We visited this area in October 2005.
HILL 195 is the highest piece of ground on the road from CAEN to FALAISE. In the summer of 1944, the Canadian Army in France was advancing down this road as part of OPERATION TOTALIZE. Naturally, HILL 195 was identified as vital ground and an attack was organized to take it.
HILL 195 - THE ARGYLL ATTACK
By 10 August 1944, the Argylls were in the village of LANGANNERIE just a few kilometres north of HILL 195. The order came down from brigade HQ that the Argylls were to take the hill that night. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Stewart, chose an unorthodox plan. Following a well-reconnoitred route, the battalion would set off single file through the dark, slip through German lines and silently occupy the hill before the Germans knew they were there.
The Argylls crossed the start line at 0001 hours (12:01 am) on 11 August 1944 and were on HILL 195 by 0430 hours (4:30 am) following a circuitous route to the east and northeast of the hill. Most of the surprised German garrison of about 50 were taken prisoner without a shot being fired. The hill was taken without a single Canadian casualty. "C" and "D" companies dug in on the forward slope; "A" and "B" companies dug in on the reverse slope.
In the half-hour of darkness before dawn, the Argylls worked madly (assisted by their German prisoners) to consolidate their position. It was soon discovered that one foot down in the soil was an impenetrable layer of chalk. The Argylls were to hold the hill from some very shallow trenches. Vehicles towing 6 pounder and 17 pounder antitank guns made their way through the dark to link up and support the unit before first light.
At first light, the Germans (surrounding HILL 195 on three sides) reacted immediately. Soon heavy mortar fire was falling on the Argylls. A German counter attack on the "A" Company position failed and 27 German prisoners were taken.
The tanks of The 22nd Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards) were supposed to pass through the Argylls and exploit the breach in the German lines. The ferocity of the German counter attacks stopped these efforts cold. At noon, the tanks of The 21st Canadian Armoured Regiment (The Governor Generals Foot Guards) were sent forward to assist in the battle and would remain in the fight for the remainder of the day.
In the afternoon, heavy artillery and air support was made available to the Argylls and the Germans suffered many casualties as a result. The last German counter attack was beaten off at 1930 hours (7:30 PM). At 2100 hours (9:00 PM), the Argylls were relieved by The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. The Argylls had lost seven killed and 24 wounded holding the hill.
Noted military author and historian Lieutenant Colonel JA English has called the battle at HILL 195 the most impressive single action executed in OPERATION TOTALIZE.