75th anniversary of D-Day...

TIDE-HSV

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Montgomery mostly was a glory hound that was obsessed with not being a footnote in history behind the other great Allied generals like Ike, Patton, and Zhukov. Other than beating an ill supplied Rommel, the only thing he accomplished was the blunder known as "Market Garden". Eisenhower only gave into the dumb idea to show Monty that he still mattered... Yes Monty still thought in the early WWI strategies of "It takes just one good punch".


That's a double edged sword. Most of his generals in the early going were very conservative, and were more concerned with the numbers and lack of experience of the Post Versailles German military. I mean at the time of the invasion of the Sudatenland the German armor was still 80% horse driven, and many generals were hesitant of a possible war with major powers. More or less, Hitler's meddling actually probably defeated France. His problem(s) was that he probably put the absolute worst person in charge of the Air Force and Versailles destroyed the German navy.

Where Hitler's meddling ultimately costed him was on the Eastern Front, and how to handle the USA-Japanese conflict. But he did relinquish command to the Army in 1943 after the disaster at Stalingrad. But Mannstein vs Zhukov was a mismatch in men and generalship. After Kursk, everyone was trying to find a way to just "not lose" the war.

A war with Russia was probably inevitable because there are sources that lean towards Stalin planning a betrayal against Hitler in the next few years. So maybe Hitler was right in that he stood a better chance in going for a surprise attack, but he should've destroyed Monty in Africa before attacking Russia. But still he probably signed his death warrant with him standing by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor.
Montgomery's insubordination would be punished if it happened today. It wouldn't be met with Ike's mild "Monty, you cannot talk to me that way. I am your boss"...
 

crimsonaudio

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June 30, 1944: General Montgomery orders the end of Operation Epsom. British forces dig into their positions and do not progress any more - they then successfully repel the German counter-attacks from the Panzer Lehr, particularly around the village of Baron-sur-Odon. The Allied air force neutralizes the German columns still in motion and the British artillery establishes a fire wall to protect the Scottish and British defensive positions.

Three divisions of the British 8th Corps count more than 4,000 men killed, wounded, missing or captured between June 25th and June 30th. The German losses are high, but Operation Epsom remains a failure from a strategic standpoint - even though the Canadian and British troops have progressed six miles in five days, the front is still not opened and the situation remains extremely unstable: positions are captured and then abandoned, and captured again, such as the infamous Hill 112.

The American VII corps in the Cotentin now control the entire peninsula. Cherbourg is completely under US control, and the 6,000 soldiers of the German garrison in the city surrender. The US troops begin moving to the south of the Cotentin and concentrate their attack in the direction of Saint-Lô, which is constantly bombed by the Allied aircraft.

In the three weeks since D-Day, the Allies have landed 630,000 troops, 600,000 tons of supplies and 177,000 vehicles in the Normandy beachhead. They have suffered 62,000 dead and wounded.

Over France, US 8th Air Force attacks airfields with 100 bombers and attacks bridges, transportation lines, and other targets with 305 fighters. US 9th Air Force bombers and fighters attack a wide range of targets. RAF Bomber Command sends 266 aircraft to attack German ground troops at Villers-Bocage in a daylight raid, 102 aircraft to attack a V-weapons site in a daylight raid, and 118 aircraft to attack Vierzon overnight.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces clear the route to Minsk. Elements of 3rd Belorussian Front cross the Berezina River to the north and south of Borisov. There is heavy street fighting in the city by the afternoon and the defending German forces retreat from the city by evening. These are the last major obstacles before Minsk.

In Italy, elements of US 5th Army are heavily engaged in Cecina. The main advance inland is slowed by a new German defensive line south of Siena and Arezzo. British 8th Army captures Petrignano.

Pictured: Major General J. Lawton Collins describes to Lieutenant General Omar Bradley how Cherbourg was taken, June 30, 1944; Unfinished German submarine pen at Cherbourg, France, June 30, 1944; US troops are watching a column of German POWs near the French city of Avranches, June 30, 1944; A Sherman tank of 24th Lancers, 8th Armoured Brigade, passing a knocked-out German PzKpfw V Panther from 12th SS tank near Rauray, June 30, 1944

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81usaf92

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Montgomery's insubordination would be punished if it happened today. It wouldn't be met with Ike's mild "Monty, you cannot talk to me that way. I am your boss"...
Montgomery thought he was Foch and Ike was Pershing... He was wrong on both. Had Hitler reinforced Rommel then Monty would probably be more remembered like General Haig and the destruction of another generation of young British boys than any great generals from the 1st World War.





