Battle Study: Operation GOODWOOD

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    Department of The Scientific Adviser to The Army Council


    Battle Study: OPERATION "GOODWOOD".

    October 1946





    - Order of Battle - Outline
    - The Plan
    - Map
    - 18th July
    - 19th July
    - 20th July
    - 21st July - 2 Cdn Corps
    - Final Summary

    - Outline of Plan
    - Target Areas
    - Effects on Targets
    - Discussion
    - Conclusions

    - Details of Barrage Densities
    - Discussion

    - Total no.s: personnel
    - Percentage by Arms.
    - Total no.s: tanks
    - Ratio of Crew Casualties 29 Arm. Bde.
    - Conclusions


    APPENDIX A - References
    APPENDIX B - Tank casualties
    APPENDIX C - Ratio of Crew Casualties 29 Arm. Bde.
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    The Battle Studies produced by the Department of the Scientific Adviser to the Army Council have as their objective the recording of factual information from this war on various aspects of battle. The intention is less to present an historical record than to provide a basis of fact on which future doctrine may be built.

    The studies are of two main kinds:-

    (a) Studies of particular actions or operations in all or many of their aspects.

    (b) Studies of particular subjects derived from all the operations of which useful records exist.

    Many of the studies are very incomplete, largely because the amount of factual information as opposed to more or less unreliable opinion) about the chose subject is very small. In general the amount of reliable information on almost any aspect of battle tends to be much smaller than is often supposed. It has been felt, however, that it is almost as important to be sure of what we do not, as to records what we do know. These studies illustrate how slender is the basis on which much of the theory of war depends, and emphasise the need for more knowledge in many directions. it is not enough for a modern Army to base its practice on individual opinions and traditional beliefs. It must have facts. Attempts have been made in this war, to records some of the facts of battle. These studies show that whilst such recording has been a valuable step in the right direction, it has been quite inadequate both in quality and quantity.

    Within these limitations, however, it is believed that they will do something to preserve some of the accumulated knowledge and experience which would otherwise ten to be lost as the war-time Army disperses.
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    Operation GOODWOOD was mounted by 2 ARMY in mid-July, in the bridgehead East of River ORNE, North of CAEN. On 18 July 1944, an armoured CORPS of three Armoured Divisions, attempted to break out of the bridgehead with the object of inducing the enemy to commit their strategic mobile reserves, and thereby prevent their use against the real breakout of the American forces on the Right flank. The Operation was immediately preceded by a very heavy aerial bombardment from strategic bombing forces.

    This report analyses the Operation and attempts to assess the effectiveness of the aerial bombardment in terms of the bomb density achieved in the target areas and the extent to which the enemy's morale was reduced in those areas. The report also includes a detailed account of the Operation and records such factual data as was available from the sources consulted.

    (a) The main conclusions drawn are as follows.

    (b) A bomb density of 0.56 lbs equivalent 25 pounder per square yard put down in 45 minutes, followed by an artillery bombardment of 0.1 lbs equiv. 25 pounder per square yard succeeded in breaking down the morale of troops occupying open defences in urban areas.

    (c) Coupled with an armoured attack a bombardment density of 0.17 lbs equiv. 25 pounder per square yard produced a considerable diminution of resistance.

    (d) There is some evidence that troops subjected to heavy bombing gradually regain morale when the bombardment ceases.

    (e) The following data has been extracted regarding our own casualties
    - (a) 5.14% of personnel and 36% of tanks became casualties during the Operation.
    - (b) Compared with Other Ranks Officers had a higher casualty rate in all arms.
    - (c) Officer casualty rates were highest in Infantry followed by Armoured Regiments than motor-battalions.
    - (d) Other Ranks casualty rates were highest in Infantry followed by motor Battalions then armoured regiments.

    NOTE: This report is largely based on a detailed study of the War Diaries of the Units taking part in the Operation. These data are contained in Appendices D and E which contain Operation Orders and Brigade Narratives respectively. As these are too bulky to reproduce in full and cannot usefully be summarised further, they are being held in M.O.R.U. files and can readily be made available to any interested Branch or Person.
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    1. The object of this report is to analyse Operation GOODWOOD, 18 - 21 July 44, with especial reference to the effect of the aerial bombardment.

    2. The facts analysed in the report were gleaned from various reports of R.A.F. BOMBER COMMAND and the War Diaries of all units engaged in the Operation. The accounts in the War Diaries at times gave a conflicting picture of the events, as many inaccuracies were included. All facts that have been included have been verified as far as possible.

    3. Operation GOODWOOD was mounted in NORMANDY in mid-July 44, by 2 Army. The events leading up to the battle are outlined to give a complete picture of the Operation and to provide a background against which the facts may be analysed.

    4. After the initial landings in NORMANDY in JUNE 44, German resistance hardened considerably on our Left flank and progress was very slow around CAEN. The German policy of reinforcing CAEN was dictated by their strategy of holding the LOWER SEINE rather than the PARIS area. Quoting General D. EISENHOWER - "Hence every foot of ground gained at CAEN was like ten miles elsewhere. The German, since he had decided on the course of coming across the SEINE, was determined to hold CAEN, and the first thing he did was to throw in every Panzer in that region to hold that area. In behind that area he organised the strongest defences he had on that front. He did not pull the Panzers out of the gap until it was too late to stop the break through."

    5. By June 30, 2 Army had taken CAEN and General MONTGOMERY issued a directive indicating the intention of holding on the Left and breaking through on the Right. British forces were to hold down the greater part of the enemy's forces. This was a decision brought about by the German reaction at CAEN. Generals EISENHOWER and BRADLEY agreed in Conference that, if an early breakthrough was expected, U.S. forces would have to do it on the Right, while the British attracted all the German reserves to their front. On July 7th, it was decided at S.H.A.E.F. H.Q. that the British would first launch a very heavy armoured offensive on the Left, with the primary intention of forcing the enemy to engage their mobile reserves and a secondary intention of achieving a breakout, if possible, on their own account.

