YANKS THREATEN TO ROLL UP NAZI LINES, PUSH WITHIN 3 MILES OF ST. LO ON TWO SIDES – GERMAN FRONT TOTTERS BEFORE YANK THRUSTS

From the July 12, 1944 Edition of Stars and Stripes

The entire German flank facing the 40-mile U.S. front in Normandy showed signs of crumbling yesterday under pressure of a new attack in the east and an outflanking movement in the center.

Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley opened a drive in his easternmost sector northeast of St. Lo–one of the strongest German positions on the entire front. At the same time, the outflanking movement in the center, already six miles down the road southwest from Carentan to Periers, sent German troops in the western sector rushing southward toward Lessay for a stand on the next high ground.

Doughboys captured 15 more villages, and the new attacks put some forces three miles northeast of St. Lo. Other units reached a point three miles northwest of the city.



wwii gi normandy st. lo

A GI advances towards St. Lo in Normandy

At Caen, Gen. Montgomery swung a surprise left hook. Allied troops northeast of the city drove south–from the bridgehead they have held east of the Orne River for weeks–and captured Colombelles, less than two miles from Caen. At the same time, Canadian troops south of Caen drove ahead and reached the western banks of the Orne.

Bradley’s attack northeast of St. Lo made slow but steady progress. It began at dawn behind the thunder of hundreds of big guns, which continued to pound enemy positions savagely even when the assault was under way. Artillery fire was heavily concentrated on St. Andre de l’Epine, two miles northeast of St. Lo, where the Germans were entrenched in the path of the American southward advance.

The new attack south of Carentan was directed southwest against the main Lessay-Periers-St. Lo road toward Coutances and the sea.

Villages captured by the Yanks included Pont Hebert and Le Meauffe, four and five miles north and northwest of St. Lo; Les Forges, about five miles northeast of Periers, and Goutheau, 4 1/2 miles northeast of Lessay.

Near Pont Hebert, a German counterattack was thrown back by U.S. troops using flame-throwers and bazookas. They knocked out four German Mark IV tanks.

The Vire bridgehead south of Carentan was expanded by tank and infantry columns–grinding an average of the two miles through what one dispatch called “a misery of mud”–to eight miles in width. It extended through Le Desert to a point near Craignes, about 4 1/2 miles southwest of Carentan.

In the Lessay area, the Germans were withdrawing southward from La Haye so fast that it was not certain where the front lines were, an American radio commentator said. West of the La Haye-Lessay road, the Yanks advanced about a half-mile on a 1 1/2 mile front. East of the road, other U.S. forces pushed ahead.



st. lo wwii ruins normandy

The ruins of St. Lo

Berlin claimed last night that German troops had fought their way back into La Haye du Puits, and that violent house-to-house fighting was raging in the streets.

An Allied dispatch from La Haye said, “This western sector is what they call a fluid front–both sides are shifting back and forth in attacks and counter-attacks–and La Haye is the focal point of this front.”

British and Canadian troops, in their drive south of Caen from the Odon River to the western banks of the Orne River, took Esquay after a fierce attack, and Canadian forces captured Louvigny, described in a front-line dispatch as the last German strongpoint north of the Orne in the Caen sector.

Positions along the Orne were consolidated along a two-mile stretch from Louvigny to a point northeast of Maltot, from which Allied troops withdrew after strong German counter-attacks.

At Caen, all German resistance in the city west of the Orne River was virtually cleaned up by British and Canadian forces in 24 hours, SHAEF announced. Berlin claimed last night that German troops regained the southern part of Caen in a counter-attack.

Gen. Montgomery, in a message to all forces in his command yesterday, said, “We have given the enemy forces a tremendous pounding, and we know from prisoners what great losses they have suffered. To every Allied soldier in Normandy I say, ‘Well done; well done, indeed. You have performed a great task.”



For Further Reading Check Out:

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy


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One thought on “YANKS THREATEN TO ROLL UP NAZI LINES, PUSH WITHIN 3 MILES OF ST. LO ON TWO SIDES – GERMAN FRONT TOTTERS BEFORE YANK THRUSTS

  • Sounds like this was one hellacious battle. As an American and combat veteran, I salute all who were involved. Mere words–however well written–can’t begin to describe what these men endured.

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