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Operation Epsom, 26-30 June 1944

Operation Epsom, 26-30 June 1944


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Operation Epsom, 26-30 June 1944

Operation Epsom (26-30 June 1944) was the second major British attack on Caen, and the first major British offensive after D-Day, and was an attempt to reach the high ground south of the city and threaten the Caen-Falaise Road. The attack failed to meet those early Overlord objectives, but did force the Germans to move reinforcements to the Caen area.

Caen had been one of the British targets on D-Day, but the city turned out to be more heavily defended than expected, with elements from the 21st Panzer Division in the area. One attempt was made to capture the city before the Germans could move reinforcements to the area – Operation Perch – but this attack also failed. The attack east of Caen made very little progress, while a potentially promising advance to the west was stopped by a small force of German Tiger tanks at Villers-Bocage. After the failure of this attack Montgomery realised that the chance to capture the city quickly had gone, and he would need to prepare for a large scale, deliberate attack.

The new plan was to use VIII Corps to attack west of Caen, with the XXX Corps its right. The aim was to get across the Odon, which flows from west to east into Caen, where it joins the Orne just south of the city centre. The original plan was to attack on 18 June, but it took longer than expected for O’Conner’s divisions to reach France and only one of them was in place by that date. The Great Storm that began on 19 June delayed the attack even further, and gave the Germans the time they needed to reinforce the line west of Caen.

A preliminary attack, Operation Martlet, would take place on the right flank of the attack, using troops from XXX corps. Its aim was to capture the high ground around Rauray and Noyers-Bocage (the Rauray Spur), which was just to the west of the area that the Epsom attackers would need to advance across to reach the river. The main attack was to begin on 23 June. The aim was to cross the Odon, and possible the Orne, and if all went well to reach the high ground to the north-east of Bretteville-Sur-Laize, to the east of the Orne. A key target was Hill 112, a key high point on the south bank of the Odon. This would allow the British to threaten the Caen to Falaise road. The great storm of 19 June slowed down the Allied build-up, delaying the arrival of VIII Corps in France. As a result Martlet was pushed back to 25 June and Epsom to 26 June.

At the start of the battle General O’Connor, commander of VIII Corps, had 60,000 men, 600 tanks and 700 guns at his disposal. The corps included the 15th (Scottish) Division, 43rd (Wessex) Division, 11th Armoured Division, 4th Armoured Brigade and 31st Tank Brigade. Most of these troops were inexperienced, had landed after D-Day, and Epsom would be their first battle.

Operation Martlet began on 25 June. The attack by 49th Division began in thick mist, and ran into strong German defences, and they were only able to capture part of the high ground. However it did convince the Germans to move their last armoured reserves from the Epsom front to the spur.

The main Epsom attack was led by the 15th Scottish Division, supported by the 43rd Wessex Division and the 11th Armoured Division. The attack was to begin from Bretteville l’Orgeuilleuse, seven miles to the west/ north-west of the centre of Caen, just to the north of the Caen to Carentan railway. The 15th Scottish Division was to attack across the Odon and take the high ground between the Odon and the Orne. The 43rd Wessex Division was to support this attack. The 11th Armoured Division was then to advance south-east across the Orne, and cut the Caen to Falaise road.

The area was known to be defended by the 12th SS Panzer Division, 21st Panzer Division and Panzer Lehr, with elements of four other divisions believed to be in the area. The initial attack hit the area defended by the 1st SS ‘Hitler Youth’ Panzer Division.

The Battle

The battle was to have begun with a powerful air attack, but heavy rain on the night of 25-26 June meant this had to be cancelled. Early on 26 June 500 guns began a three hour long artillery barrage, supported by naval guns from the fleet. This did a great deal of damage to the German front line, but their positions were several miles thick by this point, so their second line remained relatively intact.

The attack began with an advance by the Highlanders of the 46th Brigade and the Lowlanders of the 44th Brigade, supported by a rolling barrage. The initial advance went well, and the first German line was quickly overrun. However their second line, which was based around a series of villages on the northern side of the Odon, held out for longer. The Scots captured the village of Cheux at about noon. This was a key position, as two roads ran south to Gavrus and Tourmauville, on the south bank of the Odon. The British presence here greatly concerned General Dietrich, command of the I SS Panzer Corps, who demanded that reinforcements be sent urgently to prevent a breakthrough.