    6. A bridgehead East of the River ORNE was already held by 1 CORPS with 51 (H) DIVISION and 6 AIRBORNE DIVISION. From their restricted bridgehead, it was planned to launch the offensive Southwards. On the main axis of the advance the country consisted of fairly open agricultural land, studded with a number of compact, well-built stone villages. The villages and their immediate surroundings were usually enclosed by high-fenced fields and orchards with closely growing large trees. At right angles to the line of advance were three main roads which were fenced and lined with large trees in many places, and two railway lines with high embankments. In the direction of the line of advance was a third railway line, also with a high embankment, roughly intersecting the area of advance. These roads and railways mostly proved obstacles to movement, slowing up the advance and requiring preparation for smaller tracked vehicles and wheels and they provided the enemy with good gun and observation positions. The ground rises gently from the Start Line of the attack in a series of slight undulations to the BRAS (0663) - BOURGEBUS (0761) ridge, which gave the enemy the benefit of complete observation of the area of the armoured advance, long fields of fire and concealed lines of approach. The lie of the villages gave the enemy a series of mutually supporting strong points in the corridor of the advance, supported on the East by the long ridge running South from BOIS-DE-BAVENT to EMIEVILLE and on the West by the factory areas of COLOMBELLES and MONDEVILLE. The ridge was crowned with a series of artillery positions, dug-in and facing West. These positions commanded the corridor, part of the existing bridgehead, the bridges and approaches to the bridgehead. In addition, the position on the ridge and in the factory areas made manoeuvre on the flanks of the corridor extremely difficult. Finally, entrance to the corridor from the British bridgehead was restricted by a British defensive minefield, through which only a few gaps could be cleared before the Operation commenced.

    7. As a result of all these factors, it was decided that maximum air and artillery support must be given to the attack. A maximum effort had to be made to neutralise enemy positions, not only in the corridor but especially on the flanks, in the factory area and wooded ridges. The entire attack was made dependent on this support, of which the air was the major factor. If the air support could not be provided, the Operation would not be commenced. As a corollary neither H-hour nor D-day could be fixed with any certainty much before the attack started, but for planning purposes D-day was taken to be 18 July, and H-hour, the moment that the close air support ceased, to be 0745.

    8. Information prior to the attack about the enemy was as follows:-

    (a) Between BOIS-DE-BAVENT 1470 and the River ORNE (COLOMBELLES 0700 - MONDEVILLE 0667 - FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES) were disposed 16 GAF DIV. and 25 SS PGR (from 12 SS Pz. Div.)

    1 SS Pz. Div. (possible ST. ANDRE-SUR-ORNE) estimated 100 tanks.
    12 SS Pz. Div estimated 50 tanks.

    (c) Area ARGENCES
    21 Pz. Div. estimated 50 tanks, 35 Assault Guns.
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    8 CORPS

    - 11 Armd Div.
    - - 29 Armd Bde.
    - - 159 Inf. Bde.

    - 7 Armd Div.
    - - 22 Armd Bde.
    - - 131 Inf. Bde.

    - Guards Armd Div.
    - - 5 Gds Armd Bde.
    - - 32 Gds Bde.


    - 3 Br Ind Div.
    - - 8 Br Inf Bde.
    - - 9 Br Ind Bde.
    - - 185 Inf. Bde.
    - - 152 (H) Inf. Bde.
    - - 27 Armd Bde.
    - 2 Cdn CORPS
    - - 2 Cdn Inf Div.
    - - 4 Cdn Inf Bde.
    - - 5 Cdn Inf Bde
    - - 6 Cdn Inf Bde
    - 3 Cdn Inf Div
    - - 7 Cdn Inf Bde
    - - 8 Cdn Inf Bde
    - - 9 Cdn Inf Bde
    - 2 Cdn Armd Bde
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    10. The general plan was for the three BRITISH armoured division then in NORMANDY, 7, 11 and GUARDS to be grouped into 8 CORPS and then to thrust South in the middle of July from the bridgehead East of the River ORNE. 1 CORPS and 2 Cdn CORPS would also attack on either flank. To aid this plan 12 and 30 CORPS on the Right flank would stage diversionary attacks of divisional strength several days before the main attack, which was known as GOODWOOD.

    11. An extremely heavy air offensive was prepared to give direct support to the Operation. For details of targets, etc. see para 42-48. In general the plan was for heavy bombers of BOMBER COMMAND to isolate the narrow corridor, down which 8 CORPS would advance, by heavy attacks soon after dawn. These would be followed soon after by U.S.A.A.F. bombers, which would cover the 'floor' of the corridor with a carpet of fragmentation bombs, with the object of reducing enemy opposition to the first stage of the armoured thrust. Soon after the thrust was under way, H-hour being the moment the last bomb of the carpet was dropped, another U.S.A.A.F. force would bomb areas to the South of the advance, to harass gun-areas and reinforcements.

    12. On the ground, at H-hour 8 CORPS would advance one up in the order 11, GUARDS, 7 Armoured Divisions through the South face of the bridgehead.
    11 ARMOURED DIVISION would move South behind artillery barrage towards BRAS 0663 - ROCQUANCOURT 0558 - BEAUVOIR FERME 0461 and established a firm position.
    GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION would follow behind 11 ARMOURED DIVISION to the area CAGNY 1164 and then continue to advance and establish a firm base at VIMONT.
    7 ARMOURED DIVISION would move behind GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION and advance into the area between 11 and GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISIONS West of CAGNY as far South as LA HOGUE - woods North-East of ST AIGNAN DE CRAMESNIL 0956.

    13. 2 Cdn CORPS would attack with one division on the Right of 8 CORPS, between 8 CORPS and River ORNE and take FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES, thereby protecting the advance of 8 CORPS on the Right flank. The area of advance would have been subjected to the preliminary aerial bombardment.

    14. 1 CORPS would attack along the high ridge on the Left of 8 CORPS, with one division towards EMIEVILLE, protecting the Left flank of 8 CORPS advance. The area of advance would have been subjected to the preliminary aerial bombardment.

    15. Debouchement from the bridgehead was restricted due to an old BRITISH minefield further South, through which only sufficient gaps had been cleared to allow the passage of one armoured regiment at a time. There were two 'entrances' into the bridgehead across the double obstacle of River and the Canal. There was one pair of bridges at 0176 and two paris near BENOUVILLE (0974). The bridgehead was so small and congested that only the lorried infantry brigade of the leading armoured division could be accommodated before the attack. The remainder of 8 CORPS assembled on the approach routes during the night 17/18 July.

