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"Breakout From the Hedgerows: A Lesson in Ingenuity" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

527 hits since 13 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 10:54 a.m. PST

"The defeat of Germany was still a long way off for the United States, British and Canadian troops on July 1, 1944. The invading armies of the Western Allies had crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy in Northern France to strike at the heart of Germany and to end the war in Europe. The cross-Channel attack, launched on D-Day, June 6, 1944, had accomplished the first phase of the invasion by July 1, 1944. Ground troops had broken through the German coastal defenses and had established a continental abutment for an eventual bridge that was to carry men and supplies from the United Kingdom to France. At the beginning of July, the Allies looked forward to executing the second stage of the invasion, expanding their continental foothold to a size that could support an assault on Germany. Before the Allies could launch their definitive attack, they had to assemble enough men and material on the Continent to assure success.[1] To expand their foothold, the Allied soldiers had to overcome a tenacious enemy and a stubborn terrain.

Within a few days after the Allied invasion of Normandy, the U.S. Army found itself facing a stubborn terrain that favored the defender. Units fought desperately for hills, towns, and bridges that had become of strategic importance. At every turn, the Americans faced the seasoned veterans of the Wehrmacht (German Army). The effects of weather and the terrain of the French countryside had a particularly strong influence on the conduct of operations. A significant tactical dilemma facing the U.S. Army in Normandy was the local terrain, called Bocage in French. Bocage refers to farmland separated by thick coastal hedgerows. These hedgerows are denser, thicker, and higher in Normandy than elsewhere along the French coast or in the British countryside on the opposite side of the English Channel. From a military perspective, they were ideal for defense, since they broke up the local terrain into small fields edged by natural earthen obstacles. They provide real defense in depth, extending dozens of miles beyond the coast. The Bocage undermined the U.S. Army's advantages in armor and firepower, and the hedgerows gave the German defenders natural shelter from attack. [2]

The Bocage presented a substantial obstacle to tanks. While it was possible for tanks to charge the hedgerows and push over the top, this exposed their thin belly armor to German anti-tank weapons. Some hedges were so entangled with foliage and small trees that a tank could become trapped if attempting to push through, or could shed a track, effectively immobilizing it. The whole area was drained by the Taute and Vire Rivers, which empty into the English Channel near Carentan and Isigny, respectively. The marshlands are flat, and the ground is soft and moist making travel by foot difficult, with vehicle traffic being almost impossible. Heavy rains make the marshlands even less trafficable, restricting movement to the few asphalt roads that traverse the bogs. On the American right, the terrain was more favorable. Between the marshes in the center of the sector and the coastline on the extreme right flank, a group of hills rose up to dominate the northern end of the Cotentin Peninsula. The most important terrain feature on the American right was the city of Cherbourg with its extensive port facilities…"
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UshCha15 May 2018 8:42 a.m. PST

Thanks, a good read

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 10:07 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!. (smile)


Legion 415 May 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

Based on what happened when the Allies ran into the Hedgerows. I keep some old thick mostly dead bushes planted in front of my house. As I live at the top of a "T" intersection. And is someone drives straight thru the intersection. I'm hoping the bushes with act like hedgerows and stop the vehicle before in hits my house.

Lessons Learned from WWII … evil grin

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2018 10:07 a.m. PST



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