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The tactical surprise achieved, coupled with the confusion created by the dropping of explosive dummy parachutists elsewhere, caused the enemy to be slow to react, and it was not until midday that elements of 21st Panzer Division counterattacked. By that time our men had consolidated their positions and the enemy's efforts to dislodge them were in vain. During the day reinforcements were safel y landed by gliders, against which the German pole obstructions proved ineffective; the operation went off like an exercise, no opposition was encountered, and by nightfall the division had been fully resupplied and was in possession of all its heavy equipment.

At Caen we held him with our left while we delivered the blow toward Cherbourg with our right. The enemy's tenacity in the east did not mean that the Allied forces in the west enjoyed a walk-over. The terrain through which they fought was overwhelmingly favorable to the defense. In the close "bocage" countryside, dotted with woods and orchards, and with its fields divided by high tree-topped embankments, each in itself a formidable antitank obstacle, armor was of little value, and the infantry had to wage a grim struggle from hedgerow to hedgerow and bank to bank, harassed by innumerable snipers and concealed machinegun posts.

The hand of von Rundstedt, endeavoring to remedy the errors of his lieutenant, became apparent after the first 2 or 3 weeks of the campaign, when desperate attempts were made to form a mobile armored striking force in reserve; but it was too late. The enemy had been forced, by reason of his shortage of infantry, to use his armor in purely defensive roles. Once this armor was so committed, our constant pressure made it impossible for the enemy to withdraw his mobile forces for more appropriate employment until early in August, when the breakthrough of the United States forces on the west flank had already sealed the fate of the German Seventh Army.

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AerMacchi MC 200


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