    16. The whole plan depended on the aerial bombardment and therefore D-day had been fixed only tentatively for 18 July. At about midnight on 17/18 July meteorological information indicated that conditions would be suitable next morning and the order was passed to all commanders that the attack was "on" for the 18th and H hour would be 0745 hours.

    11 ARMOURED DIVISION then formed up on the South face of the bridgehead and 3 BRITISH INFANTRY DIVISION moved across the bridges in 0176 to their starting areas near ESCOVILLE. A brigade of 51 (H) DIVISION was placed under command of 3 BRITISH INFANTRY DIVISION, as well as 27 ARMOURED BRIGADE, giving them a strength of four Infantry Brigades and one Armoured Brigade. Two brigades of 3 Canadian Infantry Division and 7 ARMOURED DIVISION formed up behind the SOUTH BENOUVILLE bridges and GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION behind the NORTH BENOUVILLE bridges. It was intended that the Canadian brigades would cross over the bridges one at midnight 17/18 July and one at H hour. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION would cross at H hour and proceed immediately to the gaps in the minefield, to follow 11 ARMOURED DIVISION who would advance behind the barrage at H hour.
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    (See Map)

    18th July

    17. At 0545 hours R.A.F. heavy bombers flew over to attack their designated targets on the flanks of the corridor. By 0630 their mission was completed. Between 0700 and 0745 hours U.S.A.A.F. bombers put down the carpet of fragmentation bombs in the path of the armoured attack, and also attacked the area near TROARN. At 0745 hours the last bomb of the carpet was dropped and the leading regiment of 8 CORPS commenced the advance behind a moving artillery barrage. On the flanks 1 CORPS and 2 Cdn Corps started their advance.

    (See Map)
    8 CORPS

    18. At 0745 hours the last bombs were dropped and 11 ARMOURED DIVISION advanced South under cover of a heavy artillery barrage. CUVERVILLE and DEMOURVILLE areas were quickly over-run and the advance continued across the CAEN - TROARN railway. Nearly all enemy met with were very dazed! Practically no opposition was encountered by either the tanks or infantry as they advanced. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION followed 11 ARMOURED DIVISION through the bridgehead and down the centre line towards CAGNY.

    19. After crossing the CAEN - TROARN railway, 11 ARMOURED DIVISION turned to the South-West and advanced behind the artillery barrage to the CAEN - VIMONT road, where the barrage ended. Units crossed the road at about 0920 hours. Enemy opposition increased in front and from the flanks, especially at CAGNY, presumably as the effect of the bombardment wore off and fresh enemy troops, particularly SP guns, moved up from the rear reserve areas. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION reached CAGNY at about 1015 hours and were checked. Attempts were made to swing round to either side of the town, but these were also checked. Considerable time elapsed between the checks and attacks being mounted, due apparently to the congested state of the battle-field.

    7 ARMOURED DIVISION were very much held up in their advance by traffic james caused by the bottlenecks in the BRITISH defensive minefield already referred to.

    When the 22 ARMOURED BRIGADE did succeed in getting through the minefields, the congestion around CUVERVILLE prevented them moving forward. The leading armoured regiment of 22 ARMOURED BRIGADE reached CUVERVILLE at 1200 hours, and, in spite of continuous urging from 8 CORPS headquarters, this leading regiment did not reach GRENTHEVILLE a distance of 3 1/2 miles, until 1700 hours, while the remainder of the Brigade was still North of DEMOUVILLE. The main cause of the congestion was definitely that the GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION had moved too far West and there was no room for 7 ARMOURED DIVISION to deploy, though G.O.C. 8 CORPS is of the opinion that more 'thrust' migth well have been displayed by 7 ARMOURED DIVISION to get their regiments forward, piecemeal if necessary, to the aid of 11 ARMOURED DIVISION.

    20. 11 ARMOURED DIVISION had pushed as far South as the outskirts of BOURGEBUS 0761 and LA HOGUE by noon but enemy resistance from the ridge in front on on both sides had stiffened considerably as the reserve SS Panzer unit arrived, and 11 ARMOURED DIVISION, unsupported on either flank, were forced to withdraw slowly. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION had still failed either to take CAGNY or by-pass it. The enemy seemed to have established a very strong A/Tk screen from EMIEVILLE through FRENOUVILLE to BOURGEBUS area.

    21. By 1500 hours the bulk of 11 ARMOURED DIVISION were behind CAEN - VIMONT railway, where they maintained their position in the face of fierce enemy counter attacks. At 1730 hours GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION attacked CAGNY finally, only to find that the enemy had withdrawn South. The villages to the immediate South, FRENOUVILLE and LE POIRIER were still held and no progress could be made. The leading regiment of 7 ARMOURED DIVISION had reached the outskirts of GRENTHEVILLE and FOUR 0962, but were only slightly engaged. By last light 11 ARMOURED DIVISION had suffered extremely heavy tank casualties, having had the major part of the battle and were grouped about the CAEN - VIMONT railway around GRENTHEVILLE, while GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION were grouped in and around CAGNY. 7 ARMOURED DIVISION had their Armoured Brigade around DEMOUVILLE and their Infantry Brigade was still crossing River ORNE. Enemy aircraft made several attacks over the area at last light, including a heavy attack on the bridges over the River ORNE. Casualties were very slight as a result of this attack, and negligible damage was caused to the bridges.


    22. On night 17/18 July 3 Canadian Infantry Division moved one brigade over the River ORNE into 1 CORPS bridgehead preparatory to attacking South along the East bank of the River ORNE next morning. A second brigade was moved near the bridges, ready to cross at H-hour and follow the leading brigade, while the third brigade remained in CAEN, ready to cross the river and seize FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES if ordered to do so by CORPS. 2 Canadian Infantry Division were prepared to cross the River ORNE in CAEN and attack South when ordered, with on brigade to attack on the Right flank at LOUVIGNY 0165 as a protective measure.

