April 20, 2015

1944. The Allies Roll Through Brittany

Retaking Brittany

Bill Downs


August 6, 1944
Senior British staff officers said tonight that the German Seventh Army, (who) are trying to hold the Allied troops within their Normandy beachhead, have suffered a major defeat, and that the events of the past ten days have given the American, Canadian, and British forces in France their first big victory.

This high staff officer said that, since D-Day, the Allied troops in France had virtually eliminated thirteen German divisions. And no army could stand to lose the number of prisoners alone that the Germans have lost to us without suffering a major defeat.

The British staff officer paid special tribute to the American forces now rolling in Brittany. "The Americans have been remarkable in exploiting their gains through very tough country," he said. Then he added, "We can learn a lot from them."

This high British officer, who is in a position to know the complete picture of the war, painted the most optimistic picture that we have had since we've been here in France. He said that the Germans appear to be establishing a series of fortress areas around the important Brittany ports which the American forces are now threatening. The Germans are carrying out demolition in these ports. And in addition to a great land victory, the American tanks in Brittany also have won one of the war's greatest naval victories. The capture of the Brittany port will wipe out Hitler's main U-boat and E-Boat bases, and force a complete change of German naval strategy.
However, the Germans are expected to fight bitterly for their now cut off fortress ports. "It is impossible to be anything but extremely optimistic at the present stage of the war," the officer said. And then he went on to give his reason for this optimism: "First, on the land front, the Russian advance is threatening Germany itself. In Italy, there are a series of unbroken victories that should continue. The Western Front is going like a (?), and the resistance front inside occupied France is almost boiling over."