Talk:Falaise pocket

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german casualty figure in info box[edit]

"Thousands wounded" do we have a precise figure or a source for this?

Removed, as I couldn't find any precise figures on it. Also, it would be great if you could add any references to strength and casualties in the infobox (especially Allied). Cheers, --Eurocopter (talk) 17:26, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Ill have a nose in my sources and see what i can find :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:36, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Operation Totalize[edit]

By 10 August, Anglo-Canadian forces had reached Hill 195, north of Falaise; however, they had been unable to capture the town itself.[36]

Falaise was not the objective of Totalize so the fact the operation didnt capture the town is a moot point--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:08, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, the citation is from Bercuson and i'm not the one who add it there. Feel free to make any edit on it. --Eurocopter (talk) 17:09, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

It's Hastings, sorry. I'll check in a minute. --Eurocopter (talk) 17:11, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I have practically the entire set of orders for the operation as reproduced by Brian Reid in No Holding Back. I can type them up here if you like although i do think i posted them in the totalize talk page.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:13, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Strength and casualties[edit]

Ok additional sources for German strength and losses:

D'Este, pp. 430-431:
80,000 Germans trapped in pocket
10,000 German KIA
50,000 German POW
20,000 Germans escaped the pocket - source credtied as James Lucas and James Barker, The Killing Ground, p. 160

Shulman, p. 180:
remnants of 14 German Divisions totaling almost 80,000 men Ibid, p. 184:
45,000 POW at least
10-15,000 KIA

Wilmot, p. 422:
remnants of 15 divisions - 100,000 men trapped
Wilmot, p. 424:
50,000 POWs
10,000 KIA

Ellis, p. 440:
14 divisions trapped (3rd Para, 84th, 243rd, 275th, 331st, 353rd, 363rd infantry, 1st SS, 2nd SS, 2nd Panzer, 9th SS, 10th SS, 17th SS, 116th Panzer)
Beyond the Touques river a further 3 divisions (331st, 344th and 17th Luftwaffe) were moved up under the command of LXXI Corps, Pnz Group West to help and try and cover Paris.

Reynolds (II SS Panzer book), p. 88:
3,043 German vehicles found in the pocket:
187 tanks
252 artillery pieces
157 light armoured vehicles
1,1778 trucks
669 cars
Ibid, p. 89:
a further 300 tanks and assault guns had been lost during the retreat across Normandy
States that it is impossible to give accurate figures for German manpower losses however the best caculations are by Herman Jung (Die Ardennen Offensive 1944-45) and Chester Wilmot (The Struggle for Europe) who both state 10,000 KIA and 50,000 POW.

What exactlly does Hasting say on page 313 as none of the above sources agree with German strength being 150,000 men inside the pocket.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:36, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

The citation was for the 8 panzer divisions (2nd, 21st, 116th, 1st SS, 2nd SS,9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS) - probably mistakenly placed. How about Allied strength? --Eurocopter (talk) 18:47, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Working on Allied strength and losses.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


On a situation map provided by Ellis, p. 448: The Falaise Pocket 16th to 20th August 1944 - it shows the forces surrounding the pocket but doesnt actually state they were committed to the fight to close or squish the pocket.

First Canadian Army II Corps 1st Polish Armoured Division 2nd Infantry Division 3rd Infantry Division 4th Armoured Division

First US Army VII Corps 9th Infantry Division 3rd Armoured Division

XIX Corps 1st Infantry Division 28th Infantry Division 30th Infantry Division

Second British Army VIII Corps 3rd Infantry Division 11th Armoured Division

XII Corps 53rd Infantry Division 59th Infantry Division

XXX Corps 43rd Infantry Division 50th Infantry Division

Third US Army - relieved by First Army's V Corps on 17th August XI Corps 2nd French Armoured Division 90th Infantry Division

Total: ~17 divisions

Aftermath section[edit]

In light of the somewhat contridctory evidence provided above i think the section should be adjusted to provide as many viewpoints on figures as possible.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:07, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

No problem, just try to use some footnotes as well so we are not boring the reader with too many figures. --Eurocopter (talk) 19:40, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Hasting stated that the German strengh was at 150,000 men. The above authors state that only 100,000 men were trapped in the pocket; where are the extra 50,000 men from? Are these from the divisions mentioned by Ellis brought up to cover Paris but not in the pocket?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:14, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Copyedit notes[edit]