    23. Next morning following the enormous air bombardment the two brigades of 3 Canadian Infantry Division attacked South through COLOMBELLES. Resistance was fairly heavy, particularly in the Chateau area, and movement of vehicles was hampered by craters caused by the intensive bombardment. During the morning 3 Canadian Infantry Division were ordered to prepared to move one battalion from CAEN to FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES, if patrols reported it clear. The patrol crossed at 1300 hours and reported one area clear. Preparations were made to cross one battalion at 1715 hours following an artillery barrage. During the afternoon resistance in the factory and Chateau areas of COLOMBELLES was overcome and the troops pushed South towards FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES.

    24. At 1900 hours 2 Canadian Infantry Division attacked LOUVIGNY with one battalion and succeeded in entering an orchard to the North of the village by last light. In the evening another battalion of a second brigade forced a crossing of the River ORNE in CAEN to the West of the one already secured by 3 Canadian Infantry Division.

    25. Bridging operations were carried out during the night in CAEN, 2 Canadian Infantry Division constructing one Class 9 bridge and 2 Class 40 rafts in this area, and 2 Canadian CORPS Engineers constructing one Class 9 and one Class 40 bridge in the 2 Canadian Infantry Division area.

    1 CORPS

    26. At H-hour 8 British Infantry Brigade of 3 British Division attacked towards PREBARON and TOUFFREVILLE and 153 (H) INFANTRY BRIGADE which had been placed under command of 3 British Infantry Division, attacked towards the triangle 1370. At -815 hours 8 BRIGADE were held up in sandpits 134702 and at 0930 hours they reached TOUFFREVILLE which was determinedly held by snipers yet the Brigade pushed on to take SANNERVILLE and BANNEVILLE LA CAMPAGNE at 1600 hours and TOUFFREVILLE at 1800 hours. 152 (H) BRIGADE took the road triangle by 0945 hours and pushed on to take the crossroads 127693 and CHATEAU 1470. At 0930 hours 185 BRIGADE advanced towards LIROSE which fell at 1000 hours, then on to MANNEVILLE where they were held up. An attack went in at 2000 hours and at last light the Brigade were 200 yards short of MANNEVILLE. At 0845 hours 9 BRIGADE advanced though LE MESNIL and HEROUUVILLETTE and at 1600 hours commenced their advance to TROARN and after difficult fighting had captured BRICKWORKS 146647, T-JUNCTION 151683 and LA CROIX DU PIERRE.

    27. At last light 3 DIVISION had captured TOUFFREVILLE, SANNERVILLE, BANNEVILLE LA CAMPAGNE but were held up at MANNEVILLE and TROARN.

    28. At the need of the first day's fighting, fairly considerable gains had been made in the centre, by 8 CORPS, though the forward troops had been forced to retire during the afternoon by the arrival of fresh SS Panzer troops around BRAS and FRENOUVILLE. From identifications secured on the field, it was established that 16 GAF had held the area of the corridor, particularly around CUVERVILLE and DEMOUVILLE. They were also located in the factory area at COLOMBELLES, supported by Panzer Grenadiers from 21 SS Panzer Division. Elements of 21 SS Panzer Division were also located near CUVERVILLE and their reinforcement group appeared to be identified in CAGNY. On the Right flank 272 Infantry Division were identified at LOUVIGNY and on the Left flank 346 Infantry Division were found at TOUFFREVILLE. During the day, as resistance stiffened, it became clear that elements of 21 SS Panzer Division were reinforcing the 1 CORPS front, overlapping onto GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION sectors around EMIEVILLE and CAGNY. 1 SS (Adolf Hitler) Panzer Division arrived around BRAS and BOURGEBUS in the late morning and were engaged, with Assault gun units, all day in stemming the advance of 8 CORPS.

    29. Final results of the first days advance was to push the South face of the bridgehead roughly to the CAEN - VIMONT railway line from FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES to CAGNY, thence North to TOUFFREVILLE along the wooded heights, to the old front-line. This represented an advance of about 18 square miles at a cost of about 270 tanks and 1517 personnel casualties.
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    19th July

    30. The morning was spent on all three CORPS fronts in mopping up and preparing for future efforts to extend the bridgehead. These were mostly limited to local attacks during the afternoon and evening in an attempt to improve the immediate positions of formations, thought 7 ARMOURED DIVISION on 8 CORPS front were directed to push South if possible. Enemy resistance proved too strong however, more Anti-Tank guns and troops having arrived in the night. 12 SS Panzer Division were identified near BRAS, so that all mobile reserves East of the River ORNE appeared to have been committed. To the West of the Canadians 271 Infantry Division and 9 SS Panzer Division had been put into the line to check the diversionary attack on 12 and 30 CORPS. 2 Canadian Infantry Division were brought into the battle during the afternoon and attacked South from FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES on the East of the River ORNE, making the only large advance of the day.

    31. 8 CORPS.
    The morning was spent in regrouping by all Divisions. 7 ARMOURED DIVISION moved up with 131 Infantry Brigade grouped about DEMOUVILLE and attacked SOLIERS 0862 and FOUR with 22 ARMOURED BRIGADE. A plan of GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION to strike towards VIMONT was cancelled, and plans were made to improve the present position of the armoured divisions while flanking formations continued their attacks to link up with the advance of 8 CORPS. Therefore attacks by each Division were timed for about 1700 hours, when 11 ARMOURED DIVISION would capture BRAS 0663 and HUBERT FOLIE 0662. 7 ARMOURED DIVISION would occupy BOURGEBUS and be prepared to exploit South between HUBERT FOLIE and BRAS as soon as these were cleared by 11 ARMOURED DIVISION. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION would hold fast in the CAGNY area, but would occupy LE POIRIER. These attacks were staged with some success. After heavy fighting 11 ARMOURED DIVISION had cleared both BRAS and HUBERT FOLIE, but it was too late for 7 ARMOURED DIVISION to exploit. 7 ARMOURED DIVISION had occupied SOLIERS during the morning and FOUR by 2100 hours. Leading troops were on three sides of BOURGEBUS but had not penetrated into the village. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION had occupied LE POIRIER.

