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Google Earth Plug-in: Coutances 1944 - The day when the German front line collapsed

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In July 1944, after two weeks and a half of offensive, the Ist American Army under General Bradley had lost 40,000 men for an insignificant gain of land. The hoped breakthrough still did not occur west of Saint-Lô. That was the reason why the Operation Cobra was set out. The manoeuvre must concentrate an enormous force upon one sector of the front line, to obtain the breakthrough. The assault started on 24 July, the weather was overcast and the bombing hit soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division. On 25 July, another missed air drop caused a hundred casualties in the American lines, a general was killed. But this time, the first German lines were pulverized. General Bayerlein asserted that his Panzer-Lehr Division could not be counted as a fighting unit. The American infantry moved quickly, on 28 July, after four days of attack, an armoured column of the 2nd American Armoured Division was only ten kilometers from the sea. The 4th Armoured Division liberated Coutances on 29 July.

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