Comments, questions etc below as usual ;)

  • I'm not sure about the relevance of the Totalize section - this was more a development of Monty's overall 'long hook' strategy and came before Eisenhower proposed the encirclement around Argentan/Alencon/Falaise. I think calling Falaise a "major" Allied objective at that time gives the misleading impression that Totalize was part of the 'short hook' strategy. Can this section be cut and summarised in the previous section?
    • Well, perhaps shorten it a bit and make it a subsection of the Background section. I'm quite unable to contribute today, so I'm trusting you that you'll do it properly. Cheers, --Eurocopter (talk) 21:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
      • OK, I'll give it a go (but not till tomorrow; signing out soon). If it's no good we can always change it back ;) EyeSerenetalk 21:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Done, see what you think. EyeSerenetalk 13:41, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I've added some preliminary stuff about the long vs short hook at the start of the Battle section
  • Also added the US doings to the start of the Initial Thrust section
  • I've used Hastings for some of the above, but I think I'm using a different edition to the one given in the refs section... anyone able to help out (I can provide quotes below if that'll help identify page numbers)
  • The Initial Thrust section could do with a map - I still have the two I made for Tractable on my PC (I see you've used one of them), so I can easily adapt them if that would help.
    • Done, though I may tweak the map to show more detail. EyeSerenetalk 13:41, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In regards to the info box the Allied side shows the Army and Army Group commanders while the German side shows only the Army Group CO's. I dont have many sources on this battle but shouldnt the 7th Army CO: Paul Hausser and Panzer Group West's CO: Heinrich Eberbach be there too? Anyone got a source to support throwing them in there?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:15, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I'd have thought they should be - Wilmot (p416) mentions von Kluge getting Hausser and Eberbach to back him up in calling off the Mortain offensive on the 11th. EyeSerenetalk 21:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Ill try and sort that out, if no one else does, latter this week (got uni work to do atm)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:30, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In this ce process i think we need to take a step back in regards to German losses and their strength and discuss it. It seems we have two completly different sets - 100,000 men trapped or 150,000 men trapped; 20,000 men escaped or 100,000 men escaped.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:30, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I expect that this will turn on when the 'withdrawal' from the Falaise Gap began. I think that some of the 'escaped' would have been people moved as a routine as the gap loomed rather than those who had to move a bit sharpish once the pocket began to form. No doubt German records elide some of the precautionary moves so they don't look like withdrawals to head office.Keith-264 (talk) 07:56, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Good point - there were some 'temporary redeployments' from Mortain onwards IIRC, as it was the only way von Kluge could get Hitler to authorise anything that didn't look like preparations for a counterattack. The sources don't seem to agree, so I think we'll need to present all views anyway. EyeSerenetalk 08:27, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
        • Don't some of the discrepancies stem from assumptions made about German unit establishments and that most were understrength from the start and lost heavily before Falaise so a relatively low number of prisoners reflects the high losses beforehand rather than a mediocre result? Doesn't Zetterling have anything to say on this (I haven't got a copy sadly)?Keith-264 (talk) 08:56, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
        • Another thing; does 'escaped' mean 'got clean away' or 'swept up before they could get across the Seine'?Keith-264 (talk) 08:58, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

OK, bar the lead and a more detailed look at the casualties per the above, I think that's done. I'll do the lead tomorrow - enjoyed working on this one ;) EyeSerenetalk 13:41, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Airborne drops[edit]

So, here's an interesting little footnote, though I'm not sure if it strictly applies to the Falaise pocket or to "Totalize".

In his memoirs of the war, Independent Member (1950), the MP A. P. Herbert describes a few days he spent, during the early stages of Falaise, visiting Montgomery's HQ - the general was an old friend of his. (An odd time to be having houseguests, if you ask me...)

He discusses briefly "a notorious war-book by an American, whom I will not name ... certainly charged with malice against Monty", which contained a story about an American officer who had proposed an airborne operation, using "the two airborne divisions training in Scotland" to close the pocket; this had, so the book ran, been enthusiastically commended by the US army command, then by the British headquarters staff, but was sharply quashed by Montgomery.

