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Hill 262

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Source: Jacques Wiacek

Hill 262, or the Mont Ormel ridge ), is an area of high ground above the village of Coudehard in Normandy that was the location of a bloody engagement in the final stages of the Normandy Campaign during the Second World War. By late summer 1944, the bulk of two German armies had become surrounded by the Allies near the town of Falaise. The Mont Ormel ridge, with its commanding view of the area, sat astride the Germans' only escape route. Polish forces seized the ridge's northern height on 19 August and, despite being isolated and coming under sustained attack, held it until noon on 21 August, contributing greatly to the decisive Allied victory that followed.
The American success of Operation Cobra provided the Allies with an opportunity to cut off and destroy most German forces west of the River Seine. American, British and Canadian armies converged on the area around Falaise, trapping the German Seventh Army and elements of the Fifth Panzer Army in what became known as the "Falaise pocket". On 20 August Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model ordered a withdrawal, but by this time the Allies were already blocking his path. During the night of 19 August, two battlegroups of Stanisław Maczek's Polish 1st Armoured Division had established themselves in the mouth of the Falaise pocket on and around the northernmost of the Mont Ormel ridge's two peaks.


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