In a nation at war, teamwork by the whole people is necessary for victory. But the issue is decided on the battlefield, toward which all national effort leads. The country's fate lies in the hands of its soldier citizens; in the clash of battle is found the final test of plans, training, equipment, and--above all--the fighting spirit of units and individuals.

AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION SERIES presents detailed accounts of particular combat operations of United States forces. To the American public, this record of high achievement by men who served their Nation well is presented as a preface to the full military history of World War II. To the soldiers who took part in the operations concerned, these narratives will give the opportunity to see more clearly the results of orders which they obeyed and of sacrifices which they and their comrades made, in performance of missions that find their meaning in the outcome of a larger plan of battle.

Chief of Staff


Historical Division
Washington 25, D.C.
21 August 1946

Twelfth in the series of studies on particular combat operations, St-Lô is the story of a corps in the First Army during the bitter July battle that led up to and made possible the great breakthrough from the Normandy beachheads. This was the period of the most intense hedgerow fighting. XIX Corps' part in it has been chosen to illustrate this type of combat. The record of other First Army units in this operation have been covered only in outline.

This study is based upon a first narrative by 2d Lt. David Garth, prepared in the field from military records and from notes and interviews recorded during the operation by members of the 2d Information and Historical Service Detachment. The manuscript of this historical officer has been edited and partially rewritten with the help of additional documentation by Col. Charles H. Taylor of the Historical Division, War Department Special Staff. As it is true of all combat actions, available information is uneven in coverage, and field records are not free of minor errors. The results of this will be apparent to men who participated in the action. In order that the more definitive history of this operation may be as complete and correct as possible, readers are urged to send all comments, criticisms, and additional data to the Historical Division, War Department, Washington 25, D.C

All photographs were taken by members of the
U.S. Army Signal Corps or other Army personnel.


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