Friday, August 4, 1944
The days that marked the Battle of Normandy
To the east of Avranches, in the Cotentin, American forces attacks are directed towards the region of Vire, last important German stronghold in the Cotentin. In order to limit the losses, the Americans bombarded the German positions in the vicinity of Vire. The morale of the defenders declined and many soldiers of the Wehrmacht as well as of the S.S. were made prisoners. General Dietrich Kraiss, commander of the German 352nd Division, was seriously wounded that same day, and died forty-eight hours later.
In Brittany, the 5th and 14th American Corps of the 1st Army advanced, and the 8th Corps belonging to the 3rd Army of General Patton advanced along two major axes, one heading towards Vannes, the other towards Nantes to the south. The Americans are facing German divisions that are overwhelmed by the Allied firepower, and the bombardments of strategic port cities such as Brest, Lorient and Saint-Malo slow down the downturns of the Wehrmacht divisions.
Operation Bluecoat continues southwest of Caen. The progression to the east of the American flank along the Vire River is made difficult by the fierce defense of the German paratroopers of the 3rd Division and the survivors of the 10th SS Panzer Division. But to the east and south of Caen, the situation finally seems to turn largely to the advantage of the British, who seize the villages of Villers-Bocage and Evrecy on August 4. Taking advantage of this decline of the German forces in Normandy, the Commonwealth forces decided to devise a new offensive that would cut off the retreat of the German forces, which were beginning to retreat behind the Seine river.