Thursday, July 13, 1944

The days that marked the Battle of Normandy

The Americans tramped south of Cotentin, despite a slight advance in the Martinville region. They are stuck in the Normandy bocage by an enemy who takes advantage of the terrain conducive to defense. American Sherman tanks are very vulnerable because contacts are very close in the hedge warfare, and German soldiers armed with Panzerfaust can easily adjust their targets. The Americans lose many tanks while the Germans are camouflaged wonderfully in the hedges which present themselves as true fortresses on their own, practically insurmountable by the infantry in certain places. American engineers are developing a Sherman tank with metal blades that cut the vegetation in front of the vehicle, allowing both rapid progress in the grove and being camouflaged by the branches that remain hanging between the blades. This tank is called Rhinoceros.
Nevertheless, the American forces are no longer able to advance, despite very violent fighting that weakens the German troops. The situation worries General Bradley, who is beginning to work on a possible large-scale offensive allowing the front to be pierced.

The fighting is also continuing in the south-west and east of Caen, for the total liberation of the city, the seizure of the village of Odon and of Hill 112. The fights, which often take place hand-to-hand, are extremely violent in this region and the human and material losses are very high.

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