Notice which two generals are in the center of the picture, and which ones are happy. Most of the photos with World leaders during that time period revealed who held power based on 3 things: 1) who dominates the photo 2) who is happy 3) and if certain figures are meant to look taller than others (you can see this in the Tehran Agreement photo when Stalin looks way taller than Winston and the same height as FDR)
 
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TIDE-HSV

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I have viewed Montgomery's efforts in France only in passing but one impression I have is the lack of close air support for ground troops going up against German armor. The allies were completely out gunned by the Panther and Tiger tanks and the Germans had vastly more combat experience. Without being a military scholar it just seems that Montgomery and Eisenhower were using WW l tactics against a well experienced and led Wehrmact. Had Hitler allowed his military to direct the Normandy campaign it would be difficult to predict the outcome. In the end it was Hitler's constant meddling from Berlin, Allied control of the air, the shear weight of numbers i.e. losing three Sherman's to ultimately kill one Tiger and the Russian onslaught from the East that determined the outcome in Normandy.
The three POWs in front are not Germans, IMO...
 

Tidewater

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US troops are watching a column of German POWs near the French city of Avranches, June 30, 1944;
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I do not think the Allies were particularly close to Avranches on 30 June. The American 4th AD got there on 30 July.

It's not like I am in the habit of memorizing obscure French villages, but Avranches is the lynchpin holding the Normandy peninsula to the Brittany peninsula. The western coastline of Normandy runs north-south until near Avranches, then it turn due west and becomes the northern coastline of Brittany. In other words, once the Germans fall back south of Avranches, the amount of front line they have to cover goes up exponentially. The Jerries were screwed.
I just checked the Green book (Breakout and Pursuit) and on July 2, the Americans had not yet taken St. Lo, which is well north of Avranches.
 
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crimsonaudio

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July 1, 1944: Operation Epsom, which was completed on June 30, did not tip the scales for either side engaged in the Battle on Odon, but the Germans in Caen lost a part of their defenses in north, which were sent to fight against the British forces in the west of the city. General Montgomery tries to make up for the failure of Epsom by launching a vast offensive on the north side of Caen. The German defenders wilt under intense bombardments of the British artillery and air force, and are forced back little by little, while the English advanced elements approach the suburbs of the city. The Germans of the 1st Panzer SS try their turn with an offensive directed to the north of Caen (towards Tilly-sur-Seulles) which fails because of the staunch resistance by the British troops belonging to the 2nd Army, which creates an artillery barrage in front of its position.

In the Cotentin, the Americans attack in the south towards Saint-Lo, a principal objective of the US troops. These ‘punch’ attacks around the Wood of Bretel to the north of Saint-Lo (led by the 115th American Infantry Regiment) against the German defensive positions are continual, and violent battles (of tanks in particular) are common in this area.

Over France, RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducting ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy. RAF Bomber Command sends 328 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day.

On the eastern front, forces of the 3rd Belorussian Front complete the capture of Borisov. Forces opposite the British 8th Army begin to withdraw.

In Italy, US 5th Army captures Cecina and pushes toward Siena and US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets. Four Kriegsmarine gun ferries sunk at La Spezia by Allied aircraft.

Pictured: A group of very young soldiers of the 12th Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” Waffen SS prisoners in Normandy in July 1, 1944; Nazi flag held by American soldiers after the liberation of Cherbourg, July 1, 1944; American M10 Wolverine tank destroyer firing near Saint-Lô, France, July 1, 1944; View looking west on Normandy's Omaha Beach during resupply operations, July 1, 1944

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Go Bama

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I’m haven’t been able to find anything on where the V weapons sites are. I had always assumed they were fired from within Germany but earlier someone in this thread stated that their father could see them flying toward Britain. As often as missions were flown against these sites it seems like they would have been reduced to rubble.

Does anyone have information about where these V weapons sites were?
 

crimsonaudio

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I’m haven’t been able to find anything on where the V weapons sites are. I had always assumed they were fired from within Germany but earlier someone in this thread stated that their father could see them flying toward Britain. As often as missions were flown against these sites it seems like they would have been reduced to rubble.

Does anyone have information about where these V weapons sites were?
Mobile launches were the delivery method of choice: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/mobileoperations.html

Difficult to find. Also note that the V2 had a max range of around 235 miles.
 

