Chapter XXVI
The Argentan-Falaise Pocket


1. Stacey, Canadian Army, p. 204, n. 9; Patton, War As I Knew It, p. 105; AAF III, pp. 257-58.

2. Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 377; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 278-79; see also, Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, p. 641. It would also have disarranged plans to "get the U.S. and British forces lined up and started together going east." Answers by Generals Smith and Bull to questions by Hist Sec, ETOUSA, 14-15 Sep 45.

3. Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 377.

4. AAF III, pp. 253-54; 12th AGp Memo for Rcd (Kibler), 18 Aug, ML-205. Leigh-Mallory (in his "Despatch," Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette of December 31, 1946, p. 66) stated that he opposed the fixing of any bomb lines at all, for he felt they restricted close air support, denied fighter-bombers excellent targets, and allowed many enemy troops to escape. He would have preferred a less cautious policy, which would have permitted fighter-bombers to attack identified targets at will.

5. Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 377.

6. See above, Ch. XXV.

7. Kibler, the 12th Army Group G-3, recollected long afterward that Bradley had telephoned Montgomery to ask permission to go beyond Argentan and that Montgomery had refused (Answers to Questions by Lt Col Hugh M. Cole, 29 May 45, ML-501), but Bradley denied ever asking (Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 376).

8. See 21 AGp Dir, M-518, 11 Aug; See above, Ch. XXV. On Montgomery's overly optimistic estimate of the speed with which the Canadians would get to Falaise, see Wilmot, Struggle for Europe, p. 417.

9. See, for example, Patton, War As I Knew It, p. 105, and MS # B-807 (Kuntzen).

10. Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 377.

11. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 278-79; Pogue, Supreme Command, p. 214. Montgomery's chief of staff, Major-General Sir Francis de Guingand, believed that the Falaise gap might have been closed if Montgomery had not restricted the Americans by means of the existing army group boundary. "The Americans felt this [restriction]," he wrote. Guingand, Operation Victory, p. 407.

12. Wilmot (Struggle for Europe, pp. 424-25) notes, "the evidence suggests that the thrust from the north was not pressed with sufficient speed and strength."

13. Stacey, Canadian Army, p. 201.

14. Leigh-Mallory, "Despatch," Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette of December 31, 1946, p. 65.

15. Stacey, Canadian Army, pp. 201-03; Jean Boulle and Leonce Macary, "Falaise n'est Plus," in Herval. Bataille de Normandie, I, 368-95.

16. Msg, Eisenhower to Marshall, CPA 9-0228, 17 Aug, Pogue Files.

17. V Corps Operations in the ETO, pp. 163-80.

18. On 28th Division problems, see, for example, CI 72 and the 109th Inf Jnl, 6-9 August.

19. [Ferriss], Notes; FUSA G-2 Jnl and File, 12 and 13 Aug; 30th Div AAR, Aug, and FO 24, 2300, 13 Aug; MS # B-807 (Kuntzen). See G. Hubert, A. Paillette, and A. Timothee, "Un Enjeu Feodal: Domfront," in Herval, Bataille de Normandie, I, 317-42, for an excellent account of how civilians helped the American troops liberate Domfront without bombardment.

20. General Watson, relieved from command of the 3d Armored Division and reduced to the grade of colonel, became assistant division commander of the 29th Division, where he served with distinction and was later promoted to brigadier general.

21. VII Corps AAR, FO 8 (and Incl 2 to Annex 2), 13 Aug (confirming oral orders, 12 Aug), Opns Memo 63, 11 Aug (confirming oral orders, to Aug), and Opns Memo 65, 13 Aug (confirming oral orders, 12 Aug); SHAEF G-3 Div, GCT/006.71/Ops (A), Ltr, Press Info--Falaise Gap, 20 Jun 45, SGS SHAEF File 000.7, Vol. II; Ltr, Bradley to Eisenhower, 10 Sep, Pogue Files.

