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Showing posts from October, 2016

Hemingway, Patton and Leclerc - France and Paris 1944

The city of Paris may have been wide open, but the period between the 22nd and 24th August 1944 was one of intense information gathering, and it has to be said, utter confusion in Rambouillet. Bruce, Hemingway, and Michel Pasteau - a French intelligence officer assigned to Bruce - continually interrogated German prisoners, many of whom were Polish - invariably elderly, or very young - who were keen to pass on what information they could about the retreating German divisions, and the German officers and NCOs who had made them fight at the point of a gun.
It was Bruce's job to get General Leclerc and his French armour into Paris first, but where the hell was he? Bruce had received reports that Patton's Third Army was already in the outskirts of Paris, with several units across the Seine and heading north toward Belgium. Patton had agreed, reluctantly, not to enter Paris until Leclerc had done so, but good fighting time was now being wasted for the sake of diplomatic niceties. Pat…

Hemingway and the Hotel du Grand Veneur - France 1944

The night of the 19th - 20th August 1944 had been a long one in Rambouillet but it was not unpleasant. After clearing the road of mines and booby-traps Hemingway made his HQ at the H̫tel du Grand Veneur, a grey three storied structure with a slate roof and a splendid rustic weathercock. Behind the building there were extensive orchards Рwith beehives - that stretched away into the lush and deceptively peaceful French countryside. But more importantly for Hemingway the hotel had a fine wine cellar and an excellent chef.
But Hemingway was still smarting from Irwin's refusal of arms, and probably in an effort to regain some self-respect, he set off with Krieger and Pelkey to reconnoitre the dangerous Versailles road.
After a short drive they pulled up outside Marie Antoinette's Royal Hunting Lodge and Model Dairy in the grounds of the former summer residence for French presidents, the Chateau de Rambouillet. According to Krieger, Hemingway was really fired-up and wanted to carry o…