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Allied Tactical Airpower in Normandy

Dispositions: August 1944


Situation, 13/14 August 1944. Note how weakly held the German North-Eastern portion of the front is. The portion of the front closest to the coast (from the coast to VIMONT) runs approximately along the line of the River DIVES, and was flooded, forrested, and poor ground for pushing an offensive through. Accordingly, this portion of the front was held by the remenants of 711 and 346 infantry divisions.

The South-Eastern shoulder of the German front is held by 85 Infantry Division, a fresh formation the Germans had just inserted as a reinforcement, and they were holding good reverse slope positions along the line of the River LIASON (which is not shown on this map, but runs roughly due West from ST-PIERRE. 85 ID was a late war raising, 1944 pattern infantry division (ie, only two regts), and had never been in action as a formation before, but it was up to strength, including all of its fire-support and had been formed around a cadre of battle experienced officers and NCOs. It was as good a division as the Germans fielded in this portion of the war. In a defensive role, on ground of their own choosing, with the remaining battlegroups of AFVs from 1st SS Pz Corps in the area to form a tactical reserve, it was in a good defensive position.

More interesting is 272 ID, holding the front opposite VIMONT. 272 was a weak ID, and already somewhat depleted from previous fighting. And it sat astride two good road routes -- the main highway CAEN-VIMONT-LISEUX and the highway VIMONT-ST-PIERRE. Note that there were no German reserves of any sort behind this portion of the front.

Situation, 17/18 August 1944. This portrays what actually happened -- ie that 1st Cdn Army pushed more-or-less due South and then South- South-East (with 1st Polish Armoured Division, which was under comd 1st Cdn Army) to try and close the gap. Note that this was into the teeth of German strength, and that the VIMONT-LISEUX and VIMONT-ST-PIERRE area was still weakly held by the Germans.


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