Tuesday, June 20, 1944
The days that marked the Battle of Normandy
The storm is still raging in the Channel. Allied meteorology specialists are planning a return to good weather within two days. The artificial ports of Arromanches and Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer are severely affected and repairs are expected to be numerous. Many small boats run aground or sink as a result of bad weather.
Meanwhile, unloading of equipment necessary for the continuation of military operations is slowed down and British forces are obliged to progress very slowly.
On the other hand, the American forces continue their progression, difficult but continuous. The men of the 4th Infantry Division enter Valognes where hard street fights are taking place. The bombing of areas not controlled by American forces is continuing, while elements of the 12th Infantry Regiment reach Le Theil and its heights that dominate this region of the Cotentin Peninsula.
It now seems that the Germans are abandoning their positions to join the Cherbourg line of defense. General Collins, commander of the 7th American Corps, launches three additional divisions to the assault without the usual preparation of artillery. This offensive storms the last points of defense from Montebourg and allows American forces to access the gates of Cherbourg. The assailants advance using the “chip jumps” tactic which favors the progression in the Norman bocage.
The Americans discover, between Cherbourg and Valognes, near the town of Sottevast, a huge construction site abandoned since D-Day. It is a V-2 rocket launching base which had to reach 160 meters in length and 56 meters wide. Only one tenth of the base had been built until the landing began.