​​Operation Goodwood: largest tank battle in Normandy of the Second World War​





​​​On 18 July 1944, General Montgomery launched a new offensive: Operation Goodwood. Located south-east of Caen, the aim was to complete the capture of the city, which had been partially liberated since 9 July. It was the largest tank battle in Normandy: 2,200 heavy bombers, 1,200 tanks, and more than 100,000 men were engaged in this operation.​

​​​To the east, the 1st British Corps needed to widen the bridgehead that had been conquered by the paratroopers on 6 June by pushing towards Troarn and Bavent. From there, the 8th British Corps led in force towards the plain of Caen and Falaise, while the 2nd Canadian Corps crossed the River Orne between Blainville and Louvigny, to deliver the right bank of Caen.

At 5:30, intense aerial bombardments preceded the attack: 6,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on either side of the armoured divisions corridor. Mondeville, Colombelles, Sannerville, Touffréville and Giberville were reduced to ashes, but the German positions were hit hard.

Less than three hours later, 75,000 men entered the battle led by the British 11th Armoured Division. However, the progress begun over 6km across the plain was soon stopped at the level of the Caen-Paris railway. 88mm guns and tanks entrenched in the ruins of Cagny opened fire. The Bourguébus ridge was solidly held by the opposing forces, and at the day’s end this marked the limit of the advance. At the same time, the 2nd Canadian Division was able to cross the Rivers Orne and Odon and established two bridgeheads at Vaucelles and Louvigny.

Over the next two days, the Allies advanced from village to village, forcing the German front to retreat. On 19 July, the right bank of Caen was liberated and on the same day Louvigny, Ifs, Cormelles-le-Royal, and Fleury-sur-Orne were liberated by Canadian troops. To the east of the front, Four, Soliers, and Hubert-Folie also regained their freedom. On 20 July, Émiéville and Frénouville were taken over by the guards of the 32nd Brigade, whilst Bourguébus was finally released by the 7th Armored Division after two days of fighting. South of Caen, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division once again failed to conquer the Verrières ridge. At the end of the day, torrential rains put an end to Operation Goodwood. Montgomery was forced to end the operation. It was a failure: the Anglo-Canadian troops lost 400 tanks - four times more than the German troops - and nearly 6,000 men, for an advance of 11km.

In 2019, an orientation table was installed at Bourguébus which informs visitors about the progress of Operation Goodwood.​​


Bourguébus, ​​France, 14540