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I GENERAL EDITOR DAVID G.

CHANDLER
I

1 I-
*

ALLIED LANDINGS
AND BREAKOUT
Iater in the morninp o f Infan- L a m ) and in the bad n.carhcr. Thc
D-Day, men of 9 rwnrim~ashore rather hiq.cles that rile m m are
Canadian Bn'gade, the mom schrc& a t ;lunn' m ~ i wrm n ~ the most
msen e hfiscle of3 Beach. .Vote [he easilv portahlr form of
Cransdian Slitisir~n, con~s.irir)n
nn the ~.ep List b;~nsport: {rllM
di~embarkin~r lmm their narrow smp ol'heach, Ieft photo-mph .12.Z9-78]
LC,YII (Landinc C..raf~ by the anususl!r high tide
GENERAL EDITOR DAVID G. CHANDLER
rn
MILITARY I CAMPAIGNSERIES I

NORMANDY 1944
ALLIED LANDINGS
AND BREAKOUT
~rmincd undcr rhc Copl;tipht 4a. Pmduccd h! B4G Puhlicationc I.td
19i6, no pan n f r h ~ rprrhllc~tionm r trrr (kpm I'ohliqhina 1.d
hc rcprrduccd, qtcrred ill a rcmnal I.olour hid'<c!c \lea rllu~mtinns
*<rum, !IT tran~rnrntdin m r f r r t r or hb C.llla 1 unch
h~ a m means clrc~mnir.clvrtncdl. (4nop;rphr hb \Iicn>rnap
chcmrcal, mcchrn!cal. ~ ~ t j c a l , 'Trpr<vr hr Trpc~cnco
phorncopr-rnp, tccrrrdin~nr r ~ ~ h c m i s r IRirm~nphamlI.td, Ilarlc!
This b k is copr-riahl undcr rhc u t permissiun oCrhc
~ l ~ r h npnur \l~lnllc~mcrautrrl,ht \ l S E
Rcrnc Crmvcmrun. .ill r i ~ h e cnp~nphluunrr 1 nqulnts should Rcprodur ttons. \nnh Ihmhridpc,
rc\cwcd. lnarr from ant f i r dnrinr
' hr ~rltlressedto the I'uhlirhcri 1 ,Uh\
(or thr p u G r ~ cn~'~ri\-ak
IIU~~. Ihntcd and tnund in I long Long.
rcrcarrh, criticism tlr rcrivu, as

C..
3
, .
I l a ~ ~ r n r\krmondv
m~ hy Richard
hlanh.
1Vrrcamt.c cr,n.;ulunt Duncan

CONTENTS

The Origins af the Battle 6


The Opposing Commanders 9
The German Commanders 9
The Allied Commanders 11
?he Opposing Armies 13
The German Forces 15
- Y
- The . M e d Forces 17
_ The Opposing Plans 25
The Germans' Plan5 25
Thc .qllies' Plans 26
The Battle of Normandy 31
The Allied Landings, 6 to 7 June 31
Securing the Beachhead, 7 to 17 June 30
The Break-In, 18 to 24 June $5
Thc Breakthrough, 25 June to IOJuly 17
The Breakout, 10J u l ~to 5 J?\ugust 56
The Exploitation, 5 to 1 I .\upst 72
The Encirclement, I I, to 25 -4upst 77
The Aftermath ofthe Battle 87
Chronology 90
.4 Guide to Further Reading 92
The Battlefield Todav 92
Wargaming Normandy 93
- Command
Hich 93
Tactical Games 94
In Conclusion 95
:\fen of9 US Dirision range of Gcnnan m'lEeq.
taliinr corer before (nl :If photopraph
rnorinpinland from E-lZ.c902)
'L-tah' Beach on I0 June.
Lnul thc toun of
Carantan was taken 'Utah'
Beach ~ . astil!
r in extreme
T H E ORIGINS OF T H E BATTLE

The Rattle nf Normand!- was the Iast great set- U'ar, on thc Frcnch .h! -.
Fmncc in turn had
piece hanle of the western world. Remeen June adopted a defcnsi~e stratcp based on the 1Iaginot
and ..2ugust 1944, after the greatest amphibious Line, a fomidablc belt of fortifications built along
invasion in histoq-, armies of more than a million its frontier with Geman?. Therc was nothing that
men fought in the tourist spots and picturesque Britain and Francc couId do to saw Poland from
farmland of north-I{-esrern France to decide thc occupation. rifrer a failed attcrnpt b?- British naval
fate of Europe. For prohab1:- the last time in and amphibious forces to intervene against a
histor?., a British gencsal led a r n f ~ coalition
h~ into German attack on Denmark and Yomay in April
battle against an cncmy that thrcatencd thc very 1940, the British government fell, to bc replaced
erisrence o f the European social order. If thc on 10 .\lay by a coalition governrncnt under
.%Ilics won, then the German occupation of tl'inston Churchill as Prime Jlinister.
France, which had Iasted more than four Tears, By an improbable coincidence, it was also on
would be over, and uith it an? chance of ~icton. 10 %lay that German! launched a major artack on
for ,4dolf Hider's Germany. If the Germans could France through neutral Holland and Relgium,
hrcc a stalemate in Normandy, or even driw the outflanking the Xlaginot Line. In the face of this
-4llicsback into the sea, the!. would have a t least a the French and t~ithit British strategy for
year in which to strengthen their defences, turn the war, coIlapsed in four weeks. By 3 June thc last
against the adnncing armies of the Smiet Union of the smaIll3ritish .4my had been evacuated from
on the Eastern Front, and develop the secret France, mainly through the port of Dunkirk, and
weapons to which Hider attached s u d ~impor- on 22 June France, uniqvelv among the countries
tance. -41 worst, Hitler's Germany might, like defeated by German!; signed an armistice. Ger-
Imperial Germany in 1918, sue for an armistice. man troops would occupy northern France and the
At best, it might win the Second I I t l d War. What entire French coast, but the French colonies
happened in Normandy would decide this: histon would continue to be governed by an unoccupied
has nothing to offer more dramatic. French state allied mith German!-, nirjth the ronn
Like many other geat wars of histoq, the of Lchy in southern France as its capital.
Second IYorld IVar w a s actually a series of This French collapse was the origin of the
interlocking conflicts, which began and ended at Battle of Normandy, If France were to be liber-
different times and for different reasons. For most ated, the British and their allies sould have to re-
Europeans, it began through the attempts of .4dolf invade and defeat the German occupation forces.
Hitler, elected Chancellor of tiermany in 1933, to UnfortunateIv in 1940 the British Empire had no
es~end German rule across Europe in a new allies, and only the German failure to win the
empire, his 'Third Reich" which by summer 1939 Battle of Rrirain saved Britain itself from invasion,
had nlread!~absorbed Ausuia and Czechoslovakia. while ,4ustralia, New Zealand and India were all
On 1 September 1939, German troops invaded at risk from a potentiall>-hostile Japan in the Far
Poland, and two days later Britain and France East.
declared war on German!.. But British defence On 10 June 1940 Italy, under Benito Musso-
thinking before 1939 had been based chiefly an Iini, declared war against the coIlapsing France
naval and air power; for most of its land forces it and against Britain, threatening E g p r and the
expected to rely, as a t the start of the First 'Iyorld Suez Canal from the Italian colony of Libya.
6
THE ORIGINS OF THE BATTLE

Fighting in the Il'estern Desert of Libya became, with Japan (not declaring war until a fcw d a ~ s
after the Germans reinforced the Italians with the before the conflict ended in ,4uLgust 1945), but on
hfrika Korps under Enrin Rornmel, thc major 12 December -4doolf Hitler, in one of the g e a t
Ilritish land commitment, absorbin9 most of' the strategic blunders af history, declared war on the
British :lrmy's fig.hring forces for the nest three United States. ,?it the .4ndo-hrnerican "Ircadia'
years. In April 1941 the Germans, haling signed Conference oyer Christmas 1941, the .4mericans
agreements nith Hungan., Bulgaria and Kou- decided rhar their war strategy ~vouldgive prioriv
mania, invaded Yugosla\ia and Greece. -4s a to the defeat of German! rather than Japan.
result, the \\-hole of Europe came under German The eyents of 1941 gaye the remainder of the
domination, with onl!- Ireland, Sweden, Sl~ltzer- war apinsr Hitler its structure. Germany was
land, Spain, Porrugal and Turke!. remaining committed ro total war on several fonts against the
neutral. Tlie British, although rrecci~.ingarms and Soviet Union, the wnrld's largest land power,
support from the neutral Lrnited States, ~vercnot against the United States, the world's strongest
remotely strong enough to consider an offensiw industrial power, and a g i n s t Hrirain, still thc
strateg. Even if the- had, there was no land Front larsest empire in history. The disparity in re-
on which to conduct one except the strategically sources was such that no rnilitaq- skill could
isolated V'estern Desert. The lasr, and by far the overcome it, and the politicaI beha\iour of the Nazi
largest, battle of the desert war, at El -4larnei-nin Party made a separate negotiated peace with one of
October 1942, bemeen Generalfeldmarschall the -4llies almost impassibIe. After Pearl Harbor
Enfin Rommel and Lieutenant-Gencral Sir the defeat of German!., as Churchill put it, was
Bernard 3Iontgorne5, was fousht by no more than merely thc proper application of oven~hclming
eIeven divisions a side. force. This impressed itself deeply on the senior
Hitler" Yazi P a n was ideologically dccply -4llied commanders. By taking risks they laid
opposed to Joseph Stalin's Soviet Lkion both on thernsclves open to the sudden attacks of ~vhichthe
political and racial grounds. Nevertheless, in Germans were rnastcrs; but by caution - by never
1939 the two had signed a pact of friendship, and gibing the Germans an opening - they were
Soviet troops had participated in the invasion of bound to win in the end.
Poland. On 22 June 1941 Gemany, in companr The Germans, Sotiets and Americans, sharing
with all its allies, invaded shc Soljet ~ n i o ~a , common strategic heritage, saw. the obvious
occup~ingmost of the countq tvcst of Moscow by -4llied strateF as an invasion of France in 1942,
Christmas. But the politicaI collapse that had or 1943 at the latest. The British opposcd this
accompanied militan defeat in other countries notion of an carly Second Front on both military
attacked b~ Germany did nor happen. Instead, for and political grounds. Britain wvas already fully
the n e a thrcr years. more than 200 divisions a side committed on four fronts: the Bade of h c
fought a bitter, often stalemated m r for the .Wantic, the war against Japan in south-east Asia,
occupied rerritories on a front stretching from the the strategic bombing af'fcnsive aginst Germany
Baltic to the Crirnea. It was here, on the Eastern and the Western Desert campaign. Neither the
Front, that the main land battles of the Second British nor the ,hericans had the trained troops
llksld 11-ar took place, leaving the Germans short and equipment to undertake such a venture so
of troops and equipment to deploy elsewhere. early. Nor indeed had Churchill any desire to
Neither side had any significant naval power or repeat the lnsses that the British had suffered
strategic aircraft, and ~ i m a l l ya11 their resources conducting a major land campaign in Francc in the
went into troops, tanks and guns, Almost at once, First I!-odd 11-ar. Instead, Churchill and his
Stalin began to press the British for a 'Second commanders continced the 'Americans that the
Front' to ease the pressure en his own forces. war should be fouyht where British troops were
On 7 December 1941 the Japanese artacked already deplo!+ed. In November 1942, just as
Pearl Harbor, declaring war on h e United States hlontgomery was dri~inpRommel back from El
and Britain. The Soviet Union remained at peace =Uamein, American and British forces landed in
7
T H E ORIGINS OF THE B A T L E

French North .4irica, dccp in Rornmel's rear. In


response, the Germans occupied the \lchy state,
and irs mops orerscas joincd the Free French as
one of' the .Jtllies. By >lay 194.7 the German and
Italian forces had bccn ptrshcd into northern
Tunisia and forced to surrender. The -4rnerican
commander (or the operation. which involvccl
difficult negotiations nith thc French as well as
the ~ritish, was Jlajor-General &fight D.
Eisenho~ver.
Illether an inva5ion of Ftunce could haw
been mounted, or succeeded, in 1943 remains
controvetsiaI. Regardless, at the 'Sy-nbol' Con-
ference in Casablanca in J a n u a ~1913 the British
again committed the .4rnericans to a 1Tediter-
ranean stratep. The .Allies also a q e e d on a war
aim of unconcIitional surrender for German!-. In
June 1943 the!. invaded SiciI!-; llussolini w a s
ovcrthrotfx by a coup d'itat; and in September, as
the .-lilies landed in southern ItaI?, the new Italian
sovernrnent surrendered. But German troops in
Italy rook Dyer the defence o f the counF- aginst
the ?Illicd advance, which was stopped south of
Rome in November.
.Also in J a n u a ~1943, the Sol-iets had forced
the surrender of the German Sisth .%my at
Stalingad (modern \'oIpapd), and in July they
had blunted the last p e a t German offensive at
Kursk. From then on Ihcy were able to maintain
h e offensive, gadually dri~ingthe Germans back.
.-imerican a production, rneann-hilc, had
reached full c a p a c i ~and
, traincd =\merican troops
were pouring inro Britain. Although Churchill
continued to press for a _\Iedizemanean strategy-, Genenllfe~dma~chd! cnmmandcd Ifitkrk
the British, clearly now the junior partner in the Enr-in RommeE, the man hesdquartcm p a r d in the
~r.homom than anwne 19.39 Polish cnrnpai-gn,
alliance, finall!. bowed to ;lmerican pressure for an else rizrs respnnsihle for slirr rr.l~ichhr. scqtrwted
inrasion of northern France. .At the 'Trident' tlic G e m i m nlnd~rcto f an amilurcd dil isit~nand
Conference in 'Il'ashington in Jlay 1943, a renta- the Hirttic of .\-om~andj-. achie~ed Ihmc
tive date of a !.ear ahead was set for the invasion, - 1 publicic. portr~ir cornmnnding 7P'mzcr
phato,mph taken in 19-13. dun'np thc I9M campei,gn
code-named Operation 'Overlord'. .4t the 'Eureka" Like his great n ' r d in thr west, hcfore t:~kinc
Conference with the Soviets in Tehran in .Ifr~arp~mrr?; Romrncl up ci~mmilndof the :2 Inca
No~ernber1943 the :lrnericans and British corn- 11-3sskillcd in self- Coqm. (Ill I p h o t o p p h
publicir?: He a,med in IfL-171831
mined thcmselres fuI1y to 'Overlord', coupled xith 19-73 rt* hcmmc the
a second invasion of southern France shod!- rnilitaq adviser to the
afterwards. Finall!., at the 'Sextant' Conference in S:wi Pany's parornilitart.
5.4 (Srurrnabtcilung) as a
Cairo in December, the ,4llies named the now full ~ n d ~ ~ ~ nhis
2 1 3 of cin~
General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander for mreer. ;\a esnert on
'Overlord', to take up his post immediately. i n f a n e racrics, he
8
T H E OPPOSING COMMANDERS

The German Commanders


eyer the p a r d on his headquarters gate. In
One of the abiding myths aborrt the Third Reich No\-ember 1943 Hitlcr gave Gcncralf'cldmarschall
is h a t it was brutal but efficient. In fact, Hider Remmell a watching hricf on all rhc coastal
activel! encouraged bureaucratic conflict within defences, and command of .by-Group B. -4s a
the Nazi state in ordcr to increase his own political formcr commander of Hiller's bodvguard,
cnnwol. By 1944, Germany's armed forces re- Rommel had dircct access to Hitler over von
sembled not those of a single porn-er, but of an Rundstedt's head. Panzer Group II'est, under
alliance whose members funcrioned together General Leo Frciherr Gcyr ron Schw-eppcnhurg,
rather less well than those of its enemies. came under OB \Yest rather than under Rornmcl,
Mitlcr exercised daily contro1 owr the German but as a mining command it had no a u t h o r i ~to
armed forces as Oherster Befehlshaber dcr move its onm troops. In )larch 1941 Rornrnel
Wehrmacht, or Commander-in-Chief, through succeeded in getting three of its sis armoured
the Oberkommando der 11~1~hrmacht (QK'1Vj. In di~isions placed directl~ undcr him. The re-
December 1941 he aIso took over direct personal mainder, inchding I SS I'anzer Corps under
control of ."l ~
Headquarters, Oberkommando Oberpppenfuhrer "epp' Dietrich, came except
des Heeres (OKH), under which he placed all for training undcr OK\\' rcsene, and could not be
German forces on the Eastern Front, whiIe mol-ed without I-IitIer's pcrsonal a u h o r i ~ .
German theawe commanders other than on the Generaloberst Friedrich Dotlrnann, commanding
Eastern Front were placed directly under OKU-. Seventh .4rm!*,had no direct control over 21
From then on, OKH fought the war againsr the Pamet Division, the on]!* armoured division in his
Soviet Union and OK'lY the war elsewhere, giving area.
Hitler the power to adjudicate bemeen them. El!* spring 1944, .Allied naval suprernaq was
In hIay 1942 the aristocratic 67-year-old such that, apart from raids h~ torpedo-boats and
General fcldrnarschall Gerd yon Rundstedt was submarines, rhe German Nal? played no part in
appointed Oberbe felshaber \Test, or Cornmander- the Battle of Xormandy. The head of the German
in-Chief of German forces in France, Holland and Air Force, or Lufn~affe,n-as also one of the most
Belgium. R-! 1944, after the occupation of 1-ich!. senior Nazi Party officials, Reichsrnarschall
France, his OB Vest command was dirided into a Hemann Goering. Command of 311 aircraft in OR
rear area and h ~ army
o youps, each of n ~ armies.
o \\>st area came under Generalf'eZdrnarschall
-4rmy Group G conrrolled Nineteenth ?Inn!-, Hugo Sperrle's Luftflatte 3. answerable directly 20
defending the southern coast, and First Goering. In addition, the LufnvafTe had direct
defcnding the south-west. In the north, rim!. conxrol o w r all anti-aircraft guns, including the
Group I3 controlled Sewnth .'lmy, defending the dual-purpose 88mm Flak gun, invaluable to the
coast of' Brittany and Normandy, and Fifteenth .hm!-in its anti-tank role. Goerins also control-
."\y, responsible for the remaining swetch of led the supplies and rcplacements of a11 I,ufnvaffPI
northern roast up re ?Intwerp. OB Il'est's general troops in France, including parachute divisions,
armaured resene, Panzer Group 'I\'esr, was held air1an ding divisions and Lufmafk field divisions.
back from the coast near Paris. -4 second private army within the Nazi state,
Despite this tidy smcrure, yon Rundstedt also trith direct access to Hitlcr. n-as the Waffen-
would later &sen-e that his onl!- real authorin-was SS, under Heinrich H i d c r . Originating nith
THE OPPOZING COMMANDERS

Gencml Dniqht B. Ejsrnhowcr lras o If'est rnilitaq standards nn


Eisenho~t-era ith General Point .qadusre ~rfzo intcflcctual,hcing a
.llr>nrLomer?. (in tfrc sen ed as a major on the gx~duateaf.llapdalene ind credit to his sirmen.
ccnrrc) and ;lir Chief Staffin the Cnired Stares C a l l e , Camh i - i r , ~ .Hc In the biickkmundcan he
.lfalilrshal Tcdder. Titken in in the First It'orld I l r , joined thc .lrm?. in the seen .l.Ilont~~mcn's two
,\-omand?. fit .?nd nr the hcadqlrarrem o f Fimt l T nrld IThr, headqunrtcrs cam~zns,
.1Sontpnme~.fZlst :lrmy DougIss .Wac.-lrthuras mnsfemd to the R o ~ d caonrred from rhe
Gm11pTnctiml Chief nf S h f f henreen the Fl?ing Corps,nnd so into
Headquarters on 15.lune, tr an. In 1942 he became the R. IF at the rnd of the
in Ei.wnlmrrerk fimr visit Chief ofOpcratfons under uar. Ilc had avrkcd with
to .llontpomeqv afirr thc Oeneml .\larshnll (Chief ,Vfont,mnrer_r.os
D-Dq. l;mding. The son o f S ~ f l )hrforr
, heing cr)rnrn:~nderoSrfre Dcscrt
ofa p m r fi~rnily,horn in appointed to thc ,I'arth =lirFurre, and friction
Texas and niscd in -4 Erica t~~rnrnnnd. Sir bad p r t n up k h r r e n
I: l ~ i k n cKansas,
, :lrthur Tcddcr r ~ x sby them through Tcrldcrk
10
THE OPPOSING COMMANDERS

the SchutzstaffeIn or 'protection squadskf the old the nesT three Fears thc n ~ .\IIEes
o worked out thc
Nazi Party, this had b!* I944 gro\m into a practical difficulties o f full! integrated staffs,
formidable militan force, with armoured divisions President 1:ranklin D. Koose~clr,as Commandcr-
often stronger and better equipped than those of in-Chief of LS forces, in~crfcredlirtlc in thc dad!
the .k~. The M-affen-SS divisions, like the nrnning of the war. ll'inston Churchill, in his
Lufhvaffe di~isions,were subordinate to .4m!- self-appointed role as British hlinister of Dc-
command for operations but had their own chains fence, kept in closer touch xith cvents through
of command and supply. the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General
Fmm OB II-est headquarters, therefore, von Sir Nan Brooke. The command creatcd for
Rundstedt did not actually control his owsn air Eisenhowver was SH.JEF, the Supreme Head-
support, nor his anti-tank guns, nor his reserve quarters, .lllied Exyeditionan Forcc. Yiftv-three
armour, nor a31 of his iniantq-. Me did not even years old, Eisenhower had spent nearly his wholc
control his immediate subordinate, Rommel. For .4rm!* career on staff duties, never cnmmandinr
practical purposes it was Rommel, through his an>'tllinplarger lthan a battalion. He \\-as essentially
better relationship w i t h Hitler, who would com- an administrator and a politician of formidable
mand against the .4llied invasion. Fifg-ni'o years skill, whose main role ~vouldhe to hold together a
old and the son of a schoolmaster, he was a career coalition that, as well as British and Americans,
officer who had associated himself w\ith the ?Jazi included Canadian, Polish, French, Dutch, Bcl-
Party as a wa!. of rapid advancement. His first gian and Nora-egi~ianforces. Eisenhower hail also
major command had been an armoured division in to balance the competing claims of thc various
France in 1940, and in leading the -4frika Korps armed senices mithin the Rtitish and .American
he had devcloped a reputation far tactical bril- forces, and to cope uith the powerful pcrsnnalitics
liance - hc esccllcd in the sudden counter-attack. and opinions that inevirabl!- accompanied corn-
Yet, despite his skills and his many victories, he mand of such a Iargc cntcrprise. In kccping with
had yet to win a decisive battle. good inter-lillied relations, and \\-ith the immcnsc
However, even Rornrnel could not be des- importance of air support for the operation,
cribed truly as the German commander in Nor- Eisenhower%Depue Supreme Commander ~v.r-asa
mandy. In Fact the holders of h c k e ~command British airman, -4is Chief AIarshal Sir :'lnthur
positions at OB Il-at, .4m?-Group B and Seventh S'edder, who had e~iensiveex-pericncc in develop-
.4my would all change bvice before the Battle of ing air-ground co-operation.
Normandy ended. If an!. one person actually Under Eisenhower came the .4llied force
commanded in ?u'ormand!- it was -4dolf Hitler - commanders. The Naval Exyeditionay Force of
from the maps at his headquarters at Rastenburg Royal Sa\? and US Na1:- vessels (plus ships from
in eastern German?. Mhether, should the .4FIies France, Poland, N e n ~ a yand Canada), under
inradc, Witler and OK\\'could respond rapid]!- .idrniral Sir Bertram Rarnsev, was to transport
enough to el-ents across that distance was by no virtuall!+ all the Allied troops and stores to
means certain. Normandy. The Commander-in-Chief, .4lIicd
Espeditiona~ .Air Force, was also British. Air
The Allied Commanders Chief Jlarshal Sir Trafford Leigh--1lallon-.
Under Lcish-Jiallory came tryn tactical air for-
.it the '.bcadia~onferenceof December 1941 ces, consisting chiefl~of lighter-bomben: the
&the British and .hericans had established a joint R4F's Second Tactical Air Force, under a Sew
command structure which was to last for the rest Zealander, -4ir Jlarshal Sir ..\rthur '.\Ian'
of the war. The senice chiefs of both nations met Conin~ham('.\lay' from JTaori); and the US
as the Combined Chiefs of Staff and delegated to Sinth Air Force under Licutcnant-General
each of their Supreme Commanders absolute Lewis Brereton. For the duration of 'Overlord',
control over ground, air and naval forces in his SH.4EF could aIso call upon thc aircraft of the
theatre of operations, regardless of nationality. For R4F's .lir Defence of Great Britain (the former
THE OPPOSING COMMANDERS

