Arthur W. Gullachsen, "Bloody Verrières: the I. SS-Panzerkorps Defence of the Verrières-Bourguebus Ridges (Volume 2) (Casemate, 2023)


South of the Norman city of Caen, Verrières Ridge was seen a key stepping-stone for the British Second Army if it was to break out of the Normandy bridgehead in late July 1944. Imposing in height and containing perfect terrain for armored operations, the Germans viewed it as the lynchpin to their defenses south of the city of Caen and east of the Orne river.

Following the failure of British Operation Goodwood on 18-20 July and the containment of the Canadian Operation Atlantic, further Allied attacks to seize the ridge would have to defeat arguably the strongest German armored formation in Normandy: The I. SS-Panzerkorps 'Leibstandarte.' In the second volume of this two-volume work, the fighting of 23 July-3 August is chronicled in detail, specifically the premier Anglo-Canadian operation to capture Verrières Ridge, Operation Spring on 25 July. Designed as an attack to seize the ridge and exploit south with armor, this battle saw the 2nd Canadian Corps attack savaged again by German armored reserves brought in specifically to defeat another Goodwood.

Not satisfied with this defensive victory, German armored forces would then seek to restore an earlier defensive line further north, attacking to destroy the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Largely unknown, these were some of the strongest and most successful German armored operations to take place in the Normandy campaign.

An interview about the first volume of Bloody Verrières is here.

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