TIDE-HSV

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Awesome information! It seems the best way to stop the V2 would have been to destroy the rails used to transport them.
A lot of that was done, and not just for V2s. It was done to disrupt transport generally. However, until they started running out of steel, the Germans were very good in replacing tracks overnight...
 

TIDE-HSV

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July 1, 1944: Operation Epsom, which was completed on June 30, did not tip the scales for either side engaged in the Battle on Odon, but the Germans in Caen lost a part of their defenses in north, which were sent to fight against the British forces in the west of the city. General Montgomery tries to make up for the failure of Epsom by launching a vast offensive on the north side of Caen. The German defenders wilt under intense bombardments of the British artillery and air force, and are forced back little by little, while the English advanced elements approach the suburbs of the city. The Germans of the 1st Panzer SS try their turn with an offensive directed to the north of Caen (towards Tilly-sur-Seulles) which fails because of the staunch resistance by the British troops belonging to the 2nd Army, which creates an artillery barrage in front of its position.

In the Cotentin, the Americans attack in the south towards Saint-Lo, a principal objective of the US troops. These ‘punch’ attacks around the Wood of Bretel to the north of Saint-Lo (led by the 115th American Infantry Regiment) against the German defensive positions are continual, and violent battles (of tanks in particular) are common in this area.

Over France, RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducting ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy. RAF Bomber Command sends 328 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day.

On the eastern front, forces of the 3rd Belorussian Front complete the capture of Borisov. Forces opposite the British 8th Army begin to withdraw.

In Italy, US 5th Army captures Cecina and pushes toward Siena and US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets. Four Kriegsmarine gun ferries sunk at La Spezia by Allied aircraft.

Pictured: A group of very young soldiers of the 12th Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” Waffen SS prisoners in Normandy in July 1, 1944; Nazi flag held by American soldiers after the liberation of Cherbourg, July 1, 1944; American M10 Wolverine tank destroyer firing near Saint-Lô, France, July 1, 1944; View looking west on Normandy's Omaha Beach during resupply operations, July 1, 1944

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Of this bunch of POWs, I'd say they did have typical German faces. The guy on the far left does look more Italian, but my SIL, born near Baden-Baden also looks Italian...
 

Tidewater

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I was watching the film The Battle of Britain last weekend.
The producers had a fleet of He-111s (32 planes in fact) and 27 x Bf-109s. So I was curious where the heck they got such a large fleet of Luftwaffe planes. Turns out they went to the Spanish Air Force, which produced both under license from the Germans and the Spanish still had the aircraft in the inventory in the late 1960s.
Also interesting was that German fighter ace Adolf Galland was a technical adviser to the film. At one point the actor playing General Albert Kesselring saluted with the Nazi salute and Galland went ballistic, saying Kesselring would not have saluted in such a way. Galland was so furious that he had to be escorted off the set. I don't know Kesselring's politics (I just know he was an effective commander in Italy), but I do know that the Luftwaffe tended to be less nazified than the army.
 

crimsonaudio

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July 2, 1944: The area in the west of Caen liberated by the Scots between June 25th and 30th is now filled with violent battles between the British troops and the German Panzer Lehr. Rommel, coming back in Normandy after his return to Germany on Hitler’s orders, realizes that if they could cut the Allied beachhead in two parts, one American and one Canadian, the Allies will be greatly weakened. He launches an offensive towards Bayeux and must continue north of the city to join Arromanches. But the Canadians hold fast and stop the German forces. Rommel’s forces suffer tremendous losses in this battle.

On the American front, the US soldiers and vehicles in the Cotentin peninsula continue to move towards Saint-Lo, which is bombarded once again by the allied air forces and artillery. The engagements press southward and the Americans add reserve troops in order to launch an offensive in the direction of Saint-Lo. US 1st Army reorganizes the front line with V Corps, XIX Corps, VII Corps, and VIII Corps.

Over France, RAF Bomber Command sends 384 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day. US 8th Air Force attacks V-weapons sites with 280 bombers of which one lost. US 9th Air Force bombers grounded by unfavorable weather conditions while fighters conduct ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy.

The German HQ panics and realizes the impossibility of a decisive victory, because of their massive losses of both men and equipment, and Marshal von Rundstedt asks his superiors for authorization to retreat. Hitler, finding his request ridiculous, refuses and dismisses his marshal. He is replaced on July 2nd by Marshal von Kluge.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces cut several rail lines leading west from Minsk - Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front and 1st Belorussian Front continue pushing toward Minsk to encircle German 4th Army. Hitler belatedly agrees to the civilian evacuation of Minsk.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Foiano and US 5th Army attacks Casole d'Elsa and moves toward Siena. 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets.

