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Old 08-07-2006, 07:39 AM   #1
Johnny Canuck
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Falaise Pocket July/August 1944

British and Canadian forces commenced Operation Goodwood on July 18 and Caen has been secured.




The Germans countered by committing the bulk of their armoured forces to the eastern side of the Normandy bridgehead. The Canadians and British now faced 6 ½ Panzer divisions while the Americans to the west were confronted by only 1 ½ Panzer divisions.





The US 1st and 3rd Armies launched Operation Cobra on July 25, this was to be the breakout from Normandy with the capture of the Cotentin peninsula and its ports as the main objective.





The attack stalled at Mortain as the Germans launched Operation Lüttich a counterattack that was planned to push through to Avaranches, thereby splitting the Allies forces in two and allowing the piecemeal destruction of Patton’s Third Army.







The Americans quickly recaptured Mortain the next day after the Allied Tactical Air Forces decimated the Panzer thrust.





The German forces are now overextended in the west and Patton has been ordered to turn to the east. The battle of the Falaise Pocket has begun.





Operation Totalize was the 1st Canadian Army’s first independent operation of the war and commenced on August 7 1944, its objective was the capture of Falaise to prevent the Germans from making an orderly withdrawal in the face of the American attack which was now hooking to the east.





After the initial breakthrough the Canadian’s progress slowed as German resistance stiffened.





The wheat fields bordering the Caen-Falaise road became a meat grinder as the Allies slowly hammered their way through the dug in German defenses.





After heavy fighting in the ruins of Caen. “Les Boys” and 3rd Division are mopping up as the advance continues. The lads are ferreting out the Germans hiding in the mine shafts that riddle the area like Swiss cheese. The Krauts emerge to shoot at our forces from behind, our task is to put an end to this demoralizing tactic.





German Heavy tanks and entrenched anti-tank guns make life tenuous for the Allied armoured forces. Rocquancourt was particularly murderous with C Company of the Royal Regiment of Canada being totally wiped out. Thankfully our numbers are increasing faster than the Germans and we are slowly winning the battle of attrition in the bocage and wheat fields of Normandy.





By August 16 1944 the Canadians had reached Verrieres Ridge, fierce German resistance caused many casualties, with the high ground finally secured, Falaise was captured the next day by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.





The 4th Cdn Armoured Division occupied Trun on August 18.





By the 19th they had captured the German held village of Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives and joined up with the Americans at Chambois.





The South Alberta Regiment, elements of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment dig in blocking the only Axis exit through Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives.





A vicious two day battle ensued as remnants of the German 7th Army and 5th Panzer Army desperately tried to escape the trap. Major David Currie of the South Alberta Regiment and a small force, numbering less than 200 Canadians held firm, killing, capturing or wounding around 3000 Germans during the battle. Major Currie won the Victoria Cross for his heroic leadership during the battle, it was the first VC awarded in the NWE campaign.





As the trap slammed shut General Maczek's 1st Polish Armoured Division with 87 Shermans took "Hill 262" known as The Mace to the Poles. From their hilltop position they prevented any relief efforts from the east while engaging any German units trying to flee down the Chambois to Vimoutiers road; by now the last road out of the pocket.
The isolated Poles were repeatedly and ferociously attacked, in particular on August 20 when the II SS Panzer Corps, which had escaped the pocket, counterattacked and broke through back into the pocket from Vimoutiers.





The German retreat turned into a desperate flight along what became known to the Germans as "Todesgang" between the villages of Chambois, Saint Lambert, Trun and Tournai-sur-Dives. Late on August 21, after French priest Abbé Launay pleaded with the German field commander, the remaining German troops in the pocket were ordered to surrender.





As silence fell over the battle field one realizes that the Battle of Normandy is over.
The Germans left over 50,000 prisoners, more than 10,000 dead, 500 tanks and roads clogged with wrecked vehicles and equipment in the Falaise pocket.
Since D-Day German losses have amounted to over 400,000 men, 1,500 tanks and self-propelled guns, and 25 Divisions essentially destroyed.

Thanks for looking.




Johnny Canuck
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:48 AM   #2
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Great work as usual, Johnny!

Fantastic pics and good historical presentation.
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:52 AM   #3
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Awesome story and pictures.

I was hoping to see some fighting or rows of surrendering germans running down a lane while other allies pass though. :P (On larger scale stuff like that always looks amazing and I'm quite sure this would be historically correct)
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #4
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Excellent stuff as always, Johnny - well researched, well written and very well posed.

(And I SOOOOOOOOO want that Universal Carrier.......... )
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:10 PM   #5
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Very cool! I really wish you guys were closer I would love to come up and hang out for a day.
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:45 PM   #6
inxsone
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Very cool photo shoot...
One of those Tigers looks awefully familiar...
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Old 08-07-2006, 05:32 PM   #7
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Killer shoot guys, and a most enjoyable read. Great stuff
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:28 PM   #8
pomz99
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Great photo shoot with historical perspective, btw, whose dog is that - nice looking - perhaps a mine dog (similar to the Russians)?

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Old 08-07-2006, 07:48 PM   #9
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Very well done, the pictures and the story!
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inxsone";p=&quot View Post
Very cool photo shoot...
One of those Tigers looks awefully familiar...
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:45 PM   #11
Johnny Canuck
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Dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by pomz99";p=&quot View Post
Great photo shoot with historical perspective, btw, whose dog is that - nice looking - perhaps a mine dog (similar to the Russians)?

The dog is from some Lewis and Clark set, Seaman is what they call him. Likes hunting Germans and is to cute and lovable to blow up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unkn0wn";p=&quot View Post

I was hoping to see some fighting or rows of surrendering germans running down a lane while other allies pass though. :P (On larger scale stuff like that always looks amazing and I'm quite sure this would be historically correct)
Don't own but three Germans myself and they do fill in as prisoners, all of my guys 40+ are Canadians. If I can convince the other guys to give up their guns, perhaps a POW cage or column of prisoners is possible. But don't hold your breathe as they're fightin' men!!

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I really wish you guys were closer I would love to come up and hang out for a day.
General Specific has been talking to Pangaea95 about a joint shoot. There was talk up here of hosting a group of our Canadian and American friends for a weekend. Photo shoot, tour new War Museum, Ottawa sights etc. I'll touch base if anything materializes.

Geoff
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:48 AM   #12
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There was talk up here of hosting a group of our Canadian and American friends for a weekend.
Wow that would be a blast. There Is gonna be a few nice shoot's going on next spring/summer, even If we can't be together, I think we can work out some sort of story to link various shoots together. Could do something as soon as the fall should we be able to come up with the storyline soon enough. Would be a neat undertaking and make for an epic photo essay
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