Wednesday, July 12, 1944

The days that marked the Battle of Normandy

The German offensive, launched the day before on the American front in the direction of Saint-Jean-de-Daye, failed. The Americans regained the upper hand and continued southwards towards Périers and Saint-Lô, but although severely rejected on July 11 and severely weakened, the Germans maintained a fierce resistance and prevented the American forces from advancing rapidly. The German soldiers of the 17th S.S. Panzergrenadier division, launched a new counter-attack in the direction of Carentan.
Hard fights took place around Hill 147, stormed, lost and then stormed again at intervals of several hours by the two opposing camps. But on July 12, the 116th American infantry regiment seized the height which offers a good position for the Allied artillerymen who continue the bombing of Saint-Lô.
In the village of Méautis, General Theodore Roosevelt, the nephew of President Roosevelt (between 1901 and 1908) and second in command of the American 4th Infantry Division, died of a heart attack under an apple tree during a siesta. He is buried in the temporary cemetery at Omaha Beach.

Meanwhile, the British continued their advance towards Hill 112, defended by the S.S. troops belonging to the western Panzergruppe commanded by Eberbach. Anglo-Canadians attack along a line parallel to the road linking Caen to Villers-Bocage. No less than 6 infantry divisions, supported by battalions of tanks, evolve towards the southwest of Caen following the river Odon. East of Caen, the 51st British Infantry Division is also advancing towards the south-west to free this part of the city, still in the hands of the enemy forces. The fighting is still very violent and the German divisions of mechanized infantry are retreating, although they oppose a fierce resistance.

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