Monday, July 24, 1944
The days that marked the Battle of Normandy
As the weather has improved significantly in Normandy, operation Cobra can finally begin.
Three divisions of the 8th U.S. Air Force, that is to say nearly 1,600 bombers, as well as six groups of fighter-bombers of the 9th T.A.C. (Tactical Air Combat) began bombing a narrow corridor in the early afternoon, 4 kilometers north-west of Saint-Lô, itself 6 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide. Clouds are numerous and hinder the proper conduct of the bombardment; 500 bombers choose not to drop their bombs.
US forces in the area (the 9th and 30th infantry divisions) were ordered on the night of 23-24 July to retreat for a distance of 1,100 meters to the northeast. But, if time has improved, it is not yet excellent and units of the 30th Infantry Division are bombed by mistake. 25 American soldiers are killed and 131 wounded. The survivors of the 30th Division rejoin their abandoned positions during the night and observe the enemy movements. Fighting took place because the Germans of the Panzer Lehr Division infiltrated these positions, particularly in the area of the 60th infantry regiment belonging to the 9th American Division, between the place Hauts-Vents and the Bois du Hommet, Along the road from Saint-Lô to Périers, south-west of Saint-Jean-de-Daye.
The reports of the bombardment alarm General Bradley. Drop mistakes are numerous due to weather conditions. However, he decides to keep the Cobra offensive for the next day.
The British, on their side, received the reinforcement of the 1st Canadian Army, led by General Crerar. The front does not evolve, however, and no major offensive is planned on this day to change the situation. However, the Anglo-Canadians regrouped to the south of Caen in order to launch the next day a new operation, called Spring.