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Operation Tractable

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Source: EyeSerene

Operation Tractable was the final offensive conducted by Canadian and Polish troops, supported by one brigade of British tanks, as part of the Battle of Normandy during World War II. The goal of this operation was to capture the strategically important French town of Falaise and then the smaller towns of Trun and Chambois. This operation was undertaken by the First Canadian Army, the 1st Polish Armoured Division and a British armoured brigade against Army Group B of the Wehrmacht as part of the largest encirclement on the Western Front during the Second World War. Despite a slow start and limited gains north of Falaise, novel tactics by the 1st Polish Armoured Division—under the command of Generał brygady Stanisław Maczek during the drive for Chambois—enabled the Falaise Gap to be partially closed by 19 August 1944, trapping about 150,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.
Although the Falaise Gap was narrowed to a distance of several hundred yards, attacks and counter-attacks by two battle groups of the 1st Polish Armoured Division and the II SS Panzer Corps on Hill 262 prevented the quick closing of the gap and thousands of German troops escaped. During two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces using artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting, managed to hold off counter-attacks by seven German divisions. On 21 August, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved the Polish survivors and sealed the Falaise Pocket by linking up with the Third US Army. This led to the surrender and capture of the remaining units of the German 7th Army in the pocket.


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