This wouldn’t have been clear to the troops fighting around Cheux, who found themselves unable to make any progress. The 29th Armoured Brigade was ordered to advance through the village to attack the bridges over the Odon but failed to make any progress. The 227th Brigade from the 15th Division had the same problem at around 1800.

Although the British hadn’t made as much progress as they had wanted, the attack did achieve one of its main objectives. Dietrich’s urgent call for reinforcements eventually convinced Rommel to move the 1st, 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions and part of the 2nd SS Panzer Division to reinforce the defenders of Caen. Some of these troops were newly arrived and others came from the St. Lo area, but in either case they delayed Rommel’s planned counterattack towards Bayeux, which was to have begun on or soon after 5 July.

The most significant of these changes was the commitment of the newly arrived II SS Panzer Corps under General Hausser (9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions), which had been moved west from the Eastern Front. Rommel was planning to use the new corps to launch his long-desired counterattack, which was to hit the join between the British and Americans around Bayeux, in an attempt to split the beachhead in two. This attack was to have begun on or soon after 5 July, but Epsom meant that it had to be cancelled. General Dollman, commander of the Seventh Army, had ordered the corps to move to Caen twice on 26 June, but cancelled the order on both occasions. Finally, towards the end of the day Rommel ordered Hausser to move his troops to the threatened area. However the order was once again cancelled early on 27 June.

On the night of 26-27 June the 43rd (Wessex) Division began to relieve the 15th (Scottish) Division.

On 27 June the British were finally able to push towards the river, using the 227th Brigade and 29th Armoured Brigade. The 2nd Argyll and Sutherlands were able to push down the eastern road from Cheux to Tourmauville, where they captured an intact bridge across the river. By 1900 the battalion was across the river, as were the leading tanks of the 11th Armoured Division. The next stage was to advance south to capture Hill 112, to the south-west of Caen. From here the British would have had a view across the Carpiquet airfield, and into Caen. By the end of the day the leading tanks from the 11th Armoured Division had reached Baron, on the lower slopes of the hill.

The German reinforcements finally began to arrive on the night of 27-28 June. General Hauser’s II Corps had finally been committed, and he wanted to postpone the attack for 48 hours to allow all of the troops to arrive, but Dollman insisted on an early attack. Task grounds from the 1st and 2nd SS Corps launched attacks on either side of the British corridor on 28 June, but failed to break through.

On 28 June the British concentrated on securing their narrow corridor from Cheux to Hill 112. The 2nd Argylls moved west from Tormauville and found Gavrus unprotected and its bridge intact. During the day tanks from the 11th Armoured reached the crest of Hill 112, but then came under very heavy fire. The Germans focused on moving their troops into position for the counterattack, which was to begin on 29 June.

On the German side 28 June saw a great deal of confusion amongst their high command. Von Rundstedt had finally plucked up the courage to demand that Hitler give him the authority to make major adjustments to the front line if they were required – in effect to abandon territory to create a shorter or stronger line. Hitler responded by summoning von Rundstedt and Rommel to Berchtesgaden, and by the morning of 28 June both men were on their way east, not to return until 30 June. This left Dollman in command in Normandy, and with Allied tanks across the Odon he once again ordered Hausser to throw his tanks into the battle. Hausser wanted to fight a containing battle over the next two days to give his corps a chance to assemble properly, but Dollman ordered him not to delay, and then shortly after that died, either of a stress-induced heart attack or by committing suicide. He had already been replaced by SS General Paul Hausser, the first time an SS officer had been given such a high command within the regular Army, but the news hadn’t reached Normandy by the time Dollmann died.