He then contradicts this story, detailing a staff meeting he sat in on in the evening of August 9th, where Montgomery was expecting the north-bound American force to push up through Alencon and Argentan "that night" (it's not clear if he means to take them on the night of the 9th, or to start the advance) and then drop an airborne force somewhere to the east of the mouth.

Of course, whether Montgomery intended to use it or whether he was opposed, it never materialised. Which leaves a few questions:

  • a) do we have any idea what this pre-1950 book might have been?
  • b) do any other sources talk about this proposed airborne operation? It sounds vaguely plausible, given the number of cancelled airdrops during the drive through France
  • c) should we put a note about it in the article somewhere?

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but I've never spotted any corroboration for it. Shimgray | talk | 14:27, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

...and I sort of answer my own question. Per this source:
The airborne planners at SHAEF now proposed operations to bar the escape of the enemy by way of the Paris-Orléans Gap and across the lower Seine. They worked up a plan to capture and control important road nets during the period 16-27 August (Operation TRANSFIGURE). Variants on the plan called for airborne forces to block attempts at escape across the upper or lower Seine and to expedite pursuit across that river. General Bradley on 13 August even discussed the possibility of cutting off the German retreat by drawing airborne forces across the roads leading northeast from Falaise and Argentan, although he agreed with General Brereton's view that they should not be used "in small harassing operations such as requested by General Montgomery." He felt there was a possibility of using them two weeks later in making the "Long Hook" at the Seine, but saw no value in tightening the noose in the "Short Hook" near Falaise unless the drop could be made within five days.
Could this be Montgomery's "small harrassing operation"? It's sourced to Brereton's Diaries (1946), which seem to have been somewhat contentious on publication. Shimgray | talk | 14:35, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Hastings (p353) reproduces a signal Montgomery sent to Brooke on the 9th (following Eisenhower's suggestion for the short hook): "There are great possibilities in the present situation. If we can get to Alençon, Argentan and Falaise fairly quickly, we have a good chance of closing the ring around the main German forces, and I am making all plans to drop an airborne division at Gacé about 15 miles east of Argentan in order to complete the block." The airborne drop was presumably abandoned, though, as I can't find any further mention of it. EyeSerenetalk 17:09, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Proper name and OB[edit]

I'm going to get pedantic here as this is a proper name so both Falaise and Pocket/Gap should be capitalized. And it might be nice to set up some sort of OB infobox listing the divisions involved. I know that they're listed in the text, but get that at a glance would be nice. Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:34, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Just to note that any order of battles should be on a seperate subpage and not in the infobox.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:08, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Hastings[edit]

'Hastings speculates that if Montgomery, having seen the poor Canadian performance during Totalize....' Contrast this verdict with BA Reid 'No Holding Back: Operation Totalize, Normandy, August 1944' (let us know if you need references). I rather think that the 'delay' in closing the pocket is the stuff of armchair generalship. German theorists may have made Cannae an ideal victory but the Romans still won the Second Punic War, after all. Closing the gap wasn't compatible with casualty conservation as the Poles at Mont Ormel found out. Keith-264 (talk) 00:35, 27 March 2009 (UTC) Oh and doesn't the British OH consider that the battle of Normandy ended with the crossing of the Seine?Keith-264 (talk) 00:38, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

If you've got anything to add, that would be great! My sources - as you've probably noticed - are limited, so all help is welcome. All the sources I've seen agree though that the Canadians performed poorly during Totalize and lacked urgency driving on Trun; IIRC didn't Crerar make some heads roll for that? EyeSerenetalk 08:17, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

I'll have to go and fetch it but Reid writes in the vein of the 'apres-post-revisionists' who study what the Allies achieved in Normandy (destroying two German armies in 76 days and liberating France, Germany's greatest conquest) rather than carping about ideal cases. He doesn't spare Canadian failings - he outs Brigadier Booth as a boozer who was sleeping one off when he was supposed to be gripping a battle and the inexperience of some of the principal units involved but he also points out the difficulty of the task - the Germans obviously knew that if they failed in the north by the time of Totalise they failed everywhere, hence rapid advances by Allied units everywhere else - losing ground in the south and east was less important than holding along the Caen-Falaise road. Nonetheless the Canadian, British and Polish units bashed their way to Falaise and Chambois against the best the Germans had left.