Fighter Command), Coastal and Transport Com- !\hen the .Vlicd ground forces had been built
mands, as well as the hem?- four-cngined strate& up to a sufficient size, First US - 4 m tvould ~ leave
bombers of R.4F Bornher Command and the U S 21st .hn!-Group and combine w~ith the new]!
Eighth .4ir Force. created Third LLS.4rm!- to form 12th .'Lrrny Group
Not a11 the .4llied p u n d forces could cross to under Bradley, tr-hile First Canadian .Army would
Normand! at once, and their command structure join Second British .4smy under .\ lontsamcry.
was designed to reflect this. Initially the landing Eiscnhotver ~vouldrhcn take over from Jlontgo-
fbrce x~ouldbe desipatecl 2lst Army Group and m e n as pound commander, running the two
w~ould consist of Firsr US . 4 under ~ Lieu- . h y Groups from SH.4EF.
tenant-General Omar Bradle!. and Second The weak link in this chain of command was
Dritish :lrm!. under Lieutenant-General Sir benvccn SH.4EF and 21st .4my Group. The
Jliles Dernpsey. The cornmandcr of 21st .%my autocratic 3lontgorney believed in being allowcd
Group, General Sir Bernard S lonrpmcry, tvould to concentrate on the battle, and from his small
also initially command all =UIied ground forces in headquarters paid little attention to superiors.
Xomand!. Fiftyseven !cars old, .\lontgomc~ .-Uthough hc recopizcd Eiscnhowcr's adminiswa-
was a prccisc, methodical commander tvho t i ~ cabilities, .\ l o n t g o m e ~also heId his abilie as a
hclicvcd in $ling thc enem!. no chance at aII. He strategist in law esreern. Once the imasion b c g n ,
had s t to lose a major battle and had already and thc English Channel separared .\iontgomc~?.
beaten Rommel three times. I'ain and boastful, from SH.\I<F. the potential existed for much
4 l o n t g o m e ~infuriated othcrs by often living up misunderstanding.
ro his o\tn boasts, His appointment reflected his
reputation as the foremost fishtinp commander in
thc British ?Inn!-.
The opposing forces in Normand!. Elad many important administrative unit, the focus of the
features in common. It13tl-1some esceptinns, mops soldier" immediate Io~*alh.,was the battalion, of
on both sides were uniformed, disciplined can- abour 800 mcn, pIus about fifty tanks fbr amour,
scripts in their tn-endes, sharing a common lang- twelve guns ti)s artilleq-, and other vehicles ac-
uage and culture. Illatever his specialization, cording to specialization. "The basic operational
evev- man was trained to fight as an infanpman. unit was the division of benvecn 10,000 and
The basic i n f a n q weapons n-ere bolt-action or 20,000 men, the smallest formation of all arms that
self-loading rifles with ranges and rates of fire could function independentlv on the battlcficId.
exceeding the needs of most fire-fights, which Di~isionswere switched as required between arm!.
generall! took place at under 300 pards. OnI: a corps, which had no fised organizatian. Divisional
minoriy of riflemen ever actually opened fire in s m m r e was usuall!- 'triangular', uih cach form-
combat. The basic social and tactical unit was a ation commanding three lotver formations. Less
squad or section of about ten such riflemen plus a than half the members of a dirision belonged to
light or medium machine-pn with a practical the fighting arms, and v e q few mops of an army
rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute. The most engaged in direct combat. .4 British infant^
dirision at full strength o f 18,400 all ranks needed
General .\,iorrtpamer?. uith rrhlch he rlzs ~ n entitled)
t
Lieutenant-Gcncml r r i t h mnk b a d . s scnn on 24,000 further troops at army corps level and
Rradfe)-(on slle left)and the shoulders olrr s higher to support it, but on the attack, 'h1.n up and
Lieutenant-CienrmE nt~rm:~l senior oficcrk one back', its actual front line would consist of 32
Dcmpsc.r., takcn bcsidc battledrrw. .Ilont~wmcp-
.I lontqorncr?.'~ staffcar is rl,eannnghis hahirual,
i n f a n p sections, or fewer than 300 men.
(note rhc .-lrnerjcfin-sqle complerc~vnnn- The most numerous tanks in the Yorrnand!.
four-smr csr rank-pln tc) rcquln h'on uniform nf campaign, d ~ eGerman Panzer ll',the .jlrnericnn
ar Dempseyb hmwn shoes, light i~mrrn 11.1 Shcman and the British Crornn*ell,were all
cord tmnscrs, ci~ifian
IiPJlt hn~trnslrriltcr and of broadly equal fighting value, All armies also had
hlnck Royd :lrmorsred somc form of slower, morc heavily amoured tank
Corps hcmr with nlo cap or self-propelled gun for direct i n f a n e support.
hnd?vs, one rorrccr fi~rSris
n.cariny the most simplc gcncnlk rank, thc other -4rtillery \?-as of two main types: direct-fire anti-
ofrcprlafibn nlliccr b the regiment;il hadh= of tank weapons with solid shot to penetrate the
clothing with no rank the Ro?nl Tank Rr;Gmcnr tank's armour, and indirect-fire high-ehplosire
Ix~dgesr-iFihEe except on (in 18 hich he hsd never
the I~eimet.Ilempsey is senrtl). (TI131 for gneraI usc. The in fan^ also carried shaped-
ararin,aa British Photo+mphR5323) chary weapons, such as thc American Bazooka or
por;~trr~nperk srnnck (to German Panzerfaust, which could penetrate a
tank's hulI but had rangcs of less than 100 yards.
Direct air support was provided b!' single-seat
propeller-dri~en fighter-bomber aircraft with an
ordnance load of under 2,0001b (1,000Lg)and top
speeds of 4OOmph (63Okph). Linking the whole
structure tosether were pertahIe radios, first used
at platoon level in the pre~ious!-ear, enabling:
higher commanders to 'listen' to a battle far too
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

The maim difference in


b n d nmfixrc hctrrrcn thc
Fimt Il nrld H ;lr and the
.Gccnnd Il i ~ r l dIlhr 11.3s
the e.sjstcnce of 'mlkthlc,
portable, voice
ct~mnr unications mdins,
cnahlinq even the hi~hesr
cnmrnirnders to talk with
those in the front line.
Ili'thout these, the
resernhiance of he Battle
o f .\bmand>- to a First
ll bsM ll ar h a d e u ~ u l d
haw been even more
pronounced. IIcm hia
cr~rprralsof987Fitmld
Bnrtcn; I;S .-lrtillc7;
reccirr instructinns.
Taken just inlend t k m
'Omaha' Beach, IO+func.
( n T 31 photo.pph R.?410)
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

Thc f h n t Iinc o f a .x(~rnznndy,Lft Junc. Vote


equil-alcnrs.But by 1914 thc strain OF the war was
di~r'sionnls t t a d . .I fcn o f 6 th:~thyoners :Ire five4
causing thc Gcrman di~isional system ro hrcak
R:l mtlicm, R o ~ Scots
d and were surprisjngl~
l ~ u ~ i ~ i cI.;r s( S, r ~ t t i s h ) donn and bc replaced as thc basic operational unit
oficn used in c-l(~sr
Ditisit>n,ndvi~nc-ing by thc battlc g o u p or Lan~pfguppe,a force of' all
mmhg t. Xotr also the
thmagh a srnnkcvcrccn at rcsenr platoon ohour ZOO
arms smaller than a division hut wit11 no fixed
rhc stitrt of'Opcnttion ~ 3 r behind
d ~ rhese mcn.
"Cpsom'in the RnnIr of snucturc or s i x . - 4 l h u u ~ hits arrnoured divisions
(Ill :1 IPlmtc<qmph R.iW3)
wcrc full!. motorized, the rcst- of thu German .4rm!.
vast for one man to see. F-lowevcr, c1cctronic stiIl depcndcd heavily on horsed transport, with as
warfare was in its infancv, and night or had many as 5,000 horses to a di~ision.
weather seriously reduced the fighting power of all In earl!- 1944 thc triancplar German in fan^
ground and air forces. division structure of 17,200 mcn in tl~rcere+
rnenrs plus an artillen regiment \\-as abandoned,
The German Forces The supporting artiIlery was reduced, and the
infantn organized cither inro thrrc regiments of
The fighting doctrine of the German .4my placcd two battalions or two regimcnrs of three battalions,
the highest possible stress on qualitati~esuper- a ditisional total of 12,800 men. The Lufnr-af'fc's
iorih- in thc fionr line. V'in the fire-fighrs, it was parachute dirisions kept thc ninc-battalion organ-
argued, and the war \vould take carc 0t' irsclf. This ization. In Normandy most oI' thc divisions
doctrine reflected in the l~eha~iour even o f the +-IPanzerkamphr-awn tnnk rxme into sen-ice in
highcst German commanders, who were brilliant I 1n t .e l, 1944 and tms first
operational lcaders but indifferent strategists. The phnrrqmphed in cnmunterecl in sipifimnt
bcst troops, commanders and equipment went tn .Vnrmand~,J111~. 1944. nomhcm 1 ~thc . .lllica in
DCIP I o ~ L - I?.~ thc -\-ormandjv. (nl31
the fighting arms of the combat divisions, which Gcmnns ns their B R S ~ I T ~ phu to-gclp h S ? T ~ . ~ W J )
showed a marked superiority owr their .+llied t t ~the Soviet T-34 this
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

defendiny the coast were 'static' dilisians ~ ~ i no


th Ks cquippcd rl~carmoured di~isions,while 'Tigers
orsanic transport, filled with 01-er-agc or rncdicall~ werc concentrated in special heal:- tank battalions.
unfit troops. In cornpensatinn, some static divi- .+dditional firepower came from tracked assault
sions were given additional "st' battalions of guns, turretless tanks in all but name, crewed by
prisoners of war born the Eastern Front ~r-hohad the artillery. The basic armourcd division struc-
'~.oIuntecred' to fight for Germany. ture 11-as 11,750 all ranks with onc armoured
In 1941 thc Gcrmans had encountered Sntiet regiment of nt-o battalions and two motorized
hcal? tanks for rhe f rst time, and as a result thcy infantry regiments. cach of two battalions (three in
had built their own, the Panzer 1' 'Panther' and thc thc \I-affen-SS, which was still largel!. n volunteer
Panzcr TI 'Tigcrhnd 'King Tip?. 'Thesc wcrc force). In practice, no two German armoured
irnpcnious to most .4Ilied tank guns at ranFes dilisions in Normandy had thc same organization.
pcatcr than 200 yards and could knock out . W e d .4 mechanized (panzergcnadier) di~isionwas ninc
tanks at five tirncs that range. Panthers and Panzer battalions in halftracks or Ionics plus a battalion of

GERMAN ORDER OF BATTLE


OBERKOMMANDO DER WEHRMACHT General der Panzenruppen Heinrich Eberbach (to
PKWE 9 August 1944)
Commander-in-Chief: Adolf Hitler Oberstgruppenfiihrer Joseph 'Sepp' Dietrich
Chief of Staff Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitet
Chief of Operations Staff: Generaloberst Alfred Jodl
, 55
Obergruppenfiihrer Joseph 'Sepp' Dietrich (to 9
OBERBEFEEHABER WEST (OB WEST) August 1944)
Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt Obergruppenfijhrer Hermann Priess
(to 2July 1944)
I SS Panzer Corps
E
Generalfeldmarschall GOnther von Kluge (to
Okrgruppenfijhrer Paul Hausser (to 28 JuIy 1944)
18 August 1944)
Obergruppenfijhrer Wilhetm Bittrich
Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model
XtVll Panzer Corps
ARMY GF1Ol.JP 5 General der Panzertruppen Hans Freiherr VOR
Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rornmel (to 17 July Funck
1944)
LVlll Panzer Corps
Generalfeldmarschall Gfinther ron Kluge (to 18
Genera! der Panzertruppen Walter Kruger
Au~ust1944)
~e~eralfeldrnarschallWaIther Model II Parachute Corps
General der Falschirmtruppen Eugen MeindE
Seventh A m y
Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann (to 28 June XXV Corps
1 944) General der Artillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher
Oberstgruppenfiihrer Paul Hausser (to 20 August
WXIV Corps
1 944)
Generat der lnfanterie Erich Straube
General der Panzercruppen Heinrich Eberbach
(temporary to 30 August 1944) U X X I Corps
General der Pamefiruppen Adolf Kuntzen
Panzer Group West (to 5 August 1944) Fifth
Panzer Army LXXXIV Corps
General der Panzertruppen Leo Freiherr Geyr von General der Artillerie Erich Marcks (to I 2 June
Schweppenburg (to 6 July 1944) 1 944)
T H E OPPOSING ARMIES

assault y n s . .sl Gern~anditision. therefore, could thc infantry. . h e r i c a n train in^, firepower and
be anything from the tiye weak Ost battalions and industc, which was outpmclucing G c m a n ~in
(our ol' sick mcn with no heal? Iveapons of'2hfi tanks by fimr to one. IlelpecI compcnsare fnr this.
Static Di~ision to t l ~ c 21,386 f ~ ~ l lequipped
y Divisions ncrc d c s i p e d as 'lean' as possible, for
eighteen-!car-old volunteers of the 'TIitlcr highly mobilc offensive operations. The basic
Jupncl'Dii-ision. .4mcrican i n f a n g divisional organization was tri-
anq~lar,with thtec rcpjmcnts each of three bat-
tnlions and an artillery regiment plus one h e a ~ ~
Tile -Allied Forces
artillcn battalion - in all 14,000 men. .4n
Thc .4merican fiyhting doctrine \\rs that wars are amoured division (includin$2 Frcnch .4rrnourcd,
won b! administration and organization. Thc heat cquipped b~ thc mericnns) \\.as three bat-
.4rnesican troops \vent to rear-area positions, rhc talions nf .\I4Shcman tanks, thrcc of infantry in
less ~ o o dto thc fighting arms. the worst af all to halftracks and thrcc of self-pn,pcllcd artillen-,

General der Attillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher Division, 343 Static Division, 344 Static Division,
(temporary to I 8 june 1 944) 346 Static Division, 352 Division, 353 Division, 363
Generalleutnant O~etr~ch von Choltitz (to 28 July Division, 708 Static Division. 7 I I Static Division,
44) 7 16 Staric Division
!neralleutnanc Otto Etfetdr
Fndependent Artillery Brigades
U;XXVI Corps 7 Werfer Brigade, 8 Werfer Brigade, 9 Werfer
General der Infanterie Hans won Obafelder Brigade

Armaured Divisions Luftwafe Divisions


2 Panser Division, 9 Panzer Division. 2 I Panzer 2 Panchute Division. 3 Parachute Division, 5
Division. 1 16 Pmzer bivtsion, 'Panrer tehr' Parachute Division, 16 Luftwaffe Fiield Division, 9 L
Division Airtanding Division

Wufen-SS Divisions
OBERKOMMANDO RER LUFTWAFFE
I 55 Panzer Division 'Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler', 2
SS Panzer Division 'Ox Reich'. 9 SS Panrer Division IQKL)
Commander-in-chief Reichsmarschall Hermann
'Hohenstauffen" I 0 SS Panzer Division Trundskrg',
Goering
17 SS Panzergrenadier Division 'Goetx von
Berlichingen'
LUFTFLOTTE 3
Independent Armorrred Battalions Generalfeldmarschalt Hugo SperrIe
1 0 1 SS Heavy Tank Battalion. 1 02 SS Heavy Tank
Battalion, 352 Anti-Tank Battalion, 50 I 55 Heavy Aircraft Available (30 May 1944)
Tank Battalion, 503 Heavy Tank Battalion. 654 Day fighters 3I5 220
Heavy Anti-Tank Battalion. 668 Heavy Anti-Tank Night fighters 90 46
Battalion, 709 Anti-Tank Battalion Bombers 402 200
Transport 64
Infantry Divisions
TOTAL 89 1
77 Division, 84 Division. 85 Division. 89 Division.
243 Static Division. 265 Static Division, 266 Static Ill flak Corps
Division. 27 1 Division. 272 Division. 275 Division. A b u t 1 20 to 160 88mn dual-purpose guns and
276 Division, 277 Division, 326 Static Division. 33 1 300 lighter Flak guns
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

Panzerkampfiagen Vl
AusfE, Tiger,3/sPZAbt
503. n]ustration by David
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

.I P:rnzerkampfir+VO
.Ilark 11 ~5Tiger,
phoro,mphcrl in
TANKS ticmran~. in 1943* shorrI~
-4rrnn~tr ,I lnin Grrs Spi*i~ti firtcrit had c o m e in to
scnirr. ~ I c ~ ~ r l o :IS
p c the
d
(Smnt/sidt') answer ro the 5 o r . i ~ k'l~ - I
USA
M3 Stuart 44125mm 37mm 40mph hem?. ctnk, the Ti-r IVHS
24mph 30 - 32 tons in sclrricc befbrc the
M4 Sherman 7613 1 mrn 7Sfl6rnm Panther and ~ r a sfiist
British cncoantcrrJ h? thc :lIlics
in .votTh :\fnca. . I K fimt
Churchill 90ffbmm 75mm 15mph 37 tons the .4!)ics ~ v ~ n s i d e ri te ~ i
Churchill Mk 7 150J95mm 75mm" IZrnph 41 tons roo ~wlnernhlcrtt the
(* one regiment also with flame-throwers) superir~rnnrnl~ifih. of their
own tsnks, and it had n
German reputation f i r merhnnical
Panzer IV 80130mm 75mm 25rnph 25 tons rmreli;rhfIi~.. But in rlre
KwK 40 close count uf
Panrer V Panther 100!45mrn 75mm 34mph 45 tons .\nman& its t h m t
p a r & r~wi-ictcd th~.
KwK 42 ~tillirynessnS:l llied rank
Panzer VI E Tiger 100180mm 88mm 23mph 54 tons crrcrr.s to ndrxnrc. Thc
KwK 36 :lilies csn'marcd shar i t
Panzer VI B King 180180 88mm 25mph 68 tons mtd then1 lrmscs trf u p tn
Tiger KwK 43 thrce o f their olln ranks,
with cre~rs,tn get one
T i ~ r(Ill
. I l phnto,mph
.!11129-7)
THE OPPOSING ARMtfS

plus supporting arms that included a battalion of combat [cams' or RCTs. The .herican anti-rank
liyht tanks - in total 11,000 men and 248 tanks. a r t i l l c ~was about 40 per cent towed guns and the
'I'he dilision pro~idedthree Camhat Command rcmaindrr tracked self-propelled guns, both in in-
headquarters (CC.4, CCB and CCR for Reserve), dependent battalions.
enabling irs battalions to combine into trvo or threc The British ; Z r r n ~had no fiyhtin~doctrine as
battle p u p s as ncccssav. .4merican doctrine such, and an eccentric rfit.isiclna1 organization.
retained a central pool of independent battalions o f Prinripall!. a collection of independent int'antr~
armaur, i n f a n m or artillen to be allocated to battalions as an armed police force for the Hritish
di~isionsas nrcessary, so that most divisions in Empirc, it recognized no real loyalty s b n ~ cthe
Normandy wcrc actuall~overstrength by n~mor battalion's parent administrative organization, thc
three battalions. Infantry rcgirnents often com- regirnrmt, which was not a fightin? formation.
bined with armourcd battalions into 'regimen taI Threc battalions from different reyitimcnts com-

/ ALLIED ORDER OF BATTLE


I SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED
EXPEDlTlOlVARV FORCE (SHAEF)
Infantry Divisions
3 Division. 6 Airborne D~v~sion,
15 (Scottish)
Division, 43 (Wersex) Division, 49 (West Riding)
Supreme Commander: General Dwight D. Division, 50 (Northumberland) Division, 5 3 (Welsh)
Eisenhower Division. 59 (Staffordshire) Division
Deputy Supreme Commander Air Chief Marshal Sir
Independent Commondo Brigodes
Arthur Teddtr
Chief of Staff: Major-General Walter Bedell Smith
I Special Service Brigade, 4 Special Service Brigade
I
I First Canadian Army (from 23 jwly 1944)
2 l S T ARMY GROUP Lieutenant-General H. D. G. Cretar
General Sir Bernard L Montgomery I1 Canadian Corps (from 12 july 1944-from Second
Second British Army British Army 23 july 1944)
Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dernpsey Lieutenant-General G. S. Simonds
I Corps (to First Canadian Army 23 july 1944) hrrnolrred Divisions
Lieutenant-General J. T. Cracker 4 Canadian Armoured Division, I Polish Armoured
Vlll Corps (from I 6 July 1944) Division
Lieutenant-General Sir Richard O%onnor Independent Armoured Brigades
Xi! Corps (from 30 June 1944) 2 Canadian Armoured Brigade
Lieutenant-General N. M. Richie Infontry Divisions
XXX Corps 2 Canadian Division, 3 Canadian Division
Lieutenant-General B. C. Bucknall (to 3 August
1944) Lieutenant-General B. G. Horrocks IZTH ARMY CROUP (from I August 19443
Lieutenant-General Omar N. Bradley
Armoured Divisions
Guards Armoured Division. 7 Annoured Division. First U S Army
E I Armoured Division, (79 Arrnoured Division) Lieutenant-General Omar N. Bradley (to I August
1 944)
Independent Armowred Brigades
Lieutenant-General Courrney H. Hodges
4 Arrnoured Bri~ade.8 Armoured Brigade, 27
e , Arrnoured 0rigtde. 6 Guards
Arrnoured ~ r i ~ a d33 Third U S Army
Tank Brigade, 31 Tank Brigade, 34 Tank Brigade Lieutenant-General George S. Patron Jr
T H E OPPOSING ARMIES

bined into a brigade, and three briyades plus an and benvcen i n f i n e and amour, was notoriousl~
artiIIery brigade into an infanm division of 18,400 porn. British close support for the infantry came
all ranks. 'I'he amoured dirision of 286 tanks from hea~il!. armoured Churchill ranks and from
(chicfly Shemans and Cromnclls) and 15,000 speciall!. equipped tanks gouped adminisrrativef!-
men was cli~idcdinto an i n f a n r ~brigade of three into 79.4rmourcd Division, but rlispcrsed through-
motorized battalions and an amoured hripde of out Second British .dm!. The most enicicnt and
three arrnoured banalions - usually called reg- successful of the British arms was the artillcp,
ments - plus an in fan^ battalion in halftracks. -4 organized so that el-en junior officers could bring
1311- unto thcrnsclvcs, indixiduaf battalions might be down the fire of all guns within r a n p upon a given
?nod or bad, and a commander who n a s bliilled target. The Canadians, who wcrc all ~olunteers,
and IucI,? enough might combine them into a gond anrl 1 Polish .4rmoured Division, shared the
1.
ision. Rut co-operation between battaIions, Uritish di~isionalstructure.

ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY AIR FORCE


Air Chiei Marshal Sir Tsafford Leigh-Malfory
Corps
'Iajor-Geneml Leonard T. Gerow RAF Second Tactical Air Force
Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham
VII Corps
Major-General 1. Lawton CoHins 73 fighter squadrons, 20 medium bomber
squadrons, 7 army co-operation squadrons.
Vlll Corps (from 15 ]une 1944) Approximately 1.220 aircraft
Major-General Troy H. Middleton
US Ninth Air Force
XI1 Corps (Irorn 29 July 1944) Lieutenant-General Lewis H. Brereton (KO7
Major-General Gilberc R. Cook August 1944)
XV Corps (from 2 August 1944) Major-General Joyt 5. Vmdenberg
Major-General Wade H. HajsFip 65 fighter squadrons. 44 medium bomber
XIX Corps (from I 2 June 1944) squadrons, 56 transpon squadrons. Approximately
Major-General Charles H. Corlea 2.000 aircraft.

XX Corps (from 2 August 1944) Air Defence of Great Britain


Major-General Walton H. Walker Air Marshal Sir Roderick M. Hill

4 1 fighter squadrons. Approximately 500 aircrafr.


Armoured Divisions
2 Amoured Division ('Hell on Whee!sl), 3 RAF Bomber Command
Amoured Division. 4 Armoured Division. 5 Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur T.Harris
Amoured Division, 6 Armoured Division, 7 73 heavy bomber squadrons, I S light bomber
Armoured Division, 2 French Armoured Division squadrons. Approximately 1,400 aircraft
lnfuntry Divisions U S Eighth Air Farce
1 Division ('Big Red One*). 2 Dlvislon, 4 Division. 5 Lieutenant-GeneralJames H. Doolittle
Division, 8 Division, 9 Division, 28 Division, 29
160 heavy bomber squadrons. 45 fighter squadrons.
Division, 35 Division, 79 Division 80 Division, 82
Approximately 2,400 aircraft
Airborne Division ('All American'), 83 Division. 90
Division, 10 1 Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles')
THE OPPOSING ARMlES

The .M-l Sherman tank, hea~ier<;emtan ranks.


thc main I x ~ r r l et:mL OF Thc timt is the fitting o f
the Knifed Starm .-lrmr; spare m c k links, hr:w!-
which illsn l a p l y rr heeis, and other metal ro
equipped rl~cIh-itish tlrc fmnt:~Ih ~ darmrwr
l of
..\my and smr-scrricr in the tank. The other is B
ever?-tIre:~trc of the a-ar, Uritish development, the
including Iulyc numbers rcplacemenr ofthe 7Smm
in stnicc nith the Sorict gun ~ i t ah I7pdr anti-
armed Snrces. Ol'the tank gun. CnlIed
88,4I II tnnks built hy *17ireflfes', one Sherman in
.4rncricnn industn durh,g four in British a m n u r r d
thc war, 49.2.74 werr units w.as sn rrluipprd.
rnriants ol'rhc Shcrman. The dm~r.backso the
3 fech.snicaI!vmIiahlc, ir I7pdr was rha t it had no
h:rd s h:ld repuc~tionfir high-esplosi~e mund
ti1tchin.g ITrc casil!; nnd dcwfopcd unh7
M 3s no m:ttch fnr the Scptcrnhr 1944. Thc
hearier Cicman ranks. :hnencnns hc-pn ro
This particular e.xample is repbce their J5mm guns
n Chn.slr.r .ll-l:ll with fhe new 7hmm in
Shcimnn seminr w i t h f July 1944, hut in the
Polish :lrmourrd I3isisinn Ramie nS.Vi~m:mdv rhe
in France in juJr 1944, ihmm gun ~ l i l fimnd
s to
and shows hr.r, o f the he no mom effecti~.ethan
derices used to impror-e its prerlccessor. (111.31
she Sherman rr-hcn facing photograph B757.7)
THE OPPOSING ARMIES

M4Al,3rd Platoon, 'D'


Company of66th or 67th
Armored Regiment, US
2nd Armored Division;
Cotentin Peninsula
Illustration by Steven J.
Zsloga.

