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Operation Goodwood

Battle Name : Operation Goodwood

Date(s) : 18 July 1944 - 20 July 1944

Part of : Second World War , North-West Europe , Normandy Campaign ,

Outcome : An inconclusive engagement between British VIII Corps and German Army Group West

Type of battle : Land


In Operation "Goodwood," from 18th -20th July 1944, Montgomery hoped, by using 2nd British Army and elements of 1st Canadian Army to break the Germans hold on Caen and drive an armoured spearhead southeast toward Argenten. This was the largest armoured undertaking ever to be mounted by the British. Although British VIII Corps bore the brunt of the fighting which, ended in stalemate, but held five German Panzer Divisions. This enabled the 1st US Army facing only one and a half Panzer Divisions to break out and start the race for Paris.


Area SE of Caen, Normandy, France (France)

More details

Following one of the most sustained bombing support missions of the war 11th Armoured Div, from a narrow bridgehead over the R. Orne, led the attack against 21st Panzer Div. They took Cuverville and Demouvlle but, exploiting towards Cagny, were intercepted by the German Battle Group Von Luck. The Guards Armoured Div on the right of 11 Div were held at Fremouville and 7th Armoured Div to the Guard’s right made for the Bourguebus Ridge where they were held by the German 1st SS Panzer Div. After three days of the heaviest fighting the battle was brought to a close with the British established on Bourguebus Ridge.

The outcome of the operation could be described as a stalemate. The British without gaining a great deal of ground held a strong German force eventually amounting to five Panzer Divisions whilst the American 1st Army mounted and executed a breakout battle against one and a half German armoured Divisions.

Reasons given for the British failure to make a break through were:
a. Restricted space in the concentration area before deployment gave Germans warning of attack.
b. British armour deployed initially without infantry in close support.
c. Maximum use by Germans of heavily defended mutually supporting all arms groups.
d. Heavy German armour outgunned British, Cromwell and US, Sherman Tanks.
Dunphie, Christopher, 'The Pendulum of Battle - Operation Goodwood July 1944' Pen & Sword ,2004
Hastings, Max ' Overlord - D Day and the battle for Normandy,' Michael Joseph, 1984.
Keegan, John 'Six Armies in Normandy - From D Day to the Liberation of Paris', Jonathan Cape, 1982