Operation Totalize (Paperback)
By early August 1944 the Germans fighting in Normandy had been worn down by the battles around Caen, while to the west, the American breakout was finally gaining momentum. Now was the time to launch II Canadian Corps south towards Falaise. With much of the German armour having been stripped away for the Mortain Counter-Attack, hopes ran high that the Corps, reinforced with British tanks, the 51st Highland and the Polish Armoured Divisions, would repeat the success of their predecessors in the Battle of Amiens.
An innovative change of tactics to a night armoured assault and the conversion of seventy-two self-propelled guns to armoured personnel carriers for the accompanying infantry was very successful, but up against their implacable foes, 12th Hitlerjugend SS Panzer Division, the pause for bombing allowed Kurt ‘Panzer’ Meyer to deploy his division. Consequently, when the 4th Canadian and Polish Armoured Divisions were launched into their first battle they made frustratingly little progress. As the Canadians advanced over the following days, the battle degenerated into a costly fight for ground as the Hitlerjugend struggled to contain the inexperienced Poles and Canadians.
Operation Totalize is renowned for the death of SS panzer Ace Michael Wittmann at the hands of Trooper Joe Ekins and the destruction of Worthington Force, the result of a navigational error.
Following the historical account there are Appendices which include an Order of Battle of the units involved as well as a tour (by car) of the of the battlefield. Having been to the area myself, this is a good guide and very handy to have with you if you are planning a visit. The countryside is lovely, and there have been some modern changes such as the modern N158 dual carriageway that cuts through the area. Off this on the country roads, there is still much of the battlefield to see. Another good guide from author Tim Saunders.Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland
Another Battleground guide which is an ideal size to take with you in your car on holiday to France.
Read the full review here
The combination of maps and firsthand testimony, as well as regimental histories, etc, is superb. This is the battle during which Tiger ace Michael Wittman was put out of action by radio-op turned gunner Joe Ekins. It's very vividly portrayed, making for an exciting and compelling read.A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer
Read the full review here
A very good guide book from Tim Saunders. Good narrative, choice of images and good maps. A comprehensive overview of Operation Totalize. The tour route is spot on; stand at Point 122 and marvel at the defensive position the Germans enjoyed. Then look behind at the area where Wittmann met his end. Recommended.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide