British Armour in the Normandy Campaign (Military History by John Buckley

By John Buckley

The preferred conception of the functionality of British armour within the Normandy crusade of 1944 is one among failure and frustration. regardless of overwhelming superiority in numbers, Montgomery's repeated efforts to hire his armour in an offensive demeanour led to a disappointing stalemate. rationalization of those and different humiliating mess ups has focused predominantly at the shortcomings of the tanks hired by way of British formations. This new learn through John Buckley demanding situations the traditional view of Normandy as a failure for British armour by means of analysing the truth and point of the intended failure and the reasons at the back of it.

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He was eventually driven out by the prospect of further duelling with a Sherman Firefly (equipped with a 17-pdr gun). As it exited Villers eastwards, Wittmann’s Tiger was disabled at point-blank range by a 6-pdr anti-tank gun. The units of 4CLY trapped on the road up to Point 213 were whittled away as the morning went on and were captured by early afternoon. British reinforcements entered the town from the west throughout the morning, and in the afternoon became embroiled in fighting with Ralf Mobius’ 1st Company of 101st Heavy Battalion, supported by infantry and tanks of Panzer Lehr.

With the Americans bogged down and preparing for their next breakout attempt, to be Cobra, Dempsey persuaded Montgomery to back an ambitious all-armoured corps operation to the east of Caen. It would place all three of the British armoured divisions (7th and 11th were now supplemented by the newly arrived Guards Armoured Division) under the command of O’Connor’s VIII Corps, which would be thrust from the Allied bridgehead to the east of the Orne, south towards the Bourguébus Ridge, which commanded the road to Falaise.

In this role, the independent armoured and tank brigades were relatively successful and became increasingly so as the campaign progressed. Therefore, the view hitherto of British armour in Normandy has emphasised the negative aspects at the expense of the positive. Moreover, in the assault phase of Overlord, and then in specialised supporting actions throughout the campaign, elements of 79th Armoured Division proved highly effective in getting infantry on to objectives. 6 Yet general studies of the campaign have often marginalised the contribution of these specialised armoured units.

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