ASSAULT GUNSTTANK DESTROYERS


Armour Main Gun Speed Weight
(fronuside)
USA
MI 0 Wolverine 7615 1mm 3ii 24mph 32 tons
M 18 Hellcat 50125mm 76mm 50mph 20 tons
German
Jagdpanther 80150mm 88mm 34mph 46 tons
KwK 43
Jagdtiger 250180mm 128mm 23mph 70 tons
PaK 44

Nota tank butan Beach on D-Day, 6 June November 1941 and


American MI0 Wolverine 1944. The MI0 was a renamed it Tank
.
tank deshDyer,.tbis.
padcular one lo Bnhsh
Shennan chassis m-tha
3in anti-tank gun fitted in
Destrowr Canmaod a
few dais later. (lWM
semMce, part of 13/18 a turret. The Amm'cans phomgrspb 85086)
Hussars, 79Annoured fbrmed a separate Anti-
Division,on 'Sword' Tank Command in
Thcrc was nothiny ineritabIc. about the -4llied or cart! JuE!. ,Iscon~rnandcr of I'nnzcr Group
1-icto~-in Normandy, In laze s p r i n ~19-M the n-est, General G q r w n Schn-cppcnhur~wanred
German +Inn!* consisred of -3 14 divisions of which his armoused dilidons goupcd hack from the
47 were amoured, plus 66 dj\isions betonging to coast to counter-attack thc .4IEics as t h c ~ad-
various allies. Of these, 215 divisions were dc- vanccd inland. T ~ ~ i ubcforc,
c thc .lIlics had wen
ployed on the Eastern Front, 36 in the Balkans, 27 successtill amphibious invasions nlrncd into de-
in Scandinavia, 25 in Ital~,and 8 in transit Scnveen layed and stalernnted sloyging matchcs by Gernmnn
Smnts, with no smtegc resene. This left 61 operational skill: it had taken fivc n~onthsto clcfcat
dilisions, of which 11 were amourecl, to defend thc German forccs in North -4frica; while the
France. .4llml-in% for the n-cahess of Gcman capture af Rome. c s ~ c c t c d to take place in
di~isionsand the strcnyth of Ihc +YIies,this was No~embcr1943, \\-as not achicvccl until 4 June
roughl!. cqual to the entire :Ulicd fnrcc f;nr 19H. GcncralI'cldrnarscha11 von Kundsteclt en-
Operation 'Overlord" and could have bcen mow dorsed his subordinate's straraF for a tlesible
than enough to defear the invasion. dcfence, and was lntcr to ssy that it'hc had Fccn
allowd a fite hand he would h a ~ rnaclc
c thc .\llics
The G e m m s T l a n s pay terribly for their victov.
This stratep as firmly al~poserlb~ Gencral-
Because there \\+as no single supreme German feldmarschall Kommcl. From his own t..\pericnces
commandcs in the w s t , thcre n w s no unified plan in Sorth .4Srica, he did not bclicvc tl-rat such a
to repel rhc invaders. ."ldoPf I-lidcr's ~ i c w was that mr~hifcrlcfcncc was pr)ssible under conditirms of
the :\1lies ~~r.ould attack by the mast direct route. at Alliecl air supcriori~,which ~t-crcneccssnv for
the Pas de Calnis, in the tine weather of Iate Junc thcm cwn to consicles invasion. RommcF bclicr-cd
that thc Pas dt. Calais was the most likcl~-4lliccll
aivrir the .~ornandj. invasion point, but that thc onl! Gcrman chancc
Improriserl hei~rh
ry~;tsr.This r~ne isl rm 11-as to dcfcar thc in~asion bcfbrc it had rcally
dejbnccs consrmcrcd on
Y(;rlld'Dcnch. ;vrd thc
Konlmells nrtiem hcchr*cen happened, on the bcachcs in thc first 24 horns. T o
photr)-mtph 113s taben :r
m(9nt!~i ~ l j e its
r ~aptifrcby
J : ~ n a i ~and
n . June 1'1-14 this end he pressed repeatecll~for the Gcman
; ~ l o Inhe~in !,asioncoast. amour to he deployed close to the bcachcs undcr
thc Bn'ris11 (note rhc Tl~rse p:~rrir.ul:~r
dcfrnms
1l Xlirc Ensi-m fin?).
3 r in~ the P ~ dc s Ui~bis his onn control. In 41ay 1944 hc alscs pctitioncd
.Ilthough the pillhov has are:1 in ,112~;and thcir Goerinp to concentrate thc guns of 111 Flak Carps
been slrtrd sepe:lre& /IF
sizc can hc judgcd f i l m in northern Pmnce close m thc bcachcs, but
.Illicd anti-tnnh sl~t~lls, the men m n n i n ~ for mrrr
none sppea- tn h31e
ns the K. 1F nithout success.
pcnetn~tcrl.The s ~ , o r c h i n ~ Neither Gncring nor RomrneE knew it, hut the
rrmnn:tissnnce S p i t f i n
around the rntmncc
m:rLes if I r q Iotr p;tss. 1,uftwaf'fe was actuall!. pma~idingthe .lllics with
sugysts rhnr either 11
Thc steel gr$ers tr c m
sntr.hralcharpc or a
meant as r:ank tmps and extremely valuable int'ormation. The most prizcd
n f k n had rnirrc.~tittcci tn and secret pr~ssessionof.4llicd signals inrelliynce
them. This rras no was 'LiItra', based on a primitive Rritish computer
suhstifutc*firr rhc rltl:~ntic capabIe of breaking the top-secret German
'Enigma' codes, a mechanical system used to
rransmit their most valued siyals. I n earl!- sum-
THE OPPOSlNG PUNS

mer 1944 the only 'Enigma' transmissions heins ~ w at


s its strnngesr. I t as also here that Fifteenth
broken rcp~lnrl! h~ 'Ultra' were those of the .Army uith its seyenteen divisions was stationerl.
I,utii~-affc.including all its figl~tingdivisions and COSS-+C instead dccidetl on \omand!. which
its liaison otticcrs at other divisiona1 headquarters. was defended hy Scvcnth .4rrnx ~ r i t h c l e ~ c n
So long as thc front n-as static, hawefer, most ditisions. The disastrous Dieppe raid in .jlup~s?
German transmissions wcrc scnt by land lines, 1942 had sho~tmthat a port could not bc captured
where not even 'Vltra' could reach them. in the initial landing. Instead prefahricatcd har-
bours, code-narncd '.\Eulberp-', twrc built tn be
The .\llies' PTans rowed in sections across the Channel.
.in! chnncc of .'lllied victor?-dcpendcd on their
Since JIa! 194.7, C 0 S S . K (Chief of Staff to the landing troops and supplies in Sormandy faster
Supreme .-!]lied Commander) I-Icadquarters, thc than the Germans cnuld seinfnrcc thcir front.
forerunner nf SIIjEF, had hecn studying the
invasion pmblcm. Classical s t r a t c ~Favoured the :I .I l u l h c w h:~rhour.This Scprcmher 1944, hj. rihich
time its us~fuJncsszrxs
most direct invasion rourc, across the Strait uf picrurc shi~wstile
rwmpleted B r i t i ~ h Snrycb-n~cr. (Ill3 I
Dover. It 1v1-a~hcrc that the .Atlantic 'I'Ia31, the .I l u l l l c q . oft'the cn;rst of plroro,mph U1'10.2!4
fortification built h!. the Gcrmans along the coast, .Im~manchesin
THE OPPOSING PLANS

Apart from eficient administration, this would transport and railway system. This had two objec-
depend on two factors. The fust was.a major tives: to prevent the easy movement of German
deception plan, Operation 'Fortitude', to convince troops to the battlefield, and to force Luftflotte 3
the Germans that the SHAEF forces were twice into defending the railways, thereby entering a
their actual size. Double agents, fake radio trans- battle of attrition that it would then lose. RAF
missions, dummy encampments and planted news Bomber Command and the US Eighth Air Force
stories all created the illusion of FUSAG, or First were, as throughout the war, reluctant to be
US Army Group, a force of 30 divisions in south- distracted from their preferred strategy of bomb-
east England under the flamboyant Lieutenant- ing German cities. But, after lengthy negotiations,
General George S. Patton. Even after D-Day for Eisenhower obtained formal control of the heavy
'Overlord', set for 5 June 1944, the Allies hoped bombers on 15 April. Thereafter, the Allied air
to convince the Germans that FUSAG was still forces smashed both the French railway system,
waiting to invade the Pas de Calais area in July, so which was reduced to 40 per cent capacity, and the
piding Fifteenth Army in place. The other main Luftwaffe in the west. By D-Day they had virtual
requirement was air superiority. In January 1944, air supremacy over France by day and by night.
Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory announced a As ground commander, the plan for how the
plan for all available aircraft to attack the French battle would develop was worked out by Mont-

Kcken Supennarine Squadron's base at B&-


Spitfirehfk lYb, MK826, sur-Mer,Douvres, F m c e
flown by Wing
Commander George
Keefer from No. 412
T H E OPPOSING PLANS

The 11:ttrle filr air


strperinric arrr Fmnc+c.
ALLlEO BOMBERS 0-16 .\ lm:~~rdcrsn1' L 3
\-;nth 4 ir Force : t t t : ~ c k i n ~
Maximum Ceiling Bomb Range Crew I :~lcncicnncsnilrrn? ~ 3 r d
Speed Efd load (miles) mr 1 . 1 1 ; 1944.
~ I3ehr.een 'I
(mphl (Ib) Fi.hnra? :tnrl6Ji1nc,
.Zllicd air iiwccr Ilcrl-
USA 31. '/#9 sonics :lnd
0-17 Flying 317 36.600 4.000 2,850 10 dropped 3.200 ran8 of
hr~m h.; tfn ntore sh:~n800
Forcress
dHlisrcnr rnrnriport t:~qct.i
8-24 Liberator 300 38,000 4,000 2.000 10 in rmncc. Tile ri.141 n'ng
B-25 Mitchell 292 24,200 4,000 1.660 5 Fmnr*h(:IS the Free
B-26 Marauder 285 21.700 4,000 1,100 6 I,icnch had rcnamcd
A-20 Havoc 325 24.250 2.000 250 3 thernselt cs) :~grccdto
(a version of the Havoc in RAF service was known as the Boston) ar.c.rxptthc Ire:n?. Fmnc.11
cil-ili;in cnsui~lticscausrd
British I?! t h i s srf:1tc,q.(lil:ll
photograph 1; 12161.;)
Lancaster 287 20.000 14.000 1,660 7
Halifax 280 20.000 13.000 980 7 :Ellied Inn ding cmft
I
Mosquito 370 32.000 2,000 E ,270 2 11 nirinq nr .Southampmn
Ilocks on I Juac. .\ntc thc
hint door m~rlpsol'rhe
, ALLIED FIGHTERS AND FIGHTER BOMBERS (single seat) LC.'T (l,:~nriin,rC d i ,
Tank) and rlrc c.1-tmradio
Mox. Ceiling Armament Ronge cql~iprnenrt f f rhr f.C.'FI
sPeed (fi) (connonlmochine- (rnlles) (ld3ndinqCr;~ft,
fmPw guns) t f e : r d q t ~ ; ~ r t r.-lJt~gcthcr
,~).
somr 7,Oflll l-esscls,
USA inclrtding 4,126 Inndiny
P-38 Lightning 4 14 44,000 I xZOmrn/4x0.5in* 450 ships :~nrlI;lndin,~ mtfi,
P-47 Thunderbolt 467 43,000 8x0.5in" 2,200** urre inloltrd in
opemtinns nn El-D:y.
P-5 F Mustang 4 37 4 1.900 6x0.5in* 2,300** 'I'\I.o cxtnl st;~tI'
British mntplcres, IlL%O {Build
L$ C:r~ntrol):tnd TLRCCI
Spitfire 448 44,500 4x20mm* 850 (1'1rrnKortnd Control)
Typhoon 405 34,000 4x20mm* 6 10 had to hc crc;~tc-d I?
*All these had underwing attachments for two to three 5001b bombs or eight .Vi.IEF to ~wodin:lrcthe
to ten 601b unguided rockets. The Typhoon in particular became famous far i t s ntol emenr of'nrmps
rocket attacks against enemy amour. * * With external drop tanks. :~crtlssr hc EnnrIisli
Chnnncl. (nl.lE
~ / I I ) ! I P + ~ T ; I.12.7z7
~/~ 1)
gomcp, and finalized at a pneral Sl-I:\EF hricfing thc Gcmans had rcinforccd against it the -4mesi-
on I5 >In?. 'She Hritish XI-ouId land in eastern cans would bscak out of Sorn~andy, htrning
Normand! and rhc ;\mcricans to their nest, a f ~ c r \r-esh$--ardto sccurc the ports of Brittany. Tl~csc,
which hnth would advance deep inland. Thc with Chcrbourp, ivould give the ..\]lies a strong
Gemnns 11-oulcl fiyht a rnobilc. flcsihle deftnsive logistics base for thc nest stagc. 3 1 1 four .4lliecl
battlc (as dcsircd by Geyr yon Sch~r-cppcnburg), armies \~ouldthcn turn easnvard and advancc on
holding thcir arrrtcfus back fnr a counter-strohc. a hroad front, d c n ~ i n pthe Germans the opening
'The Ijritish, rcgardcd b! the Germans as the hcsr for a countcr-stroke against a flank. .4lthoush the
of thc :\lEied rronps, would push do~vn to thc battle had no fircd timctablc, thc .\Ilics cxpccted
Caen-Palaise plain, apparently threatening to to be substantially inland by thc end of June, to
hrcnli out towarrls l'aris by the mwt direct route, have reached the River Seine at about D-Day
nit11 the :lmcricans cowring thcir flank and rear. plus 90 clays, and that thc war ~ w u l dend in the
nut this breakout attempt ~vouldbe a feint. .4fier following spring.
28
ME OPPOSING PLANS
M E OPPOSING PLANS

.At t l ~ estart of June, orninousl!., the ~veatherin improvement. .4t 314-5 hours on 3 June, after
southern ~ l n ~ l s nand
d - northern Fmncc t n s vet co&ulting his met~~rolngists ancl the ST-I.l"\TF
had, and nn rhe rnornin~of 4 June the invasion commanders, Eisenhower came to a decision: an
was delayed (or 24 hours in the hope nf an h June 1944 Operation 'Overlord' wnuld begin.

- G'eneml Eiscnhoarr rr-ith


panchute inK?ntq. of lf?l
.+irhnmr Dir.iqion, :I few
hnt~rshuffirc rhc start of

ze:~louscensor has
bscurc-d thc :9cm3rninp
Eil~Ec' dir.isfonsrl
fi)rmotion lh~shrsin this
pictlrre.) It 11.3san B R X ~ U U S
time f i r Eisenhnrrrr, rt ho
hnrl dmfied 3 I?ricfpmss
nrement shnufd the
'13trrlurd' L~ndinplilil.
(Ill31 p h o t n g ~ ~ p l l

.-dnmaric,
I and
v c n htinusk pnscd,
p h a t ~ ~ m ~ofBritish
ph
.
pnthfindcm of 6 lirhornc
Di~isirmsjxlclimnhing
~!nrclrcs prior to rake-olf:
ahnur 2-700 hnum, .i+{unc,
rr,ftlrthe engine ofn DC:-3
llnkom hchind them.
Parhfindcrs Ir err
respr>nsihlr~, tmce on rhe
- m o n Q lbr marfiinr our
the E:tndinLgsites li)r thc
rcmaindcv-at'rhe dflisic~n.
These four mcn,
Idieutcn:~ntR o h h ~ dc
Larow, Lieutenant Don
Il clls, Lieu tman t-iohn
I Ysclrer and 1.irwtcnan t
Bnh .Ilidlrmxf,r n q . hnrr
heen the ! k t :\IIEed
troops to land in
Sormandy. (m:I 1
photn,nap h 17'.79117(33
.\lcanwhile paratroops of thc Hritish 6 Airborne
The Allied Landings, 6 to 7 June
Division dropped an the casrcrn flank ta caprtirc
The Battle of Normandy b e g n at a few rninutcs h e crossinp over thc Ritcr Ornc and thc Canal
after midnight nn 6 June 1944 (British doublc de Cacn. The crucial 'Pcgsus 13ridyc' 01-cr the
summer time, corresponding to German summer canal and the Ornc had already been capntrccl b!.
time or G3IT plus nvo hours) as pathfinder a spccial ~lider-bornc force from h .4irbornc
paratroops of the three ,41Fied airborne di~jsions Division that had come in with thc pathfinders.
jumped from the transport aircraft that had carried .\lost of thc glider-bornc troops of the thrcc
them acrnss thc French coast. On landiny, these !. in EO join thc men on thc
divisions ~ ~ o u lfld
men marked out the drop zones for the approach- ground Eater that morning. Dcspitc the fcars of
ing paratroop battalions, which ~vouldsecure thc heal? casualties, this use of airborne troops \vas a
flanks of the Allied amphibious lodgement area. considcrablc success. But, dropping b!. night over
.An hour later, men of the American 101 .lirbornc unccrtain country, somc of thc .4rnerican para-
Di~isionand 82 -4irborne Division jumped from churc battalions wcrc so badl! scattered that they
their aircraft m-er the Cotentin Peninsula to sccurc rook day, to reform. This c ~ p r i e n c cso impressed
thc exits from the westernmost ..lmcrican hcach. their commanders that for the remainder of the

h r i ~ g - i inn ~the secnnd


rr.;lt.r o l ' r l r ~ on 13-
~fit-iqion
Daj; i ~ b n u r10111) hours. b
Ju~urle.Esch of the dirhorne
$itisions had o
pamchure r~~eimcnts or
I ~ r i ~ ~ d cand
c s (IRC carried
in ilidcm, rt.hich :1!50
hmw,pr'~r in most oi'the
dirkinn :s equipmmr.
.Ilrhou~hmndc up o f
spucinll~.p i d c d and
rraincd m~ops* ilirhomc
divisirms lt.&c inel-irnhl!.
I:~ckin,g En hr;t~>. we:lpnns
and :trtillcnpicms, anrl
HTTC lulncmhle to tnnks.
THE B A T L E OF NORMANDY