    2 Canadian Infantry Division moved one brigade over the bridges as soon as they were completed early in the morning, and prepared to attack South from FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES. 3 Canadian Infantry Division pushed on South from MONDEVILLE to FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES and mopped up in GIBERVILLE. At 1300 hours 2 Canadian Infantry Division attack started and by midnight the leading brigade held from FLEURY SUR ORNE to IFS. 3 Canadian Infantry Division pushed a brigade in the evening toward CORMELLES and consolidated.

    33. 1 CORPS
    8 BRIGADE took over in SANNERVILLE, BANNEVILLE LA CAMPAGNE and BRICKWORKS 146647, 152 (H) BRIGADE pushed patrols into BOIS DE BAVENT and along the road towards TROARN. 185 BRIGADE continued their advance towards MANNEVILLE and CUILLERVILLE and found the enemy had withdrawn. At 1600 hours an enemy counter attack by 2 companies Infantry and 6 Tanks from EMIEVILLE was beaten off and by last light the Brigade were established in MANNEVILLE, CUILLERVILLE and the plain to the North. 9 BRIGADE moved on TROARN meeting strong opposition. At 1000 hours an attack on the Station and Crossroads, 161676 failed and at 1200 hours the Church 156693, a threat to the Left flank, was taken but not held. At 1800 ours an attack was put in on TROARN and at last light the Brigade were in a semi-circle West of TROARN. At last light the line had been straightened out to run from LOUVIGNY through IFS - BRAS - BOURGEBUS - CAGNY to CUILLERVILLE - outskirts of TROARN - then North to the old front line.

    This was an advance of about 11 square miles at a cost of 131 tanks and about 1128 casualties.
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    20th July

    34. 1 CORPS made no further effort to advance, but improved their local positions. They suffered heavy shelling. 8 CORPS also made only local advances, and prepared for relief by 3 Canadian Infantry Division on the Right and 51 (H) DIVISION on the Left. 2 Canadian Infantry Division during the afternoon continued the attack South from IFS and made considerable local gains, but late in the evening met extremely heavy opposition and failed to gain their final objectives. Extremely heavy rain broke at 1600 hours which reduced all earth tracks to morasses and considerably hindered cross-country movement.

    35. 8 CORPS.
    7 ARMOURED DIVISION exploited at first light towards VERRIERES 0560 with one armoured regiment, while GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION attacked FRENOUVILLE with one Battalion, occupying the village without opposition. At 1130 hours 7 ARMOURED DIVISION were ordered to withdraw all troops North of CAEN -FAILAISE road, as Canadians were going to bombard VERRIERES preparatory to attacking it. Plans were now altered, as 8 CORPS were to be temporarily withdrawn while the armour regrouped and refitted. 11 ARMOURED DIVISION would hand over this position to 2 Canadian CORPS. 7 ARMOURED DIVISION, who had occupied BOURGEBUS at first light, would hold their forward positions with their Infantry Brigade and pass under command 2 Canadian CORPS. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION would also hold their position with their Infantry Brigade, but would remain under command of 8 CORPS. GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION would be relieved that night by 51 (H) DIVISION, whereupon 8 CORPS would be in reserve to refit in the COLOMBELLES 0770 - DEMOUVILLE area. A heavy thunderstorm broke during the afternoon and heavy rain continued for the rest of the day, turning the terrain into mud and making all wheeled movement very difficult. As a result the relief of GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION had to be postponed, but the Armoured Brigades moved to the rest area to refit.

    36. 2 Canadian CORPS.
    2 Canadian Infantry Division were relieved on their Right flank West of the River ORNE by a brigade from 43 DIVISION, and pushed another brigade over the River ORNE to attack South to ST. ANDRE SUR ORNE and VERRIERES, the attack to start at 1500 hours. 3 Canadian Infantry Division relieved 11 ARMOURED DIVISION around BRAS and HUBERT FOLIE with one brigade, the remainder standing firm. At 1500 hours 2 Canadian Infantry Division attacked and rapidly gained their first objectives. A strong enemy armour counter-attack in the centre at about 1800 hours broke through the forward companies and destroyed the supporting Anti-Tank guns as they were moving up. The Battalion was unable to make an effective defence in the shoulder-high grain, but our supporting tanks prevented the enemy breaking through to rear areas. Counter-attacks developed along the 2 Canadian Infantry Division front but were held after some fighting. By last light 2 Canadian Infantry Division held a line from LOUVIGNY 0165 South along the River ORNE to ST. ANDRE SUR ORNE then East to TROTEVAL FARM 0561. 3 Canadian Infantry Division held a line from HUBERT FOLIE 0662 North through CORMELLES 0565 to GIBERVILLE 0967.

    37. 1 CORPS
    There was no change in position from the 19th but the Division experienced heavy shelling and mortaring.

    38. By last light GOODWOOD had ceased for both the BRITISH CORPS, 1 and 8, but 2nd Canadian CORPS were entrusted with the task of moving further South onto the high ground. During the 20th the attacking CORPS gained about 5 1/2 square miles, at a cost of 68 tanks and 1013 casualties.

    Their operations for 21st are included in this account, as they fought a defensive battle to hold the South edge of the limit of advance in the face of an extremely vicious, though localised, enemy armoured counter-attack.
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    21st July

    39. 2 Canadian CORPS.
    During the early morning 2 Canadian Armoured Brigade with two armoured regiments was placed under command 2 Canadian Infantry Division to restore the situation. An enemy armoured counter-attack overran the reserve battalion of the forward brigade in 2 Canadian Infantry Division area about 0800 hours, just North of the previous night's fighting, in 0361. Our supporting tanks again prevented a breakthrough and a counter attack by a fresh battalion at 1800 hours supported by one armoured regiment restored the lost ground. The Right hand flank underwent strong attacks all day but held firm. On the Left the forward companies were overrun at 2200 hours but the remainder of the battalion held firm and beat off all attacks. 3 Canadian Infantry Division relieved 7 ARMOURED DIVISION in the GRENTHEVILLE - BOURGEBUS area during the afternoon. By last light 2 Canadian Infantry Division held substantial the same area as before, but 3 Canadian Infantry Division had extended their line from CORMELLES Eastward to BOURGEBUS - FOUR - GRENTHEVILLE.
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    40. During the four days of the offensive, the bridgehead had been extended 34 1/2 miles, at a cost of 493 tanks and 4011 casualties.

