Battle Zone Normandy: Operation Cobra
This title concerns Operation Cobra, launched at the end of July 1944, and designed to open a decisive gap in the German defences facing the American forces in Normandy. In less than a week, troops had made a breakthrough of 60 kilometres and taken 18,000 prisoners. The war of at... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||World War, 1939-1945 - Campaigns - France - Normandy
Description of this Book
Operation Cobra, launched at the end of July 1944, was designed to open a decisive gap in the German defences facing the American forces in Normandy. General Omar Bradley, commanding the First US Army, decided to use aerial saturation bombing to destroy the German defences and create a breach. An initial attempt on 24 July proved disastrous, as the bombers dropped some of their payload on the American front lines, killing or wounding 150 men. Despite this, the bombing continued the next day. For three hours, 1,500 B-17 and B-24 bombers pummelled the target, supported by medium bombers and fighter bombers attacking with napalm. The few, shell-shocked German survivors either surrendered without a fight or fled. Even so, fierce fighting continued as the Americans strove to open up a passage for the armoured vehicles. On 26 July, VII US Corps advanced ten kilometres after crossing the Coutances-Saint-Lo road. Cracks started to appear in the German front and it collapsed the next day. The American armoured divisions swept southwards and westwards. Entire German units were encircled, while others simply fell apart. On 30 July, 6th US Armored Division captured Avranches and the next day s
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Christopher Pugsley is a senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He specialises in the role of the New Zealand armed forces in twentieth century conflicts.