The Battle of Glieres
The Plateau des Glières is a magnificent plateau situated at the heart of the Haute Savoie at an altitude of 1440m.
An important place for the Résistance movement during the Second World War, its mountainous and therefore strategic territory made the Plateau des Glières an ideal place for parachuting in weapons for the local resistance movement
On the 31st January 1944, because of the “insurrectionary” situation, on the orders of the German authorities the collaborating Vichy government decided to bring the Resistance movement to an end and imposed a state of siege on the département. The same day, 120 maquisards under the orders of Lieutenant Tom Morel, head of the resistance fighters of the Secret Army in the Haute Savoie, climbed up to the Plateau des Glières to receive some parachute drops.
The maquisards were former officers of the 27th Battalion of Alpine Chasseurs of Annecy, Spanish Republicans and Francs-Tireurs et Partisans(Partisan irregular riflemen) united by the same desire to liberate France.
On the 26th March 1944, a large scale attack involving around 10,000 men was carried out by German troops and the French militia. The numbers involved were disproportionate to the 465 maquisards on the Plateau. After carrying out reconnaissance missions, the maquisards received the order from Captain Maurice Anjot, now in charge of the underground movement (maquis) following the death of Tom Morel, to retreat in the evening. 129 maquisards and 20 resistance fighters from the valleys, who had been unable to escape being surrounded by the forces carrying out the order, were killed during the fighting or were shot by firing squad or died during their deportation.
From the start, the Battle of les Glières was the symbol of the French Resistance movement, thanks to radio broadcasts from London. In the months that followed, the maquis restructured in order to arrange a new parachute drop, which would take place on the 1st August.
This allowed the liberation of the Haute-Savoie on the 19th August 1944, before the allied troops even arrived.
On the 2nd September 1973 Emile Gilioli’s National Monument to the Resistance, built on the initiative of the Survivors of les Glières, was inaugurated by André Malraux. It is not a monument to the dead, but rather a symbol of hope.
Detailed account of the final Battle of the Glieres (English) –
Association des Glieres, dedicated to preserving the memory of the Glieres Resistance (French)
A good summary here (English)