75th anniversary of D-Day...

crimsonaudio

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July 13, 1944: The Americans continue to push forward in the south of Cotentin, despite slow advances in the area of Martinville. They are stuck in the Normand bocage by Germans who have built up defensive positions. The American Sherman tanks are vulnerable as they climb the hedgerows and lose many tanks to the Germans, camouflaged in the fortress-like hedges. The American engineers equip the Sherman tanks with huge iron teeth salvaged from German beach obstacles, welded to the front, which cut the vegetation in front of the vehicle, allowing faster progress as well as a new camouflage thanks to the branches which remain hung between the blades. They nick-name the Culin hedgerow cutter the Rhinoceros. Tank and infantry units began to support each other - the tanks supplying the heavy firepower needed to eliminate the enemy's well-sited firing positions while the infantry keeps enemy soldiers with antitank weapons at bay. The Rhinos are an ingenious creation, allowing American armor to move across the country at will while the German tanks continue to make do primarily with the roads. In spite of violent engagements which weaken the German troops, the American progress is still slow - a situation which worries General Bradley, who begins working on a possible great scale offensive allowing the opening of the front.

The British and Canadian forces continue to battle in the southwest and east of Caen for total control of the city, the liberation of the villages over the Odon River and Hill 112. The fights, often including hand-to-hand combat, are extremely violent in these areas meaning human and material losses are very high for both sides.

Above France, RAF Bomber Command sends 13 aircraft to attack V-weapons site during the day. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducting ground support. US 9th Air Force fighters attack ground targets in poor weather conditions.

On the eastern front, Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front launches major offensive against German Army Group North Ukraine around Brody, Radekhov, and Zolochev.

In Italy, 2nd New Zealand Division of British 8th Army captures Monte Castiglione Maggiore. French units of US 5th Army attack around Gimignano, Poggibonsi, and Castellina. US 12th Air Force bombers continue Operation Mallory Major to interdict road and rail bridges over Po River. US 15th Air Force attacks Verona, Mestre, Brescia, Mantua and other targets with 581 bombers.

The secret of the German FuG 227 Flensburg equipment, which can home-in on RAF Monica radars, is revealed when a Luftwaffe pilot lands his Junkers Ju 88G-1 night fighter by mistake at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England. In addition the capture of this aircraft's FuG 220 radar will permit British scientist to find a way of jamming its signal within a matter of weeks.

Pictured: The bocage of the Cotentin peninsula; US Army soldiers being taught how to detect and disarm mines, France, July 13, 1944; Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery at headquarters of British 21st Army Group, Normandy, France, July 13, 1944; Churchill tank crews of 31st Tank Brigade with their extensively camouflaged vehicles, July 13, 1944

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Tidewater

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July 13, 1944: The Americans continue to push forward in the south of Cotentin, despite slow advances in the area of Martinville. They are stuck in the Normand bocage by Germans who have built up defensive positions. The American Sherman tanks are vulnerable as they climb the hedgerows and lose many tanks to the Germans, camouflaged in the fortress-like hedges. The American engineers equip the Sherman tanks with huge iron teeth salvaged from German beach obstacles, welded to the front, which cut the vegetation in front of the vehicle, allowing faster progress as well as a new camouflage thanks to the branches which remain hung between the blades. They nick-name the Culin hedgerow cutter the Rhinoceros. View attachment 3892
Not sure many realize what the bocage was. Normandy has a rocky soil and for centuries, Norman farmers would plow up a stone the size of a cinder block and throw it to the edge of the field. Over time, briars grew up around these, died, fell into the cracks and rotted, making soil. The hedgerows eventually became low dirt walls with centers of stone, and briars and hedges on top. If a tank drove over the wall, it would expose its undercarriage (thinnest armor on the tank) to German antitank weapons. Every field became its own little battlefield with ready-made earthworks and concealing vegetation, a big advantage for whoever is on the tactical defensive. And when you lose one field, you just fall back a few nudged meters to the next hedgerow.
The rhinoceros allowed American tanks to push through the earth wall without exposing the undercarriage.
Most of the bocage is gone now, but there are still some examples left.
 