Although the attack wasn’t making as much progress as hoped for, it did force the Germans to focus their efforts around Caen. During 28 June Allied reconnaissance aircraft reported sighting large German motorised columns travelling in daylight, a most unusual sight since D-Day, and General Dempsey, O'Connor's immediate commander, realised that a major counterattack was likely. At this point the British bridgehead over the Odon was very vulnerable. Although a second bridge had been captured by troops on the far side of the river it was still not open to traffic, and the only road from the main bridgehead through the corridor to the Odon was under constant artillery fire. Dempsey decided not to risk any advance towards the Orne, a move that would have almost certainly failed as the attacking troops ran into 2nd SS Corps, and O'Connor was ordered to consolidate his position north of the Odon and prepare to resist a major armoured counterattack. O'Connor correctly realised that the main attack would come from the west, taking advantage of the ridge that ran from Rauray to Cheux, and posted his strongest anti-tank defences on that flank.

This effectively ended Operation Epsom. The British now focused on defeating the upcoming German Odon Counterattack, which was duly defeated with the aid of artillery and air power. The British did pull back from the lower slopes of Hill 112, which was retained by the Germans until late July, but they had held on to the key river crossings and defeated a major German counterattack.

By the end of Epsom and the Odon counterattack the Germans had lost over 100 tanks, but more importantly Rommel had been forced to commit his armoured reserves to the defensive battle around Caen. He was thus unable to launch his planned counterattack toward Bayeux. The Allies now held a narrow bridgehead over the Odon, which became known as the ‘Scottish Corridor’. On the German side the battle was seen as a serious setback. Their line was becoming increasingly brittle, and the commanders in Normandy were increasingly convinced that the battle there could no longer be won. An attack by two SS Panzer Corps had failed to make any significant progress, a great blow to German morale.

The battle was very costly for the attacking Allies. The 15th Scottish Division, which fought throughout the campaign in north-western Europe, suffered 25% of their total casualties in the five days of Epsom and the remaining 75% in the other 320 days they were in action!


Operation: Epsom

Operation Epsom, also known as the First Battle of the Odon, was a Second World War British offensive that took place between 26 and 30 June 1944, during the Battle of Normandy. The offensive was intended to outflank and seize the German-occupied city of Caen, France, a major Allied objective in the early stages of the invasion of northwest Europe.

Preceded by attacks to secure the lines of advance, Operation Epsom was launched early on 26 June, with units of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division advancing behind a rolling artillery barrage. Air cover would be sporadic for much of the operation, as poor weather in the United Kingdom forced the last-minute cancellation of bomber support. Supported by the tanks of the 31st Tank Brigade, the 15th Scottish made steady progress, and by the end of the first day had largely overrun the German outpost line, although some difficulties remained in securing the flanks of the advance. In heavy fighting over the following two days, a foothold was secured across the River Odon, and efforts were made to expand this by capturing strategic points around the salient and moving up the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. However, in response to powerful German counterattacks, by 30 June some of the British positions across the river were withdrawn, bringing the operation to a close.

Military historians have widely differed in their interpretations of the intention and conduct of Operation Epsom, but there is general agreement concerning its effect on the balance of forces in Normandy. Although the Germans had managed to contain the offensive, to do so they had been obliged to commit all their available strength, including two panzer divisions newly arrived in Normandy and earmarked for a planned offensive against British and American positions around Bayeux, France. Casualties were heavy on both sides, but unlike General Bernard Montgomery, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was unable to withdraw units into reserve after the battle, as they were needed to hold the front line. The British retained the initiative, and were able to launch further operations over the following weeks, eventually capturing Caen towards the end of July.


Operation Epsom, 26-30 June 1944 - History

30 JULY – 7 AUGUST 1944: OPERATION BLUECOAT

– FILM OPERATION BLUECOAT (to open, click pictures) –

7 – 28 AUGUST 1944: NORMANDY TO THE SEINE

– FILM NORMANDY TO THE SEINE (to open, click pictures) –

28 AUGUST – 4 SEPTEMBER 1944: SEINE TO ANTWERP

– FILM SEINE TO ANTWERP (to open, click pictures) –

4 – 8 SEPTEMBER 1944: LIBERATION OF ANTWERP

– PHOTOS LIBERATION OF ANTWERP –

23rd Hussars Sherman en route for Antwerp, Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Harkness collection 23rd Hussars Sherman. Note 'Mechelen' written on side, to rear, and camouflage of gun barrel, Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Kenny collection Same 23rd Hussars Sherman Firefly, Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Kenny collection Same tank again, Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Kenny collection Another Sherman firefly (Sherman tank with 17 pounder gun), Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Kenny collection 8th Rifle Brigade half-track, possibly H Company, Antwerpsestraat, Mortsel - Harkness collection />Antwerp, Pothoekstraat-Boerhavestraat - editor's collection />8th Rifle Brigade carrier? - editor's collection />3rd Monmouthshire carrier - editor's collection />3rd Monmouthshire carrier - editor's collection />Loyd carrier with 6-pounder anti-tank gun - editor's collection />Carrier near corner Pothoekstraat-Boerhavestraat - editor's collection />8th Rifle Brigade carrier near corner Pothoekstraat-Boerhavestraat - editor's collection />159 Infantry Brigade troops, with 2" mortar - editor's collection />8th Rifle Brigade carrier - editor's collection />4th KSLI carrier - editor's collection />75th Anti-tank regiment - editor's collection />Sherman - editor's collection />Shermans - editor's collection />Sherman. Note driver's American type tank helmet - editor's collection />Mechelsesteenweg early morning 4 September 1944 - editor's collection />Mechelsesteenweg a little bit later - editor's collection />23rd Hussars Shermans at Koningin Astridsplein - editor's collection />23rd Hussars' Sherman in front of Antwerp Opera house - editor's collection Groote Markt, Antwerp - Sgt. Fruin collection />Troops in front of School Silo 3, Belgiëlei 99 - editor's collection />4th KSLI jeep and Loyd carrier near former Koninklijke Stapelhuizen - editor's collection />Sherman passing former Koninklijke Stapelhuizen - editor's collection />Sherman tank near former Koninklijke Stapelhuizen - editor's collection />11th Armoured Division Sherman - editor's collection />11th Armoured Div. troops at Ankerrui, Antwerp - editor's collection />11th Armoured Division vehicles - editor's collection

Operation Epsom, 26-30 June 1944 - History

Before EPSOM in late June 1944 there remained the chance that a German counterstroke might seriously threaten the bridgehead. After EPSOM, the Allies retained the strategic initiative through to the liberation of France and Belgium.

This was a battle in which highly trained but largely inexperienced British &lsquofollow-up&rsquo divisions, newly arrived in Normandy, confronted some of the best equipped, best led and battle-hardened formations of the Third Reich.

Beginning with a set-piece British assault on the German lines in dense terrain, the battle developed into swirling armored action on the open slopes of Hills 112 and 113, before the British turned to grimly defending their gains in the face of concentric attacks by two full SS-Panzer Korps.

This entirely new study brings together previously unseen evidence to present an important Normandy battle in very great detail. The unfolding action is illustrated using aerial photography of the battlefield and period Army maps.

About The Author

Ian Daglish is a well respected military historian, battlefield guide and lecturer. His other books include Operation Bluecoat and Goodwood (Over the Battlefield).


The 15th Scottish Infantry Division in Normandy

On 14 June 1944, the 15th Scottish Infantry Division landed in Normandy on Sword Beach. On 26 June they fought on the front line, engaged in Operation Epsom to seize the city of Caen. Despite heavy losses, the men successfully participated in major Anglo-Canadian offensives in Normandy before fighting in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The 15th Scottish Infantry Division served for three years on the Western Front during the First World War. At the start of the Second World War in September 1939 it was remobilised in England. Here it remained until 1943 in training formation.

On 14 June 1944 the 15th Scottish Division returned to French soil. Their first battle was Operation Epsom to outflank and seize the city of Caen. Serving under the command of General MacMillan, the Scottish Division took part in the attack to cross the river Odon. These were only their first days in action and the division already suffered heavy losses: about 2,700 casualties between 27 June and 2 July 1944. Nearly a third of the total infantry strength of the entire division. However, a corridor of 8 by 3 kilometres was pierced through German lines, named the ‘Scottish Corridor’. Known for their fighting spirit, the Scottish soldiers then launched a diversion from the Odon bridgehead in support of Operation Goodwood. On 15 July 1944, the town of Esquay was captured during the night. For about a month they fought at the foot of hill 112. Even though the hill was not captured, the battle distracted a German Panzer Division for a good while.

On 23 July the 15th Division was ordered to advance towards Caumont-l’Éventé to relieve the 1st American Division. The 15th Scottish Infantry Division took part, in Operation Bluecoat (30 July – 4 August) advancing through hedgerows and bushes. After a week of bitter fighting around Estry, the division was granted time of rest to the South of Caen. The men resumed their progress towards the Seine, which they crossed on 27 August 1944 before they continued towards Belgium and the Netherlands.

Men of the 15th Scottish Division advance near Caumont on 30 July 1944.

Men of the 15th Scottish Division in Normandy on 26 June 1944 just before Operation Epsom.

Men of the 15th Scottish Division in Normandy on 26 June 1944 just before Operation Epsom.


Normandy 1944, Beyond the Beaches

This tour will look at operations of the Anglo-Canadian armies of 21st Army Group initially in trying to fix the German forces in the eastern bridgehead in order to support American breakout operations further west. We then follow their drive out of the bridge head to join up with American forces. This led to the destruction of the German Army in Normandy in what became known as the Battle of the Falaise Pocket. Both the British 2nd Army and the Canadian 1st Army closely supported each other with many joint operations. For Canadians this will be an insight into the fortitude and resolve of their forces as they fought the best of the German Army.

Meet Guide and coach at Caen Station. Check in to Hotel. Guided tour of Caen centre. Opportunity to explore Castle, Abbey of Saint Étienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes, and city centre bombed during WW2. Welcome dinner.

Breakfast in Hotel. Depart hotel with packed lunch for tour of Operation PERCH (7 June 1944). We visit: Tilly Sur Seulles, Tilly Sur Seulles War Cemetery Point 214 – Wittman ambush site and Villers Bocage. In the afternoon Picnic lunch. Tour of Operation EPSOM (26 -30 June 1944). Further attempt, led by 15th (Scottish) Division, to outflank Caen by seizing the high ground at Hill 112 and crossings over the Odon and Orne rivers. Visit Manvieu War Cemetery, Tourmauville Bridge, Maltot. Return to Hotel. Overnight in hotel.

Breakfast in hotel. Depart hotel with packed lunch for tour of: Operation CHARNWOOD (7 – 9 July 1944). This morning’s visits cover preliminary operations on British 3rd Division front during June, Cambes (RUR) and Chateau La Londe (Operation Mitten), Operation Windsor.

Entering Caen and visit to Caen Memorial Museum if time allows.

In the afternoon, picnic lunch. Then visits covering Operation GOODWOOD (18 – 20 July 1944) with stops to see Butte De La Hogue viewpoint, Banneville War Cemetery, Cagny, Bourgebus and Verrières Ridge. Return to Hotel. Overnight in hotel.

Breakfast in hotel. Depart hotel with packed lunch for tour and visits covering Operation Totalise. Visit the Line of Departure for Operation Totalise, St. Aignan de Cramesnil, Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. In the afternoon, picnic lunch and Tour of Operation Tractable with stops at Hill 117, St. Lambert, Ford Moissy hamlet and Chambois. Dinner provided in hotel. Overnight in hotel.

Breakfast in hotel. Check out of hotel and load baggage. Finish the tour with the viewing of platform at Hill 262 and the Mémorial de Montormel. Transfer to Caen. End of tour.


Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Juan G. C. » 17 Mar 2021, 17:56

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by History Learner » 17 Mar 2021, 21:57

I have recently found something very interesting in a biography of Manstein. When asked in the spring of 1944 what he would do in Italy "if he were in charge of this theatre, Manstein replied that he would bring back into Germany the bulk of the forces stationed on Italian soil, and this as quickly as possible so that the Americans and the English would not be able to catch them. He would then defend the Alpine crossings with only a few troops. As for the mobile units of Kesselring's army group, they could be reformed in Germany, then prepared for offensive action as strategic reserves" (Benoit Lemay, Erich von Manstein: Hitler's Master Strategist, p. 429).

What if the Germans had done just that, say, after the landings of Anzio? What would the consequences have been? On the one hand, probably It would have been easy to defend the Alps, much less forces would have been needed on the parte of the Germans, and they could have created strategic reserves. On the other hand, the Germans would have Lost all the industry and resources of Italy, which would have fallen on the hands of the Allies. The Allies could have put their Air bases much nearer to Germany, and It would have been much easier for them to land on the Balkans.

Also interesting is what consequences would that movement have had on Allied strategy, which by then was set on Overlord. Perhaps it could have leas to them reconsidering the strategy.

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021, 04:03

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021, 04:05

These things are highly nuanced and the meanings easily distorted. Ive found when you lay out all the memos, meeting minutes, and related documents over the entire arc of planning everyones thinking gets murky and all their post war members look like one solid lie. I'm currently picking through Authur Bryants analysis of Brookes diaries and related wartime documents. All I can conclude at this point is Brooke regarded almost everyone else as a idiot at strategy & saw himself as frequently rescuing the Allied effort from disaster. That may have colored his interpretation.

A few notes on the NEPTUNE operation size. COSSACs 1943 plans worked with what was then available in the UK for amphibious shipping, and combat forces. That limited the assault to three Corp and beaches. Montgomerys January plan proposed four corps, all between Carentan & Caen. The amphib shipping from the MTO enabled that. February war-games confirmed concerns about the 1st Army pivoting north into the Cotientin and capturing Cherbourg in two weeks. The rivers nd marshlands north and west of Carentan made the maneuver difficult. This was resolved by delaying the entire operation a moth so additional landing craft from the US could support a fifth Corps/Beachhead north of Carentan on the Cotientin east coast. Eisenhower endorsed both of these expansions of the assault and follow up plans. Churchill thru all of this still lobbied for attention to the "marvelous" opportunities in the Mediterranean theatre. Brooke seems to have been caught between catering to his PMs desires and supporting the colossal crack doctrine Ike and Monty saw for Op OVERLORD.

Ike remained attached to the ANVIL operation and kept staff officers busy through February trying to make it work somehow. Maybe Monty and Bertie Ramsay were still pondering Ikes desire to execute ANVIL in April. The 19th February date Brooke gives for this incident is close to the date of the decision to expand the Normandy assault to five corps. I don't have the dates for the war-games or decision at hand.

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Mar 2021, 07:39

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Mar 2021, 08:11

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Mar 2021, 18:07

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Mar 2021, 05:36

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 19 Mar 2021, 09:48

Montgomery’s January plan already included an assault north of Carentan.

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Mori » 19 Mar 2021, 17:24

Is that so? I thought trying an Anvil landing west of where it took place wasn't possible because out of range of air support.

The idea of landing closer to Toulon/Marseilles was proposed by the French HQ at some point, and air cover was the reason AFHQ gave to reject it. Maybe that wasn't too sincere?

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 19 Mar 2021, 19:19

As briefly mentioned above, that is wrong.

Montgomery's plan, as laid out on 7 Jan 44 at a meeting of Army Commanders and their Chiefs of Staff at 21 Army Group HQ, included:

The extended area for the assault is now from VARREVILLE (East side of COTENTIN Peninsula) to CABOURG (West of R ORNE).

Commander First (U.S.) Army was instructed to come to the conference on Wednesday, 12 Jan, with his outline plan, taking the extended area into consideration.

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by Aber » 19 Mar 2021, 22:32

Re: The Germans withdraw from Italy in early 1944

Post by History Learner » 19 Mar 2021, 22:42

This is about the only negative I can see, reflecting on this more.

Looking at Army Group C's OOB in April/May of 1944, Armeegruppe von Zangen (LXXV Army Corps, Corps Witthöft, and Corps Kübler) could be left to guard the Alp passes as well as the Ljubljana Gap effectively. Given the terrain, logistics and the quality of the German forces, it would be impossible for the Anglo-Americans to breakthrough them if there is any concern, Korpsgruppe Hauck could be detached from the 10th Army. Honestly though, given the need to extend their logistics across half of Italy, I doubt the Allies would even be in a position to launch an offensive until the the Spring/Summer of 1945. So, this frees up the German Army Group Reserve, 14th Army (I Parachute Corps and LXXVI Panzer Corps), and 10th Army (XIV Panzer Corps and LI Mountain Corps, if Korpsgruppe Hauck isn't detached, that too).

So, what does this all mean?

