Military history

Operation Bluecoat - Over the Battlefield: Breakout from Normandy

Operation Bluecoat - Over the Battlefield: Breakout from Normandy

After seven weeks of bitter fighting there was a desperate need to break out of the Normandy bridgehead. In late July 1944 Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey's Second Army moved two entire corps from the Caen sector to the relatively quiet countryside around Caumont. Here, the British XXX Corps prepared to give battle, with VII Corps advancing in support on the right flank between XXX Corps and the American first Army. The offensive did not go to plan. While the XXX Corps attack stalled, VIII Corps surged ahead. With the experienced 11th Armoured and 15th Scottish Divisions in the lead and Guards Armoured close behind, a deep penetration was made, threatening to take the pivotal city of Vire and unhinge General Hausser's German Seventh Army. The main narrative of this book will span the initial break-in from Caumont on 30 July, through the armored battles of the following days, to the desperate German counter-attacks of 4 - 6 August, the no less desperate German defense of Estry up to the middle of the month, and the final withdrawal from Normandy. The book also examines Monty's refusal to seize Vire, the disputed Anglo-American border and the Operation's impact on the German Mortain offensive.

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: BREAKING IN

Chapter 1: LATE JULY: CAUMONT

Chapter 2: SUNDAY 30 JULY: JOCKS AND CHURCHILLS

Chapter 3: SUNDAY 30 JULY: BAFFING UP THE CHARLIE LOVE

Chapter 4: SUNDAY 30 JULY: REACTIONS

PART TWO: ACROSS THE SOULEUVRE

Chapter 5: MONDAY 31 JULY: DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT

Chapter 6: MONDAY 31 JULY: DICKIE’S BRIDGE

Chapter 7: MONDAY 31 JULY: AN ENEMY DIVIDED

Chapter 8: TUESDAY 1 AUGUST: LE BÉNY-BOCAGE

Chapter 9: MONDAY 31 JULY – TUESDAY 1 AUGUST: GUARDS GO SOUTH

PART THREE: BREAKING THROUGH

Chapter 10: WEDNESDAY 2 AUGUST: HORNS OF THE BLACK BULL

Chapter 11: WEDNESDAY 2 AUGUST: GUARDS ACROSS THE SOULEUVRE

Chapter 12: WEDNESDAY 2 AUGUST: ARRIVALS

PART FOUR: BITE AND HOLD

Chapter 13: THURSDAY 3 AUGUST: EBB AND FLOW

Chapter 14: FRIDAY 4 AUGUST – SUNDAY 6 AUGUST: ON PERRIER RIDGE

PART FIVE: THE HINGE OF NORMANDY

Chapter 15: SATURDAY 5 AUGUST – SUNDAY 13 AUGUST: ESTRY

Chapter 16: SATURDAY 5 AUGUST – SUNDAY 13 AUGUST: VIRE & GROUSE

Chapter 17: MORTAIN TO FALAISE

APPENDIX I: BRITISH ARMY MAPS AND MAP REFERENCES

APPENDIX II: GERMAN COMBAT TACTICS IN NORMANDY

APPENDIX III: ARMOURED RECONNAISSANCE IN NORMANDY

APPENDIX IV: RESTRUCTURING THE BRITISH ARMOURED DIVISIONS

APPENDIX V: MONTGOMERY, BLUECOAT, AND THE QUESTION OF VIRE

REFERENCES