The British battleship


IJ.1 IS Rodney firiny !rcr
I6in guns in s u p p t ~ of'~
the 1)-I1:1~.Innilin:%, fi
June. Thc orl~cr
b:trrlcs)~ipsin1 rrEtrd in rlre
~~~~~~~dmcn r rt.crc 1-11I S
I ~ I s o n1Lll.S
, \Tarspite,
IIll.5 Ramillies, LSS
'I'cs;~s,L:q.:.s'Nc\aclii :~ntl
L3.S .\rLnns:ls. (11131
phntoPmph 12.7'17h)

.Ikn of'-# 13 !>irision on


'L-t:~h'n c : ~ d t11-Dn!;
. d
June. :llthr>rylt t l ~ c r ha1.c
r
hccn snn~ec:rsualrics.it is
s:~fito s ~ : ~ - I c E up hj. fuEE
da~fight..\'c~tc the guard
in rhc hack.w>uad
~ l a t r . h i nIhr
~ Gernr;~n
snipen. 7hc d t ~ c t r in ~ r the
lilrey-i~undhss spread out
Iris nledical bit and is

.Ifen of I h RCT, 1 C;,F


Ili\~sion,rwn~inglashore
nr ' I h s h a ' heach, 111530
hours, h junc. .Yore thc
hibyl~ tidc c n r r r i n some
~ of
rhc German hatch
defenccs m d thr.
'T;~nkdnzcr' nl'.\~ttrmhcr
10 I;:n+neer .-lssgulr
Tt.:lrn. 16 RCT sh<vciId
h:iw been suppnrtcd IF
741 f i n k Bnrt:~lion,hut
on!\- five nlfr nf.V o f i b
amphibious .Chemans
made ir to the. shnrr
a,riinsr tlze h ~ ~r.carl~cr
d
conditions and Cicrman
fire. The line of the
'Omnha ' hluflcgn he seen
in rhc distitncc. (11J3I
photn.gmph .1P2.772(?)
M E ALLIED LANDINGS. 6 TO 7 lUNE

war alI further -4llied airborne operations were of the Ilre eshta?, US 2 and -5; Rangw Battalions
conducrecl in daylight. Operation 'Overlord'b e e n carried out an assault on the cliffi at Pointe du
with the first and last major parachute night drop Hoc to silence a Gernlan coastal b a r t e ~- which
in history. turned out to hare no guns in place.
.At 0300 hours, just under nvo hours afrer rhc The decision to attack in bad weather pre-
arrival OF the paratroops, nearly hr-o thousand sented the troops in the landing craft with serious
~ ~ medium bombers bcgan a two-
.4llicd h c a and problems. Tides were running higher, and sub-
hour prcliminaq bombing of rhe Gcrnlan de- merged obstacles wcrc morc of a threat, than had
fences in the landing area, followed by a bornbard- been e?ipected. IIan!. of the landing craft were
ment from some sewn battleships, f 8 cruisers, 43 sw;lrnpcd in the approach to the hcaches. or last
destroyers, 2 gunboats and a hem?-gun monitor, to obstacles and cncmy fire. On the open sand
f
which had arrivcd with rhe invasion fleet off the dunes of 'Utah' Bcach 4 Division landed and
Normandy coast. Fifteen minutes before the secured its objectives with little rouble. The whole
landing craft from the flcct reached the beaches, ditision took fewer than 200 casualtics on D-Day,
there was a furrhcr attack by a thousand A4merican by the end of which it had linked up successfully
heal? bombers en the German main line of with 101 Plirborne Division. Nut on 'Omaha'
resistance. T11e Americans had decidcd to land an Beach, 1 Difjsian and 29 Division last most of
hour earlier than rhe British to take advantage of their supporting amour and combat engineers
a Inn-er tide and fct~ersubmerged obstacles, so before they reached the shoreline, which was
reducing their initial naral bombardment ta about dominated b!. German positions on a high bluff.
f o q minutes. .At 0630 hours, supported b!. final Une~upectcdl~, the .4rnericans found themselves
covering fire from rnckct-firing assault craft, the facing net onl!. 726 Grenadier Regiment of 716
first American troops began to land. Static Division, which they had helieved to be the
The initial landing forces of 2lst .%-my Group
comprised eight specially tailored brigade groups G e m pfisoners from together onlr b?*fierce
116 S t d c DDjsfon on and sometimes rialent
or regimental combat teams, three .4merican, '0m:rhs'Besch alwiiing discipline. Some o f the
thrce British and kt-o Canadian. The plan called shipment hack to prisnncrs appear to have
for First US -4rmy to land on trvo beaches. The Enpland, either 6 or 7 bccn gileennun-regulation
westcrnmost, code-named 'Utah' Beach, was at Junc. The mixture o f boots and mq.be fmm on
?.ormnghog and old men Ust hattalion. (Ti131
the base of h e C s t e n h PcninsuFa and led directt? is r?pical o f German static phoroOmlphPIJRZ 1.7)
onto a flat, marsh! plain virtually devoid of col-er, divisions at this dn te, held
and delibcrateb floodcd b~ the Germans as part of
their defcnccs. The me .'tmerican airborne di1-i-
sions were in the process of securing the ex3s
inland from 'Utah' Bcach, and ensuring that the
Germans could not use the bridses and causeways
through this marsh as choke points. The first unit
ashore on 'Utah' Beach was 8 RCT of 4 Ditision,
the leading division of 171 US Corps, followed by
the rest of the di~ision,unit? of US Rangers, and
elements of 90 Djt-ision in support. Eastward, a
gap of some ten miles (fifteen CiIometres) across
the estuaries of the Rivers Taut and '17ireseparated
'Utah' Beach from the next landing beach. This
was 'Omaha' Beach, which n-as assaulted by 116
RCT of 29 Dilision and 16 RCT of 1 Division
(the famous 'Bia Red One' division) both part of
1' US Corps. Remeen the trw beaches. to the east
THE B A W OF NORMANDY

ody German division defending the main Allied until the early afternoon of D-Day before giving
lodgement area, but also 914 Regiment and 916 ground. By the end of the day at 'Omaha' the
Regiment of 352 D i i o n , aveteran formation that Americans were nowhere more than 2,000 yards
had been assigned to the defence of Normandy in inland.
January 1944 but had been missed by Allied Second British Army began its invasion at
intelligence. These men, who had survived the 0725 hours. On 'Gold' Beach, the westernmost
initial bombardment relatively unscathed, kept the British beach, the assaulting forces were 231
lending forces pinned donn on 'Omaha' Beach Brfgade and 69 Brigade Group o f 50

uperation 'uverlora',v-uay, 6 -1une 1944 I


wD-Day,
a,*Oe66ow6. 6 J w . m.e vere @@bWed:@~QIE,,.with &e lea*
$f+c.~:nanoamesg h e a t s of'7 Awoured Division CThe DaM
&Ehe b e d dm to tbg Ratsd) ,la,edisg in ~e day. m@f D-
onus'iygigch fidb, ,& Day Oi$q&es, were d&d on 6 June .wthe day
*
~ n o m mahan
r $5
9 f m . Uader the fofce ~ f & AUiede ths
Bix b a a - of 71.6 Safic Division were redu~ed
m&e leShe7s&t,
& W ,,fee
S~ m&Z k
to ogiii we& bamltoa and a combined bade ~IVW
bimbmhent ~ " d lb"
u
if:feTPer
;&, loo
T H E B A m E OF NORMANDY

'Sanrd'Beach on 8-Da?;
commandos in thc f i t
u-sr.c. ohnllr fl7.7'fl hours, 6
Junr. B+xdicr Lord
I ~ b r : l t ,r t ~ r i p l ~ot f his
nlcxr, strides B I I I throu~h
the wntcr t n t i ~ r d sthe
.~rmnepoinr01' La Brcrche
a Iitrlc to thc cast o f thc
first S11.0rdlandinp.
Lot at mmrnnntferi 1
SpeciaE Scnice I1ririmdc
[rcfcmd to & the nritish.
mntirsinyl.; :IS5.5 rrnnps).
In the f i ~ r c . m u n dttirh his
hnck to Lhr. cnmenl. iq
Pipcr Bill -1[illin, Idov3r's
brihwde hagpiprkr, whose
pipes arc jztwt tisiMe
(111 1 phor~~graph 135103)

Sip31 T m p of.Vurnher 6
Cnnlrnsndn, p:rrt of l
.CipcciaI S s n h R r i v d e ,
crminr ashore on J3-Da!,
hJune. Tltcse
Commsndns hare all
optcd to 11 ear their -green
hcrcts rnrher rhi~nstccl
helmets. Sore rhc
fbrm:rtion badgr o f
Con1hined Clpcrations
the irpper aml. In the
h n c k ~ m u n dran be seen a
hrid+~la?+ng tank of 7Y
.irnmosrredUir ision. The
sergeant. campinga
Thompson suhrnachine-
pun, is identified as
S e p a n t 13. J Zapl~am.
.4lrhou~hmean€ m he a
ibst murinc fbr~e,the
men arr crmsidcrab!v
tlrighed do~mwith
equipment and srorcs.
(nr'lr phr~top~pir B5071)
M E ALLIED UNDINGS, 6 TO 7 IUNE

.Ifen o f .Turnhcr 4 Trnop,


(F C~-~rrVnil~d~,f Spcci:~I
.%niceIJripdc, link up
with rhc rnrn r r f h
.-lirhorne Ilirision ar
J'cgnsus BricIpc. The
OI'IIJEC
r..~pture bridge trxs
one of the outstanding
sn~alf-unit actions ofrhc
B;rtde ol'.i,rnan&. It
5r.cured the Hn'tish fl:tnk,
prct.entinr thc tlrnks of 21
I'anzer cruwinr the Cannl
rlc Unen and KErrr Ome,
:and it p1.e 3 IEritish
Ilirision an esir into the
rrpcn countq. t r ~the casr
uf'she c i ~.\he
: t h : ~ both
t
rhr para mpcrs arc
c a v i n g Sren
sohmachine-pos with
pleng. i~i'sparc
magazines. (Ill 3 1
p h o r ~ ~ p ~U.iO58)
ph

Division, supported by the Commandos o f 1 up with 3 Canadian Ditision, and the chance for
Special Sen-ice Brigade. The initial planning thc decisive counter-snokc that Rornmel had
called for 3 Division to advance far enough inland helie~edcrucial was lost. The staIemate in front of
on D-Day to capture the tic of Caen. a distance Caen which resulted was to dominate thc battle of
of some ten miles (fifteen kilometres). The high Normandy fnr the next two months.
tides resuIting fmm the bad weather, coupled with The German response to the .+llied landing
stiff German resistance, delayed the division's w a s confused and b a d l ~cn-ordinated, an inevit-
advance and prevented much of its supporting able product of their command s!.stem. GeneraE-
armour getting. ashore in rime to help. -4lthough it feldmasschall Kommel demonstrated his famous
linked up successfully with 6 Airborne Division, 3 abilic (seen both a t the stan of Operation
Division was confronted north of Caen not only by 'CsusaderYn December 1941 and at El -4larnein)
troops fiom 715 Static Di~isionbut aIso b!- tanks for not being there at the crucial time. On 4 June
and i n f a n o of 21 Panter Division, part of he had p n e home to Stvabia for his wife's
Rommel's .Inn!- Group I3 resen-e. .illlied intelli- birthday, tear;ing his chief of staff to look after
F n c e h e w this division to be in the Sormandy . h y Group U. Generaloberst Dollmann, com-
area but had not es~ectedit to be so close to Caen manding Seventh .Army, was also am-a!- from his
itself. Iluch was later made of the failure of 3 headquarters, attending a practice wargame in
Ditision to break through fithe German amour and Rennes, while Oberpppenfthrer 'Sepp'
capture Caen. but it is unlike]! that the tit- could Dietrich, commanding ISS Panzer Corps (12 SS
have been held even if it had been taken. In the Panzet Division and 'Panzer Lehr' Di~ision)was
went, neither side ~ o tthe result it wanted. in Brussels. .+I1 of them hurried back to their
.4lthough it was able to stop the British drive an commands. In the earl? hours of D-Day, before
Cacn, 2 1 Panzcr Division was unable to exploit t h e the first Allied ground troops were ashore,
gap between 'Sword' and :Tuna' Beaches, n-hich Generalfeldrnawchall von Rundstedt at OB M'est
ws dosed on 7 June as 3 British Division linked responded to reports of the invasion bv ordering
37
M E E A m E OF NORMANDY I
German defenders: Allied su~~ortinn
fire
736 Regiment of 716 Static W o n from shib our ;
I -

Allied air support

Pill-boxes and rvongpoim

Barbed wire entanglements


and infantry positions

-
German 'hedgehogs' beach defences
t a d on anti-tank obdfades and mines

Underwater obsgcles -4
The landing of British 8 Brigade Group at
'Sword' Beach, 0730 hours. 6 June 1944
Each of the landing beaches was divided into u n d e r
beach-segments. The h t landings at 'Sword' were
made on 'Queen' Beach at the small holiday resolt of
La B&e
- -
THE ALLIED LANDINGS. 6 TO 7 J U N E

A: 2 Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment

Alned air support B: 1 Battalion, South Laocashire


Regiment
I 1 Anttoured support imm amphibious
(duplex-drive) Sherman ranks of13/18
Hussars and modified ChurchiU tanks of
5 Independent Battery, Royal Marine
Armoured Support Regiment, plus 5ail
tanks of 22 Dragoons

.Berause of the bad weather, the tide at


La B r a e war higher than had been expected.
reducing the landing beach area

'Oueen White'
Beach

c Arrivinglarer:
1 Battalion. m e SufZolk Reeiment
I Spedal ~ e m ' e eBrigade end quarters
4 Commando
41 (Royal Marine) Commando
'Queen' Beach 3 Commaodo
6 Commando
45 (Royal Marine) Commando
33 and 76 Field Regiments, Royal
m e r y
T H E BAlTLE OF NORHAUDY

both of Dietrich" dilcisions to mow towards the ayerage only 300 sorties a day a t most, and days
Normand!- beaches. and h e n sought confirmation went by lrithout German troops even seeing a
for the order from OKl'lm.This was not immedi- friendly aircraft. On 17 Julv, 10 SS Panzer
ately forthcoming, and the di~isionswaited until Di~ision recorded its 'great in!" that a rare
Hitler finall!- appsowd the order at 1600 hours. Luftwaffe raid had silenced the Allied a r t j l l e ~on
Although this dela!. was much criticised b~ the its front for twenty minutes. There was no
German commanders, it probably had no effect on significant Luftn-affe interference in the D-Day
the course of the battle, since to mow at all caused landinp, and the Allies continued to enjoy .rimal
the mo dilisions, like a11 the German forces air supremac!. over Normandy throughout the
moving towards Normandy, serious losses and battle.
delays from .4llied air attacks. Tanzer Lchr' lost
five tank, 84 armoured vehicles and 130 soft- Securing the Beachhead, 7 to 17 June
skinned vehicles in its 90 mile (140 kilometre)
drive from Lisieuv to Caen. -4lthough the .Allies had not been repulsed on D-
15th the invasion confirmed, Geyr yon Da: itself, Rommel continued his stratep o f
Schweppenburg's Panzer Group \l7rst became holding them to their initial landing area b~ a static
operational on D-Day and on the follo~-ingday defence, yielding as little ground as possible. This
took over command of the front from the River had the double advantage of reducing the effect of
7'irc to the River Orne from Seventh .+my.But .Ulied air power, which was just as powerful as he
even Panzer Group M-est's headquarters lost had feared, and of lealing open the possibilic of
three-quarters of its radio equipment to air an arrnoured counter-stroke d m m on to the
attacks in its journey from Paxis to Xormandy and beaches. Uhat little discretion Rornmel had in this
could not function properl!?until 9 June. ' r t ~ ~d ao ~ s matter was actually removed b!- a directive from
later, pinpointed by 'Uwa' d e c q ~ t sof its radio Hitler on 11 June forbidding any t~ithdrawalat all.
traffic, it was hit by a major R.4F raid. Ge1-r von Thc battlefieId of Vomandy greatly favoured
Schweppenburg was wounded and most of his this type of' static defence. Except far the flat,
senior oficers killed, putting his headquarters out marsh!. areas near the river estuaries ar Carentan
of action far fourteen days and forcing a planned and Cabourg on either flank of the in~asionarea,
counter-attack against the British to be cancelled. inland from the beaches the counyside of
This was to be tgical of the German experi- Normandy west of Caen and across the Cotentin
ence of .UIied air power in Normandy. The: a ' b i l i ~ Peninsula m-as characterized by enclosed farmIand,
of .4llied ground commanders to call on the a patchwork of small fields bounded by earth banks
waiting 'cab ranks' of tactical aircraft, and the and overgro~\-n hedgerows, linked by narrow
damage done by interdiction attacks to German sunken lanes and dotted \lith small villages and
farces long before t h q reached Normandy, were farmhouses often built for defence in mediem!
to be crucial in thc winning of the battle. The first times. The chequerboard appearance of the
counter-attack put in b!. 12 SS Panzer Division hedgerow, which stretched up to 50 miles (80km)
against 3 Canadian Division on 7 June, although inland from the coast, prolided their lncal name of
suftiuiently po~verfulto force the Canadians on to 'bocage' or b o s - c o u n ~ . This bocage geatlp
the defensive, was made by onIy a third of the restricted visibility, making amour very hard to
'MitIer Jupend' Division's troops, the rest being deploy and control and v e y mlnerablc to attack at
sill held up on the road. Befitteen 6 June and 31 short range by Bazooka or Panzerfaust. 130-
.+upst 1944 a total o f 480,3 17 sorties were flown ordination of firepower was hampered as fonr-ard
by Allied air forces in support of the troops in observers for artillery or air strikes often had little
Normandy. Yearly haIf of these were f l o ~ nb!. idea of where h e y themselves were. (-4t least one
Second Tacrical Air Force and US Ninth ,4ir RoyaI -4rtilEe~obsenter solved this problem by
Force, which benveen them averaged more than calling down fire on n h t he believed to be his ottm
3,000 sorties a day. In contrast, Luftflotte 3 could position and watching where rhe shells actuall!*
SECURING THE BEACHHEAD. 7 TO 17 JUNE

1171ilc thc Germans


hesitated, the ;lilies
bmdcd their firsf
di~isions.This is 2
Ba mlinn. .\liddiesex
Kegimcnr, r he macl~ine-
.gun hart3I'iono f 3 British
Di~itision,m m i n ashore
~
21 ith the second r r n r p in
support of l Battillion,
South Lancashirs
Regiment, s t 'Sword'
Bc;lch ar 0745 on D-Day.
I E I . Rrirish
~ ~ dilision had
:me s m rnn~-hjne--gun
hattalion equipped with
l ickrkm rnrriiurn
machine-guns. .Vote that
the bcach is still under
lire. (Ill 3 l photopdph
rl.7r 14)
T h c landinc arc3 ofrhe
British h .-lirhorne
LFilision at R:~nrrillc,near
U:~cn,~r-iththe stafl ofthe
htutge twun p clcilr@
risible in thc dismncc.
Despitc sppenmaces.
man!- ofthe gliders .we
not ~rwckedhut a-crc
designed m hi^^ tlreir
lwsclfi+g~s scpnmte ibr
rase r r f unlo:~ding.T h e
Socage i n this pi1z-t o f the
b:tttlcficId.nuar Glen,
r w s nlmosr ripen ground
ctunpnred with the dcnsr
munrr?. r h ~ rtlrr
..lrnt-ricans trrre fighth~
in tow-nrdsSr LC. (Ill31
p h n t q m p h .\fH,1076)
THE B A m E OF NORMANDY

\
\, M4,3rd Platoon, 'B'
Company, 8th Tank
B a d o n , US 4th
Armored Division,
Avranches. Nustration by
Steven J. Zaloga

I
t
:
;
'
.
&
r

8
4"
5rk
s

4,k*

.
fell.) Above all, fighting in bocage used up combat up to Hi 112 (metres), a little hi that completely
infantry at an alarming rate. For the British, it was dominates the surrounding area, making un-
like fighting in the trenches of the Western Front; observed movement very diff~cult.The high chim-
for some Americans it was like fighting in the neys of Colombelles steelworks less than two miles
jungles of the Pacific. Troops trained in England (three km) to the east of Caen provided the other
for open, mobile warfare had to rethink their major observation point in the area. But to the
tactics rapidly. immediate south and south-east of Caen the
About 20 miles (30km) south of Bayeux the country stretches away as far south as Falaise in a
bocage becomes broken into thickly wooded ridges series of open ridges broken only by small villages
and cliffs, which stretch south for a further 30 and farmhouses. Bourg6bus Ridge, three miles
miles (SOkm), c d e d locally the Suisse Normande (five km) south-east of Caen, dominates the city.
from a fancied resemblance to Switzerland. The It was here that Rommel concentrated his armour,
key feature in this area is Mont P i ~ o na, hill some partly to defend against a breakout by the British
1,200 feet (400 metres) high lying 20 miles (30km) towards Paris, and partly because the good tank
to the south-west of Caen. On the River Vire at country gave him the best chance of a successful
the northern edge of the Suisse Normande is the arrnoured counter-stroke.
small country town of St LB, the capture of which By dusk on 7 June, however, the possibility of
was vital to American control of the road net in the Allies being trapped on the beaches and driven
western Normandy. back into the sea was fast receding. Of 156,000
The only city in the 'Overlord' landiig area troops landed by sea and air on D-Day about
was Caen itself, the regional capital with perhaps 10,000 had become casualties, a low figure for
50,000 inhabitants in 1944. About five miles (eight such an operation. Early on 7 June, Montgomery
km) south-west of Caen the ground rises gently came ashore and set up 21st Army Group's tactical
42
SECURING THE BEACHHEAD. 7 TO 17 JUNE

headquarters. Eisenhower and SHAEF head- A major problem for VII US Corps was the
quarters remained behind in southern England. presence of 6 Parachute Regiment (attached to 91
The crisis at 'Omaha' Beach was past, and the Airlanding Division but functioning as an inde-
Americans had linked up with the British advanc- pendent unit) holding the base of the peninsula
ing from 'Gold' Beach. By the end of the day all and the town of Carentan. An offensive by 101
three of the British beaches had also linked into a
continuous front, and the town of Bayeux had been United States
Iiierated. But not all the Allied objectives had been infanbyman.luusasrion
achieved. In particular, against resistance from 21 by Mark Uey.
Panzer Division and 12 SS Panzer Division, there
was little prospect of capturing Caen. On 7 June,
Rommel moved 2 Panzer Division from A r m y b
Group B reserve to the British sector, and von
Rundstedt obtained Hitler's permission to move
two more divisions, perhaps the most formidable
in the German order of battle, towards Caen: 1 SS
Panzer Division 'Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler' from
OKW reserve in. Belgium and 2 SS Panzer
Division 'Das Reich' from Army Group G at
I
Toulouse in southern France. The 'Das Reich'
Division had expected to cover the diitance in fwe
days; but owing to sabotage by French Resistance C I
and directed Allied air strikes on information
supplied by members of the Special Air Service its
I
1 journey tdok seventeen days instead. I
The only Allied landing force still not linked
I
into a continuous front by 8 June was MI US
, Corps on 'Utah' Beach. Overall responsibility for

1rry.'L
the defence of this part of Normandy rested with
1 Seventh Army's LXXXIV Corps. Although 716
Static Division and 352 Division had fared badly
under the weight of the main Allied assault, two r
more of its three divkiwns stationed in the
Cotentin Peninsula, 91 Airfanding Division and
709 Static Division, were able to intervene against
the western flank of the American airborne troops
on D-Day, with 243 Static Division coming up in
L
support. German forces in the Cotentin, and
indeed throughout the battle, suffered consider-
ably in losing their senior commanders to Allied
air power. The commander of 91 Airlandiig
r
Division was ambushed and killed by American
paratroops while returning to his division fmm the
Rennes wargames on D-Day; General Marcks, - ,a=@
'"-"
a -
the Corps commander, was killed by an Allied
fighter-bomber attack on 12 June, and the
commander of 243 Static Division by another on
16 June.
43
THE B A n L E OF NORMANDY

.Iirbornc Di~ision from 'Utah' Bcach and 29 352 Dilision, being driven back from "maha' b~
Di~isionfrom 'Omahav Bcach, aimed at linkin9 the US I Di~ision,and 'Panzer Lehr' Division, the
m.0 beachheads, b e ~ a n on i June. But the westemmost of the armoured dilisions defending
?cmerican airborne troops, themselves liphtly Caen. On I 2 June a good start was made as S.SX
armed, met considerable resistance from 6 Para- Corps' leading formation. 7 +4rmoured Division,
chute Rcgirnent, and not until h e morning of 10 d r o ~ epast 'Panzer Lehr's western flank and into
June did patrols from the two di~isionslink up to the gap, reaching the lira1 road junction at \'illers
form a notionall!- continuous front. Bocage, about fifteen miles (25km)south-west of
Rammel regarded the defcncc of Carentan as Caen, earl? nex? mornin:. The leading tanks of 7
crucial ro his strateg?-of pinning the .'Ulies close to .?lrmoured twre then attacked in turn by Tiser
the beaches. On 7 June he ordered I1 Parachute tanks of 501 SS Heal- Tank Eartalion (part o f I
Corps, comprisins 3 Parachute Division, 77 Div- SS Panzer Corps reqerve), by 2 Panzet Ili~ision
ision and 275 Division, to more from Brittanx to arri~ingfrom the south, and by 'Pnnzer Lehr'
the n-est of the Cotcntin, so prolonging and Dil-ision from the east. In a celebrated action at
reinfurcin9 the line of LSLKII- Corps. Il'ith them I'illers Bocage itself, the leading 13ritish regiment
was dispatched from OK\\,I' resen-e the only lost m e n c of its Crornn-el1 tanks to an atrack b~
German elite di~isionnot directed towards the five Tigers led by Obersturmfihrer JIichael
defence of Caen, 17 SS Panzergrenadier Dirision. \l'imann, whose O ~ T I tank knocked out at Pcasr
.Again, .4llicrd air attacks and French Resistance ten Cromtl-ells in five minutes. On 14 June a
sabotage ddelaved the arsi\*al of this di~ision,its frontal attack by 30 Division against 'Panzer Lehr',
leading elements not reaching their positions attemptiny to reach 7 .Irmoured, ended in failure,
south-west of Carentan until dusk on 11 June. and only supporting artillen- fire from 1 US
That night, in another rare appearance b!- the Di~isionprevented the British armoured division,
Luftwa ffc, eighteen tons of ammunition were trapped between 2 Panzer and 'Panzer Lehrv.
airdropped to 6 Parachute Regiment in Carentan. being driven back. That night 7 .4rrnoured n-ith-
It ~ v a snot enough. -4 night-long attack hy 101 drew about f i ~ emiles ( e i ~ h tkm) from l'illers
.lirbnme Division, supported by massive firepower Bocage to a more secure position.
from a r t i l l e ~and naval gunnery, captured the The es7remely controversial episode of 1:illers
town by dawn on 12 June. .4n attempted counter- Bocage lost Second British -4rrny its best chance
attack b!. 17 SS Panzergrcnadier Division later of capturing Caen that month. Together with the
that morning was repulsed as more -4rnerican -4merican f~ilureto capture St Lb, it brought the
troops arrived from V t a h 3 e a c h . The .4llied line -4llied advance to a temporary halt. The one -4llied
inland from the beaches was now both continu~us success was the attack by 'Li~htmingJoe' Collins"
and secure. IT1 LS Corps on 1 1 !PU] nestrl-ard acmss the
1,Ieanm-hile, 1' US Corps had driven inIand Cotentin Peninsula. Led by 9 Division and 82
from '0rnaha"cslch on 12 junc, heading for St .Airborne Di~ision,this drive reached the tr-est
Lb. On 12June XIS US Corps was activated. and coast of the Cotentin at Barnerille on 17 June,
three days later 1111 US Corps, but First US ..inn!- cutting off 243 Static Division, 77 Di~isionand
under Bradley was still not strong enough to 709 Static Division in the northern part of the
avercome German opposition in the bocage. -4 peninsula. Hitler, overruling Rommel, ordertzd
sustained push by 29 Division, begun on 15 June, these divisions to hold in place rather than
penctratcd to within fire miles (eight km) of St Lb retreating southwards or falling back on Cher-
in three days' fighting befort: being halted. bours, resulting in their complete destruction b~
Vhile the -4mcricans were expanding the the end of the month as 1'11 Corps fought its w a ~
beachhead, Second British .slrmy under General up the peninsula. .\lean~vhile, 1111 Corps
Dernpsey \\-as searching for a soft spot in the under Troy JliddIeton, which had been intended
German defences of Caen. -4nattempt was made as part of Third CS .4rm~,took over the Corentin
by -XLY British Corps to exploit the gap between front facing south.
W E BREAK-IN. I8 TO 24 ]UNE

down to betiwen 140 and 240 men in strength,


The Break-In, 18 to 24 June and three of the infantry divisions facing the
T h e success of 111 US Corps enabled 2lst .qrm~ .\mericans had sufrered similar lasses. . 4 q
Group for the first time to present a single face Group I3 as a whole had lost over 26,000
southwards tawards the enemy. In broad terms, on casualties, including an arm!* corps commander
the eastern flank near Caen, Second British .4nn!. and five divisional commanders dead. Some
nith nvo amoured, five i n f a n v and one airborne British and American units suffered just as heady
division faced Panzer Group IYest with four in the fight. The PightIJ-equipped 82 US .j"lirborne
armoured and one static dicisian (plus one static Division lost 1,259 men on D-Day alone and took
division of LXXYI Corps, which was just in 46 per cent casuaIties before being relieved in early
Fifteenth =\my area east of the Orne). On the July. The difference was that the .Illlies were able
western fla d , First LS .4my with one armoured, to withdraw divisions and replace their losses. The:
eight infantn and nvo airborne di~isionsfaced Germans could do neither.
Seventh .+my with one mechanized di~ision,six .%llliedattacks were also draining an-a? ."ly
infantry dixisions, one parachute, one airlanding Group B's reserves of supplies, fuel and amrnuni-
and one static ditisien. In round numbers of tion as air interdiction now paralysed 90 per cent
di~isionsthe .Americans had a small ad~anrage of the rail nent-ork in the Normandy area and
over the Germans. The British had a slightly larger harassed road transport. The German arrnoured
advantage, offset by the German assembly of divisions arrived in h-omand? weakened and
arrnourcd divisions. delayed not only from direct air attacks but from
The Allied numerical superioric was not yet halts imposed by fueI shortages. For the first ten
s e a t enough for a decisire breakout, but if things d a ~ s ,of the battle Seventh .4rm!- received ftnm
were not running perfect]! for .\Iont~omen,he .h~ Group B only a quarter of the fuel and
was undoubtedl~winning the battle. B!. 17 June three-fifths of the ammunition that it needed, and
there were 55 7,000 Allied rroops, 8 1,000 vehicEes had to make up the rest from local stocks.
and 183,000 tons of supplies ashore. The number On 16 June, .Uool Hitler issued a new
of moops landing each da!. esceeded the number directive intended to provide reinforcements for
of casualn. replacemenrs required, and although Kormandy without weakening Fifteenth .Arm>,
there were local difficuIties there was newr a still waiting to repel the non-existent FUS.4G.
serious shortage of fuel, ammunition or supplies. T a 1 SS Panzer Division and 2 SS Panzer
The German forces, on the other hand, were Disision, already in transit for Kormandy, hc
paying dcarl! in order to hold the ground so dose added I1 SS Panzer Corps 19 SS Panzer and 10
to the beaches. The i n f a n e regiments of both SS Panzer) from the Eastern Front. From First
Seventh -4my and Panzer Group 11-est were .4rm~-in south-west France, L.XY\T'I Corps
taking casualties at a far greater mte than they were (nith tn-o ditisions) was ordered northwards. In
being replaced, and as the i n f a n ~dnindled the addirion, 'Panzer Lehr', 2 Panzer and 12 SS
tanks of the m o u r e d diiisions were being sucked Panzer \vould he withdra~minto resene and their
into the front line to act as armoured pillboxes. places taken by infan@- ditisions from Fifteenth
Progressively, Rornrnel's ddii-isions were being re- .Slm?- and Sineteenth -4rmy. Troops from
duced to battIe group size by rVIied artille~,air Scandinavia would replace the ditisions moved
power, and even the guns of the ~{+arships out at from Fifteenth 4my, n-hich would end up stronger
sea. By the third week of June, I SS Panzer Corps than before. This would free a total of sewn
('Panzer Lehr" 12 SS Panzer. 21 Panzer, 716 armoured ditisions for a counter-attack in Xor-
Static Division and 101 SS Weal? Tank Barration) rnandy. Jleanwhile, all troops wnuld hold their
had only 129 Panzer 11's and 46 Panthers as present positions.
runners, ever\- one of its 30 Tiger tanks being in From I-Iider's command post at Rastenburs
need of repair. The battaIions of ,746 Static this appeared a reasonable plan. Rut from thc
Division, on the far t i ~ hof
t the German line, ivere experience nf the pretious two weeks RommeI and
4s
M E BA- OF NORMANDY

The partially completed


British Mulberry harbour
at Arromanches on 12
June 1944. The blockships
or 'Goosebem'es' have
been sunk out m the bay
to form a breakwater and
the large jetties or
Whales'positioned to
form the outer harbour. .
The f l o a w piers are
being built out from the
shore to reach the jetties.
As a piece o f engineedng,
nothing like this had ever
been attempted before.
(IU!MphotographB5717)

The results o f 'The Great


Storm'. This is part of the
wreck* of the American
Mulberry at St Laurent,
taken on 24June. As a
result of the storm the
Americans gave up
constructing their
Mulberry but continued
to oflhad their ships'
cargoes on to landing
craft in the 1ee of the
Gooseberry blockships.
(IU!MphotographB6100)
von Rundstedt were aware that any di~isionssent U'ith Cherbourg nor yet captured, all the
to Normandy would arrive understrength, late, .MIied supplies were landing over the beaches and
with insufficient supplies, and would rapidly be through the partially completed 3lulbep- har-
decimated by Allied firepower. In response to heir bours, St Laurent for First US Arm? and .4rro-
disquiet, Witler himself flew out to meet them near manches for Second British ,4rmy.On 19 Junc thc
Soissons on 17 June, only to turn down their genemll!~bad weather bmke into a severe p l e that
requests for more local control wcr their o m raged for four days in the English Channel,
forces and the authorit?. to order retreats as considerably damaging the nrro 3lulbemies. and
nccessan. He then flew the 600 miles (950km) running at least 700 ships and small craft aground.
back to Rastenbusg mitRout ever seeing the The daily raxe at which thc .Vlies could land
Normandy battlefield and continued to direct the dropped by roughly ht4o-thirds, from 34,712 to
daily conduct of the battle from his maps. In 9,817 men a da!; 3,894 to 2,426 vchiclcs a day,
contrast, although Eisenhower \kited Mont- and 24,974 tons to 7,350 tons of stores a da?.. The
gorneq-, Bradley and Dempse!. at their head- American h l u l b e r ~was so badly damaged that it
quarters several times during the battle, he made was abandoned altogether, and it was not until the
no attempt to interfere with its running. JVinston end of the month that landing from the British
Churchill visited the beachhead once, as an Mulberry and across the beaches were once more
obscmer, on 12 June. raking place at the planned rate.
Until 12th .4m!* Group was activated, and The four davs of 'The Great Storm"as thc
Eisenhower took over control of the ground battlc British called the gale) shrew the Allied landing
from Jlonrgorner?.,there was little for the SHriEF timetable out by six ditisions, or about a week.
staff to do escept watch the battlc and worn.. Air This partly accounts for the week's delay in the
Chief JIarshaI Tcddcr, as Eiscnho~vcr'sd e p u ~ .Wed breakout a month later, in which time they
and the senior airman at SH.4EF, felt the failure aIrnost conxinced themselves that the!- had lost the
to take Caen and deliver the Caen-Falaise plain battle. During the gale, Allied aircraft were
as bases for his aircraft very strongly. Thcre was grounded, and no offensive could be mounted.
deployment space for onl! one fighter-bomber 'fiis, if at any time, was the moment for a German
group, 83 Group of Sccond Tactical .Air Farce, in counter-attack. On 20 June OKV' headquarters
Normandy, nirh the rest of Leigh-Rlallo5's ordered von Rundstedt to prepare plans for six
forces left stuck in souzhern England. On 13 Junc armoured divisions to atrack en the boundarg.
the first 1--1 flying bombs began to fa11 on benveen the British and Americans and drivc
London and the south of Lngland from launching through to Bayeus. Of the divisions named, three
sites in the Pas de Calais area, making:it even more had not yet arrived and nvo n-crc still holding the
urgent for the Rritish to advance and bring these line at Caen. All that Rornrnel and van Rundstedt
sites within range of their air and ground forces in could do was wait for the nest Allied attack. By this
France. In addition, the whole .\Hied plan for time most of the German higher comrnandcrs
victory depended on their build-up being faster were conkiinced that they were tighting a hopclcss
than that of the Germans. Because of the failure bade, and indeed a hopclcss war.
of the D-Day landings to go exactly as planned,
the landing schedule was running two days late, The Breakthrough, 25 June to 10 July
the equivalent of three .4rnerican RCTs and two
British armoured brigade groups. Together with On 18 June hlnntgomeq had issued a dircctivc
the failure to capture Caen, this was sufficient fbr calling for the caprure of Chesbourg by rhe
Tcdder and Coninsham to inform their air com- .hericans and Caen hy the British before 23 June.
manders an 14 June that the situation had the The bad weather delayed both operations. On the
makings of a dangerous crisis. E ~ e n3lontsomerl; h e r i c a n flank the fortress of Cherbourg sur-
considered that the tempo of operations had rendered to 171 Corps on 2bJune and the port on
slowed, and he was eager to quicken it again. the follming day, but it was not until 1 Jul!* that
47
THE B A n L E OF NORMANDY

a11 resistance in h e peninsula ceased. Cherbaurg divisions into the defence of Caen, and placed t h e
was cx~ectedro discharge 150,000 tons within c i in~ an untenable salicnt.
four weeks, hut it had bccn so thoroughly saahat- B? 30 June the .Allies had landed in Normand!.
agcrl h! the Germans that it was not to reach full 875,000 men, 150,000 vehicles and 570,000 tons
capacip until the end nf Septemher. of stores. Second British . 4 m y had ashore three
The British offensive was another attempt to armoured, ten infang- dilisions and one airhorne
outflank Caen from the n-esr, where NLIIT Panzes di~isinn, n-hile First U S . S m y mustered nvo
Corps now cornrnandcd the remaining battle armoured, nine infanrp- and tn-o airborne diri-
groups of 2 Panzes and 'Panzer Lchr'. Cnde- sions. Of these, four nritish and fire .4merican
narncd Opcrarion 'Epsom'. its intention was for ditisions had been f ghting since D-Da!., The
Licutenanr-Gencral O'Connor's 1.111 Corps to .4rnericans had taken 37,034 casualties and the
break thrnugh bettwcn 'Panzer Lehr' and 12 SS I3ritish 24,698 casualties, receiving hetn-een them
Panzcr, thc wesrcmmost division of I SS Panzer 79,000 replacements. The Germans, in response,
Corps defending Caen itself. O'Cannar7s force had committed to the battle about 400,000 men,
would rhen swing casnvard through the bocage, lealing a further 250,000 in Fifteenth .Arm!
across thc Rircr Odon, and capture Hill 112. On waiting for the Pas de Calais in~asion.By 7 July,
25 June, Operation 'Dauntless'. a subsidiav attack .\my Group R had taken 80.783 casualties and
by .L\' Corps, secured the western flank of 1111 received about 4,000 replacements. Panzer Group
Corps' adrance, which began on the follo~~ing da!*. 11-est, defending Caen, consisted of seven armour-
.4ftes a bnmhardment b!- over TOO guns, ed, four infantq dirkinns and one Lufnvafffe field
O'Cnnnor's Ieadinp unit, 15 (Scottish) Dit-ision, division nith altogether 723 tanks. In addition, the
broke through the defences of 12 SS Panzer, ~ i t h multi-barrelled rocket launchers of three German
1 I ,lrmoured Di~isionfollon-ingup. In the bocape, IYerfes brigades and the anti-tank guns of 111
1711 Carps made proyess at slightly more than Flak Corps had all been concenrrated in the
2,000 ~ a r d sa da!.. Bad weather prevented any Hritish sector. Seventh ,4rm> had one mechanized
flying from southern England and limited the division, three infanq di\isians, one airlanding
support from 83 Group in Uomandy. Rut on 29 and one parachute division in lfnc, plus 2 SS
June, the d a aftcr
~ 1 SS Panzer had arrived to Panzer Di~iisionin resen-e - in aI1, no more than
reinforce I2 SS Panzer, 11 .'irmoured Dixision 140 tanks.
pushed lionyard to the northem slopes of Hill 112. Despite this strong position, many -2llied
In response. Generalobent Dollrnann of commanders were worried about their faiIure to
Seventh .4rrny was forced to gil-e up the netv1y take more territo~.B! early July, when the?-had
arrived IT SS Panzer Corps and commit it against expected to hare liberated ..Uenqon, Rennes and
the British. Corning into line between NLT'II St Malo, t h q were nowhere more than fifteen
Panzer Corps and I SS l'anzcr Corps Fate on 29 miles (2Skm) idand, occup!ing one-fifth of the
June, the two fresh V-affen-SS armoured dki- area anricipated in ,\2ontgomeq+'s original plan.
sions threatened O'Connor's southern flank. That Lieutenant-General Crerar, commanding First
night, aftcr consulting Dempsey. O'Connor pulled Canadian .4rmy, and Lieutenant-General Patton,
I1 ."loured back tiom J-Iill 1 12 and went on to commanding Third US . h y . were both ashore
the defensive. In fact, bad]?-mauled b!- Allied air in Normand?. But in the cramped beachhead there
attacks in the impmov-ing weather, I1 SS Panzer was no room to deplo!. mo further armies. So long
Corps could nor start it5 counter-attack until 1 as 12th .Army Group could not be formed,
July and made no headway in the bocage, lealing Alontprnef?- continued in command. The .Arne&
the British with the ground won during 'Epsorn'. cans had ninc further divisions in Endand and,
At the cost of some 4,000 casualties, 1111 Corps counting their forces for the planned landing in the
had achieved a penetration onl!- five miles (eight south of France, a total of 48 di~isionswaiting to
km) deep and mo miles (three km) wide. But its join the campaign in Europe, thirteen of them
attack had pullcd a further mo German amoured armoured. The British, in contrast, were running
THE BREAKTHROUGH. 25 TUNE TO I 0 JULY

:1 C:h~rrchilItank rrf 7
RO!:IITgnk Rcgimenr, 3 1
Timh h'ripwdc, %supports
an :~dv:tncc 8 I A l t t nI'ron,
X njn E Scrlts Fusilirrs, 15
(Scortish) Ililision, o n 28
.I#I~IC duriny Ilpcmtion
'FFFpsont :The nnirish
disrinp~ishtdhcnt-een
tank brinmdr-s~ ~ t s u : ~ofl ~ r
hcn-icr tanks such as Zl~c
C:l~~rrchill, and srmnared
Iwi~rricsr)f.Shem:ms.
.U r ~ y r l t the!
~ r had c[cht
amloured or rank
brigmlcs, the rhqui\dent of
r1r.n CA-WJ ;~rmntrrcd
riit isions, in S r ~ n ~ l a n c ! ~
the cad of'rhc h:lrtlc,

rile ~ r nclci~r
. fbrmnrinn
sig-n)re,oftin,rrro p)
frrnrard (In?7=1rmeduring
Opcr;ltion 'Lpsc~rn '. On
t I ~ riqlrt
c is D Sherman
FL1l:lil tank o f f '/ .lrmnurcrl
Ilil ision ~ . i r !its
~ hlmt
rurnrd tolvfirds che reer
l i ~ lF;~iling.
r Thcse I r e r e
w ~ c dt r ) cEcnr mines in the
path ofa h ancing m~ops.
(111 3 1p110ro.mph B6OI.f)

.Vnr 3 prntrrrnp dnrp hur


a resapply to JJritislr 6
.-lirhr>mcDirision hy R W
StirEinp hnmbcn; on 23
Juna Thc positions o f 6
.Iirhomc 3t St ..tubin
d 3rquenny on thr castern
fl:~nbnf rhe still r,eq
smdI heachllead wrre ~ Q O
c.\pmed tbr supplies to
e:tsil~
g r r tl~n)uqh
orrrf~nd,and rhr mrr o f
supplies landiny orrr thc
ht.aullev had still not
mcn~rmdfrom ?3c Great
str~m. (111 3 f
p hotngmph B.iRdl?]
THE BA-LE OF NORMANDY

out of troops, particularly infantry. All three of drain on the infantry caused by bocage fighting was
their armoured divisions were now in Normandy, about to have a serious effect on Second British
and only six Canadian and British divisions, two of Army's conduct of operations.
them armoured, were left in England. In future, The Allied airmen, as before, were the least
Second British Army would not be able to replace contented. Unable to grasp their own side's 1
its casualties at the same rate. Montgomery's plan weakness in tanks and infantry against the Ger-
was deliberately pulling the main German forces mans, they criticised Montgomery heavily for
on to the weaker of his two armies, and the heaw failing to launch an all-out offensive. The more

Operation 'Overlord',Situation 1 July 1944 ( U + Z 4 )


Infifntzyof 9 US Divisioq D-Dap. Even in one

ialand l)asn 'Utah' B e d dm& U a i p o ~ l ~ ~ J s wimingfbe battle.


an tOJime, p e a German notbeable.Ald~wrgbtiieir phot~@t%ph
W902)
stnm&pint ehathadgiven r3&iagquali@ d 9 s l w a t
d e r 8 E r l e trouble on &sf oampsnd the
THE 'BATTLE OF NORMANDY

.An R. IF or R C W
Trphrnm (.%qlr:ldmn nni
irfcmrificd)t;~kcsi 3 f I'frt~rn
:I rcrnponr? li~ndingstrip
in .\i)m;lnd?. c:lrl? .Ju!+l.
.\'otc t11cfour n ~ d e l s
s l u n under
~ encE1 rrin~.
Thc bbrrk nnd ~ ~ , h i t c
'inrasion stn)es'ar the
Iring rr~orsrl cre pain tcd
on to ;11l lllicd nirrc~fr
inl.t,!~-crlin the ilc o f
.\&nrtand>. 3 s n
rccoflitir~n det ice, Their
prcscnrbc is rllien a: uscful
check n l ' r l ~ cnrlrllcnticih-
ni'film or photo.mphs of'
rhc hartlr.. (111-11
phorn.w~phU1.147)

.Yormnn4\. duriny thr-


b:~trle;rlrcmatcd fmm
sunrmer Ireat m torrential
nin, lilrcin~hrrrlr sides ti]
figltt in cirlrcr dust nr
mud. This picturn tws

Cirrps nrca in rlrc 'Epsnm"


salicnt tm .7 Jzrh. Sore rhp
sign printed on tl~cjcep s'
C ; T I I W S I~oodrrxrniny that,
like :hl.t mcriri~nr chicmlcs
supp,plfedto rhc Ilritish, i t
. .ll
is 11cfi-hardd r i ~ r(Ill
phnro.ernp h 13h.721)

:I I-lrmdlc~Pi13HaliL?s o r
R-4 F R i m her Clonrmand
IMT~ I.'ncn during thc
'Clram~l.ood'bt,n~hin,cof
i-lub: .llthough tblres
w-rrr used in lllc hmn~hinq,
it \r:?s still q11ircv Iiyi1t ;It
tl~csmck rimc ol*,7l.;tl
hours (lJritisl~clouhlc
sunrmcr tin~r-1.Thc
smnkc +TS a P I K idc:~ ~~
oi'the limited 3irnin.g
accrrmc? pflssihIc for
hcm? hornhers used in
this IV+-. (1 I! 3 2
phntogrnph CI-747)
THE BREAKTHROUGH, 25 JUNETO I 0 JULY

assistancc they oiTercd rhcm, tlre more reluctant and Hausscr, on thc irnpol-tancc of giting up somc
the ground troops sccmed to be to advance. ground in order to conduct a tlcsihle defcnce. This
Indeed, in a new directive s f 30 June, 3lontgomer-y vnn Kundstcdt passed to OK\\- headquarters with
stressed the importance, in dran-in~the Gcrrnans his strong endorscmcnt on 1 July, following it nith
on to Second British .4rmy, of not ex-posing that the somc\chat tactless telephanc suggestion to
army tll any setbacks. H? 5 July, 83 Group had make peace a t oncc. On the follo\\+ingday Hitlcr
been joined in Normandy by about half thc replaced von Kundsredt at 0 1 3 Kest uith Gcncral-
squarZrons of Ninth US .+ir Force, but the feldrnarschall Giinther von Klugec. Gcyr ron
remainder still could not cross the Channel. Sch~wppenburg's replaccrncnt at I'anzcr Group
Tedder anti Leigh-.\Iallon. had been promised Il'esr a few days later was GcncmI Heinrich
27 airfields fur their lighicr-bombers and only Ebesbach. Oberpppenfuhrcr Hausser, owr
nineteen wcrc operational. -4ltogether, the build- Rommel's objections, was cnnfimcd in commancl
up was benscen ten and fifteen squadrons behind of Seventh .4m~.
schedule. In a beachhead so narcow, finding space .4s the .American dri.irc ended, Sccond British
to take off and land without coming under German .%mybegan its o ~ moffensive to capture Cacn.
shcllfirc or risking mid-air collision was becoming Code-named Operation 'Charn~~oocl',this re-
increasingly difficult. vived an earlier idca of Leigh-\Iallor?.'s of
13: thc first week ofJuIy the fear was emerging achiming an advance b~ carpct-bombing the
both at SM.4EF and at First US ..\my head- enemy positions with hea~?. four-enfined bom-
quarters of a possibly stalemated front. Bradley bers in direct support of the ground forces, as at
was pessimistic aftcr the slow progcss of his IIonte Cassino in Italy in Fcbruav and .\larch
rcnewt-cd drive south\vards, intended to bring the that ?ear. Mith on]!- a few complaints, K.4F
rest of his forces up level with I*Corps in front of Homber Command agreed, and at 2150 hours on
St Lii. Thc drive had started on 3 July as 1311 7 July about 360 Lancasturs and Hatifaxes drop-
Corps (including a r c y weak 82 -4irbornc Division) ped 2,300 tons of bombs on to the northern
advanced down the n.estern coast of the Cotentin outskirts of Caen. _\lostof these were set with time
l'eninsula, with 1-11Corps joining in a day later and fuses to ex-lode among thc dcfendcrs of 12 SS
US Carps on 7 Jul!., spreading the artack I'anzer Division at 0420 an 8 Jul!., just as E British
eastward. Through the bocage the -4mericans Corps (including 3 Canadian Division) began its
made propess a t rather less than 2,000 yards a da! attack. supported b!* artillc~,nacal gunnery and
against the bartle groups of 1,S.X.W- Corps, in air strikes. Fishring was fierce, At onc point the
some cascs barely rcaching the main German commander of the 'HitEer Jugend' was seen
defensitc linc, and b~ 11 July the ot'fensit-e had striding throush the masonq-fillcd streets, c a q -
spent itself. Only .\ l o n t g o m e ~remained opti- ing a Panzerfaust. Of his di~isiononly a battalion's
mistic about the rva? the battle Isas going. tso& of infantq- and 40 tanks escaped, while 16
3Ican1.r-hile, the equall! deep mood of pessi- Luftwaffe Field Division, defending eastern Caen,
mism that had afflicted the German hisher com- took 7.5 per cent casualties. B!. rhe morning of 9
manders overcame their sense of obedience. July all of Caen nonh of the Rivcr Orne had been
Dmrnarically, Generalobcrst Dollmann of Seventh cleared. tlnforrunateb, the aimins points that
.-Inn?committed suicide on 28 June during the -411ies had chosen tbr their heal? ?.umbers had
Operation 'Epsom*.briny replaced b: O b e r v p - largel! missed the German defensive positions.
penfihrer Paul Hausser of I1 SS Panzer Corps. .Although the c i of ~ Cacln and its inhabitants
Kommcl was oncc more m-a! from the front at a suffered heady from the bombing, it had little
cruciaI moment. He and von Rundstedt were effect on the battle other than to boost the
l-isiting Rastenburg far a further, inconclusive, attackers' morale. This partly confirmed the xvorst
mecting with Hider. On thcir return to France, opinions of the airmen about thcir own ground
Gcq-r von Schweppenburg subrnirted to on forces, On 10 July, 1111 Corps, from its salient
Rundstedt a report, strongly backed by Rornrnel wesr of Caen, launched a new drive code-named
53
THE B A W OF NORMANDY

Operation 'Jupiter', which got back on to the to the Allies, but this was forbidden by Hitler, and
northern slopes of Hill 112 and threatened the would give the Allies space to deploy their f d
western bank of the Orne. ground and air power. Also, it would require the
By this time the Germans were doing little but kind of mobile defence that was proving, as
reacting to each Allied blow. They had a choice of Rommel had predicted, impossible to conduct.
three strategies, each of which would lose the They could continue to reinforce the Caen senor,
battle. They could retreat and concede Normandy leaving their front against the Americans dan-

.- C b d Mark VLI, SHQ.


No. 3 Squadmn, 4th
Battation, The Grenadier
Guards. lUusaation by
Mike ChappeU.

- .*I,
.* -
.
\

2 7 1.

m 13

Details of ChurchillMark
V, SHQ, 'S'Squsdmn, 3rd
Battalion, The Scots
I
1
Guards, lllustratiom by
Mike ChappeU.
THE BREAKTHROUGH. 25 JUNETO l O JULY

gerously weak. Or the! could reinforce aginst the 1lontgomc~'sstrateg?., Hradlcy w a s not plcascd to
:\rnesicans, and have the British break out ovcr h e find his mcn facing a Grrman amourcrl division,
p o d tank c o u n v east of' Caen. What they could however weak and tired, Ilhcn, after 'Charnivoucl',
not do was create the amoured resen-e that HitIcr LXUVI Corps took ovcr thc whole sector east aC
wanted. On 5 Jul!., 'Pamer Lehr' was finally pullcd Cacn from I SS Panzcr Corps, the two armoured
nut o f the line to rest, only to be recommjttcd divisions wcrc dcploxcd sourh and cast of he ciF
against 111 US Corps on 1 1 July. In view of ayinst an ex-ected British offensive rather than