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July 13, 1944: The Americans continue to push forward in the south of Cotentin, despite slow advances in the area of Martinville. They are stuck in the Normand bocage by Germans who have built up defensive positions. The American Sherman tanks are vulnerable as they climb the hedgerows and lose many tanks to the Germans, camouflaged in the fortress-like hedges. The American engineers equip the Sherman tanks with huge iron teeth salvaged from German beach obstacles, welded to the front, which cut the vegetation in front of the vehicle, allowing faster progress as well as a new camouflage thanks to the branches which remain hung between the blades. They nick-name the Culin hedgerow cutter the Rhinoceros. Tank and infantry units began to support each other - the tanks supplying the heavy firepower needed to eliminate the enemy's well-sited firing positions while the infantry keeps enemy soldiers with antitank weapons at bay. The Rhinos are an ingenious creation, allowing American armor to move across the country at will while the German tanks continue to make do primarily with the roads. In spite of violent engagements which weaken the German troops, the American progress is still slow - a situation which worries General Bradley, who begins working on a possible great scale offensive allowing the opening of the front.

The British and Canadian forces continue to battle in the southwest and east of Caen for total control of the city, the liberation of the villages over the Odon River and Hill 112. The fights, often including hand-to-hand combat, are extremely violent in these areas meaning human and material losses are very high for both sides.

Above France, RAF Bomber Command sends 13 aircraft to attack V-weapons site during the day. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force conducting ground support. US 9th Air Force fighters attack ground targets in poor weather conditions.

On the eastern front, Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front launches major offensive against German Army Group North Ukraine around Brody, Radekhov, and Zolochev.

In Italy, 2nd New Zealand Division of British 8th Army captures Monte Castiglione Maggiore. French units of US 5th Army attack around Gimignano, Poggibonsi, and Castellina. US 12th Air Force bombers continue Operation Mallory Major to interdict road and rail bridges over Po River. US 15th Air Force attacks Verona, Mestre, Brescia, Mantua and other targets with 581 bombers.

The secret of the German FuG 227 Flensburg equipment, which can home-in on RAF Monica radars, is revealed when a Luftwaffe pilot lands his Junkers Ju 88G-1 night fighter by mistake at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England. In addition the capture of this aircraft's FuG 220 radar will permit British scientist to find a way of jamming its signal within a matter of weeks.

Pictured: The bocage of the Cotentin peninsula; US Army soldiers being taught how to detect and disarm mines, France, July 13, 1944; Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery at headquarters of British 21st Army Group, Normandy, France, July 13, 1944; Churchill tank crews of 31st Tank Brigade with their extensively camouflaged vehicles, July 13, 1944

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We are approaching the break out from Normandy and I thought it appropriate to share the Battle Route of the XII corp 3rd US Army from its landing at Utah Beach to end the war in a wheat field in Czechoslovakia.

https://view.publitas.com/244thfieldartillerybattalion-com/xii-corps-battle-route/page/1
 

TIDE-HSV

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We are approaching the break out from Normandy and I thought it appropriate to share the Battle Route of the XII corp 3rd US Army from its landing at Utah Beach to end the war in a wheat field in Czechoslovakia.
I'm waiting to post the August-September map. The change is remarkable...
 

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I'm waiting to post the August-September map. The change is remarkable...
I grew up with the XII corp map folded in the dresser at home and must have looked it it a thousand times. Yesterday I was searching the 244th Field Artillery site and located a photo of Battery C which included my Dad made in 1942 at Camp Shelby, MS. It is all history now!
 

crimsonaudio

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July 14, 1944: it’s Bastille Day in France as the battles continue in Normandy. The British continue attacking the German forces of the Western Panzergruppe (led by Eberbach) in and around the town of Caen and try to take full control the eastern and southern parts of the city - but the defenders hold their positions tightly, despite near constant bombing. In the valley of Odon, the British continue to progress, although very slow and the losses are tremendous. A large number of German armored divisions are now engaged with the Brits and Canadians, yet they also hold their ground despite heavy losses. However, the German tank and armored vehicles moving towards Caen reduce the pressure on the American forces in the western sector, where the German defenders do not allow the Allied troops to advance. The American front has essentially stabilized for the time being, it essentially doesn’t move. Saint-Lo and Periers are still in artillery range, but not in rifle range.