First, from the Allied perspective, they are going to need to garrison Italy heavily both because of all the ex-Fascists running around (Especially any RSI partisans) but also just in case the Germans emerge from the Alps into the Po Valley again at the first opportunity. Likewise, the severe shipping constraints means there isn't any real way to use them in OVERLORD or in ANVIL once those operations are completed, they could shift forces through the French Alps but that will not be of much help given the severe logistical issues that crippled Allied Armies in the Fall of 1944. Southern French ports, for example, were already strained supporting the FFI, 6th U.S. Army Group and 3rd U.S. Army Group adding more would not help matters. How about operations in the Balkans? In theory possible, but really bad in a political sense:

The problems with this strategy, according to the jssc, were both military and political. Eastern Mediterranean operations would require previously committed U.S. naval support, Turkish belligerency the jssc rated an overall liability rather than an asset, and offensives at the end of long and tenuous supply lines in an area so mountainous and remote from the center of German power as to be indecisive and invite stalemate or defeat. Moreover, such operations were based on the assumption that indirect campaigns in the Mediterranean against Germany’s satellites, combined with blockade, bombing, and guerrilla operations, could force a German collapse. Dubious under the best of circumstances, this assumption ignored the fact that an approach relegating to the Soviet Union the brutal task of fighting the bulk of the Wehrmacht while London reaped political benefits in the eastern Mediterranean and Balkans, an area of historic Anglo-Russian rivalry, might so arouse Russia’s anger and suspicion as to make it ‘‘more susceptible’’ to German peace feelers— especially ones which would grant Moscow its centuries old desire to control the Dardanelles.

The resulting separate peace would leave Germany undefeated and dominant in Central and Western Europe and would make Allied victory impossible.31 Even if such an appalling scenario did not develop, a Mediterranean strategy would involve the use of American forces to achieve British political ends. More threatening than the nationalistic insult involved in this perceived repetition of the attempted World War I manipulation of U.S. forces, Britain’s approach would negatively affect America’s military position and national policies in the Far East and, with them, Washington’s ability to pursue a Europe-first strategy in the future. The essential problem was that the time-consuming and indecisive Mediterranean approach would delay vital operations against Japan and, in the process, wreak havoc with America’s military position, its interests in the Far East, and public support for a global war effort. Even before Casablanca the jssc had concluded in this regard that the ‘‘basic difference’’ between U.S. and British strategy was not over the appropriate follow-up to torch, as London had claimed, but over the ‘‘relation of the war in the Pacific to the war as a whole.’’ 32

From Mark Stoler's Allies and Adversaries, Page 110-112.

How about the Germans? From Lost in the Mud: The (Nearly) Forgotten Collapse of the German Army in the Western Ukraine, March and April 1944 by Gregory Liedtke, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies:

So the formation and transfer eastwards of the reserve allows the Germans to avoid the destruction of roughly half (24 of the 50) divisions they lost IOTL, as well as anchor their Southern line along the Carpathians in the heavily fortified FNB line, while continuing Romanian oil shipments. I'm making the assumption that, without the destruction of 6th Army and the failure of Normandy, the Romanian coup can be avoided or pre-empted at the least. Perhaps equally important is that there is now more than enough additional formations to achieve a riposte similar to what Manstein did at Third Kharkov in front of Warsaw:

From GERMANY AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR, Volume VIII: The Eastern Front 1943–1944 by Karl-Heinz Frieser, pg 569 onward:

25 Divisions destroyed, Soviets regain territory but then the Germans revive and deliver a punch to the face) in Mid 1944.


Epsom and Hill 112

Operation Epsom was general Sir Bernard Montgomery's third attempt in the Battle of Normandy to take the city of Caen, a key D-Day objective. He planned to deploy Lieutenant-General Sir Richard O'Connor's VIII Corps to force crossings over the Odon and orne rivers and capture Hill 112, a vital observation point. The attack, set for 26 June, would be the largest Allied offensive since D-Day. If succesful, it would encircle the German defenders of Caen, who were preventing furhter progress on Monty's left flank.

The Germans, logisitcally stretched and battle wearym were preparing a mnassive armoured counter-stroke themselves, and had to react swiftly lest the British dislodge the cornerstone of their defences. In five days of savage fighting, the British advanced 10km and briefly captured Hill 112. Although a crossing point over the Odon was siezed at Tourmauville bridge, the threat of counter-attack from II SS Panzer Corps persuaded Monty to withdraw from the east bank. Hill 112 and Caen remained in German hands.


