From Saint-Lô to Avranches

© Nomandy Tourist Board

The capture of Saint-Lô was entrusted to the Americans, who encountered great difficulties in taking the town, an important road and rail junction. After the bombardments of June 6th and 7th, and a month of deadlock and particularly deadly combat, the “capital of ruins” was liberated on July 18th.

From Saint-Lô,capital of ruins

The battle of Saint-Lô was one of the most significant episodes in the ‘battle of the hedgerows’, just before Operation Cobra. In the centre of the Cherbourg Peninsula, the war of the hedgerows turned into a real trench warfare. Operation Cobra was the codename given to the American offensive undertaken at the end of July 1944 in the Cherbourg Peninsula in order to open up the way to Brittany and to break through the lines of German defence.

 

In the centre of the Cherbourg Peninsula, the war of the hedgerows turned into a real trench warfare.

On the evening of July 30th American troops took Avranches. General Patton with the American armoured divisions and the 2nd French armoured division of Leclerc, just landed at Utah Beach, could then start to break through massively towards the south. Instead of retreating however, the German troops launched a counter-attack in the area of Mortain with the aim of cutting through the American lines. But this was doomed to failure from the very beginning, mainly due to the almost complete lack of air cover.

 

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