The US 8th Air Force based in Britain flies several missions over France, with 319 B-17 bombers dropping 3,700 containers to supply Allied forces fighting in southern France, 131 B-24 bombers attacking Montdidier and Peronne airfields, and 94 P-38 fighter-bombers attacking targets near Paris (1 P-38 aircraft lost). Meanwhile, other Allied aircraft attack targets in the French railway system in or near Bourth, Merey, Periers, Chateaudun, and other locations; some of these attacks are conducted using Oboe, a British aerial blind bombing targeting technology. US 9th Air Force bombers and fighters attack ground targets in poor weather conditions. RAF Bomber Command sends 115 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites and 253 aircraft to attack rail yards overnight.
On the eastern front, the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front (Konev) begins a new offensive in the south. The forces of the 1st Belorussian Front capture Pinsk. Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front attacks around Grodno and pushes toward border of East Prussia.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Monte Carmucino against stiffening German resistance. French units of US 5th Army capture Poggibonsi. US 12th Air Force attacks transportation lines, bridges, supply dumps, and other targets while bombers continue Operation Mallory Major to interdict road and rail bridges over Po River. US 15th Air Force attacks Mantua.

Pictured: Two young French women give flowers to an American officer in Cherbourg, July 14, 1944; This bazooka team takes a second look at the German Panzer they took care of on their first look. July 14, 1944; B-17G Fortress “Mizpah” took a direct AAA hit in the nose on mission to Budapest, 14 Jul 1944. 2 were killed instantly but the pilot held her level long enough for crew to get out & become POW's. The aircraft crashed near Dunavecse, Hungary; Situation map from July 14, 1944

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Tidewater

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July 14, 1944: it’s Bastille Day in France as the battles continue in Normandy.

View attachment 3899
If you look at that map and imagine the triangle formed by La Haie du Puit (the far northwestern end of the German front lines), Caen and Avranches (where Normandy meets Brittany), the U.S. is going to liberate almost all of that over the next 2-3 weeks while the Brits and Canadians tie down some pretty good German armored units.The German front lines are going to swing backwards like a gate before the American advance and it will be a thing of beauty.
 
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TIDE-HSV

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If you look at that map and imagine the triangle formed by La Haie du Puit (the far northwestern end of the German front lines), Caen and Avranches (where Normandy meets Brittany), the U.S. is going to liberate almost all of that over the next 2-3 weeks while the Brits and Canadians tie down some pretty good German armored units.The German front lines are going to swing backwards like a gate before the American advance and it will be a thing of beauty.
I'm holding back the map to post, unless you beat me to it... :D
 

TIDE-HSV

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If you look at that map and imagine the triangle formed by La Haie du Puit (the far northwestern end of the German front lines), Caen and Avranches (where Normandy meets Brittany), the U.S. is going to liberate almost all of that over the next 2-3 weeks while the Brits and Canadians tie down some pretty good German armored units.The German front lines are going to swing backwards like a gate before the American advance and it will be a thing of beauty.
I used to have discussions with my German veteran next door neighbor about the war on the western front. He knew nothing about the massacre at Malmedy, and that wasn't surprising. I was amazed he knew nothing of the Battle of the Bulge, even after I learned that the German name for the operation was "Wacht am Rhein." Then, I realized that he had, by then, been "drafted" from the infantry into the V2 program, when it was discovered that he was a PHD physicist, and he simply wouldn't have been told, for morale purposes...
 

crimsonaudio

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July 15, 1944: The British continue attacking the south and east of Caen, which is heavily defended by the German SS troops who refuse to give up. Allied artillery continues bombarding the southern part of the city, and the British and Canadian troops move with great difficulty through the ruins of the northern part. Hill 113, defended by the German Hitlerjugend, still blocks the access of the southern area of Caen. A new British offensive, carried out by the 15th Scottish division and codenamed Operation Greenline, is launched in the valley of Odon. It is absolutely necessary for the Allies to capture Hill 113.