Your sources may be limited but I think you have drawn on them to great effect.[;-)Keith-264 (talk) 09:37, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Heh, thanks :P Your info sounds like an interesting addition, and is obviously more in tune with current historical analysis that the stuff I added. If you don't mind posting some snippets & refs, that would be most helpful ;) I know there are also a few writers (the Canadian Maj Gen Richard Rohmer is one in "Patton's Gap") who fully subscribe to Patton's "let me carry on and we'll drive the British into the sea", but I'm not sure if any serious historians support his carping; if they do, we really ought to mention that. EyeSerenetalk 11:19, 27 March 2009 (UTC)


Closing the pocket[edit]

"By evening of 21 August, tanks of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division had linked with Polish forces at Coudehard, while the Canadian 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions had secured St. Lambert and the northern passage to Chambois.[10] The Falaise pocket had been closed.[10]"

Surely the pocket was closed when the 12th and 21st Army Groups joined hands? regards, DMorpheus (talk) 15:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

I understand what you mean but do we have some additional information to make the above paragraph more accurate?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:52, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
The sources I have seem to be confused on this - Wilmot (p423) states that the pocket was closed on the evening of the 19th, when the Americans and French linked with the Poles in Chambois. This seems a little premature though, as he doesn't even mention Hill 262 (he refers to a Polish position on a ridge near Chambois but places the battle on the 18th; his main focus is on a nasty scrap around St Lambert). Perhaps we could tweak the text to suggest that, although the Allied link-up took place (after a fashion) on the 19th, the Germans kept breaking through the blocking forces and the pocket wasn't sealed shut until the 21st? EyeSerenetalk 18:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
I've made a few additions to the "Closing the gap" section, hopefully clarifying the difference between the Allied linkup and the final closure of the pocket. EyeSerenetalk 19:04, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me - covers everthing raised above.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:29, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Map flags[edit]

While the article uses the correct-for-the-time Canadian Red Ensign (see infobox in particular), the two coloured maps both use the Maple Leaf which would not be designed until 1965. If anyone is able to reach the map designer, or can update this themselves, that would help correct the one oversight I could find in this otherwise excellent and informative FA. Radagast (talk) 23:41, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

It's on my to-do list... I originally designed the maps with the Red Ensign, then changed them for what seemed like a good reason at the time. You're right though, and it will be fixed shortly ;) EyeSerenetalk 07:32, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Didn't the Canadian Army use the Maple Leaf (perhaps not in identical form) as its emblem even then though - that's certainly suggested by North Irish Horse, so it may not be so anachronistic (and certainly more readily understood by modern eyes). David Underdown (talk) 13:46, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
A little more credence to this idea is given by http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/df7-eng.cfm David Underdown (talk) 14:30, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Although you could reason that its completly illrelevent considering the countries are represented by their national/poltical flags. One could argue why the British Army flag is not used in place on the Union flag? Just to be an ass because am bored :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:00, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I suppose we do identify the "correct" Canadian flag in the infobox, but the maple leaf is much more distinctive. To be semi-serious, I'm not sure when the British Army flag actually came into use, I think it's actaully a fairly recent innovation. David Underdown (talk) 15:21, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Well it would seem my little quip is completly incorrect so please ignore it :) They march under the Union flag, going off their article the one i was thinking off is essentially unoffical and not used in times of war. So a redundant point all round :)--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:00, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
So... do we think this should or shouldn't be the Ensign? It's a 30-second fix, obviously pointless if it's not necessary. IIRC I changed the original Red Ensign simply because the Maple Leaf is more recognisable, but I have no opinion either way. EyeSerenetalk 11:51, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Although i dont have a strong opinion either way i think it should be the red ensign to be as historically correct as possible.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:24, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Done EyeSerenetalk 10:13, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations for FA, and help if you want it[edit]

Congratulations on you all getting FA!

I don't know quite how I wandered into this, but I have been translating a few articles about Normandy and stuff. Initally I am doing pretty much literal translations of the French articles, many of which are minimal. But if there are any particularly that you would like me to translate, please leave a message on my user talk page. Of course they will not be perfect but I am not bad at making a good first draft, including and changin all the links and all that gnomework, and then someone else can come along and proof or add more information.

