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Daily Chronicle of the Battle for Normandy

Tuesday, July 18th 1944


General Montgomery launches on July 18 the Operation Goodwood, which aims at releasing the East and South-eastern areas of Caen. It starts from the positions captured on D-Day by the 6th British Airborne division between the Orne river and the village of Troarn, but also from the South-western part of the city. The 8th Corps, led by general O'Connor, sends 3 armoured divisions in the attack in the East of Caen to the South-south-west, towards the town of Falaise: the 7th, the 11th, and the Guards armoured division.
The offensive begins with a terrible three-hour bombardment: 2,500 bombers drop nearly 6,000 tons of bombs, whereas the naval artillery and the ground artillery fire nearly 250,000 shells, targeting a vast area located between the Eastern part of Caen and the village of Troarn, that is to say a corridor long of approximately 15 kilometers and broad of 4 kilometers.

The fightings in the South-west of Caen and in the surroundings of Louvigny are keen between the Canadians and the 12nd and 21st SS Panzer divisions belonging to the Western Panzergruppe led by Eberbach. This small village, lost the day before by the Allies, is liberated once again on July 18 at the time of a vast attack led by the Royal Regiment of Canada supported by field and naval artillery.
The 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry, supported by the tanks of the 29th Brigade belonging to the 11th British Armoured division, progresses in direction of the villages of Cuverville, Giberville and of Demouville, severely bombarded the morning of July 18 and defended by the 16th Luftwaffe Feld Division which folds up short after the bombardments, abandoning the village of Cuverville to the Allied troops and repositioning in the South-west of the locality of Saint-Pair.
The 3rd Royal Tank Regiment liberates the villages of Touffreville and Sannerville, located at the South of the locality of Herouvilette-Escoville, itself liberated in the first hours of the Goodwood operation.
The first German defense line is breached, and the British progress by nearly 6 kilometers in direction of Cagny.

Major von Luck, leading the 21st Panzer Division, is conscious of the low resistance of the British tanks towards the German 88 mm guns and the Tiger and Panther tanks. He then gathers five of these artillery guns and a Tiger tank on the height of the village of Cagny, which becomes a fortified town, South-west of Caen: nearly 16 English tanks are destroyed in a few minutes and the English progression is strongly slowed down. The German tanks are opposed to the English tanks and one of the biggest armoured tanks fights of of all the Battle of Normandy is engaged in the North of Cagny, and the German forces have the advantage.

But the British do not give up: the Armoured Division of Irish Guard attacks Cagny whereas the 5th Brigade of the Armoured Division Guards moves in direction of the villages in the East of Cagny, towards Emieville and Guillerville. But once more, the German Tiger tanks of the 503 Armoured Battalion show their superiority and push back the English attack. The Irishmen of the Irish Guard manage all the same to bore the German defenses because of their numerical superiority and thanks to the bombardment of the British artillery. They liberate the village of Cagny, after having reduced to silence the artillery positions defended by the men of the 21st SS Panzer Division.

At the end of the day, the British have lost 1,500 soldiers and 270 tanks. They have progressed only by 7 kilometers. All the plain in the South-east of Caen is finally liberated. The town of Caen itself is entirely liberated, more than one month after the date envisaged in May 1944 by the Allies.

On the American front, US soldiers enter for the first time in the ruins of Saint-Lo. They are the men of the 29th Infantry division, joined together within a force called Task Force Cota (name of the commander of the 29th division), which take the road connection Lison and Saint-Lo from the crossroads of Couvains. The progression of the infantry and the ehicles is made difficult by the action of German artillery, positioned in the South of Saint-Lo. During all their projection, the mortars bombard the groups of soldiers who tries to open paths through the ruins of the city, severely bombarded for a week.


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