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|Operation Tractable was the final Canadian–Polish offensive to take place during the Battle of Normandy. Its aim was to capture the strategically important town of Falaise and subsequently the towns of Trun and Chambois. The operation was undertaken against Germany's Army Group B, and was part of the largest encirclement on the Western Front during World War II. Despite a slow start to the offensive, marked by limited gains north of Falaise, innovative tactics by Gen. Stanisław Maczek's Polish First Armoured Division during the drive for Chambois allowed for the Falaise Gap to be partly closed by August 19, 1944, trapping close to 300,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket. Although the gap had been narrowed to a distance of several hundred meters, a protracted series of fierce engagements between two battlegroups of the 1st Armoured Division and the Second SS Panzer Corps on Mont Ormel prevented it from being completely closed. During two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces, using artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting, managed to hold off counterattacks by elements of seven German divisions. On August 21, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved Polish survivors of the battle and were able to finally close the Falaise Pocket, leading to the capture of the remaining soldiers of the German Seventh Army.
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Statue of Duke Leszek the White in the village of Marcinkowo. Leszek was a duke of Kraków and, formally, sovereign of all Poland. In 1227 in Gąsawa, he convened with other Polish dukes, including Vladislaus Spindleshanks of Greater Poland, Henry the Bearded of Lower Silesia and Conrad of Masovia. Participants of the summit were attacked, probably on the orders of Duke Swantopolk II of Pomerania, in the morning of 24 November 1227. Leszek, who was then having a bath, attempted to escape, naked, on horseback, but he was captured and killed by the assassins in a nearby forest.
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Katowice, located on the Kłodnica and Rawa rivers in the Silesian Highlands, is the capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship. With 312,201 inhabitants, it is the largest city of the Upper Silesian Industry Area and the principal scientific, cultural, industrial, business and transport center of the region. Before World War II, Katowice was the seat of the Silesian Sejm, the legislature of the Silesian Voivodeship. The multipurpose arena complex known as Spodek, or "Saucer" (pictured), is the city's most recognizable landmark.
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