World War II, Volume 5

A British patrol pushes into the ruins of Caen. V The Cassino of France. What was left of Caen. failed in all their attempts at break­through whenever they came up against the German Panthers Tigers and the 8.8-cm anti-tank guns of Panzergruppe "West” the German counter-attacks col­lapsed under the murderous fire of the British artillery concentrations when­ever they went beyond purely local engagements. All the more so since at that distance from the coast the big guns of the Royal Navy were able to take a hand. So it was that on June 16 in the region of Thury-Harcourt about 20 miles from Riva-Bella a 16-inch shell from the Rodney or the Nelson killed Lieutenant- General Witt commanding the 12th S.S, Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend”. The failure of British XXX Armoured Corps and the 7th Armoured Division to turn the front of Panzergruppe "West” at Villers-Bocage seems to have caused Montgomery to shift the centre of gravity of his attack to the countryside around Caen where his armour would find a more suitable terrain. Operation "Epsom” begun on June 25, brought into action VIII Corps just landed in Normandy and commanded by Sir Richard OConnor released from captivity by the signing of the Italian armistice. Covered on his right by XXX Corps 49th Division OConnor was to cross the C aen-Bayeux road to the west of the Carpiquet aerodrome push on past the Fosse de 1 Odon then switching the direction of his attack from south to 1685
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