22. For the commitment of the XX Corps, see below, Ch. XXVIII.

23. TUSA Ltr of Instr, Patton to Haislip, 8 Aug.

24. Dir, Gaffey to Walker, 11 Aug.

25. Dir, Gaffey to Walker, 12 Aug.

26. XX Corps FO 2, 2345, 12 Aug.

27. 80th Div FO 4, 0400, 13 Aug.

28. 80th Div AAR, Aug; XV Corps Memo, 13 Aug, 80th Div G-3 Jnl File; Interv with McHugh, Stockton's Hosp Intervs, III, GL-93 (235).

29. Msg, 318th Inf to 80th Div G-3, 1754, 13 Aug (received 1825), 80th Div G-3 Jnl.

30. XX Corps FO 3, 1300, 13 Aug.

31. Msgs, McBride to 317th and 318th Inf Regts, 1845, 13 Aug, 80th Div G-3 Jnl.

32. Interv with McHugh, Stockton's Hosp Intervs, Vol. III, GL-93 (235).

33. Principal sources are Hodgson MS R-58, and MS # B-179 (Hausser), MS # B-346 (Blauensteiner), MS # A-918 (Gersdorff), MS # B-807 (Kuntzen), MS # A-922 and MS # B-840 (Eberbach), MS # B-445 (Krueger).

34. Mittagmeldung, 15 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1403.

35. OB WEST KTB Lagebeurteilung, 14 Aug, Anlagen, p. 1379. The Allied figure has been estimated from the 12th Army Group, G-3 Report 71, 2300, 15 August, and from the British Army of the Rhine, Notes on the Operations of the 21 Army Group (Germany, October 1945).

36. Quoted in Msg, OB WEST to AGp B, 0445, 14 Aug, AGp B Fuehrer Befehle. In a letter to Jodl written five days later, on 19 August, Blumentritt stated that Kluge had been depressed by Hitler's order, which by its detailed instructions seemed to imply a lack of confidence in Kluge's ability to handle the situation. Blumentritt's letter is extracted in OKW/222, 25 Aug.

37. Telecons, Speidel and Blumentritt, 1110, 14 Aug, and Kluge and Speidel, 2330, 14 Aug, AGp B KTB; Kluge's Order, 1810, 14 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1380.

38. AGp B Tagesmeldung, 0200, 15 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen.

39. Telecon, Kluge and Speidel, 2330, 14 Aug, AGp B KTB; see Der Westen (Schramm), pp. 35358.

40. Tagesmeldung, 0230, 16 Aug, and Gause Telecon, 1915, 15 Aug, AGp B KTB. Dietrich also discreetly suggested his availability to command the army group if Kluge did not turn up.

41. Telecon, Blumentritt and Jodl, 1830, 15 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1420.

42. Though clearly the impetus for Hausser's appointment came originally from Blumentritt, some individuals on higher military and political echelons apparently connected Kluge's disappearance with the Allied invasion of southern France, which occurred the same day. Since the Gestapo had uncovered allegations but no proof that Kluge had been involved in the July 20th conspiracy, it seemed to some that Kluge might have been trying to make contact with the Allies to arrange a negotiated peace. A detailed bibliography of the case against Kluge may be found in Hodgson, R-58; see also FitzGibbon, 20 July.

43. Der Westen (Schramm); OB WEST KTB, 15 Aug, and Anlage, p. 1624.

44. Msg, AGp B to Fifth Pz and Seventh Armies, 2315, 15 Aug, quoting Hitler Order, WFSt/Op. Nr. 772887, 1930, 15 Aug, AGp B Fuehrer Befehle.

45. Zimmerman Telecon, 0450, 16 Aug, repeating radio Msg from Pz Gp Eberbach, 2200, 15 Aug, intercepted by Fighter Corps, in OB WEST KTB, Anlage 1444; Der Westen (Schramm), pp. 367-68; Fifth Pz A KTB Nr. 2, Anlagen; AGp B KTB, 15 Aug, and Op. Befehle, p. 308.

