#Storyline - France

Operation Goodwood

On 18 July 1944, General Montgomery launched a new offensive, Operation Goodwood, southeast of Caen, to fully capture the city partially liberated since July 9. It was the largest tank battle in Normandy. 2,200 heavy bombers, 1,200 tanks and more than 100,000 men were involved in this operation.

To the east, the 1st British Corps had to widen the bridgehead conquered by the paratroopers on 6 June by pushing towards Troarn and Bavent. From there, the 8th British Corps would lead towards the plain of Caen and Falaise, while the 2nd Canadian Corps would cross the Orne, between Blainville and Louvigny, to liberate the right bank of Caen.

At 05:30, intense aerial bombardments preceded the attack. 6,000 tons of bombs are dropped on either side of the armoured divisions corridor. Mondeville, Colombelles, Sannerville, Touffréville and Giberville were reduced to ashes, but the German positions were hit hard.

Less than three hours later, 75,000 men entered the battle led by the 11th Armoured Division. However, the progress soon came to a halt at the Caen-Paris railway. Gunmen and tanks entrenched in the ruins of Cagny opened fire.

Solidly held by the enemy, the Bourguébus Ridge marked the end of the advance for the day.

At the same time, the 2nd Canadian Division was able to cross the Orne and the Odon and established two bridgeheads at Vaucelles and Louvigny.

Over the next two days, the Allies advanced from village to village, forcing the German front to retreat until torrential rains on 20 July put an end to Goodwood. The right bank of Caen is liberated on the 19th. On that day Louvigny, Ifs, Cormelles-le-Royal, Fleury-sur-Orne were liberated by the Canadians, while to the east of the front, Four, Soliers, and Hubert-Folie regained their freedom.

Émiéville and Frénouville were taken over by the Guards Armoured Division on 20 July, while after two days of fighting, Bourguébus was finally freed by the 7th Armored Division. South of Caen, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division once again failed to conquer the Verrières Ridge.

Montgomery had to put an end to the operation. It was a failure: the Anglo-Canadian troops lost 400 tanks, four times more than the Germans, and nearly 6,000 men for an advance of only eleven kilometres.