The Americans still push towards Periers and Saint-Lo, two major Allied objectives which, once captured, will allow a faster path towards the center France and Brittany (to the southwest of Normandy). But the German divisions are well established in the bocage and ‘The Battle of the Hedgerows’ is turning into a real stalling point for the Americans. 
To the northeast of Saint-Lo, American divisions belonging to the 19th Corps only progress by one mile to the south as the German forces of the 7th Army, led by General Hausser, are experienced and battle-tested and are difficult to drive back.

Over France, RAF Bomber Command sends 53 aircraft to attack a V-weapons site during the day escorted by 96 Spitfires. With bombers grounded by poor weather conditions, US 8th Air Force and 9th Air Force fighters attack transportation lines and troop positions. RAF Bomber Command sends 234 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites and 229 aircraft to attack rail yards overnight.

Rommel communicates to Hitler that Germany should seriously consider ending the war on favorable terms while it is still possible, but for an unknown reason, the letter is delayed in its delivery, not reaching Hitler until July 20th.

By mid-July, the Allies have landed nearly 1,500,000 soldiers in Normandy (a total of 36 divisions) and 300,000 vehicles. 54,000 tons of material land each day on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, as well as in Arromanches where the artificial harbor functions 24 hours a day.

On the eastern front, Soviet 2nd Baltic Front captures Opochka. German Army Group Center unsuccessfully attacks the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front around Alytus. Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front and German Army Group North Ukraine heavily engaged around Lvov.

In Italy, British 8th Army opens a major offensive against Arezzo with strong artillery bombardment and air support - German forces begin withdrawing from Arezzo sector overnight. French units of US 5th Army capture Castellina while the remainder of US 5th Army pushes northward toward Livorno and Pisa. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack transportation lines, enemy positions, and other targets in support of ground operations.

Pictured: Evrecy, July 15, 1944: Churchill tanks preparing to attack Hill 113.; An American version of a sidewalk cafe, in fallen La Haye du Puits, France on July 15, 1944, as Robert McCurty, left, from Newark, New Jersey, Sgt. Harold Smith, of Brush Creek, Tennessee, and Sgt. Richard Bennett, from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, raise their glasses in a toast.; US Army soldiers and jeeps on their way to the front lines, Saint-Lô, France, July 15, 1944; Cpl. Raymond C. Slack, left, of Milwaukee, Wis., keeps sharp lookout for German patrols at an American outpost near Saint-Lô on July 15, 1944, while his buddy S/Sgt. Eugene Schmitz, of Roseland, Neb., tries to make up a little of the sleep he has lost while on active duty.

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Tidewater

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I recently read a booklet Rhineland by Ted Ballard of the Center for Military History. (35 pages)
The conclusion of the booklet really grabbed me. While this booklet covers the fighting along the German frontier between September 1944 and March 1945, this comment rings true for the fighting around Normandy:
Eisenhower’s tactful, yet determined, stewardship of a complex and often contentious coalition force made the successful conclusion of a difficult campaign possible. The indomitable soldiers fighting in the Allied cause, however, transformed the possibilities of high-level plans into victory on the ground. In incredibly harsh weather, over difficult terrain, and against a determined foe, Eisenhower’s soldiers had triumphed. Of all these soldiers, the infantryman had had the hardest lot. In mid-December Eisenhower wrote to Ernie Pyle, the well-known war correspondent, that it was his foot soldiers who had demonstrated the “real heroism—which is the uncomplaining acceptance of unendurable conditions.” At Aachen, at Metz, in the Huertgen Forest, in the Vosges Mountains, along the length of the Siegfried Line, and on to the Rhine River, the Allied infantryman had persevered and, through his determination, vanquished the Wehrmacht.
The cemetery at the top of Omaha Beach testifies to this.
 

