Operation Bluecoat (Kindle)
After two months of bitter combat in Normandy, Operation Bluecoat transformed the campaign into a war of movement. British and German armoured divisions were flung against one another. This is the story of the breakthrough begun on 30 July by 11th Armoured Division, Guards Armoured Division and 15th (Scottish) Division.
'This is a very impressive piece of work in many ways - the combination of this of detail and a readable and lucid account is very rare, helped by the use of a massive amount of detailed small-scale maps, many with extra details added to illustrate key incidents...This book will be of great value to any historian or researcher studying the Normandy campaign, Second World War combat, or the nature of armoured warfare in general.'History of War Website, 19 February 2010
The breakout battles from the Normandy beachhead are attracting an increasing level of interest. This is a comprehensive guide to the British attempt to smash through some of Hitler's finest panzer troops. It is packed with maps, aerial photographs and first-hand accounts that bring the battles of July and August 1944 to life. I found this to be a very well written dual-purpose book - it can be used both as a guidebook and a written history. An ideal starting point if you want to go out and rered the tank tracks of the battle.Soldier Magazine, April 2010
Operation Bluecoat is perhaps one of the least well known offensives of the Battle for Normandy, and has often been overshadowed by its earlier cousins Epson and Goodwood. This is largely due to the myth that Monty failed in Normandy, and that the US Army had to bail out the British (an argument made principally by Carlo D'Este). This argument takes no account of the fact that Goodwood and Epsom, whilst not making a decisive breakout, ground down the German forces in Normandy to such an extent that a breakout further west was made possible. The myth that British forces in Normandy because bogged down and had to be rescued by the American breakout that still pervades in many quarters. It is an argument that promises to rumble on for years to come.Daly History Blog, July 2010
Whatever the argument, it is clear that Bluecoat has been somewhat overlooked. The British advance to seize Mont Pincon and the key road junction at Vire led to the encirclement of German forces in the Falaise Pocket. If the northern boundary of the Falaise pocket had not been formed, then more German forces would have escaped to fight another day. Hopefully this book by Ian Daglish will play a part in helping redress the balance. I have found it very enjoyable, readable and most informative.
The Over the Battlefield series is an innovative concept, drawing on aerial recconaissance photographs taken during the battle complemented with contemporary photographs. Given the popularity of GoogleEarth the use of overhead views is most welcome. Especially with a complex battlefield such as that found in Normandy, Over the Battlefield helps the reader to 'smell the battlefield'. I for one hope that there are plenty more books to come in this vein - an edition of the Battle of Arnhem would be fascinating.
30th July 1944
Operation Bluecoat was an attack by the British Second Army at the Battle of Normandy during World War II, from 30 July 1944 to 7 August 1944. The geographical objectives of the attack were to secure the key road junction of Vire and the high ground of Mont Pinçon. Strategically, the attack was made to support the American exploitation of their breakout on the western flank of the Normandy beachhead.
Mont Pincon (Kindle)
In late July 1944 the Allies began their break-out from the Normandy beachheads. The Americans in Operation COBRA and the British in Operation BLUECOAT. VIII and XXX British Corps were to seize the dominating ground running north west from Mont Pincon and exploit towards Vire. Mont Pincon is the highest hill in Normandy and is a formidable obstacle as well as magnificent observation post. The Germans saw it as essential to their defensive plans for Normandy. Three armoured and three infantry divisions, together with two armoured brigades, were hurriedly regrouped for the BLUECOAT advance into…By Eric Hunt
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