Analyse the reasons why the British army was so successful in the Battle of Normandy, June – August 1944

There were several important factors which resulted in a victory for the British Army in the Battle of Normandy. It was necessary to secure Normandy in order to give a strong foothold with which Germany could be defeated, so allowing a successive Allied victory over Germany in the Second World War in May 1945. Many important objectives intended for the British landings were achieved, allowing the British to set up a secure bridgehead with which an attacking force could be built up. The Mulberry harbours on the beaches of Normandy and PLUTO had made sure that the Allied forces were well supplied. 4,000 tonnes of supplies were received by the Allied forces each day.

Operation Fortitude was a big success for the British as the Germans thought that the invasion was going to happen at Calais but it was actually going to happen at Normandy. Important military offensives were launched during the Battle of Normandy by the British, which aided the Allied capture and advance through Normandy. At first, progress was delayed by difficult terrain, bocage countryside, and German resistance. The first significant offensive made by the British was Operation Epsom, which lasted between 24th and 30th June.

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The plan involved moving British soldiers to the west of Caen to ease pressure off the Americans at the bocage. I was thought to be a failure with 4000 casualties due to bad weather and German resistance. Operation Goodwood was then launched on 18th July to deal with the German defences around Caen. The bombardment was not completely effective, this had also failed with 5000 British casualties. Caen was captured on 10th July which was an essential part of the capture of Normandy, the British were able to replace the losses in Epsom and Goodwood, but the Germans could not.

The British forces were faced with problems during the campaign. A storm on 19th June destroyed the mulberry harbour at Omaha, and damaged the one at Arromanches. It took a long period of time to capture Cherbourg, a crucial town needed for the capture of Normandy. The bocage countryside made tanks useless, and the fighting was mostly hand to hand combat, the German resistance was strong, this slowed down the Allies. But the factors which resulted in success in Normandy had helped overcome the problems to the.

The Americans also contributed by having some progress, even though Bradley’s offensive was slowed and stalled by the bocage, this lasted for seven days. On July 25th Operation Cobra used huge airpower to clear the way against the weak Germans. Another factor was British supremacy in airpower, armour and artillery this was shown by the Battle of Falaise. On 2nd August, Hitler had ordered a counterattack to be launched using 100,000 German soldiers to cut off the Americans in Brittany; the German forces were forced back into the Falaise region.

The Allies then planed a manoeuvre to trap the leftovers of the German 7th Army in the “Falaise pocket”. A pincer movement was carried out by the Americans and the British, with the aid of aerial bombardment to destroy German men and tanks. In June 600,000 Allied troops and 90,000 vehicles landed in Normandy, but by July 20th 36 divisions and 300,000 vehicles had landed which meant the one man had 1 tonne of supplies. One of the important vehicles were the rhinoceros tanks because in the bocage they could cut through hedgerows, which meant the allies could advance quicker than before in bocage.

Falaise also weakened another factor, poor military decisions made by Hitler. This is mainly owed to the success of Operation Fortitude; this resulted in the failure to arrange German tanks and reduced the effectiveness of the German response against the offensive. Hitler made the poor decision to launch a counterattack in August, and to carry on with it even after its failure was obvious. This built up in the destruction of the German 7th Army by the Allies, which resulted in heavy casualties for the Germans. Field Marshal Rommel was seriously injured on July 17th.

The July Bomb Plot was an attempt by senior German Army officers to kill Hitler and end World War Two. The July Bomb Plot was not the first attempt to kill Hitler, but it was the one that came closest to success. Both events had interrupted the German defence in Normandy which helped the British even further. The Germans were only to replace 17 of the tanks that had been lost and very few men. The Luftwaffe was unable to challenge in the skies as ammunition had to be saved. The German Army lacked ammunition, food and fuel, every shot fired by the artillery had to be authorised.

This had weakened the German defence against the Allied advance, and allowed success for the British Army in Normandy. All these factors played a crucial role in allowing success for the British in Normandy. The most important reason for the British Army’s success was the amount of Allied resources and supplies that were made available to it, which had given the British advantage in many military features in the battle. Without it, the British forces would not have the power to break through the German defence. Even with the problems they faced, this had allowed the British a strong victory over the Germans in Normandy.

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