Thc nnrthcm part r t f
Cmn on I flJu!v after its
capture h~ the .-IllEcs,
sho~vingfire effcrt*ofrhc
hf~rnbinq and subscqucnt
stwet-liqhtiry. The
C ~ c m a trnlrdc
~s
cnnsidcc~blepmpi~,mndil
usr ol' rhc I.'rencl~r-i~*iliilns
hurt or killed in rhcst
a r t:lds. (111 Sf phntrrgmplr
IJ69 12)

-4 rrmnrka ble photo& - r" - --


o f men of I Bfirr;rlion,
Gng!q Orw ScomMsh
Bnrdcmrs. 3 k3n'tislr
%
Dir-ision. {note the
fi~rmations i q ] in Csen C-

on I0.JrtIy. Tl~r.?,have
caprurcd Fmm the
C ; ~ m n sn Ifotchkiss
macl~inc--pn. scizcd h?.
thc Cic-rm;lnsin rttm from
the I+enclr .-lrriir.in I 9411. :~
%-
..,
arnount o f
.-I suf~st:~nsirll
Cirrman ctlrripmrnt in
Sonnanll~.r r m nf'Fmnch
oriyin. (Clnnsidcrin.~ she
camcm ancle, this i s 4
pmhilbk :I p w c d
pl~t)ro.w~ph.) (IiI3f - C &+.. _-
photngmph BhQ18)
' i
_ I

55
T H E BATTLE OF NORMANDY

being grnupcd in a centralized resene. Generally, chute Corps holding the St Lh fronr, only ro run
thc Geman formations wcrc so weak h a t the into 'Panzer Lehr"s coun tet-artnck. Hy ~veightof
arriving in fan^ divisions f'ormcd a supplement to firepower and persistence the "Americanspushcd
the amour rarher than a replacement for it. the Gcmms hack the four miles (six km)through
the n~bbleof St Lb, n-hich was sccured by thc
rnorniny of 19 July, roo late for the oriyinal Tnhra"
Thc Breakout, 10 July to 5 -4ugust
schedule. The whole of't'ensirc, from the start of
3lontgorncc and his two suhordinatcs now plan- I7JI Carps' amck on 3 J u l ~ had , cost the Imcri-
ned the decisive phasc of thc battle, to enabIe the cans 40,000 casualties. 90 per cent of them
.4mericans to break out into Brittany. On lOJul!., infantrymen. On 20 Jul!- torrential rain caused the
hc issued a dirccti~e on hnw this would bc 'Cobra' offensire to be postponed until 24 July.
achie~ed.Bradley nnuld start an offcnsi~etowards But if the ?Iniericans were in no condition ro
.lvranches, after which l ? I I Corps, as the spcar- attack, the Germans were cenain1!* in no condition
head of 'Fhird US .4rrny, \r-owld s ~ ~ i n-csr ~ middle of-July, .4rmy Group B
n s into to defend. 1 3 the
13rittan!. IT-hilcFirst US :Inn!. would drive cowards had lost nearly 96,400 men and rcceived 5,200
Le 5 tans and -4lenqnn. To aid this, Second British replacerncnts. It had lost 225 tanks and received
.31m!-ivould launch a major armoured offensive just seventeen. The entire rillc strenyth of 11
throuyh thc open c o u n y east of Caen. Bradlefs Parachute Corps was 3,400 men, incIuding one
oi'fcnsivc, sct to bc@n on 19 July, was code- composite battlc group made up from thc remains
namcd Operation 'Cobra', while Dempse!'~, set to of four in fan^ divisions. 'l'anzer I,chr', holding
begin the day before, n-as Operation 'Goodwood'. the Iine just west of St Lb, numbered 40 tanks ancl
First US .4rm! couId not break out, however, 2.200 men. Both I1 Parachute Corps and L-SS'II'
until the capture of St Lci, more than a month Corps reported to Serenth .Inn!+that they were
overdue on thc original 'Overlord' planning sche- probably too weak to stop another American
dule. On 11 July, S I N US Corps changed the ofknsivc - information passed at oncc to the
direction o f its drive south~t.arclsagainst 11 Para- .4llies rhrougll 'Lltra'. There was nothing in
.4 prisoner fmm I2 .W
P:lnzer DI~.ision'Ifitlcr
Jrr,gcnd',caprnrtvl h! m m
elf .i9 (Stafi~rdshirc]
Di~isionin C:tcn on 8
-ltrI?; briny c.wiwted to the
rear hj a R:1SU prilxtc u f
3 Hn'rish I)il.ixion. Thr.
jnuthful :lppcamncc of
this prisoner p.1rs a
r v m t impression of thc
'IlirlerJuycnJ' Di~ilisinn,
Thc arrr;lqc :~.grincluding
of7ims rr.;ls eightccn find
;I hnlfye~~rs old. Tile
dirisiun had nrwr Iwen in
ncrinn hfi>re,but a high
pmporrion of its oficcrs
and SOCIS hnd corn h3t
e.~.pen;cncc.(il131
phnto,mph Bh.;rlh)
T H E BREAKOUT. 10 JULY TO 5 AUGUST

rcscn-c bchind these skeleton formations cxccpt The plan for 'Goodwood' called Sir a subsi-
four weak battalions of 275 Ditision. Unless the d i a ~attack bv X U Corps and S I I Cnrps,
Germans could rcdeploy their forces, they had Operatir~n'Greenline', to pin donn thc Gcrrnan
nothing to stop the Rcst .hcrican attack. forces in the old 'Epsnrn' salient. I'hcn on 18 Jul!.
Seconct British . 4 m ~ * offcnsirc,
s Operation the secror cast nf Caen x\+nuld 11c attacked. 'Fhu
G~oodlvood" was thc sinrlc most contro~ersial German front was held tn a dcpth OF three miIcs
cpisodc in thc whole Battlc of Normandy. British (five km) by battle g o u p s o f 16 1,uSiivaffc FicEd
casualtics had also rcached 40,000 by the middle Division and 21 Panzcr Division, supported b!. 111
of Jul!., a y i n m o s t l ~infanv. nlth such a drain Flak Corps. On the ~r~estern flank, 11 Canadian
on thc infanm the cclcbrated British regimental Corps ~vouEd execute a double envelopment of
system was brcaking down, for mops werc now Caen, finall!. driving the Gcrrnans nut of thc city
being assipcd ro battalions as available and and the Colombelles steelworks. On the castcrn
nccdcd. Rut, because the advance inland had p n e tlank, 3 British Dirkion ~ ~ o u l attack
d south-
neither as far nor as fast as especterl, thcrc was a easn~ardto ex-and the brid~chead.In the ccnrre,
surplus of tanks. To the west, ncst to First US .4llied firepower would be substitl~tcdfor infilntq-.
.4rrny, the Iine w a s held b!. Buuknall's XY.Corps. .4 gap 7,000 !-ards nidc ~f+ould bc bloxvn right thc
NCSTto this, thc 'Epsom' salient had been taken wa!+ through the German defcnccs by morc than a
eyer hy NII Corps and the northern part of Caen
by 11 Canadian Corps, both newl? f-orn~ed,leafing ,h,icfln fiTCP0,,, L:S' thr.;r bntr doon m
Cracker's I Corps holdiny the line east of Caen as 987 .lrrilIeq*I~art:l!ionof d i s c h a ~ c i l hcfi)rc
~
before. This cnablcd .\ Iont g o r n e ~to puII all three 10.imn' -'c'"-pmpcllcd Il(~ating ufl':agxinat high
guns comina ilshorr st ride. 'I his c m r ~ c n c )
of his amoured di~isionsback into reserve under k~lmnhill R;:ILh 7 rune. mct,lad cl,-isnlo:rding
1111 Cows. ,\ ~ o n t ~ o r n en-odd
n. 1a ter sat. that his .Yore in rhc back,m;nd dcr elrrped in rcapr,nsr TO
abilit>- to crcatc an armoured resene, lThilE the t h "VO ~ LSTS (I,imdin.~ the suppO.pn~blc-n?s of'
S h i p , T ~ n k ) ~ r h i c l ~ h : t ~ eIl-D;rr:IllI:llphnt~~$~11ph
Gcrmans could not, was the moment that he h c \ v de,ihcmrdr.hcncl,rd 13.i n.? I )
the battlc was won. rhcrnse1t.e;. znd c~prmed
THE B A m E OF NORMANDY

PanzerkampfivsgenV
AusfA, Panther. A
command tank, 13s-Pz-
Div. 'LeibstandarteAdolf
Hider: Luusmrtion by
David E. Smith.

thousand Allied heavy and medium bombers. The Operation 'Cobra'. The second objective was to
bombing would be followed by a barrage from 750 secure the remainder of Caen. O'Connor's tanks
guns, including naval gunnery, and fighter-bomber were expected to get on to Bourgibus Ridge and
attacks. Altogether 4,500 Allied aircraft would be his armoured car patrols to push on to Falaise, but
used in the operation. Then, from reserve behind any further operation would have to wait upon
I Corps, across the Canal de Caen and the River events. 'Goodwood' was a typically cautious Mont-
Orne, the three armoured divisions of VIII Corps gomery plan. So long as I SS Panzer Corps and I1
would advance on a one-regiment front, one after SS Panzer Corps stayed where they were, any
the other, through the German positions and on to result except an outright British retreat was
BourgCbus Ridge. The whole operation would acceptable in terms of his strategy. Montgomery
involve 250 tanks with the flanking forces and 750 was in the enviable position of being right whatever
with O'Comor's main punch. he did.
After preliminary planning and discussion with Bradley and Dempsey were quite clear on the
SHAEF, Montgomery issued Lieutenant-Gene- objectives of 'Goodwood'. Montgomery's direc-
ral Dempsey with a directme on 15 July setting out tive, however, never reached SHAEF head-
his aims. The first British objective was to bring quarters. The idea of a massed armoured attack,
the German armour into battle, so that it could not and particularly the mention of Falaise, led Eien-
be used against the Americans for the forthcoming hower and Tedder to believe that here at last was
\, M E BREAKOUT. IOJULYTO 5 AUGUST

GomweU rank, 11
Armonred Division
headquarters squadron,
27June 1944. IUu8tration
by Teny Hailer.

Montgomery's all-out offensive to break out of feldmarschall von Kluge taking over that appoint-
the beachhead. Montgomery left Eisenhower with ment in addition to OB West, so finally rationaliz-
the impression, which he did little to correct, that ing the German command structure. Three days
his smtegy was one of double envelopment with later, on 20 July, officers of the German Army
'Goodwood' breaking out in the east and 'Cobra' made the ultimate criticism of Hitler's strategy by
in the west, or even that 'Cobra' was the subsidmy attempting to kill him with a bomb in his own
operation. headquarters, after which they intended to attempt
On the night of 15 July, Operation 'Greenline' to negotiate peace with the Allies. The bomb went
began, pinning 2 Panzer, 9 SS Panzer and 10 SS off, but Hitler was not seriously injured. None of
Panzer in position west of Caen, and forcing 1 SS the senior German commanders in Nonnandy was
Panzer back into the battle to hold the River Orne. involved except the convalescent Rommel, who
For Operation 'Goodwood' the absence of was allowed to commit suicide rather than face
GeneralfeldmarschallRommel from the battlefield mal.
at a crucial moment could this time be forgiven. At 0745 on 18 July, after an aerial bombard-
On 17 July his staff car was attacked by a passing ment of more than two hours' duration, Operation
Allied fighter-bomber. Rommel was badly 'Goodwood' started. Caen was cleared success-
wounded and taken to hospital. He was not fully by II Canadian Corps, and 3 British Division
replaced in command of Army Group B, General- also achieved its objectives. In the centre, 11
59
T H E BATTLE OF NORMANDY

ANTI-TANK GUNS
Weight Maximum Muule
of shell -ge velocity

USA
&I (~ds) (ydstsec)
57mm rowed 6 10.260 2.800
J6mm towed 13 10.000 2.700
(also in M I 8 Hellcat and later models of M4 Sherman)
3in towed 15 16.100 2,600
(also in M I 0 Wolverine)
British
6pdr rowed 6 10.260 2,800
,
I
17pdr towed
(also in Sherman Firefly)
17 17.000 2,800

German
7Smm PaK 40 15 7.680 1.798
88rnm PaK 43 23 17,500 2.46 1

EFFECTIVENESS OF TANK AND ANTI-TANK GUNS


ON ENEMY TANKS
(depth of penetration of armour plate sfoped at 30 degrees)

Range to torget in yards I

USA l OOm SOOm SOOOrn ZOOOrn


75mm (Sherman. Crornwell 74mm 68mm 60mm 47mm
and Churchill)
S7mm (towed) - 81mm 64mm 50mm
76mm (towed, Sherman 109rnm 99mm &9mm 73mm
and Hellcat)
3in (Wolverine l O9mm 99mm 89mm 73mm
and towed)
British
6pdr (towed) 143rnm 131rnrn 117mm 90mm
I Jpdr (towed
and Sherman Firefly) 149mm 140mm 130mm Illmm
German
75mm KwK 40 (Panzer IY) 99rnm 92mm 84mm 66mm
75mm PaK 40 (towed) 99mm 92mm 84mm 66mm
88mm KwK 36 (Panzer VIE 1 20mm 112rnm lO2rnm 88mm
Tiger)
75mm KwK 42 (Panzer Y 1 38mm 128mrn 118mrn IOOmm
Panther)
88mm KwK 43 (Panzer VIB 2OZmm 187mrn l68mm E37mm
King Tiger. Jagdpanther
and towed)
128mrn PaK 44 (jagdtiger) - 212rnm 202mm 182mm
I
THE BREAKOUT. 10 jUCY TO 5 AUGUST

-
h

FIELD, MEDlUM AND HEAVY ARTlLLERY


Weight Maximum Normal rote
of shell range of fire per
(EbJ IYW minute
USA
75mm (airborne) 14 9.500 3
105mm SP or towed 33 12,150 3
I S5mm SP or towed 95 25,400 I in 2 min
British
25-pdr SP or towed 25 1 3.400 3
British limpnlrer. :1 .<...5in 4.Sin towed 55 20.500 I
prn firinr finm its pln pit 5.5in towed 80 18,100 I
at rhc scln o f Opcmtion 7.2in 200 16.100 1 in 2 min
'CircrnEinc' on the nicht n f
I .;-/ul~,.The pile of's~~cl~s German
new to rhr hgumrnis rypich I OSmm towed 32 10,675 3
of' an .1Ilir-d opcniny 150mrn towed 95 12.300 I in 2 min
bars:rgrq r r r n lbr a
strbsiclinr?. opccrtian. 210mm rowed 264 33,900 1 in 3 mins
(nl:I[ p h ~ t o . p p hR ~ - I I . ~
I THE BATXE OF NORMANDY I
lnlual Allled front l~ne

I
River Ochon

I .
..,',.River Orne

Bourgukbus Ridge

OPERATION
ZOODWOOD'
Tactical situation, 1000 hours 18 July 191
THE BREAKOUT, 10 JULY TO 5 AUGUST

air support
*"'-I
, mmm
O'CONNOR
-Colombelles steelworks defended by 11 Annoured Division
16 Lufrwaffe Field D~vision I Guards Annoured Division

I
Traffic jams as Allied armoured divisiom advance

7'\- \ Initial position of 2 1 Panzer Division

503 Heavy Tad Battalion o f


21 Panzer Division in retreat

\ ' Heavy British tank casualties


before Cagny

i00 SP Gun Baudion


of 21 Paozer Division
in retreat

.
German anti-tank guns in villages
THE BREAKOUT, 10 IULY TO 5 AUGUST

.+moured Division started to move fortyard, had advanced just sewn miIcs (deven km),at the
t'ollo~vedby Guards -4moured and 7 .4rmoured, rate of a thousand tons o f bombs a mile.
throush thc re? constricted British front lines. Ir was then that Eisienho\vt.r sho\\.ed the
The fonz-3rd German zone was penetrated suc- qualities that had made him Allied Supren~e
ccssfully, hut .Allied intelligncc had underesti- Commander. Despite pressure from Tedder, from
mated the stren@ of the German dcfcnces, which his ann staff and fmm cvcm critic of JIsntgomey
wcrc almost ten miles (13krn) deep: behind 16 hc
in thc ..illied war effclrt, made no astempt to
Lufhraffc Field Di~isionand 21 Panzet was a have llont~orncn-rcmoved. Instead, he contented
special self*-propcllcd gun battalion, 200 . h i - himself with a visit to Jlongorney on 20 Junc,
'I'ank Bartalion, and 503 Hcny Tank Battalion of backed by a Icttcr on the folloning day voicing his
'Ti~ers;hehind them even illa age on the pIain had disappointment at the British failure and stressing
its o1t-n group of four or fi1.c R8mm anti-tank t h a t with the Germans too weak to launch a
gins, leading back to the main concentration o f IIE counter-stroke the time for caution was ovcr.
Flak Corps on HourgCbus Ridge, with I SS P a z c r Eisenhower could have taken over direct command
himself. The date of 1 .4ugust had been set for the
activation of Third US .lrm!. and the formation of
'Cjrn)d~~%Md', 18-I@?: Snte 12th .4rmy Group; but, rather than change corn-
rhc tnrrrs n f t l ~ c
r.'olnm bcllcs stce11rclrks in
rnand in the middle of a battIe, Fiscnhower
the rfistimcp.( f l I 3 I stipulated that .\ Iontgomey- should remain in
p h o t o p ~ p hB?.i17J) charge of both army groups u n d thc battlc was
over. It was a difficult and entirely corrcct dcci-
.-In :~erinlr-ierv ofrhe zmrr rumsidemhlc and .me~~r[v
of the ~ r ' l l n poE'Ui~~nl+
an hnrnpcmd the adr;?nce. sinn. .4lthough EEiscnho\rer had Churchill's full
f R./LI(I. 3t I he start of The impm~ised~ 1 e l i . R ~ ~ authority to remove any British commander he
Clpcr;rtii~n'Cir~oc!w.t~rrd! 01' C3.w b? f ;I c XRmm considered unsatisfactoq-,he knew how damaging
T l ~ ;lilies
c horn hed this anti-~:rnliguns ancl a ibtr
zrca \tit11 Ircar?. hornbcrs. infinrr?. rr.:ls rruciilf to it could be ro the Allied coalition if he, as an
and altlrnuql~fuses rt.crr stoppiny thc British -4merican, sacked the most famous general in the
sct to L'x~:PI~ILJPI I R impact a d ~ - : ~ n(I1I
c ~:If
. 13ritish .\rm!-.
the ccrtcrinq r w s phoruympll C1-477)
In fact, because of 'Goadwood', >lontgomer?.
had now ~vonhis battle. On the evening of 18 J u l ~ ,
Fifteenth .Army's last amoured dirkion, 1 1 h
Corps in reserve bchind that. The structure of a Panzer, was ordered to move to the Caen sector.
British armoured division, split between an infan- The only n.o remaining German arrnoured di1-i-
t~ brigdc and an amoured brigade, meant that sions in France, 9 Panzer and I 1 Pamer, were
as the infantn wcre absorbed in clearing the first away in the south. On the Caen front the British,
rillages thc tanks were advancins, tirtualt~unsup- with three armoured, ten infantq- divisions and
paned, into massed anti-tank guns. Just as one airborne dilision faced seven amoured and
3 Iontgomc~\!?as announcing a compIett: succcss six infan- divisions. The .Americans with four
to SH.+EF, and to rhc press, thc armourcd drive armoured and thirteen infant divisions faced two
was stopped in a mass of burning tanks short of armoured, one mechanized, three infan@, one
Bourgtbus Ridge- On the fnllowing day thc aidanding and nvo parachute divisions. Even
infanty and tanks of both sides contested the ~ v i t h o ~the t emerne weakness of the German
tillages on the forward slope of the ridge, and on fbrces, the -4merican superiorih was at least n o
20 jul!. thc same torrential rain that had delayed to one.
Operation Tobra' brought the offensive to a halt. Operation 'Cobra', like 'Guodwood', was
Cacn had been cleared and 1 SS Panzer Corps based on the saturation bombing of the German
drawn back into thc battle, but at the cost of 313 line on a 7,000-vard front. re? different from the
tanks, or 36 per cent of Second BritisI~Amy's previous , h e r i c a n broad-front attach, and an
rank smcngh. .Is Eisenhower put it, the British exploitation b~ amour. Thc target picked for
65
T H E BATrLE OF NORMANDY

Operation 'Goodwood',18-20July 1944

m
THE BREAKOUT, I0 JULY T O 5 AUGUST

Goodwood result, 20 July 1944


ME B A T L E OF NORMANDY

---- - - - . - . - = - .=- E- :kn .\13 Sru;wt lighr ?finknf


2 (.-lm~oured) ttalion.
(irtmadic*rcir~:~rc#s, flrc
Ir-;~clinq hattalion of the
Ci11nrrf~ .~lrnrcrumd
Ilir.isirm, at rhr. S I : I F ~t ) f
C*CT;I rion . c i ~ ~ l d l ~ . r ~1n8d ' .
.[it!\: ( I t is crlnfuainp t w r
I? picnl ol'rheir :~ppro:rch
rhar tr hiEc nl i f oftlrc
BElriti.qh :~nnt~urr.d
dit.isic~nshad tnn k
fi~rnm;~tir~ns marit. up fan1
r r e n ~ c n fll'ca~.:~lr?.
t~ and
r l ~ cKq\al T:mL R~yiment,
thc third had mtnb
lilrnlarinns rnoclr. ~ r fmm p
h:~rr:llirms nf r-nr~lrrrr-ri
limt guarrls.) The Sru:rrt
M n~ :I rccnnnaiss;rncc
tank, t t ~ uIigl~r1i)r n t ~ m : 1 1
t:tnk rl arlhrc. Tlrc BritisEs
dcplrpd tn r1r.e .s'tl~:arts
.-.+
.

,- .
aith each of tlrcjr ~ l n k
m,-irnr~ntsor h i ~ ~ t i ~ as lio~s

13?ing d ~ ~ w l ~
snrokescrcens but prolrd
higl~lj* eficcri~ :1s~;marcif
trrizpon. Thc distinctire
stlrrrld of its firin,g Icrl M
its nickname a f *.lf<~anin~
.\finnic' among the
Brirish. (Ill 3 1 p h n t i ~ p i p h
12778.7)
The scrrrt uf thc
wcccssfi~E Hritish nnd
C.':m:~di:muse of':lirporlrr
II'iIS SJSfriT.lr(l ~ f '
Fonr itnl : l i i U(~ntmlleers,
R W ullicem a t c ~ c l ~ cmd
c:tch o f thc :itr:tcbkin,~
dir.i.~iion i ~ n dahlc t r ~talk
direct!\. t f ~ r t ~ un~dci lo~tc~
thc supportinq :~ifyfyr:lfi.IS
the? wmc in t o 3 ~ f l ~ k .
Lcadcr R.
I-icre.C;q~r:tdrr)o
-1. Sutltcrl;~nddispl;i.ring
h t h hi* nc~n-rep:l:rtinn
silk s~~i~rK:~ncI
his
Disrinyuished F1,rin.r
CA'n,ssrncd:~!l i h l ~ n n ,
rrjnfcrs u-ith.lf : ~jnr Colin
trl'thr Qt~ccn's
C;rc_r-
Rc$mcnr o\.thr.:I m:tp
bf):zrd. The .\ 1:1joris
~tr:~nng rlrc li~rmarifln
f b s h r)f',Sctr)ndBritish
-Im y : ~ n isd on :I( ri~ched
dtrtics: :IS:r l i i t i ~ ~o nf i ~ ~ r .
(Ill :ll phnh>gr:fphOL.765)

1,500 bombers of Eighth US .4ir Force w a s case they broke rhrough. So, by coincidence, on
'Panzer Lchr' Di~ision, opposite CollinsV~l1 25 July both offensives bcgan tosether. Snuth of
Corps. Unlibc Dempse!., however, Bradley had Caen thc Canadians failed to make progress
infant? to spare. -4fter the bombing, the artack through the defences of 1 SS Panzcr and 9 SS
would bc made b~ thrcc in fan^ di~isions,holding Panzcr, and after 21 hours thc attack was called
the hvo armourcd divisions and one i n f a n e off. 013 West, hoivcvcr, continued to regard
division of the breakout forcc in reserve. Set for 'Spring' as he main .Allied offensive for a furthcr
2 1 July, 'Cobra' was postponed at the last minute nvclve hours before responding to 'Cobra'. In part
due to bad 1-eather. The message did not get this was because Collins' attack began so slo\vly,
through to 335 aircraft, which bombed in poor with .American aircraft again bombing short on to
tisibifin. - in some places short, on to their 0tt-n their onm troops. .+rnonp the dead w a s the
front-line troops. Remarkably, surprise was not hi~hcst-ranking.illied officer killed in Europe,
lost, since thc Germans considered that the Lieutenant-General Lesle!- 1lcNair, Chicf of CS
.American attack had been haltrrd by their ot~m Ground Forces and in Nernland~as, supposedl!*,
retaliato~artillen fire. Patton's replacement commanding FUS.4G.
JIean~l-hiIe,on 23 Jul!; First Canadian In the bombins, 'Panzer Lehr' practicalI>
was activated trith I1 Canadian Corps and I British ceased to exist, losing all its tanks and nvo-thirds
Corps under it. Lieutenant-General Crerar plan- nf its men. The in fan^ artack began at 1100, and
ncd his own offensive, Operation "Spring', to be by the end of thc first d a ~1-11 Corps had
Iaunched on 2,i July h!- I1 Canadian Corps d o penetrated about 4.000 yards into the German
thc Caen-Falnise road, nith the Guards . h o u r - position. On the following day 1111 Corps to the
ed Division and 7 rimowred Ditision in resen-e in west joined TTI Corps in pushing the Germans
69
M E B A n L E OF NORMANDY
11
Operation 'Cobra',25 July 1944

back a further 8,000 yards, and on 27 July the discovering that there was no coherent German
breakthrough came as 2 Armoured Division (the opposition in front of them. On the following day,
'Hell on Wheels' division) fought its way through 1 August, Third US Army became officially
to open country. Bradley at once released VIII operational. Bradley took command of 12th Army
Corps into Patton's (theoretically non-existent) Group with his deputy, Lieutenant-General
command. On 28 July VII Corps captured Courtney Hodges, taking over Fist US Army.
Coutances, a penetration of more than twelve Within 24 hours, while air power and armour held
miles (seventeen km). Two days later, Patton's open the five mile (eight km) gap at Avranches,
troops captured the crucial road junction at Patton had passed four divisions through the town,
Avranches at the base of the Cotentin Peninsula, out of the bocage, and on to the roads of France.
THE BREAKOUT, I0 JULY TO 5 AUGUST

American infantry of MI come under enemy the Americans on 30July.


Corpsjust south of St LA d e r y fm. FWM The German wears a
during or just before photograph EA30511) characteristicSS
Operation 'Cobra', late camouflaged sniper's
July. It was fighfingin A smper of2 SSPanzer jacket over his tunic and
conditions such as these Division 'Das Reich' beinp is probably f i m one of
that slowed the American searched by an th; divisiin's tun
advance so much. The infanbyman of MII US panzergrcnadier
American troops are Corps near the village of regiments.
attempting to outt7ank an Gavray, south of photograph OWIL52255)
enemyposition and have Coutances, captured by
M E BATTLE OF NORMANDY

sidc in Sormand! imagined h a t the Gennans


T h e Exploitation, 3 to 11 ,.lugust
could win the battle.
1 3 ~the start nf .JluLu~t.Ohcrsrpppcnfiihrer -4s thc Gcrman front broke nr~d the hnrtlc
1-lausset's Seventh .4i-my was disintcptiny. hccamc mohile, Gcman commanders tvcre forced
Pnnzcr Group Il'est, which 11-3s renamrd Fifth tn ref? more on radio transmissions, rclensiny
1'anzl.r .Jlrmy on 5 .4uLwst,follonrd ir a week later. more information to thc .Allies throush '"Ctra'.
Thc numerical desiqations of G c m a n arm1 Thc :lllit.cl tactical air t'irccs also came hll! inro
corps and divisions rcmaincd, as did the neat p l a ~as thc weather improved, attackins German
boundaries on the maps, but on the pound there cdumns on thc move and causing horrible losses
was only a collcctinn o f small battle gnups, in the horsed transport on which they relied. .\lost
shrinking dnmn to battalion size, made up o f men German units were short of ammunition, parti-
who seldom knew where the!. were or who their cularl!. for thcir anti-tank _rmns; and tanh, and
divisional commander was thar d a ~ . \\'here other 1.chicIes wcre being abandclncd on the
Gcrman units did stand and f i ~ h t ,their tactical battlefield fbr lack of hel. B! 6 .4upst, Army
superiorit\- over the .Allies was as pronounced as Gmup 13 had taken 1++,261 casualties and rc-
evcr, preyentin9 the rctreat from hecorning a rout ceived onl! 19,914 rcplaccmcnts.
until the IT? end. Even a small number oftheir On 27 July, finally realizing that 'Cobra' and
superior tanks could bring an .Allied pursuit to a not 'Spring' ~ v a sthe main .4llied thrcat, von K I y e
suddcn halt. But nt'ter I 1 riupst nohod? on either attempted to seal the gap. By thc ne\T Jay LIIII
Lieutcnnn r-C;encn~l
Cicarpc. S. P a m n
displ~~in his
y r.qual!v
~ teeth : ~ n d
I i l n l r ~ uh3d
i~on--h:mrllrdrel.1~11 vrs to
CicnrnJ .Ilnnryomc~-
i ~ in
shcrrt[\ :~ticrl ~:lrtiral
I.*mnccin carljA-luo:
Licu tcn;lnt-Generid
Bmdfc! is bet11een Piltton
nnd .\fcmtpnmc~, - 3s he
nlien li~lmdhirnsclf in
rl~cird i ~ p ~ ~ P:t~ton
t c s . 11~s
rcgardr-rflv rlie G'crn~ims
as r he hest o f r he --I flicrl
cnmman'crs nnd shifircd
m:lny of'tlrefr
clramcrc.risticsin his
:~ppmachto hnttle, hat hc
rl as h ~ :#I
~ coping
d with
thc crlmples polifr'cs ol'
rhc r!?lr. .\i~tr $ ~ : I none
E uf
rhc . n c r : ~ l Irr:rrs
s
hmr:ttinn signs or
riistin-wirihin~ insi-gnia
nrlrer than thr.ir mnk
h~*s. (nl.I2 p h n t ~ ~ m p h
i3h.q.iI)
T H E EXPLOTTATION. 5 TO I I AUGUST

Panzcr Corps headquarters was on its way from rncan~vhilc,had side-srcppcd Guards .4rrnourcd
the south, so freeing S1,TII Panzer Corps head- Ditision and 7 .4rnmourcrl Division ivcsnvard xf~cr
