The War in Western Europe
Part 1
(June to December, 1944)



Department of Military Art and Engineering
United States Military Academy
West Point, New York


Foreword i
Preliminary Developments 1
  Introduction 1
  Allied Strategic Considerations 4
    The Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff 5
  Major Allied Decisions, 1942 and 1943 8
  The Battle of the Atlantic 13
  Early Operations 14
  The Allied Defensive 17
  The Allied Offensive 23
  The Development of Strategic Air Power 25
  The Royal Air Force 26
  The United States Air Force in Europe 28
  The Combined Bomber Offensive 32
  Early Developments in the United Kingdom 36
  Organization of the European Theater 36
  The Logistical Build-up 37
  British Amphibious Raids 40
Plans and Preparations for the Invasion 41
  The Allied High Command 42
  Allied Plans 45
  The OVERLORD Plan 46
  Factors Influencing the Plan 47
  Major Changes in OVERLORD 51
  The Allied Air Offensive 53
  The Opposing Air Forces 53
  Air Superiority 58
  The Pre-Invasion Air Assault 62
  Enemy Forces and Plan of Defense 64
  The High Command 65
  The Field Forces 67
  The Atlantic Wall 69
  Defensive Plans and Considerations 71
  Final Allied Preparations 77
  The Invasion Force 77
  Mounting Procedures 82
  Subversive Activities 84
  Deceptive Measures 85
  Selection of the Time 86
The Normandy Campaign 88
  The Invasion 90
  VII Corps Landings 91
  D-Day on OMAHA Beach 95
  Other D-Day Operations 101
  Operations, 7-12 June 104
  The Capture of Cherbourg 109
  Expanding the Beachhead 114
  Comments 118
The Campaign in Northern France 125
  Introduction 125
  The St. Lô Breakthrough 128
  The Breakout 133
  The German Mortain Counterattack 138
  The Close Encirclement 140
  The Exploitation 142
  The Deep Encirclement and the Battle of the Falaise Pocket 142
  The Advance to the Seine 145
  The Pursuit to the West Wall 148
  Strategic Considerations on Securing the Lodgement Area 148
  Operations, 26 August-3 September 150
  Operations, 4-14 September 153
  Comments 156
The Campaign in Southern France 162
  Plans and Preparations 162
  The Invasion Force 163
  Enemy Forces 166
  The Assault Plan 166
  Seventh Army Operations 168
  The Landings 168
  The Exploitation 170
  The Pursuit 174
Operations Against the West Wall 176
  Introduction 176
  Logistical Considerations 176
  The West Wall 180
  The Allied Situation 182
  21st Army Group Operations 184
  The Airborne Invasion of Holland 185
  The Battle of the Schelde Estuary 190
  12th Army Group Operations 192
  The Aachen Offensive 193
  Forcing the Line of the Moselle 194
  The Capture of Metz and the Saar Campaign 198
  The Drive to the Roer 200
  6th Army Group Operations 202
  Static Warfare in the Vosges Mountains 202
  Forcing the Belfort and Saverne Gaps 203
No.   Page
1. Directive to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force 207
2. Important Dates in the War in Western Europe (6 June-15 December 1944) 209
3. Major Conferences and Military Decisions, 1941-1945 211
4. The Normandy Campaign--Allied Order of Battle, 12 June 1944 215
5. Abbreviated German Order of Battle, Western Front, 6 June 1944 219
6. The Campaign in Northern France--Allied Order of Battle, 1 August 1944 221
7. Operations Against the West Wall--Allied Order of Battle, 15 September 1944 225
8a. VII Corps D-Day Operations--UTAH Beach, 6 June 1944 Map
8b. V Corps D-Day Operations--OMAHA Beach, 6 June 1944 Map
8c. British Assault Plan--Normandy Landings Chart
9. American Casualties and Enemy Prisoners of War--Western Europe, June 1944-April 1945 Chart
List of Maps
Limited of Axis Expansion (September 1939-August 1942)
Allied Gains (November 1942-June 1944)
Battle of the Atlantic (September 1939-May 1943)
The Combined Bomber Offensive
OVERLORD, High Command and Plan
German Dispositions, D-Day, 6 June 1944
The Allied Invasion Force and German Dispositions, 6 June 1944
The Invasion (Operations, 6-12 June 1944)
The Capture of Cherbourg (Operations, 13-30 June 1944)
Expanding the Beachhead (Operations, 1-24 July 1944)
Allied Gains in Europe (June-December 1944)
The St. Lô Breakthrough (Operations, 25-31 July 1944)
The Breakout (Operations, 1-13 August 1944)
10  The Exploitation (Operations, 14-25 August 1944)
11  The Pursuit to the West Wall (OPerations, 26 August-14 September 1944)
12  The Campaign in Southern France (Operations, 15-28 August 1944)
13  21st Army Group Operations (15 September-15 December 1944)
14a  6th and 12th Army Group Operations (15 September-7 November 1944)
14b  6th and 12th Army Group Operations (8 November-15 December 1944)


This short account of the Allied operations in western Europe has been prepared for use in the instruction of cadets at the United States Military Academy. It is based for the most part on material furnished by the Historical Division, Department of the Army. In acknowledging this indebtedness, however, it is not desired to place on the Historical Division the responsibility for any factual errors or for the conclusion drawn.

Grateful acknowledgement is made of permission to quote copyrighted material from the publications listed below:

Samuel E. Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1947).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1948).

Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper & Bros., 1948).

Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1947).

The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Normandy to the Baltic (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1948).

Milton Shulman, Defeat in the West (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1948).

George S. Patton, Jr., War As I Knew It (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1947).

Sir Francis de Guingand, Operation Victory (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947).

It is regretted that space limitations have not permitted a more detailed account of the important part played by the British, Canadian, and French troops in the operations.

February 1949

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation