Encyclopedia Of US Air Force Aircraft And Missile Systems by Knaak M.

By Knaak M.

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In this attack, Montgomery sought to capture both southern Caen and the Bourguébus Ridge—objectives that opened the way to the Falaise Plain to their south. A new attack was necessary to hold German reserves at Caen while the Americans prepared for their break-out bid. However, Montgomery required massive fire support to breach the strong German defenses behind the Orne and it was thus only on 18 July that he attacked out of the 28 ESSENTIAL HISTORIES • THE SECOND WORLD WAR (6) bridgehead east of the Orne, which his airborne troops had captured on D-Day.

To provide the firepower it lacked, First US Army relied first on carpet bombing to smash a hole in the German front; second, on a narrow front offensive to penetrate the German line; and lastly, on mobility and speed to outmaneuver, rather than outfight, the enemy. Bradley, thus, planned Cobra as a concentrated break-in attack by three infantry divisions on a narrow front, supported by intense air and artillery attack, to secure the flanks; meanwhile, three mechanized divisions would punch through to the rear, capture Coutances, and cut off the German LXXXIV Corps on the coast.

Then, during 1–7 November, in Operation Infatuate, two amphibious assaults backed by a land attack from South Beveland secured the flooded fortress. Thus, by 7 November the First Canadian Army had successfully cleared the Germans from the Scheldt, but this slogging effort in difficult terrain had cost them 13,000 casualties and had taken no fewer than nine weeks. This sobering experience underscored the Allied high command’s belief—derived from the attack on Aachen—that pushing deep into the Reich would prove a difficult task.

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