quarters, which pulled out of tine nppositr the the failure of Operation 'Spring'. O n 30July, with
Ijritish ancl b e p ~tol take 2 Panzer and 116 Panzcr air and artillcry support, O'Connnr's \TI1 Cnrps ot'
n-eshvard, slo~vl!- for want of fuel, to confront \'I] nvo armoured divisions and onc i n h n t ~ilivision
US Corps at .+\-ranches. By 1 .Ilupst, 9 Panzer attacked towards \ k c alongside 1' US Cnrpc,
whilc Hucknall's S L Y Corps drovc for 11ont
Division and six i n f a n e divisions. in ~ a r i o u sstatex
of readiness, were also heading for the Normandy Pfnqon, in Operation 'Rluecoat'. This front, tFle
battle tielcf . jtlthough there was na exact moment ~r-orstof the Suissc Norrnandc countF, was held
whcn the Gemans saw through 'Fortitude', these by LXXII' Corps headquarters, which had also
moves marked thc end of an!. remaining vahe in arrivcd from Brittany. OR 1 .August {with echoes of
the deception plan. Unable to set a coherent Operation 'Epsom') rnn Kluge pulled I1 SS
report fiom the front, van Kluge replaced the Panzcr Corps nut of line in the east nnd committed
commander of Lnn" Corps, sacked Se\+enth it against O'Connor's adrancc. which was stopped
' chicf of staff, and on 30 July btietly took two miles (thrcc km) short of 1-irc. Progress b~
r!m!.s
over command of Seventh .Army himself. XLS Corps was so slow that .\Inntgon~ery re-
The nhject of' 'Cobra', as laid do~t-nin thc placed Burlinall with Licutcnant-Gcncral Rrian
original 'Overlord' plan, had bccn to secure rltc Horrauks, who had commanded .XLX Corps fur
ports of Briman!.. Thc German decision not to him in thc Ij'estern Desurt. _\lent Pinqnn was
retreat from the bocage, and 1Iontgamen's skill finally secured on 6 ."lugust, thc same da!. that S I N
in prc~entingthem from forming a rcscnc, meant C'S Corps, attacking alonpsidc thc British, cap-
t h a ~wvl~cnthe break came it was Far more complctc rurcd 1-ire.
than the .\Ilies had ori@nall!- ex-ected. For thc rest Pattnn's Third CTS -4rrny. meandtile, had
of [he battle, thcir onm success seemed to catch bcen advancing almost i~nopposcd.By 1 .-\upst
thcm off halance. On 29 JuIy, I3radley ordered she lead clement. of ITII Corps had reached
Patton to rum the whole of Jliddleton's 17II Corps Rennes. On 3 .-\ug-~ist, Bradley, with 3 Iontgomerfs
n-eshvard into Brittany while the remainder of approval, ordered Pattun t{~divert only minimum
Third US :Inn! drovc for llortain. \liddlcton's forces into Rrimany and to send thc rcst ot"Thirr1
two armourcd and infanny dirkions wcrc US .lrm!- castward. 13:- 8 .4uLgusust, Parton's newl?
opposed by =1- Corps with mops from six forrned 17-Corps n-as ar I,c .\lam, ourflanking
divisions, includin~rhe reformed 77 Ditision and L\'III Panzcr Corps and LS'rLKI Corps (little
91 -4irlanding Division, In fact, 'Cobra' actuall!: morc than 9 Panzer Division and somc battle
failed in its original intention of securing thc groups). At the same timc, .= Corps was racing
Briman? ports, some of which did not fall until due south for Nantcs, n-ith S I I Corps forminy
September, and like Cherbourg t h c ~~vcrcof no behind it. This was thc time for .Jlmcrican rnobili~
immediate value to the .Sllies. Rradle!. was cridci- m prnre itself:
zcd for faiIing to turn 1'111 Corps, his leading On 3 Aupst, .4ddPHitFer, rejecting nurncrous
formation, easnvard towards Paris at once, bur to requests Krom von Kluge Sir a retreat, ordered that
hare done so might have invited the counter- the line beween the Rivers Orne and \ire should
stroke against Third US .4rm$s flank or rear that be taken over entire1~-b~ infan- dirisians, 6ieeing
Eisenhower, .Ilontgomep and Rradle!- all feared. at least four armoured di~isinnsfor a counter-
Patten. pic all^, ~vouldlater say that if he had attack iveshvard across the base nf the Cotentin
worried about his flanks he could never haw Peninsula to .4vranches, cutting Patton" forces in
fought the \Tar. half and bottling up the ?iIIied breakout. \\'ith I1
To accompany 'Cobra', B r a d l e ~had ordered 'I- SS Pamer Corps committed against the Rtitish at
US Corps, on the boundap n-ith Second British I'ire, NLIII Panzer Corps l-leadquarters was
.'Lrmy, to launch a diversionay attack on 26 Jul!-; appointed to co-ordinate the atsack, which n-as
this was making sloiv pprog~css. J l o n t p n e ~ , made by the remnants of 2 Panzer Dirision,
73
M E BAlTLE OF NORMANDY

A
N

Allied air support


2
Approoamata ihilial US i k s line

Allied air support

Hill 317 held by 30 US ~ivision:


Ul20 lnfamry plus I Company of
3120 Infantry

usmwi
f
COLLINS

IORTAIN COUNTER-ATTACK
Dawn. 0500 hours 7 August 1944
74
I *
THE WWITATIDRL 5 TO I I AUGUST

G r n ~ X L r n
VON FUNCK

r 2 SS P-er Division
W of 17 SS
elemenm
(DI
~anzerGrenadierDhisi011
and 275 Division)
take heavy tank casualties
from Allied fghter-bomber amcks

\ \
River Silune
Mortain
THE BA-LE OF NORMANDY
-
' P a n ~ c rIxhr' Ditision, 1 SS Pan7cr Ditidon, 2 night of h .'iug~st,strihin~313 US Ditision. 13!. this
SS Panxer nitision, I 1 h Panzer 1)itision and 17 clatc. ncarly thc uholc .Jllliccl mcric;11 air strenyth
SS Panzergenadier Ili~isinn- in all, R O mow was in Zotmancl!, and Eiscnhn\rer assurcd
than 185 ranks. 'I'he anack, codr-namccl 'I .iitrich" BraJlc~tlrnt. cvcn if thc Gcrnmans hmkc tl~rough,
(German for rhc r o ~ ~nf m I,il=~cin Hcllriunr) \~ouFd his ttnclps could hc hnth supplicd and suppnrred
sfart at Jlortain, hclcl by I'irst LS :Irm!.'s \I1 h~ air. .\lthou~h thc Gcrmans uapturetl AIortnin
Corps. 'I''hi5 \\-as just the son of mohile srrnnured itsclt; ~ h c ySnilccl to sccurc thc crucial h i ~ hqounrl
attack that Knrnrncl had dcclarcd impc~ssihle cast ol' thc rtnvn, Mill -3 17, \I h i c l ~was held b y a
ayainst -4llicd air ponct, and nobnd~cl-cept I Iitlcr tcinforcccl battalion of 30 llivision, and at dawn
had any faith in its succcss. The cr~mmandcrof the! camc undcr rcpcnteJ Brirish and, .4mcrican
116 Panzcr wnc sackcd for refusing to let his tjghrer-hr ~rnhcrattack. Per11nps 70 t i c m a n tanks
di~isic~n tilbc part. pcnutratucl 1-11Cnrps front. of which 30 rcmainccl
'Cltsn' p v t . the :11Fies i1 fe\v hourq' warning of by that cvcninr. ?hc five armourcd divisions lrad
thc JIorcr~incounter-attack, which h e p ~ non thc Icft hcnvccn ~ h c mciyl~t X8mm anti-tank y ns,
ancl hail run out of fuel aficr aclvancing no more
scyt-;rnrin the
li~rc~gi)und:rppcns trr he than fitc rnilcs (cight km). O n 4 .4ugust, Mitler,
:I n*~$nrtv~t;~l
fr:dYic dcspitc furthor prozcsts tiom both von Kluw and
poiccrnirn, 11 ho 111>ulr1 bc, I-lnusser. orclcrccF TFA\71I'anzcr Corps to JlolJ in
rcu/~onsihkf i ~ thc
r
I7oi1 rrf tcallfr-
srnot~rl~
place. (kncral Ehcrhach was to relinquish com-
hcl~indthc lines. flI1-11 mand of Fifth Pnnzcr .4my to Oberguppcnfiiihrcs
~ ~ l r n r o hr ~R,Y.Zfl,V)
~~p Dietrich of P SS Psn~crCorps, and to conccntratc
--
THE ENCIRCLEMEM, h I TO 25 AUGUST

at1 of'.drrn! Ciroup 13's auilablc armnur into a new zcd Gcrman rctrrat. First Canadian -4rn1~ ~vould
command, I'anxcr Group Khcrhaoh. Of : l m l sizc, open an r>tTensit.c sourh~varrlnr~\.;rrrlsFalaisc nncl
this \you1J oomc administtati~elyunJcr Ilausser's then turn cast\\ard: trlwards the Rivcr Suine.
Suvcnth :lrrny and would anack on 11.4upuw, first Sccond Sritjsh .-\rm!. i~c>uldilrivc south-east for
south-neshvarrl, ant1 thcn north-\vesh\.arrl aEF ."lgcntan anJ thcn also turn eashvsrd. 13radlc~'s
thc way back to .l\.ranches. 12th .Arm! Group was t c ~continue its nclva~~ce
casnvard and then north-cast to\fi~rclsParis. 'T11c
t'ailurc of' *Liittich' opcncd up the possibility of a
T11e Encirclement, 11 to 25 :\uplsz
'short honk' to cnt-clop rhc ivholc of 4rm!. Group
Through 'Ultra'. r11c .4lfics knew within 24 13 \vt~crcit stood. On 8 :!ugusr, Rradlcy, haling
hours rhat h c Gcrmans tvould not sctrcat from coofcrrccl with 1 I o n t y o r n c ~and Eiscnhowcs,
llartain. On 6.4upst, 3lontgomcn had issued a otdcrcd llanon to mrn his ?;I-Corps northnard t o
directive for a long enrelop~nentagainst an o r g n i - ."llcnqnn as the southern am1 01' thc cncirclcmcnt,
tvhilc 111 Corps d r o ~ cthe remnant of XLI'II
lPhc link-up hcnl-ccn 3 UsitiFh hpdr anri-tnnk l'anzrs C:orps hack. On 1 1 .4u~~wst _\lonrgomon
Britisl~I)iz.isirm and 2 CS p m . Vmr. rl~c!irrnr;~rirm issuctl a ncw dircctil-c: the Canadians wcrc to
ision j t ~ s tnortl; o f 1 Yrc I?:~shcstF~rl~nrllciir,i.iitros.
nn -7 .l u,wst. proriding a and tlic Ilrctl pin cln rhr. caprurc Falaisc and ?trgcntan while 12th .Arm!+
h l shrrukier fnr tlrc right. 'mu g-ro~ndin rhc Group nlovcd up from :{lenson to Argcntan to
cspl~itn tion I? Third LS dirirancu. iri hpical trf t l ~ c complctc the circIe. ,\ lontgornen., rvcr cautious,
.-lm,r-. I libre3 soldier n f 2 ?i'uissc.\i~m:lnrlc. (nl31
S:S Ilil isinn u.:~lk:.rrrrr to p h r r r ~ ) ~ m pIIPQS.;)
lt cxprcssed concern about rhc strcngh of thc
t:~JfiID t I ~ i ~ g ucreu.
n of:^ Gcrman armour still in thc .\ lortain arca.
THE B A T E OF NORMANDY

1 The Breakout, 16 August 1944

0 10 20 30 40 50 Mile!
I I
n qn M UI an urn
Sergeant-Major -The Canadian attack south from Caen, Opera-
McCdoch o f 6 Battalion, tion 'Totalize', began on the night of 7 August.
Royal Scots Fusilim, 15
(Scornm&)Division, With support from RAF Bomber Command, II
admcing through a Canadian Corps attacked against 89 Division,
comlield during hastily reinforced by 12 SS Panzer. Lieutenant-
'Bluecoat; 3 August By
this date 15Din'Son was General Crerar's reserves, 4 Canadian Armoured
a veteran formation that Division and 1 Polish Armoured Division, were
had been in action for new to battle and to Normandy, and made slow
more than sir weeks, and
it is instructive to note progress. One Canadian armoured regiment lost
that the sergeant-major is its way altogether and was overrun by the Germans.
u r q h g a d e , with Despite their considerably superior numbers, the
bayonet iixed, rather than Canadians were halted on 11 August after an
a submaehine-gun. He
has also either removed advance of nine miles (fifteen km),only half way
or dirtied down the to Falaise.
formation flashes on his On the following day the leading elements of
shoulders, and is
indistinguishable f i a XV US Corps (two infantry and two armoured
private. ~ p h o t o g n p h divisions, including 2 French Annoured Division)
B85S8) reached Argentan. On 14 August, First Canadian
Army launched its renewed offensive, Operation
79
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY

'Tractable', and three days latcr bmke through to .-I Shcmwa F i ~ = f +of I
Falaisc, nr-clvc miles (cightecn km) north of thc Polish :lmtrured D i ~ i s i r ~ n
~r:titir?q t o p into action
.4rncrican positions. Scrcnth . l m ~Panzcr
, Group durinc O p r n ~ t i o n
Lbcrbach and most of PiCth I'an7.er A m y wcrc 'Tntalizc: ,Y .I u v s t . The
being squcc~cdinto a +ant pocket, from which the 'I'L ' fi~nn:lrinnsign l r r v
used : ~ l u nlrith
r rhr
Falaise pap was the o n l ~csit. 'I1 i'nngcdJlussar' of'
Despite the sEo\v Canadian propess, Rradley Pirl:t~td.Tlnr.dilisinn r w s
turned down Patton's rcqucst cln 13 .4ugist to erluippcd :~nd orp~nizcd
h! tlir lh-itisl~snrl n~ncfe
push 13-Corps north nf .4rgentan and close thc up nfPnlcu 11-hnh:td
pocket, so provoking another conrrm-en?. 'I'hird
US .4rmy1s swing northward had squeezcd out
most of First U S .%rm!-, and 17-Corps was power that rhc I-Ulies could bring apinst their
ordcred to hold in place until its line at .;\rgentan steadil! shrinking battle groups. The :\llies, on thc
could he taken over by First U S Army mops. othcr hand, had no training or experience in
Bra81ey once m m ~ 4 t n r hT R ~ L*a f d ~nu < f ~ & ~ ' hYfX&~ , aRL CPC~C~WRW.. [hkIthPk
counter-smoke ayainst both sides of his thinly forccs were being ~t-ipedout from the air. German
stretched line if he drove north to Falaise. 'The tactical superiority, and Allied respect for it,
Gcrmans had plenv of espxicnce in being prtr~cntedthe pocket being closed on the ground.
surroundecf, by Soviet forces on the Eastern Front, Illatever was happening in norm and^, Adolf
hut never before accompanied by the kind of air Hitler continued to direct the bartlc from Kasten-
80
THE ENCIRCLEMENT. I I TO 25 AUGUST

Et-cn aficrthc Germans holding up thc Canadians


J~adbeen driven from in their drirr ~ O U : I M I S
rhcir pmpilrcd dr.fi.nm F;rlilisc. .Vote that b?.this
~IIPJ. used the L~rmhnuses st::^ in the bank i n f i i ; ? n ~
:snit srn~ll1ill31~as
of I:1~1!
11.71~ ~ES~CSISP~
.Vrrrmirndy as rrirh mp'rnmtal nr~d
stmn.qmints. These nm d i ipinn:f
~ 1 f l : i ~ h cand
~.
Britidr mmps o f 1711
C n ~ mininq
s in
fi~m hnusc fi~htinpand
sniper c-lc:~mnc~ nn S 0
.-I tr~mst.u.~prriencingthe
s:lnle pn,hlcms rhar ~wrc

.1f3 Stuarr lirbr tanks, the ~ i l l n ~ g51,irh


r , its cl~nrch
Icadin~c!cnrcnts of:# stccplr, and apple
clir ision ul'.\l C 3' Cc~rps, o r c l r s d ~i s~hpica1 ofthis
rcg'rm of Snm~mc!~.
(1ll:lIphflto.grrph
I:. IJ40.7 0)
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY
i
I The Falaise Pocket, 16 August 1944

"3 \-, "8, L"" "Imp ""C#C

severely understrength,

burg as if victory were still possible. By 12 August, than a reinforcement of 45 tanks and 4,000 men.
Panzer Group Eberbach had assembled on the On 15 August, Generalfeldmarschall von Kluge,
southern shoulder of the pocket at Argentan. But, driving between headquarters, was attacked by an
I
I

as the German front collapsed, what had been Allied fighter-bomber and went missing in the
intended as a decisive armoured counter-swke pocket Hitler placed Hausser in temporary com- I
against XV US Corps resolved itself into no more mand of Anny Group B.
THE ENCIRCLEMENT. I I TO 25 AUGUST

Group G to strengthen the Normandy front meant


I that it was the 'Dragoon' forces that had the easier
path. On his reappearance at his own head-
,
4 s s quarters, von Kluge informed OKW that the
Falaise pocket could not be held, and on 16
.ugust Hider finally agreed to a withdrawal. The
ecision had come far too late, although any

I
attempt to withdraw earlier would also have
produced heavy German casualties. On 17 August
renewed drives by 11 Canadian Corps and V US
Corps brought the jaws of the pocket to within a
few thousand yards of each other, and by 20
August, despite repeated German attacks from
both sides, the pocket was closed. On 18 August
titler replaced von Kluge as Commander OB
iest and Army Group B with Generalfeld-
I marschall Walther Model, who found himself in
.barge of a rout. Summoned to Rastenburg, von
.luge committed suicide. Oberstgruppenfihrer
I dausser was badly wounded on 20 August, losing
For some o f Patton's men bothered to add them.
the drive acmss France Leading is the platoon
was hardly a race. These Lieutenant, Eolow~dby his
are infanhy of= US sergeant (note the
Corps just west of binocular case), the radio
C h a r t p on 17 August. man and the BAR man.
Veteranshave remoyed all The damage done to the
i d e n w n g insignia fmrn area by the fighting is
their uniforms, andnew obvious fmm this picture.
arrivals as casualty fIWMphotogrph
replacements have not EA34627)
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY

an eye. He escapcd from the pocket, but Sevcnth staycs of the attack 1 Polish Amoured had carried
. h y as s command ceased ro ehist. Ebcrbach nit11 it 10- loads of British unjfnrms into which
shcphcrded the remainins Gcrman formations Polish-born prisnners from the Ost barralions
eastward befnre himself being captured on 30 could change before resuming the f i ~ h tagainst
..iugwst. their old masters. The -4Ilies countcd ,567 tanks or
U? 22 .4upst all resistance in the Falaisc self-propelled p n s , orcr 9712 artille~pieces and
pocket had ccased. Eisenhower, two da!-s later, 7,700 other whicIes ~vreckedand abandoned in
recorded that it was possiblc to walk for hundreds the pockct. Of 38 German di~isionscommitted to
of vards on nothing but dead and deca~inpflesh. the battle. 25 had been completely dcstro~-ed.
The smell penetrated the cockpits of aircraft fl!iny Bctween them. the eight hattle goups of 2 Panzcr,
overhead. The .-\Hies had v a t difficulty in assess- 2 1 Pames, 11b Panzer, 1 SS Pamcr, 2 SS Panzcr,
ing how- much destruction the!. had caused. 9 SS Panzcr, 10 SS Panzer and 12 SS Panzer now
Perhaps 10,000 enemy troops had been killed, musrered 70 tanks, 30 artillen- pieces and fourrccn
30,000 surrendered, and 20,000 had escaped. B!. weak i n f a n c baadions. 'Panzer Lehr' and 9
no means all of these were German; in the last Panzer had been wiped out. The same, for all
W E ENCIRCLEMENT, I I TO 25 AUGUST

practical purposes, was true of Army Group B. suffered 209,672 casualties including 3fi,976
Dilisinns that wcrc not crushed had been broken dead. .\ltogethes 4,101 .?\Ilied aircraft and I ti,7 14
up and dispersed, Advancing cashvard, XI1 British aircrew had been lost owr the battlefield or in
Corps found that it was taking prisoners from support of the battle.
thirrccn different divisions on its front. On 17.4upst, k7-US Corps had handed oyer
Of over a million men who had fought under the front at .+rgentan to 1' US Corps and joincd
Rornmel, von Kluge and hlodel in Kormandy, the rest of Third US ,Arm!. racing crasmrd. On
210,000 were dear1 or wounded, a further 200,000 the night of 19 ."lpst, Patton's leading division,
missing or captured. The Germans had lost 1,500 79 Division, crossed the Rivcr Seinc. By 25
tanks, 3,500 artillcry pieces, 20,000 vehicles and -4ugust all four Allied armies were leveI uith the
ot-cr 3,600 aircraft. Nobod!. could count the Seine, and on that day 2 French Arrt~oured
number of dead horscrs, or wanted to do so. Ry the Dikision Fiherated Paris. The date was D-Day
end of .dugu;ustthe -4llics had landed in Normand!- plus 80 days, or just slightly ahead of schedule for
39 divisions or 2,052,299 men,along with 438,371 Ylantgomery's origina1 QverIordl pIan. The Battle
vchiclcs and 3,098,259 tons of stores. They had of Norman* was over.
El'rm rhc Cicrmnns n.ho
csct~pedthe f;:r!:~ise
prwkct 1 1 . cm~o t safe fmm
.Il1ir.d air pow.cr. Ilcrc
C;c.m:m ~ ~ r l u m hair os
hccn cntr.ql~ron the mad
near the ~ i l l n g cof
C:lind~amps,abozr r servcn
mifcs (hr.cll~A m ) cast of
Fal:lise, h~ aircxdt of
Second ?:~cticaI:l ir Forcc
nn I Y - lumwst.Smrrke is
rking l m n ~rri~icleshir on
the road rr-hilc c~hlcmare
q f i n gm pwLape:ICTOSS
cofmtr?. .Vote the barn b
crr~temalreadj. mod ing
the gmund liwm a
p t c ~ i o u smid. (111:1?
pho t t ~ ~ p z pCIA78)
h

.4EKed soldiers attempting


of
tn assess the rrrcclin,~e
German lrhicles in or
clr~seto the R~li~isc
pocker, probaI3Jv in early
.Srbptcmbcr. C;~nadian and
-4nlerjcnn troops are
rle:rring thc clr.hris our of
Il~e513);and :an!. hndies
h;lve berm rcrnc~r-cdh r
hririal. In thc fhrcg-mund
is probah[l. the hurnt-out
remnins of a Germon
halfk~ck.Grnund
conditions in the pocket
~xn'cdfrom open m u n v
m rhc hoc;?m shown in
chis pic tuff^. (I11 :11
phorqgmph Ul, 909)
Desd horscs uf Geman
tnlnsporl in the ralaisc
pt~ckct,25. i ~ ~ . y sIRt .
Snmnndy t11ccompIcrc
morori7;ttfnnnf the -4llied
ti#n+c% ginr rhcm it
marked adrnnta-rnmVer
the G c m ; ~ n st,i hi1 nrreh
sl~on-cdhorses in thcir
olrn otlicinl films or
phot~~gxtphs bur arrc
nc~~enhclcss hcm.i[l-
dependent on rhenl Ihr
tlrcir rransposr
thmughnut r l ~ crr:lr. (nl3f
qhntoqaph If'l(lh8)
Il hitc .~rmoumc!mm o f 2
French :lrmmrrcd
Dir-isinn nn pizndc in thc
C:hnmps I.;l~sccs on thc
aliernor~n01'2.; .jugu~t3s
cnllr;ds r ~ / c h r ; t t the
e
libemtion o f Paris. The
cnnc~rnrrdImks ofrhc
crctrs ma?. hr. illre to the
fi~ctthat sniping ilnd
srrcet- fightiny zr.cre stif1
pint on ~ oIhr t fmm
thcnr at the time. (nl :Iff
p h o t r > p p h RL'l24l
On 1 September 1944 Eisenhower took over strategically conboversial decision to continue the
formal command of all SHAEF graund forces in broad front stsaten, The normally cautious
Europe from ,Montgornev, to the latter's intense Montgomev, trying to force Eisenhower's hand,
frustration. In compensation, GhurchiII promoted attempted to seize a bridgehead over the Rhine in
hlontgomery to Field !Marshal, one rank higher Operation Warkct Garden' on 17 September, in
than Eisenhower, for whom the new five-star which three divisions af First Allied Airborne
rank of General of the Army was then quickly Army dropped to form a 'carpet' through northern
invented. Meanwhile the Mied spearheads were Holland along which XXX British Corps could
ad\-ancing virtually unopposed towards Germany. advance to Amhem. The operation noasa disast-
Third US liberated Chalons-sur-Mame rous failure, Montgomery's first and only defcat in
on 29 August, and on 31 August its leading tanks a major battle. Characteristically, he described it
crossed the River lMeuse at i'erdun. On 3 as a 90 per cent success. By the end of September
Scpternber, Second British L9smyliberated Brus- lack of fuel had slowed the whole Allied advance,
sels, with Antwev following a day later. Com- giving the Germans time to strengthen their lines,
manders talked with some optimism of ending the and it was not until a renewed campaign in the
war in one or h v months.
~ spring that the Rhine was finally crossed. But after
Eisenhower was faced at. once with a difficult the Rattle of Normandy the only question was how
decision. German garrisons still held the ports of soon the war would end, not who mould win it.
Brittany and the I'as de Calais, and all Allied Germany surrendered unconditional1y to the
I
supplies were still coming across the Normandy Allies on 8 May 1945.
beaches. Logistics plannen advised that the avail- Too much discussion on Normandy has
able supplies could not support all four armies at centred on the controversial decisions of the Allied
such a rate of advance. The original 'Overlord' commanders. It was not good enough, apparentt~,
swatep of a broad front had been based on the to win such a complete and spectacular victor?.
fear that the Germans might counter attack a over an enemy that had conquered most of Europe
narrow thrust. Xlontgomen now pressed Eisen- unless it was done perfectly. Most of the blame for
hower, to the wrge of insubordination and beyond, this lies with Montgornen;, urho mas fontish
to abandon this stratep, halt Third US A m y , and enough to insist that it Jmd been done perfectly,
give priorip to a northern drive to be made by that Normandy - and all his other battIes - had
Second British Army uith First US .Army in been fought according ro a precise master plan
support. 'CTithin a week, Patton, with Bradley's drawn up beforehand, from which he never
support, was pressing for the opposite strategv, to deviated. It says much for his personali~that
@I-e ppririv to his owm Third US Army driving hlontgorner?. round others to agree with him,
into eastern France. Both hoped to get across the despite overwhelming evidence to the contray.
Rhine and into the Geman industrial heartland of His handling of the BattIe of Normandy mas of a
the Ruhr before Christmas. ver). high order, and as the person who would
It was not apparent to Eisenhower, however, certainly have been blamed for losing the battle,
that AIIicd supplies could support even one army he desemes the credit for winning it. Credit should
on such a drive. For reasons of coafition solidarip aIso go to Eisenhower for his skill as a politicaI
and safe^ he took the politically correct but leader. (In 1952 he was to be elected President of
87
TI-!€ AFTERMAM OF THE & A ? T E

The =>won for thc battle.


French rrf~wcs retl~ming uirh miSitfiq.c.lrnoufh..
to thcir homes in norr re-:lcquimd hy the
Snnnnnck This Inr;lls m d hcinq pu~lccl
panic.ul:tr photoprph n m hrm hnrses. .\rite rhc
taken r)n .i Jirb: Thcir srnsll h i v . : ~
British srce!
rransprrri i 5 ia cir.iIi:rn Irclmet. (Ill71 photn.m~ph
lo- cummnndec.rrd h~ R648.7)

The price of the bsttfe. The price o f the battlc. .l


3lnjor C.5.G o d n o ofthe n ~ ~
Rn!:?l .-I- .llediliu:rl rnsr.hinc-g~nnrrof25 5.q
C.'r)rps perlbrms an A~nzcrgwngdier
opcrahm at .\umber -32 Rqgimcnt, 12 SS Pnnzcr
U;lsu:tl~Clearing Ststion, I)i~.i<ir>n,hesidc n rrench
I British Corps, area ncar in .II:tEon, .\;r~rm:mdj; 9
Rcricrs, on 20June. {I1131 Jub. (Ill 31 phntqgxtph
plrt~trtmrphB591171 nclso7)
THE AFTERMATH OF T H E BAITLE

the United States and to serve two terms of office.) battle as it developed, there was nothing they could
Those German commanders who sun-ived she u-ar have done to nin it. .4t the level that the I3attle of
were happy to blame their defeat on AdoK I-Iitler. Normandy was fought, the art of generalship
Some. with incredible arrogance, even tried to consisted of not letting such circurnstanccs arise.
Iecture thc men who had so thoroughly defeared The dispute between Kommel and von Rundstedt
them on how they themselves rnisht have done it over a rigid or a flexible defensi1:e s t r a t c ~was a
better. massive irrelevance. Not did any of their rcplace-
Could the Germans h a ~ ewon the Battle of rnents have anything better to suggest. In t n t t h ,
Normandy? They might have had better intelli- German genemlship in Normand! was of a low
gence dcvcInped, to see through Operation order throughout the battle. Patton, who was killed
'Fortitude'. They might have rationalized their in a road accident in 1945, could have given them
command structure and improved their supplies all lessons in inventiveness, and in how to get
and training. The .4llies rwuld nor have invaded results by disobeying orders.
~i2houtair supcn'ority, but it has been suggested Below the highcst command Iewl, -4llicd air
that the Germans could hat-e won at least air parie power and artillev were the key factors in winning
after D-Day by producing and employing as the Battle of Normandy, but the!- did not win it
fighters a significant number of their _\le 262 jet alone. Cutting off supptics and reinforcements to
aircraft, which were already in senice. The the Geman front line was only of value if, at thc
Germans might have mixed amour in ivith their same time, the iYlies were atracking and forcing
weaker infan@- formations, raising the overall the Germans to use up their rcscntcs. Inferior in
standard at the expense of a few 'showcase' q u a l i ~to the best German troops, likely to idcntifi.
dir-isions. They rni~hthave built the submarines or even. tank they saw as a Tiger, the -4llied i n f a n ~
surface vessels to r u t the vital sea link across the and tank crews showed great courage in maintain-
English Channel. There is much that they might ing the offensive. A large part of the German
haye done. But in the actual circumstances of the strength, however, came from the countn in which
hey ;,ere fighting. Like the trenches 0; the First
IVorld Il'ar or the jungles of the Pacific, the
bocage itself became a formidahle enemy. It is
note\%-orth!.that the Germans themselves had
rather less success attacking rhroush it than the
Allies, and once without its protection the!. cnl-
lapsed at great speed.
It is a commonplace that an army reflects its
s o c i e ~ .Haling seldom lost a war, the British
.4rrn!; in false modestv, likes to praise its op-
ponents and denigrate itself. They were almost the
best troops in the world, it seems to suggest, what
a pity they were facing us. The .berioan style is
more of self praise at the e.upense of all others,
conceding merit to an opponent before a rival. The
German approach turns war into a r n o r a l i ~play,
the tragic defeat of mere mortals strumling with
superhuman seen* against the impersonal
forces of the machine. If the .Americans had been
as good as the! said they were, the British as bad
as they said the!- were, and the Germans as good
as eveqwne said they were, the Bade of Normand?
could not have been fought as it was.
3 September 1939 Britain and France declare 11 June 1944 Hitler directive forbidding an!
war on Germany. Geman retreat.
10 May 1940 Germany attacks Francc and the 12 June 1944 First US .4m!- captures Carentan.
Low Countries. 13 June 1944 Second British ,Amy held at \illcrs
3 June 1940 Last British troops evacuated from Bocagc. First 1--1 fl!ing bombs hit London and
France. southern England.
10June 1940 Italy declares war on Britain and 16 June 1944 Mitler directive to reinforce
France. Normandy.
22 June 1940 France s i p s an armistice uith 17 June 1944 First US Plrrny captures Bameville
Germany. on the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula. Hitler
22 June 1941 Germany and the ,%xis powers tisits Romrnel and von Rundstedt at Soissons.
declare uraron the So~ietUnion. 19-22 June 1944 'The Great Storm'.
7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor. Japan declares 25 June 1944 Operation 'Dauntless' by AXXY
war on Britain and rhe United States. . British Corps.
12 December 1941 Germany declares war on the 26-30 June 1944 Operation 'Epsom' by Ill1
United States. British Corps.
19 August 1942 The Dieppe Raid, the first Allied 27 June 1944 The port of Cherhousg surrenders
amphibious Ianding of the war, results in disaster. to 1-11US Corps.
8 November 1942 Opcration 'Torch', the 28 June 1944 Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann,
Anglo-.4merican amphibious landing in North commanding Seventh .4my, commits suicide and
Africa. is replaced by Oberstgruppenfihrer Paul Hausser.
I0 November 1942 Germany occupies Vichy 2 Julp 1944 Generalfeldrnarschall Gerd von
France. Rundstedt repIaced at OR West by
10 July I943 Operation 'Husky', the AIIied GeneralfcIdmarschall Giinther von Kluge.
amphibious landing in Sicily. 3 July 1944 First US ,4rm!- starts an offensive
8 September 1943 Operation 'Avalanche', the southwards tom-ards St Ld.
Allied amphibious landing in Italy. Unconditional ti Julp 1944 GcneraI Leo Freiherr Geyr von
surrender or Italy, Schwppenburg replaced at Panzer Group West
6 December 1943 Eisenhower appointed as by General Heinrich Eberbach.
Supreme Commander, Allied Expcdititionary 7-8 July 1944 Operation 'Charnwood' by 1
Force, for Operation 'Overlord', the invasion of British Corps captures northern Caen.
France. 10 July 1944 Operation 'Jupiter' bv 1111 British
22 Januaq 1944 Operation 'Shingle', the Corps. Montgomery directive on the breakout into
Allied amphibious landing at Anzia. Brittany.
15 May 2944 Final Sl-I.;ZEFplanning canfcrcnce 15 July 1944 Operation 'Greenline' by XXX
for Opcration 'Overlord'. British Corps and Xl British Corps.
17 July 1944 Generalfeldrnarschalt E n ~ i n
6 June 1944 D-DAY FOR OPERATION Kommel wounded and replaced at , h y Group
'OkERLORD', 'SWE START OF THE R by Generalfeldrnarschall Giinther yon Klugc,
BAITLE OF NORMANDY. who also continues as CarnmanrIer OB I4Test.
CHRONOLOGY

18-20 July 1944 Operation 'Goodwood' by VZIT 16 August 1944 Hider agrees to a withdrawal of
British Corps, I1 Canadian Corps and I British Seventh Army.
Corps captures the remainder of Caen. 17 August 1944 First Canadian A m y captures
19 July 1944 First US Army captures S t Lb. Falaise.
20 July I944 The 'Bomb PIot' attempt to 18 August 1944 GeneraIfeldmarschall Gunther
assassinate I-li tler. von Kluge replaced at OB MTest and Army Gmup
23 Jutp 1944 First Canadian Army becomes B by GeneralfePdmal-schalI UraltherModel, and
operationa1. commErs suicide.
24 JuIy 1944 'False startvor Operation 'Cobra" 19 August I944 Third US Army starts to cross
by 111 US Corps. the River Seine.
25-28 July 1944 Operation 'Cobra" by1 US 20 August 1944 Falaise pocket closed by First
Corps breaks out of the bocage. Canadian Army and First US Army.
25 July 1944 Operation 'Spring' by TZ Canadian Oberstgmppenfuhrer Paul Hausser injured.
Corps. General Heinrich Eberbach takes temporary
30 July 1944 Operation 'BIuecoat' by Second command of Seventh A m y .
British Army. First US Army captures Avranches. 22 August 1944 Falaise pocket wiped out.
1 August I944 12th Army Group and Third US 25 August 1944 2 French Armoured Division
A m y become operational. Iiberates Paris. END OF THE BATTLE OF
3 August 1944 Hider directive for defending NORMANDY.
Normandy by counter-suoke.
5 August 1944 Panzer Group West renamed Fifth 29 August 1944 Thud US Army cmsses the River
Panzer Amy. Mame,
6 August 1944 Montgomery directive for a deep 311 August I944Third US Army crosses the River
encirclement of Army Group B. Meuse.
6-8 August 1944 Operation 'Liittich' by XLVII 1 September I944 General Eisenhower takes
Panzer Corps, the Mortain counter-attack. command of SHAEF ground forces from
8-1 1 August 1944 Operation 'Totalize' by First Montgomeq, who is promoted to Field Marshal.
Canadian A m y . Bradley turns XV US Corps 3 September 1944 Second British Army liberates
north for the 'short hook5 encirclement. Brussels.
9 August 1944 Hider directive ordering the 4 September 1944 Second Brisish h y liberares
creation of Panzer Group Eberbach, while XLVlT Anmerp.
Panzer Corps holds i~ position. 11 September 1 W The first AUied ground
Qberstgruppenfiihrer 'Sepp' Dietrich takes forces enter Germany.
temporary command of Fifth Panzer Army. 8 May 1945 V-E Day, the unconditional
12 August 1944 US Corps captures Argentan. surrender of Germany.
14- 17 August 1944 Operation Tractable' by 8 August 1945 The Soviet Union declares war on
First Canadian A m y . Japan.
15 August I944 Operation 'Dragoon', the Allied 15 August 1945 V-J Day, the unconditional
amphibious landing in the south of France. surrender of Japan.
A GUIDE TO FURTHER READING

The books and papers on the Battle of Normandy Hasting, Ill. firr/nmd - D-Dn)! R ? I ~tire Bo111i)
fill se~eralrooms in libraries and archives through- fir _\i.lnrmnd,: London, 1984.
out the world. Rut such are the controt~essicsstill
surrounding the battle &at there is no single, easil!. Ining, D. TJre M'br Brtmrm [Ire Gcncmt, New
readable book of reasonahla leng-th that deals with York and London, 1981.
the activities of a11 sides equally and in a straight-
fonvard and unconrrwersiaI ~r.ay.The follo~ting Keegan, J. Si.r AAnrs in .\*~rnmwd~l, New York
hooks give several differing \ienpints and insights and London, 1982.
into the battle. For those who wish to read further,
Car10 d'Estc"s Drcjsion in .Yorrnnt;(y has a good Lucas J, and Barker, 3. The kill in,^ Gmrrnd - thr
bibIiograph!.. Bnltlr qf lltt Fnlnisr Pocket, London, E 978.

BellfieId, E. and Essame, H. Tlte Bmle fit McKetr, -4. Cfien - AnziI of London,
I,?c~~lntj~,
.\,i)n~?nnti)l,London, 1983. 1984.

Bcnnet, R. I'l~sd irr the l/17est, London, 7979. &an, C. TJEe Lolyesr Dq?- ~ h rD-Do31 Slog:
New Yark and London, 1982.
d'Este, C. Decifio?~ilr .Vonnfltrdj~,Nem- York and
London, 1983.

Apart from the fact that new roads have replaced still standing and clearly marked. The remains of
some of thc old railn*a!s, the countryide of the 51uFberq- harbour, unof'ficially named Port
Normandy has changed hard11 at all since the IYinston, are srill at .jlrsornanchcs. Thosc who
battle. It remains an amactive tourist and farming have lost relatives in the battle ma! \\iish to tisit
area, \isired regularly by vctcrans of the battle and the British cernetev at Bayeux or the American
rnilirav students, either alone or in organized cerneten- beside 'Omaha' Beach. T h e view from
tours, Thc mast normal route to take from Britain the Pointe du Hoc, which was climbed by the
is by fcrq- to Cherbourg, and a car is \irtuall?+ American Rangers, is v e impressive.
~
essential for touring the battleiield. Those seeking information on the bade or thc
The c i of~ Caen has been estensively rebuilt batttlefield in Britain ma! wish to contact either the
following the .4EFicd bombing and the destruction Imperial War JIuseum, Lamberh Road, London
of the battle. Tn the cig centre is the 3Iusie SE1 6HZ (01-735-8922) or the D-Day
I'kI6morial de la Battaille de Normandie, which Sluseum, Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Ports-
forms a starting place for an ex--loration of the mouth PO5 3NT (0705-827261), which also
battlcfidd. North-east of Caen, Pcgsus Bridge is displays the famous 'Overlord' Embroidery.
92
The first obstacle to re-creating any twentieth fight for those with snmc experience of hoard gamc
century battle as a wargame is the sheer scale of rules and plenty of time. The derail in which The
h e e9ercise. The numbers of troops involved, the Lonxcs/ D q covers D-Day is indicated by its
geographical ex-tent of the battlefields and the classification as a campaigdbattle gamc, com-
lagistical complications multiply rapidl!. the further bining thc sweep of army and corps rnanoculres
one delves into the age of mass production and \\ith the actions of smaller units.
mechanization. The sprawling fluidit of modern -4lsa avaiIable is D-DO: a much simples (and
warfare also rends to blur the Fine benveen battle much cheaper) campaign-style game, and For~rcrs
and campaign, making the isolation of 'manage- Cnnrpdip - all,
Eflrflfifl,Frnnrr~1 944 and .l;lnncm~(,~
able' conflicts more difficult, while air power adds in part, dealing with post D-Day cycnts a t
the speed and long-range hitting power of warfare campaign level, the latter n-ith thc additional
in another dimension. -4s a result, thc follo\~ing fcatrtre of secret map moves, which entails thc
suggestions for nargaming D-Day and its im- need for a third pa? as umpire.
mediate aftermath are best divided into is\-o broad Four games that deal nith specific badcs are
categories: first, the fighring of army, corps and available. Thesc are, in chronolngical order:
divisional actions; and second, gaming key aspects Omnhcr Bcmll, thc first ten da!s of the American I'
of the battle in detail - the small-scale tactical Corps' stnrggre ta consolidntc its hold on the most
approach. ficrcely contested beach; St Z,n, the capture of thc
key town south of the bridgehead b~ -4rnerican
forces; CoJ~ra,the .lmeE.ican \TI Corps>rucial
High Command
breakout from the beachhead; and H i / I c r ~ ~
.4ssuming the roIe of RornrncI or lliontgomec is Cotla~mfroX~e, the h,lortain counrcr-attack that led
a fairly daunting prospect for cvcn the mast to the annihilation of tcn t i c m a n diiisions in the
confident of megolarnaniacs, yct this level nf Falaise Pocket.
command must bc replicated if the wargamer i s to 1-aluable though the coverage olf these g m r s
fight the Normand! battles in their entirety. For is, they tend to concentrate on -4rncrican feats ol'
warfare on this scale - assuming thc lack of a arms and, of course, leave many other cn~cial
canvenicnt aircraft h a n g r and funds rivalling thc actions - such as the flanking parachute drops and
na.tional defence budget - miniatures arc out, and Operations 'Epsom*and 'Goodwood' - in the colcl.
maps, counters and rules that reflect high-level Enterprising wargarners will see thc potential hcrc
decision-making arc in. for delising their own map games, perhaps modc1-
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of ling them on those available commercially, but
several easily available board games, which (at a eschening the 'cheat-proof prosc of thc commer-
price) give hc xvould-bc gamer a ready-to-use cial rule book for a more concise and flexible
packagc. The giant (in even. respect) among the approach. This book provides Ithe starting point fclr
currently available D-Day games is Tltc Lotwsr t l ~ eresearch neccssaF to formulate such a gamc
Do,):a monster of a game, whose comprehensive and, as those who have trodden this path will
coverage of the events portrayed in this book is know, it is an absorbing wa!? to learn more about
reflected in its hefty price, but whose popularit- the men and minutiae behind the seemingly bland
promises a satisfjing and historically sound se- 'headlines' of militav- histor?..
WARGAMING NORMANDY

Perhaps inspired by this rcscarch, the war- insight into the negotiations bchvcen Rommel and
g m e r m? then like to add another dimension to von Rundstedt.
his re-enactment of the Normand!- battles and stcp Haling discounted the use oh miniatures (that
rather more directlv into the shoes of the senior is, model soldiem, vehicles, ships and aircraft) at
commanders. This may be achieved bj- playing n high command letlel, one should point out that
game - such as ?71e L~~rigtsr Dql - with several when the map movements in commercial and
players on each side, forming a proper chain of 'home-made' games result in a clash of arms, thc
command and isolating the high commands and combat table can bt. replaced by a table-top set up
their staffs from the all-revealing map hoard. This -
of tcrrain and models the fi~hringtaking placc
approach can range from simply placing the senior in three dimensions and being governed by an
commanders in separate rooms, communicating appropriate set of miniatures rules. However, the
orders and receiling information via slips of paper, problem here again is one of scale. Even using
to elaborate arrangements necessitating the occu- 6mm scale armour (or the latest: Zmrn!) the shecr
pation of a school or similarl! large building. IEth numbers involved in the major clashes, such as thc
careful planning and sufficient plavers this allows 78 88mm p n s holding the line against Operation
man!. lmcls of command to be simulated, 117th 'Good\vood', are prohihiti\-e. The answer is, of
separate army, corps and di~isinnaIcommanders, course, ro scale donm the forces, the normal
not to mention their airforcc and naval counter- procedure R-hen wargaming other historical
parts, a small staff working under each one, and periods but strangel!- out of \ague in rcccnt years
liaison officcrs attempting to provide the pemonal where the Second IYorld 'Il'ar is conccmcd.
touch that telephoned ordets and brief dispatches .A step 'back' to this approach has becn made
so often lack. by the L91nerican'Command Decision' mles and
In such a game several umpires are required, scenario +.stem. These also favour the larger
not only to mow the counters on the map board 20mm scale models (recently undergoing a renais-
and resolve combats but also to replatc the flow sance, but always my firm favourites) and urilise
of information to the two rnilita? hierarchies and the simple expedient of scaling dmn the fnrcca
introduce problematic 'qannersYnto the works. involved until they become manageable. -4s a
To this manner the initial confusion of the German result, a German i n f a n p company is represented
command can be reflected, as can the disruptive by sis mode1 figures mounted on three 'stands" a
cffccts of multiple parachutist sightings, cornrnuni- tank cornpan!; by three tanks. The rules reflect thc
cation dela!*s and the intementions of a para- suing awa? from section and squad actions to the
noically liceptical Hitler. command decisions influencing platoons, com-
.A furthcr step is to remove the map p m e panies and above.
cntirely and seat the players together in what
Wargames Dcvelnprnent (the organization which
Tactical Games
also developed the 'S)lega Game' approach out-
lined abwe) term a Committee Garnc. More in The recent trend in Second IVorld War tactical
line with the role-play techniques common in combat has been to represent troops and vehicles
many science fiction and fantasy games, this is an on a one-to-onc basis, mi& 6mm (1/3OOth) scale
exercise in debate and persuasion, each player miniatures proling the most popular medium.
bcing given specific pals to achieve. Propcrly Rules such as the best-seIling FirEJi!)tset will givc
rescarchcd, this could be an ideal way to ek~lore an accurate and detailed game up to battalion l c ~ e l
the initial planning for Opemion 'Chrerlorr!': the and, with a Iittle care in in preparation, a table-top
selection of landing zones, the sizc of the assault representation of the notorious IVormandy borage
force, the availabili~of landing craft and so on. \dl deliver a sobering lesson in the difficuI5 of
Similarly, the dispositions of the defending div- piercing a dense defensive line in close counq-.
isions and the key question of where best to deploy Here again, hoard g m e s provide a ready packaged
the panzer forces could provide an interesting alternative - especially in respect o f squad- and
94
WARGAMING NORMANDY

platoon-level combat. The appropriately named Division's 'Funnies' (the specialized support tanks
Sqtlrdf L ~ a andh Admnced Squad Lf0dt-rseries nf in the vanguard of the British and Canadian
g m c s are particularly popular and offer such assaults} tackling the beach obstacles they were
clearly D-Dav orientated scenarios as Pnrnfmqer designed to neutralize, such as mines, sea walls
and lir~&emm J-It//. These games, however, offer and enemy pill-boxes. A board game - I'arrm~ ? Rrjsr
only '~~icalhcenarios, and the wargamcr wishing - gives a flax-our of D-Day amoured warfare hy
to re-tight the numerous small actions of D-Day placing a s o l i t a ~player in command of a sinylc
and its aftermath will have to suffer the satisfaction tank and fighting it through a number of c'pical
of doing his o m research. Western Front scenarios. In three dimensions, a
Two of the best documented smaII-unit large-scale tank model may fit the bill.
'battles' are found in the activities of 6 (British) Often neglected when considering Normandy
Airborne Division on the western flank of the as a wargame subject is the business ol' landing
imasion beaches. Major John Howard's glider- (and attempting to repel) the assault m o p s at thc
borne coup-de-mnin at the Orne bridges and the water's edge. .An interesting gamc could rcvnhc
assault by a much reduced 9 Para (150 men) on around a company of fllmeriuan in fan^ landing
the ;2rlen;ilEe Battery are recounted in yeat detail from LC?,Ts (available in cast resin in 20mm
in a number of publications - often complete with scale) and arternpting to leave the beach undcr
maps and aerial photographs. The secret of Ilea!? fire. In this 'Omaha'-like situation. rules for
successfully re-creating these actions is to read leadership and 'inspiration' would hc vital. From
and absorb the first-hand accounts of combat. The the German point of tiew, a pla!.cr (or pla!.crs)
common combination of horror and d y wit also could e-xpcricnccthe problcrns ot'thc .4tIantiu \'l-nll
scncs to remind thc wargamer e.mctlv whose war gnncrs. :In inverted pcriscopc placed on the tahlc
hc is turning into r ~ w ~ ~ r i oand
n , what those could be used In pmlidc a periodic ticw nf the
involved had ro endure. approaching assault vcsscIs. l3y using models o f
Deeper delving nil1 provide a host of scenarios diffcrcnt scales thc hunkcr commandor could bc
for both .4rnerican and British parachutist skirm- prcscnted wirh 'closing' targets - having to sclcct
ishes and "ennnp packetharmour support of their which to fire at and at what ranges. The obscuring
(and other infantv units') assaults on fortified cffcct sf :lllied bombs and naval shells could be
villages and smell defensive positions. The close simulated, as could thc pIayers' intermittent com-
country of the bocage and thc m e e t fighting munications with superiors and other positions.
encountered in toms such as St-LA and Caen also
lends itself to the 'skirmish' approach, where one
In Conclusion
20rnm or 54mm scale soldier represents an
identified personaIity and sections of men stalk Two final points may help capture somc of t l ~ c
each other in bounds or moves of just a few flavour o f D-Da?-on map or table-top.
seconds. Detail herc - if this svle of game is to First, the nature of air pnwer during the period
thc taste of the wargames - includes different of the invasion and break-out, This was possibly
severities of wound and varying ski11 values. Once the PtIlies' strongest card, and command of thc
more, real scenarios can be unearthed, such as the skies meant that German movement in daylight
bizarre dash in a jeep and nailer laden with upasboth slow and e-upensivein men and machines.
explosives by eisht parachutis~of 6 Parachute In tactjcal games, however, it must be semcmbercd
Division's 3rd Engineer Squadron, hell-bent on that effective conwol of aircraft can onlv be
destroying a vital bridge, despite h e a y German achieved by 'Tentacle' air controIlcrs with lthe
opposition. foward troops, and that aerial d iffcrentiatinn
A similar form of game can be constructed betcvcen friend and foe is notoriously difEcuIt -
around a ~ o o orp platoon of tanks - either fighting especially if they are Packed in combat.
forward through the hedgerow 'maze' in support Second, it should be remembered t h a t amour
of infang-, or in the case of 79th . h o u r c d was a vital, but not omnipotent, factor in the
95
WARGAMING NORMANDY

Normandy fighting. 'Snimming' tanks floundered In sum, the u7argameris I+-ellsewed with both
nt rnassr off 'Omaha' beach; Operation 'Good- information and materials fnr the D-Day period.
wood' saw ,500 tanks lost to German p n s sitcd in \I'ayames f p r e s , vehicfes, aircraft and n a ~ acraft
l
depth in a narrow corridor; the bocage made arc now available in a host of scalcs and materials,
arrnour horrjM!- vulnerable to short-rang fire, and and these are regularly adveniscd - along t v i h
rocket-mcd Typhoons terrorized [more than terrain, rules and the board pamcs mentioned in
the!- destro~ed)Germany's hea~iesttanks. The this section - in magazines such as Ilirrgorflr.r
Kormandy batdes \VCR essential1:- decided b' !. Jfirslrafed.
infanv, clffccti\-ely supported by amour. artillen.
aircraft and (while in range) naral gunnery.

i'rinn cmdircrl to the Irnpcrial n'ar


\ l u w l ~ r n a m atall~hlt.un npplmtion
ttrthc I>cpannicnt ~riPlmtt,pr~phc.
Irnprrisl \ i ~ \luwurn.
r I..rmhcrl~
H ~ I LI.ondrm
~, SEl . 'l'he Z ~ w n r r '
IZwm i s rqcn rrr rhr puhlic 1w
nppninrrn~-nr.
NORMANDY 1944
D-Day, 6 June 1944, saw the largest amphibious landing operation
in history. From ports and harbours on the southern coast of
England, an annada of troopships and landing craft launched the
Allied return t o mainland Europe. Stephen Badsey provides a
concise account of 'Operation Overlord'. from the fiercely
contested landlngs, t o the struggle t o capture Caen, the 'Cobra'
offensive and the dramatic pursuit of the Germans t o
the Rive; Seine.

THE OSPREY&AIGN SERIES


presents concise, authoritative accounts of the great conflicts
of history. Each volume begins with an assessment of each
commander's campaign strategy, then recounts the progress of
the fighting, blow-by-blow. More than 80 illushdons, including
maps, charts and colour plates accompany the text, and a series
of three-dimensional battle maps mark the critical stages of
the campaign. Each volume concludes with a brief guide to the
battlefield today, and detailed notes for wargamers.

THE GENERAL EDmR David Chandler,


is head of the Departmentof War Studies at
Sandhurst, Britain's Royal M i l i Academy,
and a m i l i historianof internationalrenown.
For the Osprey Campaign Series he has
assembled a team of expert writers from both
sides of the Atlantic.

FUTURE CAMPAJGN TITLES


Am
ml 1101.mcr 194.rr offrainMI.nrlsirs 1944. Bua
viA 114
#IIOUM 1411 IIMIMUM i IM QlINII 1911