    In addition the enemy had been forced to commit his mobile reserve known to be in that area, namely 1, 12 and 21 SS Panzer Divisions, while the cover plan had forced him to commit 9 SS Panzer Division on the Right.

    41. General EISENHOWER states, as already noted, that the enemy did not pull out the Panzer troops, once committed, until too late to affect the battle of the FALAISE GAP. However, S.H.A.E.F. also states that after General BRADLEY had broken out near MORTAIN, the Germans managed to move some of their armour over. While all the local mobile reserve was committed there is no evidence to suggest that any troops were brought from West of the River ORNE.

    42. The presence of the British minefield in the South face of the bridgehead appears to have restricted movement considerably, and to have been a bottle-neck throughout the first day, channelling all forward movement. The enemy laid harassing fire on the gaps from an early hour, and while casualties were never heavy, there was a fairly continuous toll during the first few hours. Furthermore, the congestion caused by the restrict area of debouchment from the bridgehead appears to have been continued further South, leaving little room between 11 and Armoured Divisions, in which 7 ARMOURED DIVISION were supported to deploy. No clear boundaries for divisions appear to have ben specified in orders, except that 5 GUARDS ARMOURED BRIGADE laid down explicitly that routes would keep to "East of paddock in 1168". Centre lines were marked by Provost sections, but there is no evidence either way to show whether troops and vehicles kept to the centre-lines, or that the centre lines were marked out sufficiently far apart to avoid congestion.

    43. D.T.I. (War Office) who was C.C.R.A. 1 CORPS at the time of this Operation, has pointed out that this was the first occasion on which GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION had operated as a complete formation and he suggests that this accounts for some of the errors which cropped up. Also he was impressed at the time by the extreme concentration of the various armoured columns debouching from our minefield. He discussed this on the spot with the Brigade Commander, 5 GUARDS ARMOURED BRIGADE and his recollection is that the Brigade Commander agreed that this concentration was unfortunate and a contributory cause of the slowness of the armoured advance.
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    The allocation of target areas between commands was as follows:-
    (see map)

    P. Q. I. - 8th U.S.A.A.F.
    C. D. E. F. G. - 9th U.S.A.A.F.
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    Target Area - COLOMBELLES factory zone and MONDEVILLE, in which cratering was acceptable to the Army
    Types of Bombs - 500 and 1000 lbs fused 0.25 seconds
    Time of Attack - 0545 - 0630 hours

    Target Area - Strongly defend [sic] enemy villages TOUFFREVILLE, SANNERVILLE, MANNEVILLE, BANNEVILLE, LA CAMPAGNE, in which cratering was acceptable to the Army.
    Types of Bombs - 500 and 1000 lbs fused 0.25 seconds.
    Time of Attack - 0545 - 0630 hours

    The attacks on A. & H. were intended to soften them and thus facilitate their capture by the infantry while the ARMOUR moved South between them.

    Target Area - CAGNY
    Types of Bombs - 500 and 1000 lbs fused instantaneously to soften the defences and allow the ARMOUR to pass through and around CAGNY.
    Time of Attack - 0545 - 0630 hours

    C. & G.
    Target Area - C. - CUVERVILLE, D.E.F. BEMOUVILLE; G. - GIBERVILLE, contained enemy gun position and formed the corridor through which the armour had to pass.
    Types of Bombs - 500 lb GP and 260 FRAG fused nose instantaneously to avoid cratering to facilitate the passage of the armour.
    Time of Attack - 0700 - 0745 hours

    Target Area - TROARN region
    Types of Bombs - 100 GP fused no delay and 20 FRAG
    Time of Attack - 0700 - 0745 hours

    Target Area - The defended areas of GRENTHEVILLE, SOLIERS, BOURGUEBUS
    Types of Bombs - 100 GP fused no delay and 20 FRAG
    Time of Attack - 0830 - 0900 hours

    Target Area - Contained enemy gun positions.
    Types of Bombs - 100 GP fused no delay and 20 FRAG.
    Time of Attack - 0830 - 0900 hours

    The object of the attacks on I. P. & Q. was to disrupt enemy positions and prevent or delay counter attack.

    The bomb line was 2,000 - 3,000 yards from the target areas and owing to the proximity of our own FDLs the Operation was dependent on good visibility to allow visual bombing.

    46. The bombs dropped by the attacking aircraft were as follows:-


    Area A.
    3432 x 1000 GP
    4038 x 500 GP
    Total = 2726 tons.
    Fused .025 delay

    Area H.
    2550 x 1000 GP
    5150 x 500 GP
    Total = 2562 tons.
    Fused .025 delay

    Area M.
    1100 x 100 GP
    400 x 500 GP
    Total = 650 tons
    70% Nose Inst.
    30% M.44 Pistol

    8th U.S.A.A.F.
    Area P.
    5800 x 100 GP
    34300 x 20 FRAG
    Total = 633 tons

    Area Q.
    3120 x 100 GP
    18500 x 20 FRAG
    Total = 341 tons

    Area I.
    4020 x 100 GP
    23700 x 20 FRAG
    Total = 438 tons

    All 100 GP bombs fused tail no delay.

    9th U.S.A.A.F.

    Areas C. D. E. F. G.
    374 x 500 GP
    576 x 250 GP
    3505 x 260 FRAG
    Total = 621 tons

    47. The average densities achieved in the target were estimated from photo cover and areas were demarcated with enclosed the main concentrations of bombs falling in and around the separated target areas. These areas are outlined on the map. In the case of the 9th U.S.A.A.F. target area, the bombing was not sufficiently concentrated to enable any definite area to be demarcated.

    48. From these outlines, it will be seen that Area A. was satisfactorily covered, that the bomb pattern was somewhat displaced in a South Easterly direction in Area H. and that it effectively covered Area M. Bomb patterns in Areas P. Q. & I. coincided reasonably well but were in general larger than the assigned target areas. Those for C. D. E. F. G. were dispersed largely due to the difficulties of target recognition.

    49. The bomb densities in the main concentration areas were calculated from photo cover provided by the attacking forces.

