Left of the Line
A short record of the British and Canadian Armies fighting from the beaches to Brussels.
Build-up for the invasion - many Britons see for the first time the "mighty war machine" created by the Allied peoples. Troops confident that nothing had been left undone. Fleet protected by naval and air forces. Invasion - the Germans hesitate to commit heavy forces for fear of another landing, and the beachhead is secured. French welcome Allies. Advance on Caen is slow but sure. US troops with "greater freedom of movement" clear the Cherbourg peninsula. Significance of Caen - the pivot of the German defence. 1000-bomber raid. British advance into the town - not a complete breakthrough "...but to hold us had strained the enemy to his utmost". Scope of Allied strategy revealed when Americans breakthrough into Brittany. German counterattack and Battle of the Falaise pocket. Role of Typhoons. "This was no stab in the back. Here was an army outgeneralled and outfought..." Drive to the Seine. Canadians take Dieppe - commemoration ceremony for 1942 rehearsal raid. Battle of Normandy was in fact the Battle of France. Allies reach Brussels. "This was lightning war indeed, beyond anything the Germans dreamed of". Battle of Germany about to begin.
Copyright IWM [Imperial War Museum]