Just as the Anglo-Canadian forces in the east found it difficult to advance beyond Caen after D-Day, so the US First Army laboured to advance through the Norman bocage country in the west. The lethal struggle that developed there was a defining episode in the Normandy campaign, and this photographic history is a vivid introduction to it.
Through a selection of over 150 carefully chosen and meticulously captioned wartime photographs Simon Forty traces the course of the battle and gives the reader a graphic impression of the conditions, the terrain and the experience of the troops.
The Germans mounted a tenacious defence. They fought from prepared positions in the high hedgerows. Each cramped field and narrow lane became a killing ground. But the Americans adapted their tactics and brought in special equipment including bulldozers and tanks with hedgerow cutters to force their way through.
The losses were appalling as the Germans used snipers, mines, machineguns and artillery to great effect. Inexorably, however, and with enormous bravery, First Army solved their tactical problems, inflicted heavy casualties on the defenders and ground their way to Saint-Lô.
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