    50. The following table gives the bomb densities which were planned for the various targets and those which were actually achieved. Bomb densities are expressed in tons per acre and in pounds of equivalent 25 pounder per square yard, the conversion factors used to calculate the latter figure being taken from M.O.R.U. Report No. 3 - "Effects of Bombardment, Present State of Knowledge".

    Attached Files:

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    Average density of 0.56% lbs per square yard plus 0.1 lbs per square yard artillery barrage in the main concentration area. The artillery barrage almost completely overlaid the aerial target area, except in the very Southern portion, but no separate conclusion can be reached about this portion as it was not occupied until 19th. The fighting was severe here all day on the North edge. The main point of resistance was the Chateau outside the bombed area. This point was reached an hour or so after H-hour and was not overcome until late in the afternoon, about seven hours later, following an artillery concentration. Another unit, however, passed through the West portion of the target area. All Prisoners of War captured spoke of the great effect of bombing at the time, and no reinforcements appear to have been sent to this area, so that it may safely be concluded that all enemy troops engaged here were subjected to the aerial bombardment. Our troops speak of the difficulty of moving up supporting vehicles, such as tanks, caused by the craters in the roadways. The concentration here appears to have been sufficient to cause considerable lowering of enemy will to resist, as beyond the strong points already mentioned, little strong resistance was met elsewhere in the area.

    Average density 0.87 lbs per square yard in main concentration area. For the sake of clarity each village area will be dealt with separately.

    Was not bombed at all. Resistance here was extremely stiff and took about seven hours to overcome. The village was touched by U.S.A.A.F. frag bombs, but they do not appear to have had much effect.

    Both villages were well within the bombed area, and offered very little resistance.

    The formation attacking here arrived about four hours after H-hour, and had heaving fighting until the next morning. It is possible that this was due to the arrival of SS Pz reinforcements from ARGENCES area, though there is no concrete evidence of this effect. The village was also dominated by fire from the Anti-Tank screen around EMIEVILLE. CUILLERVILLE was in itself very closely bombed and a squadron of SS tanks was knocked out in the orchard.

    Not in target area, nor in the bombed area, this village dominated this portion of the battle field, holding up the armour around CAGNY and the infantry around CUILIERVILLE by fire. It was not entered until the 21st. Here it is almost certain that the screen was reinforced by elements of 21 SS Pz Division from ARGENCES.

    Though a separate area, this target was not bombed at all. The unit scheduled to attack this position arrived outside the village at about H + 2 without much resistance, but fought all day, supported by tanks, to clear the area as far as the railway. This village caused some trouble to the 8 CORPS armour to the West as well, and had to be contained.

    54. TARGETS C. D. E. F. The CARPET.
    Average density 0.12 lbs per square yard. The idea here was to provide a carpet of fragmentation bombs to clear the way for the armoured formations. Actually most of the bombs were scattered well beyond the limits of the target, but some fell within, almost entirely on the villages of CUVERVILLE, DEMOUVILLE and LIROSE. These will be dealt with separately.

    Was the first objective of the infantry of 8 CORPS and was occupied with little resistance. Although only part of the village was bombed, it was reached at H + 45 minutes and cleared 15 minutes later, demonstrating that the will to resist was not great. Tanks were impeded by debris in the villages, but outside found no difficulty. The fragmentation bombing was successful in not impeding the movement of armour. Large numbers of Prisoners of War were taken in this area and all reports state that their morale had been shattered and referred to the aerial bombardment as terrifying. It must be remembered that these troops were an Air Force Division, not SS Panzer troops and that they had been by-passed by an armoured brigade.

    This village was reached at about H + 5 and cleared about 2 hours later. Resistance was slight, the enemy morale still seemed depressed. No reinforcements had arrived here, the village was subjected to artillery concentrations and had been cut off by the armoured advance, all of which much have contributed to the lowering of morale.

    c. LIROSE.
    Reached about H + 4 was rapidly cleared with slight resistance except on the railway, where a brisk fight took place. Counter attack elements of 21 SS Panzer Division may have penetrated as far North as the railway, but there is no evidence.

    Considering only the first two villages, the bulk of the fragmentation bombing that fell in the target area came down on these two villages, so that the figure for the density that actually fell on these villages should be much greater than 0.03 lbs. Very roughly, the bombs only fell in about a quarter of the target area, so if the figure be multiplied by 4, a nearer appreciation of the density on the villages would be obtained, namely 0.12 lbs per square yard.

    Average density 0.25 lbs per square yard. The bombing here was very accurate and neatly encircled the village. Our armour reached the village at about H + 2 and were repulsed. CAGNY proved a thorn in the side of the armour to the East as well, and was not entered until the evening, when it was taken without resistance, having been evacuated by the enemy. From the very strong resistance, having been evacuated by the enemy. From the very strong resistance, it seems probable that enemy reinforcements from 21 SS Panzer Division had entered the town before our troops could arrive. The area in which our troops had to deploy was extremely cramped, and a long time was spent in manoeuvre before any appreciable attacks could be mounted after the first repulse. The area was under fire from the ridges behind CAGNY and EMIEVILLE.

    Average density 0.08 lbw per square yard in main concentration area.

    a. GRENTHEVILLLE was reached about H + 3 and by-passed by the armour. The village was only lightly bombed but was occupied with only slight resistance later.

    b. BRAS and HUBERT FOLIE - BOURGEBAS were first approached by light recce units in the morning, who found devastation and little signs of resistance. However, when the armoured formations arrived around mid-day fresh reinforcements of 1 SS Panzer Division from BRETTEVILLE SUR LAIZE had arrived and resisted fiercely. This identification was from bodies in the area. The villages were not taken until late the next day.

    c. SOLIERS
    Was only by-passed on the first day, but fell after strong resistance on the second day.

    d. FOUR Not bombed at all. Reached in the evening of the first day, resisted all the second day and not finally cleared until late in the evening.

    The report of the first recce is reliable, as the troops may have kept in hiding until the main forces arrived. But the aerial bombardment had little effect on the outcome here, as the resisting forces had not been subjected to the attack. The concentration would also appear to be much too low to have any great effect.

    57. TARGET Q. Suspected gun area.
    Average density 0.18 lbs. per square yard in main concentration area. This are was not occupied by our troops, so little is known about it. Forces approaching LA HOGUE were strongly resisted and Anti-Tank guns situated in area caused casualties, but these may well have come up after the bombardment.

