Tuesday, July 25, 1944

The days that marked the Battle of Normandy

July 25 marks the beginning of two operations: one American, called Cobra, the other Anglo-Canadian, called Spring.

After the bombardments of the previous day, new Allied air attacks prepare the ground for the ground offensive. This is the strategy of the carpet bombing. 1,500 B-17 and B-25 bombers drop more than 3,300 tons of bombs between Montreuil and Hebecrevon, northwest of Saint-Lô. Again, due to bad weather and proximity to US forces, dozens of soldiers are killed by the bombing of their own units. There are 111 deaths and nearly 500 injured among the American ranks. Americans learn of the death of Lieutenant General Lesley McNair, the highest American officer who died in combat on European theater. However, the bombing is also disastrous for the German forces, losing many soldiers and vehicles during the air attack: the Panzer Lehr has only seven tanks left. The Germans lost not only their armored support: about 2,500 soldiers were killed by the bombing (out of the 5,000 among the Panzer Lehr division).

The Americans launched six divisions on the attack between Montreuil and Hebecrevon, which took the following directions from west to east: the 9th Infantry Division on the left flank of the offensive was heading south from Montreuil, and must repel the counter-attacks of the SS Panzer divisions. The 1st Infantry Division attacks in the direction of Marigny. The 3rd Armored Division is heading for Cerisy-la-Salle, the 4th Infantry advances to Canisy. On the evening of July 25, the front line only increased two kilometers to the south. American generals, including Bradley, are worried about this weak advance but German prisoners say they are still shocked by the bombing. The Americans decide to strengthen the air raid the next day.

Anglo-Canadians launch operation Spring, south of Caen. This offensive, led by the Black Watch Canadian Regiment, must persuade the Germans to maintain a strong force in the Caen region, instead of sending reinforcements to fight the American offensive. This attack, which hardly made progress on the front, proves to be extremely costly in material and human losses. Indeed, the Germans buried after the Goodwood offensive and the Canadians attacked units holding their positions firmly. Anglo-Canadian reports are terrifying: nearly 1,500 soldiers are out of action. However, the Germans chose not to draw reinforcements south of Caen and thus realized the wish pronounced by the Allies.

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