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July 16,1944: the 15th, 43th, 49th, 50th, 53rd and 59th British and Canadian Infantry divisions still battle the western Panzergruppe led by Eberbach in the valley of Odon, while in Caen the British continue their push to control the whole city. The tank combat is ferocious and nearly constant but the Allied artillery and air force limit the German counter-offensives. A new British offensive, codenamed Operation Pomegranate, is launched in the valley of Odon. It is important to open the front, so Lieutenant-General Simonds presents another operation to the 2nd Canadian Corps, called Operation Atlantic, which aims at opening the front in the southwest of Caen towards the village of Louvigny. This small offensive, to be carried out by the 2nd Canadian Infantry division, is approved and preparations begin.

The American front in the south of the Cotentin peninsula forms a fairly straight line. However, north of Saint-Lo the German counter-attacks increase, and the 29th and 30th American Infantry divisions are moved further apart little by little - this situation worries Allied command. In response, the 9th and 30th divisions launch a new offensive towards the south, along the road Carentan-Saint-Lo, to solidify the rectilinear front. The American progression is extremely slow and difficult, but the Americans still reach the village of Esglandes. During this time, the 2nd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment is encircled, but the German forces are quite weakened.

A total of 1,087 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers US 8th Air Force attack Germany in three waves (407, 238, and 407 bombers, respectively), escorted by 240, 214, and 169 fighters, respectively, with most of the bombers targeting Munich, Stuggart, Augsburg, and Saarbrucken; a total of 11 bombers and 3 fighters are lost.

On the eastern front, southwest of Vilna, Soviet forces storm Grodno. To the south, the 1st Ukrainian Front advances toward Lvov on a 300-mile frontage. Yet another pocket begins to form in Ukraine as over 40,000 German troops are about to be encircled near Brody.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Arezzo and pushes across the Arno River. US 5th Army captures Usigliano and Monte Maggiore, pushing into the Arno valley. German 10th Army and 14th Army continue to prepare the Gothic Line positions while delaying Allied advance. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack transportation lines, enemy positions, and other targets in support of ground operations.

Hitler leaves Berchtesgaden for the last time, flying to the Wolfsschanze

Pictured: A Royal Artillery 5.5-inch medium gun in action, July 16, 1944. Medium artillery regiments (each containing 16 guns) were corps level assets, and were normally used to supplement the infantry divisions' own field regiments of 25-pounders. Their heavier shells were more effective against dug-in enemy positions.; British infantry watch Churchill tanks moving up for a dawn attack towards Evrecy, July 16, 1944; German Panzer at St. Eny, France. July 16, 1944; Canadian Troops enter a village where a week earlier German soldiers had massacred the entire Male population. San Pancrazio, Italy, July 16, 1944.

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UAH

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I recently read a booklet Rhineland by Ted Ballard of the Center for Military History. (35 pages)
The conclusion of the booklet really grabbed me. While this booklet covers the fighting along the German frontier between September 1944 and March 1945, this comment rings true for the fighting around Normandy:

The cemetery at the top of Omaha Beach testifies to this.
Your post caused me to think of my uncle who was barely 18 when he arrived as a rifleman in Europe. He became a POW in the Ardennes but survived without food in the bitter cold and was ultimately released during the German retreat. These young men were forced to grow up very quickly!
 

TIDE-HSV

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Your post caused me to think of my uncle who was barely 18 when he arrived as a rifleman in Europe. He became a POW in the Ardennes but survived without food in the bitter cold and was ultimately released during the German retreat. These young men were forced to grow up very quickly!
He was very lucky to be released. During the Battle of the Bulge, they executed POWs - on Hitler's orders, to frighten the enemy. A corporal's thinking...
 

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Your post caused me to think of my uncle who was barely 18 when he arrived as a rifleman in Europe. He became a POW in the Ardennes but survived without food in the bitter cold and was ultimately released during the German retreat. These young men were forced to grow up very quickly!
Was he part of the 106th Infantry Division?
 

