The Battle of Normandy
Operation Cobra: The American breakthrough
General Bradley had put the finishing touches to a plan for getting his troops out of “the hell of the hedgerows”. Operation Cobra was launched on 25 July with massive aerial bombardment to the west of Saint-Lô that opened up a passageway through the enemy lines. The armoured divisions swept into the breach and overran the Germans, who were severely weakened after weeks of fighting and had no more in-depth defences left likely to stave off the assault. The front cracked from end to end and the Americans forged ahead with dazzling speed, advancing 60 km in six days and entering Avranches on 30 July before taking the fight on into Brittany under Patton’s leadership. The war of movement had replaced the war of position.