Sunday, August 20, 1944

The days that marked the Battle of Normandy

The encirclement of the German forces is finished south-east of Falaise. The troops and vehicles had to take a narrow corridor of some kilometers between Trun, Saint-Lambert and Chambois, which was constantly bombarded by the Allied air force and artillery. The disruption of the retreat is indescribable: the steaming carcasses of vehicles, the bodies of the Germans and horses used for their evacuation litter the roads and rivers, offering a terrifying spectacle of a failed army: more than 200 tanks, near 100 artillery guns and as many other vehicles are destroyed. Some bridges over the Dives river still allow the survivors of the 2nd Panzer, 10th Panzer SS and 116th Panzer divisions to flee. To borrow them, the wounded and the wrecks of vehicles are thrown into the ditches and into the river.

From 19:00 to 19:20, the Germans are allowed to evacuate their wounded. Once this period has passed, the fighting resumes.

However, if the Axis situation in Normandy is disastrous and three German generals are captured, many units still manage to escape to the east, and rejoin the Seine river, despite the incessant attacks by aviation, benefiting from morning mists to cross the Canadian, Polish and American lines.

To the east of Caen, as part of operation Paddle, the British commandos attacked the villages of Dozulé and Brucourt, supported by the Belgian soldiers of the Piron Brigade. The Belgian brigade is at the gates of Cabourg, it has liberated on the way Le Hôme and Varaville.

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