    Average density 0.025 lbs. per square yard in main concentration area. The bombing here was very scattered. There is no evidence that fresh reinforcements arrived here after the bombardment. Our advance moved rapidly until it reached the outskirts of the town, passing through an area that had received fragmentation bombing though it was not a target area. The town was not taken during the battle.
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    59. In any accurate assessment of the extent to which enemy resistance was reduced by the bombardment it is, of course, necessary to consider the strength in which positions were held by the enemy. Unfortunately in this case no information can be obtained regarding the numbers of enemy troops holding the targets tested above. However, it is clear from the narrative that all these areas were held in some strength and it is considered reasonable to assume that where our troops encountered negligible or only slight resistance this was not due to any very great difference in numbers and must therefore be attributed to the bombardment.

    60. From the descriptions of effects on targets given above it will be seen that the strongest resistance was met in those areas which had escaped the bombing completely viz:- the Chateau in COLOMBELLES, TOUFFREVILLE, EMIEVILLE and GIBERVILLE.

    61. The highest bomb densities were achieved in the areas COLOMBELLES - MONDEVILLE (0.56 lbs equiv. 25 pounder/square yard), SANNERVILLE - BANNEVILLE (0.87 lbs equiv. 25 pounder/square yard). In all these cases the bombing lasted for 45 minutes. Enemy resistance was probably due to the fact that the objective was not attacked until four hours after the bombardment ceased by which time the occupying troops had probably regained their morale to some extent and they may have been reinforced.

    62. In the centre the effect on enemy morale was great, particularly in the early stages, through the actual weight of both bombs and artillery brought down on this area (about 0.17 lbs equiv. 25 pounder/square yard) would not appear to be entirely responsible. It is very probable that the heavy bombing on both flanks, giving a feeling of isolation, and the armoured attack were more responsible for the lack of opposition.

    63. No. 2 O.R.S. with 21 ARMY GROUP inspected the target areas soon after the bombing. In their opinion the choice of fragmentation bombs for the centre, to avoid craters, and cratering bombs for the flanks was justified. This is borne our by a study of the effects on targets, except that cratering bombs did hinder armour in COLOMBELLES. However, this had to be accepted if the strong-points were to be neutralised.

    64. The weight of the bombardment was sufficient on both flanks to reduce the enemy's resistance to a few scattered pockets in the bombed areas. It is definite that neither the factory area in COLUMBELLES nor SANNEVILLE - BANNEVILLE were reinforced and here the enemy resistance was negligible. Most of the resistance encountered came from strong-points located outside the bombardment area. It is noticeable that the morale gradually improved as the day wore on, and resistance became more marked as the Canadians moved South. This was not due to reinforcements, for none appear to have been sent. The resistance in EMIEVILLE, however, was more probably stiffened by reinforcements. The case of CAGNY remains obscure. An appreciable weight of bombardment appears to have been put down, but our troops on arrival 2 1/2 hours afterwards, met strong resistance. This may possibly have been due to the arrival of fresh troops from rear areas, but as CAGNY itself was the reserve area for 21 SS Panzer Division it is possible that the troops were already there.

    65. It is apparent that the later bombing of targets South of the CAEN - VIMONT road had little effect on disrupting the movements of enemy reserves.
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    a. A bomb density of 0/56 lbs equiv. 25 pounder per square yard put down in 45 minutes, followed by an artillery bombardment of 0/1 lbs equiv. 25 pounder per square yard succeeded in breaking down the morale of troops occupying open defences in urban areas.

    b. Coupled with an armoured attack a bombardment density of 0.17 lbs equiv. 25 pounder per square yard produced a considerable diminution of resistance.

    c. There is some evidence that troops subjected to heavy bombing gradually regain morale when the bombardment ceases.

    d. The craters produced in built-up areas by heavy bombs hindered mechanised movement to a considerable extent.

    e. The attacks on reserve areas to prevent movement of reinforcements had apparently, no appreciable effect, as reinforcements of 21. 1 and later 12 SS Panzer Divisions into the battle as effective fighting groups.
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    Conversion factors for weight of bombardment are taken from MORU Report No. 3, "Effects of Bombardment, Present State of Knowledge".

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    68. It has been assumed that barrages fell in the areas laid down on the fire-plans, as there are no details in war diaries of the actual fall of shot, merely that barrages were fired to plan.

    69. The two sections of 8 CORPS barrage (Serials I, II) should have been superimposed on the fragmentation-bomb "carpet", but the main part of the barrage, in fact, fell on ground that the bombs had missed. The barrage was more in the nature of a "heads down" bombardment than anything else, to supplement the aerial bombardment. However, the general effect of the aerial bombardment all around, coupled with the armoured advance, as already discussed, led to morale break-down in the three defended villages. These villages did not come within the scope of the artillery barrage, but troops in the orchards outside the villages came under the effect of the barrage. These troops surrendered without resistance. It is not considered likely that the weight of the artillery barrage was an important factor in their morale breakdown, compared with the other two factors, in view of the very small weight put down.

    70. The two concentrations of 1 CORPS (Serials III, IV) were put down in orchards and woodland. No opposition was encountered in this area.

    71. The Canadian barrage must be linked with the aerial bombardment, which it almost completely overlaid. A total density of 0.66 lbs of 25 pounder per square yard fell in the factory area, except for the Southern section, which was only bombed. It is interesting to note that the North part of the barrage fell on ground not included in the aerial bombardment area. Here the density was 0.107 lbs of 25 pounder per square yard and the area included the Chateau, the centre of resistance on this sector. 0.1. lbs is definitely not a heavy enough concentration to effect troops in underground strong points. The barrage stopped short of GIBERVILLE, which was supposed to be bombed, but was not hit. The village was a centre of resistance all day.

    72. The barrage in support of 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade on 19th appeared to be effective, but it is not clear how strong were the enemy dispositions in the area of advance. Nearly all casualties were caused either by our own barrage or by strong counter attacks from beyond the area of the barrage.

    73. No very firm conclusion can be drawn from these figures. In this Operation the aerial bombardment far outweighed the artillery, and in many places the two bombardments overlap, preventing any separate conclusion from being drawn.

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