Mémorial de Caen

Mémorial de Caen: The Battle for Caen


On 9th July 1944, the Canadian and British troops finally entered Caen a month after D-Day. However the Germans restructured their defense lines in the south of the city and continued to block the road to Falaise. The right side of Caen would fall 10 days after the 9th July.

Operation Cobra – a U.S operation developed by General Bradley – began on 25th July with a overwhelming aerial bombardment west of Saint-Lô. This effectively opened up a passage through the enemy lines and troops flooded into the breach. The Germans were weak and exhausted by weeks of combat and didn’t have deep enough defences to prevent the assault. German defences shattered like glass and the Americans entered Avranches on 30th July 1944.

In mid-August, after the success of Operation Cobra, General Bradley decided on an encircling maneuver that would later be named the battle of the Falaise Pocket. Troops would force the German armies to retreat north into the paths of the Anglo-Canadians and south Americans who would close in and isolate them. The relentless artillery and aviation reduced the pocket each day until it closed on 21st August near the small village of Chambois. The German troops were not destroyed, but irreparably damaged. They retreated towards the Seine and towards the borders of the Reich.

The Battle of Normandy and Battle for Caen lasted longer than expected because German resistance was severely underestimated. 37,000 Allied and 55,000 German soldiers lost their lives, in addition to 20,000 civilians. The landscape was devastated and the history of Normandy forever scarred.

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2 thoughts on “Mémorial de Caen: The Battle for Caen”

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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