TIDE-HSV

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Your post caused me to think of my uncle who was barely 18 when he arrived as a rifleman in Europe. He became a POW in the Ardennes but survived without food in the bitter cold and was ultimately released during the German retreat. These young men were forced to grow up very quickly!
After the murders in the initial Bulge offensive, when the tide turned, Peipper suspended the massacres . He was responsible, probably, for hundreds of POWs' murders and only did 10 years...
 

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After the murders in the initial Bulge offensive, when the tide turned, Peipper suspended the massacres . He was responsible, probably, for hundreds of POWs' murders and only did 10 years...
At the museum in La Gleize Belgium, they have one of the fuel tanks the Luftwaffe dropped in to KampfGruppe Peiper, once it got cut off. They looked like reinforced 55 gallon drums.
Now, given the mileage that a King Tiger got (0.6 miles/gallon), that does not do much to get the KG moving again, unless they dropped a whole bunch of them. Peiper ended up leaving all his vehicles and walking back to Germany.
 

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July 16,1944: the 15th, 43th, 49th, 50th, 53rd and 59th British and Canadian Infantry divisions still battle the western Panzergruppe led by Eberbach in the valley of Odon, while in Caen the British continue their push to control the whole city. The tank combat is ferocious and nearly constant but the Allied artillery and air force limit the German counter-offensives. A new British offensive, codenamed Operation Pomegranate, is launched in the valley of Odon. It is important to open the front, so Lieutenant-General Simonds presents another operation to the 2nd Canadian Corps, called Operation Atlantic, which aims at opening the front in the southwest of Caen towards the village of Louvigny. This small offensive, to be carried out by the 2nd Canadian Infantry division, is approved and preparations begin.

The American front in the south of the Cotentin peninsula forms a fairly straight line. However, north of Saint-Lo the German counter-attacks increase, and the 29th and 30th American Infantry divisions are moved further apart little by little - this situation worries Allied command. In response, the 9th and 30th divisions launch a new offensive towards the south, along the road Carentan-Saint-Lo, to solidify the rectilinear front. The American progression is extremely slow and difficult, but the Americans still reach the village of Esglandes. During this time, the 2nd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment is encircled, but the German forces are quite weakened.

A total of 1,087 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers US 8th Air Force attack Germany in three waves (407, 238, and 407 bombers, respectively), escorted by 240, 214, and 169 fighters, respectively, with most of the bombers targeting Munich, Stuggart, Augsburg, and Saarbrucken; a total of 11 bombers and 3 fighters are lost.

On the eastern front, southwest of Vilna, Soviet forces storm Grodno. To the south, the 1st Ukrainian Front advances toward Lvov on a 300-mile frontage. Yet another pocket begins to form in Ukraine as over 40,000 German troops are about to be encircled near Brody.

In Italy, British 8th Army captures Arezzo and pushes across the Arno River. US 5th Army captures Usigliano and Monte Maggiore, pushing into the Arno valley. German 10th Army and 14th Army continue to prepare the Gothic Line positions while delaying Allied advance. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack transportation lines, enemy positions, and other targets in support of ground operations.

Hitler leaves Berchtesgaden for the last time, flying to the Wolfsschanze

Pictured: A Royal Artillery 5.5-inch medium gun in action, July 16, 1944. Medium artillery regiments (each containing 16 guns) were corps level assets, and were normally used to supplement the infantry divisions' own field regiments of 25-pounders. Their heavier shells were more effective against dug-in enemy positions.; British infantry watch Churchill tanks moving up for a dawn attack towards Evrecy, July 16, 1944; German Panzer at St. Eny, France. July 16, 1944; Canadian Troops enter a village where a week earlier German soldiers had massacred the entire Male population. San Pancrazio, Italy, July 16, 1944.

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For King and Country is a Canadian produced historical series on the Canadian Army's participation in World War II. Episode 5 covers the D Day landing through Mid-August closing the Falaise Gap and the end of the battle for Normandy. It poignantly covers the human cost of the bitter battles around Caen.

 

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