Pictured: British army troops load a shell into a 5.5-inch gun, July 2, 1944.; Eisenhower and Bradley at the 2nd US PC ID to the castle of La Boulaye, July 2, 1944; American GIs pose atop a captured monster German railway gun, July 2, 1944; US 8th and 15th Air Forces (and Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force) support ground operations, July, 2 1944

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TIDE-HSV

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Interesting that Hitler sacked aggressive commanders and ended up with Walter Model, master of defense, just as he ended up having to rehabilitate and hire back Heinrici for the final defense of Berlin...
 

crimsonaudio

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July 3, 1944: On the British front to the west and north of Caen, the Brits, Canadians and Scottish make progress. Advanced elements of the 2nd British Army are fighting in the streets of the suburbs of Caen where they face furious resistance from the German defenders, who refuse to retreat or surrender. This strategy by Hitler - which dictates that the German soldiers must defend each foot of their territory up to and including the ‘supreme sacrifice’ - forces the British to use heavy weapons in order to progress, and the air forces and both naval and terrestrial artillery focus on the capital of Normandy.

In the South of the Cotentin, the American forces of the 1st Army launch an offensive against Saint-Lo which runs into a wall of German defenders who are firmly dug in behind their defense line and who benefit from the natural barriers of the Normand bocage (hedgerows). These hedgerows are so thick that engineers first have to blow a hole in the bank, then a bulldozer will later and widen the hole - this slows progress dramatically.

Over France, US 9th Air Force attacks ground targets with 275 fighters in support of 1st Army offensive. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducts ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy at reduced intensity due to poor weather conditions.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces of the 1st and 3rd Belorussian Fronts complete the capture of Minsk. German forces of the 4th Army, which has been pinned by 2nd Belorussian Front, are now trapped east of the city. German casualties and equipment losses are severe. Most of the forces of German Army Group Center are in disarray.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Cortona and US 5th Army captures Siena. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets including Pietrasanta, Canneto sull'Oglio, Saviano, and Pontelagoscuro.

Pictured: The Allies find themselves in the "battle of the hedgerows", as they are stymied by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated, July 3, 1944; A Culin hedgerow cutter - the invention of this hedge-breaching device is generally credited to Curtis G. Culin, a sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division's 102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. However, military historian Max Hastings notes that Culin was inspired by "a Tennessee hillbilly named Roberts", who during a discussion about how to overcome the bocage, said "Why don't we get some saw teeth and put them on the front of the tank and cut through these hedges?”; Soviet tank personnel enter the destroyed Minsk, July 3, 1944 (this date is observed in Belarus as Independence Day); Free French Moroccan infantry in Siena, Italy on July 3, 1944.

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crimsonaudio

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July 4, 1944: It’s Tuesday - today is D+28, marking 4 weeks since the D-Day Invasion at Normandy and the beginning of the liberation of Europe.

On the British front to the west and north of Caen, the strategy by general Montgomery finally starts to payoff: as the British attack the German defenders in the north of the city, the Canadians are sent around Caen to the west to capture the airport located near the village of Carpiquet. This offensive, planned by general Dempsey, is within the scope of the Operation Windsor, which begins on July 4th. Carpiquet, located 1/2 mile to the west of Caen, is attacked by the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment, North Shore Regiment, Queen's Own Rifles Regiment and the Canadien French Regiment la Chaudiere, which battle against the German defenders of the 12nd SS Panzer Division, who are heavily bombarded by the allied artillery and the British Typhoon fighters. By the end of the day, the Canadians control Carpiquet as well as northern part of the airport and push back a large number of German counter-attacks.

To the south of Carentan in the Cotentin peninsula, the Americans continue the siege of the La Haye-du-Puits. Many units have gathered to the north of this village in order to go into battle the next day. To the north of Saint-Lo, the VII Corps of general Collins continues its offensive (which began the day before), while the 83rd and 90th American Infantry divisions deal with German soldiers from the 7th Army. The combat is extremely violent. The soldiers of the 83rd Infantry Division reach the village of Sainteny, defended by SS grenadiers of division Götz von Berlichingen and elements of the 6th German Parachutist Regiment. The American losses are high - a thousand men are injured or killed - for a very limited amount of progress (only 200 yards).

