk and fifty damaged.