This monument was unveiled on April 29, 1984.
On May 27, 1942, the position of BIR-HAKEIM, held by the 1st Free French BrigadeCommanded by General KOENIG, and covering the left flank of the British 8th Army, was attacked at dawn by the Italian Armored Division "Ariete". After a fierce battle fought all the way into the position, the enemy is driven back, leaving 40 tanks on the ground.
From June 1 to 10, the position is methodically attacked and completely encircled byGerman (of the 90th Light Division) and Italian forces, in overwhelming numerical superiority. Rommel himself summoned the garrison to surrender and led the attacks. Despite the heaviest artillery and aerial bombardment, the 1st Brigade repels all attacks, does not yield an inch of ground, and inflicts very heavy losses on the enemy.
On June 10, the garrison has exhausted all its resourcesin water, live, ammunition. It receives orders from the 8th Army Commander to withdraw. During the night of 10th to 11th, it forced its way through enemy lines, amidst minefields, bringing back its wounded and all equipment not disabled by the bombardments.
By its prolonged resistance beyond all hope, the 1st Free French Brigade enabled the British 8th Army to disengage and avert disaster. Its worldwide impact was immense. It restored to the French, then under German oppression, faith in their destinies and hope of Victory.
Here's what General de GAULLE telegraphed to the Chief of the 1st Brigade during the siege
"General KOENIG, know and tell your troops that all of FRANCE is watching you and that you are its pride"
The commemorative plaque was unveiled by Mrs Théo Gillet and Marcel Grall, Roscovites who took part in this feat of arms.
Photo credit and contribution Philippe Boudot.