Operation Wild Oats
Objectives of operation Wild Oats
As part of the fighting for the capture of Caen by the Anglo-Canadian armies, the Allies envisaged several land and airborne offensives in order to pierce the front firmly defended by the Germans. Indeed, no less than three S.S. armored divisions hold the sector at the beginning of June 1944: the Panzerlehr, the 12th S.S. Panzer Division and the 21st Panzer Division. On June 9, the British forces’ progress stops against opponents who are banned from the north and west.
General Montgomery then met with generals Miles Dempsey and Omar Bradley and proposed a modification of Operation Perch which began on June 7, 1944: the new operation, Wild Oats, aims to encircle Caen by a encircling maneuver in pincers to the east by the British 1st Corps (51st Infantry Division Highland and 4th Armored Brigade) and to the west by the 30th Corps (50th Infantry Division Northumbrian, 7th Armored Division).
Furthermore, in accordance with this new plan, elements of the 1st Airborne Division should be parachuted into the area of Carpiquet where there is an airfield run by the Germans. Once the parachuting was carried out, the 7th Armored Division (the famous “Desert Rats”) took over Evrecy and Hill 112.
However, General Trafford Leigh-Mallory, commander of the Allied air forces, is opposed to the airborne operation which he says is too dangerous for his pilots. In addition, the designated targets disperse the 1st Airborne Division far too much on the ground, the fragiliser in front of highly equipped armored units.
Operation Wild Oats is thus canceled and only the encircling maneuver of Caen is maintained as part of Operation Perch.