Sherman bulldozer crosses the Airel bridge on July 8 with
US soldiers of the 105th Engineer Combat Batalion.
On July 8, 1944, Northern Caen and the Cherbourg harbor are finally
liberated by the Allies.
soldiers patrol North of Caen on July 9, 1944.
of Caen, the effect of attraction of the German armored divisions
continues. To conquer the whole of the capital of Calvados, General
Montgomery is developing a new operation codenamed Goodwood. It
aims at encircling the city and at attacking from the positions
of the 6th Airborne division, deployed on June 6 between the Orne
river and Troarn. The attack is planned for June 18, 1944.
British soldier patrols with his baïonet.
3 British armored divisions (the 11th, 7th and Guards), commissioned
by the 8th corps led by General O'Connor, must attack east of Caen
toward open areas south and southwest of Caen to Falaise.
Saint-Fromond, an American armored column waits for the departure
order on July 11.
preparations of this attack alarm the Germans who notice the movements
of the British infantry and armored units even before the beginning
of the operation. Rommel orders Eberbach (commander of the armored
group west, head of the eastern part of the front line, right flank
of the 7th German Army) to strengthen the defense of the south of
Caen while installing 88 guns batteries belonging to the 16th anti
aircraft division coming from Holland, but also deploying tanks
of the 1st and 12nd SS Panzerdivisions and of the 21st Panzerdivision
(Eberbach command takes the name of 5th Panzer Army later).
soldiers in a MG 42 position in the Bavent woods.
On July 17, Rommel checks the fortifications set up by Eberbach and
on his way back to his command post in La Roche-Guyon, an aircraft
fighter patrol attacks the General's car. The driver of the car
is killed and Rommel is very seriously injured. A Norman civilian
vehicle traveling on this route at this time is requisitioned by
the survivors of the attack and Rommel was taken to a military hospital
in emergency. Von Kluge takes Rommel responsibilities at the head
of his command (command west), in addition to his own responsibilities
within the command of Army Group B.
The clash of the chiefs
defense, facing the attack of operation Goodwood resists well until July 24 and the 11th British division lost 126 tanks in one day.
But the city of Caen on that date is completely under allied control.
If Goodwood seems to be a success, Eisenhower and the entire ally
command are not sure about it. The supreme commander of the allied
forces wants to clear the situation on July 19, with the commander
of the U.S. forces (Omar Bradley) and the commander of the British
a lieu car les rapports n'apparaissent pas comme favorables aux
chefs militaires alliés : la progression est très
lente dans la région de Caen et considérée
comme insuffisante par les spécialistes militaires, les pertes
en vies humaines sont très élevées et l'approvisionnement
des forces débarquées et en retard par rapport aux
prévisions, suite aux mauvaises conditions atmosphériques.
Bradley leur apprend qu'une opération américaine visant
à percer le front au Sud du Cotentin est prête, et
qu'il attend le moment opportun (principalement une amélioration
des conditions météorologiques) pour la lancer. The
meeting comes as reports are not as pro-military allies: the progress
is very slow in the area of Caen and is deemed insufficient by the
military specialists, casualties are very high and the supply of
forces and landed behind schedule due to bad weather conditions.
Bradley teaches that American operation to penetrate the front south
of the Cotentin is ready and is waiting for the opportune moment
(mainly improved conditions weather) for the launch.
believes that his latest operation, Goodwood, is satisfactory in
terms of results, even if it appears to be disastrous for specialists
and most generals allies. Churchill, warned by Eisenhower, visits
Montgomery and asked him to go on. This tension between the Allied
military leaders will disappear very quickly after the events that
happends after the meeting of 19 July .
On July 20,
fails Hitler assassination attempt, while he was watching at maps
with his generals at his Rastenburg HQ, East Prussia.
There are no
military consequences since the German soldiers continue the fightings
with the same fervor in Normandy. In contrast, the Führer takes
from that moment more distance with his generals, including those
from the nobility (which are numerous) and he accuses them of plotting
Indeed, the bomb which was to kill him was filed by a member of
his own military entourage, Count Claus von Stauffenberg, Chief
of Staff of the German armies.
with Mussolini, after the missed Rastenbourg strike, on June
This will not
improve the already poor relations between officers of the German
headquarters. Hitler does no longer trust classic units such as
the Wehrmacht but prefers SS troops considered as elite units, rather
than improving relations between the Wehrmacht and the SS. Hitler's
power is more important and the war seems to last. In addition,
German resources are still important despite the Allies bombing.
that the marshy area of Carentan is still a serious fighting area.
The 1st U.S. Army progresses successfully in this sector, fiercely
defended by German troops, aware of the importance of the city connecting
the beaches of Utah and Omaha. But little by little, the Americans
progress south of Normandy and the 1st Army liberates the town of
La Haye-du-Puits after 7 days of bloody fighting.
The "Guerre des Haies", près de Saint-Lô.
reassured by the capture of Cherbourg, can focus on the south. On July , 4 U.S. Army corps (14 divisions) are positioned south on a
front line of 75 kilometers between the east coast and the west
coast of the Cotentin peninsula, south of Saint-Sauveur and Caumont.
Yet the progression
of the landed troops is not easy: the hedgerows of Normandy occupied
by a dozen of German divisions of the 84th corps (led by von Choltitz,
replacing Farmbacher after the fall of Cherbourg, which replaces
Erich Marcks, killed at Caumont) do not facilitate the work of the
The U.S. progression
is slow, each hedge becomes a fortress, with ambushed heavy machine
guns and light armored units. Caumont has a pivotal role to the
front line that reaches Saint-Lô on July 18, the city being
destroyed at 80% by the bombings. Northern Road of Lessay and Périers
is under American control, but the Germans led by von Choltitz firmly
defend the southern part of the road.
With only one
reserve division (the 2nd SS Panzerdivision arriving north of Coutances
and coming from Toulouse at the end of June), all other divisions
are positioned defensively, including the Panzerlehrdivision being
on the front since June 8, 1944 (initially, it is positioned near
destroyed up to 80%, is liberated on July 18, 1944.
and Canadians attack south of Caen in the direction of the Mont-Pinçon
which dominates the center of the ally front line.
factories are still working: 4,545 twin-engine aircrafts are produced
during the second quarter of 1944, while 2,545 are destroyed in
flight or on the ground by the Allied forces. De même entre
mai et July 1944 pour les industries de chars qui livrent 2 313
blindés à la Wehrmacht contre 1730 de perdus. It is
the same between May and July 1944 for the industries that supply
2,313 tanks to the Wehrmacht which lost 1,730 armored units. Un
des gros problèmes des forces allemandes est le déplacement
des unités nouvelles ou de réserves. One of the major
problems for the German forces is the movement the reinforcements.
Indeed, they are running short of oil, the communication are difficult
and personnels are not replaced.
From June 6
to July 23, the 7th German west armored army loses 116,863 men and
only 10,078 replacements reach the front. The same goes for tanks:
while 3 to 4 hundreds armored vehicles are destroyed, only 2 dozens
of tanks replace them.
soldiers taking position south of La-Haye-du-Puits after the
liberation of the city.
of U.S. military forces engaged in Normandy, Omar Bradley, wants
to launch a major offensive to og through the front line and to
disrupt the enemy's defenses to hasten the end of the German army
in the north-west of France.
codenamed Cobra, is scheduled for July 20. New reinforcements have
landed and in 7 weeks, 36 Allied divisions are engaged in Normandy,
not counting the air and land support forces which represent a total
of 1,566,000 men, 332,000 vehicles and 1,500,000 tons of equipment
and ammunition. Due to weather conditions the start of operation
Cobra is postponed to July 25.
A cette date, le front De l'ouest Normand a avancé d'une quinzaine de kilometers
au prix de très lourdes pertes. At that time, the western
Norman front has advanced of fifteen kilometers but losses are huge.
to battle of Normandy menu