ALLIED DRIVE TO CAEN AND ST. LO – FROM STARS AND STRIPES

30 PANZERS ARE KO’D IN YANK DRIVE

British, Canadians Open New Offensive in Caen Sector:

American troops fought their way yesterday into the outskirts of St. Lo, hinge of the German defense line in the western sector of Normandy, while a double-barreled British and Canadian assault in the eastern sector developed into a heavy battle southwest of Caen on a nine-mile front.



Doughboys also closed in on Lessay and other U.S. forces nearly reached the St. Lo-Periers-Lessay highway at Le Masnil Vigot, between Periers and St. Lo.

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A military policeman from the US 29th Infantry Division rests near St. Lo

House-to-house fighting raged in the outskirts of St. Lo after one First Army column drove down the eastern heights dominating the city and advanced in a new attack along the Bayeux-St. Lo road. The attack-unpreceded by the usual artillery barrage-succeeded in pushing as far as the modern housing estate called “The City of the Future, about a mile from the heart of the city.

Nazis Fighting Savagely

American forces attacking St. Lo from other directions were slowed by stiff resistance. On the seventh day of continuous siege, the Germans fought savagely to save the city, all field dispatches reported. Before the new U.S. attack yesterday, three heavy German counter-attacks were beaten back—two northwest of the city, near Pont Hebert, and one to the east, in the Caumont sector—and 30 German tanks were destroyed or damaged. One U.S. division knocked out 16 tanks.

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British soldiers inspect a knocked out German tank

With St. Lo, Periers and Lessay closely enveloped, SHAEF pointed out that Allied forces had thus far tried to avoid fighting inside French towns, or shelling them, unless compelled to do so from military necessity.

Two-Pronged Caen Drive

The British and Canadian assault on the Caen front—apparently planned toward the seizing of “jump-off spots” for a major offensive—was made by two columns, both headed southwest. One column smashed down the road from Caen to Villers-Bocage, while the other worked along high ground between the Orne and Odon Rivers to Evrecy.

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Soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Division pose as they enter Caen

British tanks pushed more than two miles down the Caen-Villers Bocage road, captured Cahier and Haut des Forges, and stormed the railway station at Noyers, ten miles southwest of Caen and five miles northeast of Villers-Bocage. Hand-to-hand fighting raged in the streets of Noyers last night after the Germans launched a bitter counter-attack.

The drive between the Odon and the Orne—termed “an undoubted success” by a British staff officer—gained a dominating ridge belt, including Hills 112 and 113, on the way to Evrecy, and persistent German counter-attacks were hurled back. British troops penetrated into the eastern part of Evrecy, where the Germans were still strongly entrenched, having been heavily reinforced. The Allies had to withdraw from Esquay, about 1 ½ miles to the northeast, according to one field dispatch.



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