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Operation OVERLORD, the Invasion of Normandy, opened the "second front" in western Europe with the D-Day landings. Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, decided to attack on 6 June 1944.

At 0200 that morning the British 6th and U.S. 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions were dropped behind German lines to secure egress routes from the invasion beaches for the seaborne forces. After an intense air and naval bombardment, the amphibious assault waves began landing from more than 5,000 ships and 4,000 smaller ship-to-shore watercraft at 0630. British and Canadian forces landed on the left flank at GOLD, SWORD and JUNO Beaches, with American forces landing at OMAHA and UTAH Beaches on the right.

The U.S. 4th Infantry Division on UTAH Beach had comparatively easy going, but the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions met determined opposition at the water's edge at OMAHA Beach. The situation on OMAHA was in doubt for several hour and there was some discussion about withdrawing from the beachhead, but the assaulting forces nevertheless began making progress inland. By nightfall of the first day, large contingents of three British, one Canadian, and three American infantry divisions and their supporting units, plus one British and two U.S. airborne divisions, had a firm foothold on Hitler's "Fortress Europe."

Although “D-Day” typically refers to 6 June, the Army considers 7 June part of the “assault landing” phase of the operation. American units and individuals who landed on the beaches or arrived by parachute or glider during both days earned assault landing credit, as indicated by a bronze arrowhead worn on a soldier's campaign service ribbon or embroidered on a unit campaign streamer. The period of service for the Normandy Campaign is 6 June to 24 July 1944.

To all those who fought that day, thank you for my freedoms and

FRANK L SULLIVAN SR
US ARMY, RETIRED
1970-1990

U.S. Army Center of Military History

Be sure to join in this evening, June 17 at 7 p.m. EDT, to hear a story of the Army beyond the battlefield and how Soldiers played a vital role in shaping the nation from 1775-1900.

National Museum of the United States Army

On June 17 at 7 p.m. EDT, hear a story of the Army beyond the battlefield and how Soldiers played a vital role in shaping the nation from 1775-1900.

Страница U.S. Army Center of Military History обновила фото обложки.

"The Whites of their Eyes," by Ken Riley from the National Guard Heritage series. The scene depicts American troops positioned along the rail fence between Breeds Hill and the Mystic River, on the American left flank, at the beginning of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

U.S. Army Center of Military History

Unaware that Congress had voted to adopt them into the newly created Continental Army, on the night of 16 - 17 June 1775, about 1,200 soldiers of the New England Army of Observation took position on the Charlestown isthmus between the Charles and Mystic Rivers, to fortify Bunker Hill.

Working at night, they quickly built and manned entrenchments on nearby Breeds Hill instead. The next morning, 17 June, the British saw fortifications with walls six feet high astride Breed's Hill, and overlooking Boston from across the river. The British commander, Lieutenant General Thomas Gage, ordered the Royal Navy to ferry 2,200 troops under the command of Major General William Howe across the Charles River to clear the American force off of the peninsula.

Howe's infantry stormed the American positions on Breed's Hill with a frontal attack, but were met with withering musket fire that tore gaping holes in their well-dressed lines. After being repulsed in two attempts, Howe resolved to launch one more attack on the redoubt to avoid a costly defeat of British arms.

The Redcoats steadily pressed their advance and converged on the American forces in a three-column attack. As the Patriot soldiers ran out of ammunition, they used their muskets as clubs against the British bayonets to contest every inch of ground. The Americans were finally forced to retreat as British infantrymen swarmed over the redoubts and other defensive positions.

The hard-fighting British soldiers won the battle, but at a terrible price. General George Washington, newly commissioned by Congress as the “general and commander in chief” of the Continental Army formally assumed command of the besieging army on 3 July 1775.

Peter Salem, an African-American soldier, is traditionally credited with firing that shot that killed Major John Pitcairn of the British Marines. He should not be confused with Salem Poor, another well-known black Patriot who fought at Bunker Hill.


Watch the video: Mission 3: The Scottish Corridor! Steel Division: Normandy 44 Campaign Operation Epsom REVISITED (June 2022).