46. For an Allied assessment, see 2d French Armd Div G-3 Rpt, Opns.

47. Telecon, Jodl and Speidel, 2310, 15 Aug, AGp B KTB. See also Seventh Army Abendmeldung, 15 Aug, and Addenda, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1415.

48. MS # B-807 (Kuntzen).

49. Telecon, 1202, 15 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1402.

50. Msg, Kluge to Jodl, signed 0200, 16 Aug, intercepted by II Fighter Corps at 1145, 16 Aug, AGp B Op. Befehle, pp. 308-09.

51. Telecon, Kluge and Speidel, 1135, 16 Aug, AGp B KTB; Telecon, Kluge and Blumentritt, 1155, 16 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1450. Blumentritt and Speidel spoke on the telephone around noon and speculated on the withdrawal movement. Speidel expressed the opinion, and Blumentritt was apparently in agreement, that the withdrawal had to be carried out to the Dives River-Laigle line. Telecon, Blumentritt and Speidel, 1210, 16 Aug, AGp B KTB.

52. Telecon, Kluge and Jodl, 1245, 16 Aug, Fifth Pz A KTB, Anlage 24.

53. Telecon, Kluge and Speidel, 1305, 16 Aug, AGp B KTB.

54. A Gp B Order, 1439, 16 Aug, AGp B Op. Befehle. Because it seemed that the large number of divisions could not be brought across the few available Orne River bridges in two days' time, Kluge later amended his order to allow a third day if necessary. Telecon, Kluge and Speidel, 1700, 16 Aug, AGp B KTB.

55. Telecon, Blumentritt and Speidel, 1645, 16 Aug, AGp B KTB, Hitler Order, 1555 (?), 16 Aug, OB WEST KTB, Anlagen, p. 1457.

56. 12th AGp Dir for Current Opns, 15 Aug (the quotations above are from this document); Bradley, Soldier's Story, pp. 378-79; 21 AGp Dir, M-518, 11 Aug.

57. TUSA Dir to XV Corps (signed Brig. Gen. Hobart R. Gay), 14 Aug, and Dir, 15 Aug (confirming oral orders, 14 Aug); Telecon, Gaffey and Menoher, 2145, 14 Aug, XV Corps CofS Jnl and File; XV Corps and 79th and 90th Div AAR's, Aug.

58. Rousseau, Bataille de Normandie, pp. 40 and 12 (the latter "new pages"); see also Xavier Rousseau, "Souffrances d'Argentan," in Herval, Bataille de Normandie, I, 396-411; XV and 5th Armd Div AAR's, Aug; Interv with Capt Ernest Rothemberger, Stockton's Hosp Intervs, ML-2234.

59. See, for example, XV Corps G-2 Per Rpt 12, 0300, 15 Aug, and 90th Div AAR, Aug.

60. 90th Div AAR, Aug; MS # B-179 (Hausser).

61. See Magna Bauer, Major Shifts of Divisions Made by the Germans to and Within the German Normandy Front Between 30 July and 25 August 1944, and the Significance of These Movements in View of Allied Strategy, R-33, OCMH Files.

62. Eisenhower to Marshall, CPA 9-0228, 17 Aug, Pogue Files.

63. Royce L. Thompson, A Statistical Study of the Artillery Battalions at the Argentan-Falaise Pocket (hereafter cited as Thompson, Arty Study), OCMH Files.

64. Bradley, Soldier's Story, p. 379. The date of the telephone call has been inferred from internal evidence; see also Patton, War as I Knew It, p. 109, and Pogue, Supreme Command, p. 214.

65. Earlier that day the 8oth Division had been alerted for movement southeast to Chateaudun, not far from Orleans, there to become the Third Army reserve. 80th Div FO 5, 0200, 16 Aug.

66. TUSA Ltr, Provisional Corps, 16 Aug.

67. Third Army Provisional Corps Opns Order 1. 17 Aug; see [1st Lt. Hollis Alpert], Notes on the Closing of the Chambois Gap (hereafter cited as [Alpert], Notes), OCMH Files.

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