Above France, US 8th Air Force attacks airfields and other targets with 256 bombers escorted by 594 fighters (which also strafe various targets). US 9th Air Force attacks various targets with 95 bombers and 900 fighters. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducts ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy, and sends 345 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day, 231 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites overnight, and 287 aircraft to attack rail yards overnight.

On the eastern front, the Soviet 1st Baltic Front launches attacks on the right flank of German Army Group North, threatening to cut them off. Polotsk is captured. German 4th Army unsuccessfully attempting to fight its way out of encirclement near Minsk.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Castiglion Fiorentino. The German rearguard withdraws overnight, and US 5th Army captures Casole d'Elsa. US 12th Air Force operations limited by poor weather conditions.

Pictured: Rockets fired from a Hawker Typhoon of No 181 Squadron, Royal Air Force, on their way towards buildings at Carpiquet airfield.; Canadian Private Leopold Marcoux with German prisoner of war taken during battle for Carpiquet In Airport, July 4, 1944; View of Cherbourg harbor's Slipway Number One, looking toward Basin Napoleon III, with the Passe Nord in the background, July 4, 1944; note damage from German demolition in the distance; Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley share a laugh as they leave Gen Ira Wyche’s 79th Division headquarters in Huanville, Normandy, France, July 4, 1944

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FitToBeTide

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A little late to the D-Day party, but thanks for the daily postings, CA. Appreciate the effort.

God help this country to never forget...
 

TIDE-HSV

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July 4, 1944: It’s Tuesday - today is D+28, marking 4 weeks since the D-Day Invasion at Normandy and the beginning of the liberation of Europe.

On the British front to the west and north of Caen, the strategy by general Montgomery finally starts to payoff: as the British attack the German defenders in the north of the city, the Canadians are sent around Caen to the west to capture the airport located near the village of Carpiquet. This offensive, planned by general Dempsey, is within the scope of the Operation Windsor, which begins on July 4th. Carpiquet, located 1/2 mile to the west of Caen, is attacked by the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment, North Shore Regiment, Queen's Own Rifles Regiment and the Canadien French Regiment la Chaudiere, which battle against the German defenders of the 12nd SS Panzer Division, who are heavily bombarded by the allied artillery and the British Typhoon fighters. By the end of the day, the Canadians control Carpiquet as well as northern part of the airport and push back a large number of German counter-attacks.

To the south of Carentan in the Cotentin peninsula, the Americans continue the siege of the La Haye-du-Puits. Many units have gathered to the north of this village in order to go into battle the next day. To the north of Saint-Lo, the VII Corps of general Collins continues its offensive (which began the day before), while the 83rd and 90th American Infantry divisions deal with German soldiers from the 7th Army. The combat is extremely violent. The soldiers of the 83rd Infantry Division reach the village of Sainteny, defended by SS grenadiers of division Götz von Berlichingen and elements of the 6th German Parachutist Regiment. The American losses are high - a thousand men are injured or killed - for a very limited amount of progress (only 200 yards).

Above France, US 8th Air Force attacks airfields and other targets with 256 bombers escorted by 594 fighters (which also strafe various targets). US 9th Air Force attacks various targets with 95 bombers and 900 fighters. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducts ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols over Normandy, and sends 345 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day, 231 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites overnight, and 287 aircraft to attack rail yards overnight.

On the eastern front, the Soviet 1st Baltic Front launches attacks on the right flank of German Army Group North, threatening to cut them off. Polotsk is captured. German 4th Army unsuccessfully attempting to fight its way out of encirclement near Minsk.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Castiglion Fiorentino. The German rearguard withdraws overnight, and US 5th Army captures Casole d'Elsa. US 12th Air Force operations limited by poor weather conditions.

Pictured: Rockets fired from a Hawker Typhoon of No 181 Squadron, Royal Air Force, on their way towards buildings at Carpiquet airfield.; Canadian Private Leopold Marcoux with German prisoner of war taken during battle for Carpiquet In Airport, July 4, 1944; View of Cherbourg harbor's Slipway Number One, looking toward Basin Napoleon III, with the Passe Nord in the background, July 4, 1944; note damage from German demolition in the distance; Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley share a laugh as they leave Gen Ira Wyche’s 79th Division headquarters in Huanville, Normandy, France, July 4, 1944

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Interesting outfit by the German soldier. Looks sort of like a converted bathrobe...