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Objective Falaise (Hardback)

8 August 1944 – 16 August 1944

Military WWII

By Georges Bernage
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781473857629
Published: 11th July 2018



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On the night of 8 August 1944, the First Canadian Army launched Operation Totalize, directing their advance towards Falaise, with the intention of breaking through the German defences south of Caen. In spite of large numbers, they were halted by the 12.SS- Panzer-Division "Hitlerjugend", who managed to block the 600 armored vehicles. During one of the German counter-attacks, several Tiger tanks were destroyed, including that of panzer ace, Michael Wittmann, who was killed in the process.

The offensive was relaunched a few days later under the name Operation Tractable, the intention this time being to capture the strategically important town of Falaise and close the 'Falaise Pocket', also known as the 'Corridor of Death'.

This book provides the reader with a day-by-day account of this forgotten battle, while also acting as a field guide, including maps and both comtemporary and modern photographs.

The battle to close the Falaise Gap and trap the German 7th Army marked the final phase of the Normandy campaign in August 1944. With the Americans racing through the open terrain to the south, this book follows the difficult advance by the 1st Canadian Army from the North over devastated ground and against prepared German defences. The book is divided into two parts to cover Operations Totalize, which after an initially promising start was brought to a halt by the 12th SS Panzer Division, and then Tractable which ultimately forced a path through to Falaise. With the addition of first hand testimonies, this is a lavishly decorated account, filled with excellent and in many cases colour photographs, showing scenes from the advance, as well as equipment, insignia and personalities.

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Pegasus Archive

The book, full of photos also of relics found by the inhabitants of the area, is an excellent starting point to investigate some aspects of the clashes that followed the conquest of Caen and the enlargement of the beachhead.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

Overall, the production value of this book is very high. Bernage’s study of Totalize and Tractable is an excellent introduction for those wishing to learn about the environments and challenges associated with attacking and defending in the immediate aftermath of the Normandy Invasion. The book may be used both as a guide and reference for any who wish to visit the battlefields identified in this work. The narrative is clear and concise and easily followed. However, one drawback is the lack of a bibliography or any suggested reference material. Well worth a read for those wishing to get a feel for the Canadian and British operations leading up to the Falaise Gap.

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The Military Reviewer

The maps and photos are particularly good, some of them copies of original combat maps, from larger scale maps of the terrain down to more small scale maps with individual tanks marked. The photos also show some “then and now” type comparisons. Also very cool photos of actual wrecks in situ and even bits of tanks that a farmer salvaged and kept on his farm... Overall its a good read and very useful and interesting for historians and wargamers alike.

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Colonel Mustard Blog

A prolifically illustrated book covering the Canadian-led battles in Normandy as part of Operations Totalize and Tractable in August 1944.

Overall, this is a well written day-by-day account of these two hard fought operations that also acts as a field guide, and is recommended to modellers and students of tank warfare alike.

IPMS Magazine Nov-Dec 18

It is interesting to read, and describes the events well. It can by the nature of the events sometimes become confusing in understanding the chronology of specific incidents, but this is how it was no doubt at the time. By covering a limited period timewise and a small geographic location, this book provides a detailed account of the fighting of the Canadians and Poles. Provided the reader has an interest in the Normandy campaign, or the Canadian Army during the Second World War, this book will not disappoint.

British Military History, Rob Palmer

Among the photos there are even some original wartime colour pictures, as well as the more common black and white.

Add maps to help give more context, this makes for a very interesting and detailed account of this important week in the story of the Battle of Normandy. If you visit the area then I heartily recommend this as one to read beforehand (and take with you), to help plan your own itinerary.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured 'ON THE BOOKSHELF'

Wargames Illustrated, July 2018

About Georges Bernage

The historian Georges Bernage is one of France's premier experts on the 1944 Normandy Invasion. He has published over forty books on the subject since 1978.

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