Friday, August 11, 1944

The days that marked the Battle of Normandy

The 15th Corps of the 3rd American Army is progressing towards Argentan. Severe fighting began around the town of Alençon, besieged in the evening by the 2nd French Armored Division of General Leclerc. The French soldiers enter the city but it takes them a few more hours to clean the whole city of German snipers. 25 kilometers have been traveled since the day before by the 15th corps of the American general Haislip and the vise closes for the German forces.

The German officers are convinced that only a quick retreat behind the Seine river can save a large part of the Axis troops and vehicles engaged in Normandy. But Hitler does not want to hear such report and ordered his generals to camp their positions and fight to the death if necessary. The German officers in Normandy, however, became aware of the urgency of the situation and decided to evacuate their troops behind the Seine.

For its part, the 1st Canadian Army under the orders of General Crerar hastened to join the town of Falaise in order to close the retreat to the German soldiers and vehicles, in the context of operation Totalize. On the evening of August 11, the Canadians advanced nearly 10 kilometers for five days of operations. The 4th Canadian Armored Division moved closer to the village of Potigny, northeast of Falaise, but fierce fighting took place against the German 12th SS Panzer Division and the 89th Infantry Division. The 1st Polish Armored Division also progressed south-east of the village of Saint-Sylvain and rejected the counter-attacks of the German 85th Infantry Division.

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