Congratulations again! SimonTrew (talk) 23:29, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Lol your not THE Simon Trew are you?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:36, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh dear me. It never occurred to me, honestly. You are thinking of Dr. Simon Trew the military historian at Sandhurst. As far as I know, we are the only two Simon Trews in the country and I think this is the first time we have been confused. No, I am not him, but I am a bit of a wikignome and can clear up and sort out some Normandy stubs for you, at least to the point where someone else can take them forward without worrying about all the metadata rubbish. I'm just a software engineer so I LOVE that stuff (Not... but get it done quite quickly). My French is not bad, not great, but will be OK for first pass. SimonTrew (talk) 00:45, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I should add, my real name is Simon Trew, so I see no reason to change it. As I say, we are never (hardly ever) confused, and we have an unspoken agreement: he doesn't pay my debts and I don't get his book advances. I would have said clearly I am not the historian, had it occurred to me. I only stumbled on the Falaise article by translating some others around the Orne region; many of which are stubs, but are stubs in the French too, and are better than what they were, at least now they have the scaffolding, which is usually the hardest part. In fact, a few articles I have translated, the English version is now better referenced etc. than the original French! Vive l'Angleterre! SimonTrew (talk) 00:51, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I suppose I am going over the top on this, but I didn't want any accusation of impersonation. Best wishes. SimonTrew (talk) 01:28, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Casualties or POW?[edit]

Can captured enemy soldiers, prisoners of war, be counted as casualties in English language? --Ukas (talk) 17:53, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Casualties if they have injuries. If not, not. SimonTrew (talk) 17:56, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
The simple answer is yes prisoners are included. See Casualty (person) for additional information. If spaces permits the figures are usually broken down to show percise information but its somewhat cumbersome to do so in the infobox.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:38, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
If soldiers are reported to have been killed, injured, captured, or gone missing in action, they are accounted as "casualties", because they're no longer available for service, and usually, military statistics and high-ranking staff officers wants a simply way to describe soldiers no longer at their disposal. Jonas Vinther (talk) 22:16, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Poland/Polish forces in infobox[edit]

Which should we be using here (see [1]) EyeSerenetalk 16:14, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Polish Government in Exile and its Armed Forces which took part in WW2 represented Poland and not "Polish Forces". Articles about such battles as Battle of France then Siege of Tobruk, Battles of Narvik, Battle of Britain, Battle of Monte Cassino, Operation Market Garden or Battle of the Atlantic (1939–1945) and many others have correctly listed "Poland" as a participant. I also would like to remind our friends from Western Europe that Poland, in contrast to other nations, never officially capitulated as a state to Hitler[2] (information from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland) and after September Campaign of 1939, was able to assemble forth largest allied armed force in the War, after the Soviet Union, United Sates and the U.K. (yes Poland, not France, Canada or Australia etc.) and this is even without counting Polish Home Army. What happened to Poland after the war and why Polish role in the War has been forgotten and marginalized is of course a different story. Thanks--Jacurek (talk) 16:41, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I think we need to know what the sources generally use. EyeSerenetalk 18:22, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I inserted some Wiki links in my comments above for sources. I also would like to add that in my opinion gen. Maczek should be listed as a one of the commanders in info box, however on this issue I don't know what criteria is used here so will leave this up to the other editors. Thanks--Jacurek (talk) 19:44, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the problem is the potential for confusion. Poland was an occupied country and had no standing army; the forces that escaped fought under Western Allied command, others fought under Soviet command, and there was as you say the Home Army. I think we need some way to refer to them that reflect the distinctions; 'Poland' kind of works, but is rather vague in my opinion.
Re Maczek, there are no divisional commanders from any side included in the infobox (you're not the only one that would like to see this though; I've removed it a couple of times already!) EyeSerenetalk 20:36, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Maczek but do not as far as the "Poland-Polish Forces". For example, Polish paratroopers under Sosabowski were totally independent, also Government in Exile, which was recognized by all the Allied governments (except the Soviets by the end of the war for obvious reasons), represented Poland.--Jacurek (talk) 20:56, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, perhaps sticking with "Poland" but linking to "Polish Armed Forces in the West" might be best then. I've also raised this question on the milhist talk page (Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history#Polish forces in WWII) to see if we can get a project-wide standard decided. EyeSerenetalk 14:39, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I still believe that Polish forces is more appropiate, as the state of Poland did not practically existed in that period even a government in exile was in place at London. "Poland" represented an occupied territory in that period and soon a battlefield, so it was in no way a state. --Eurocopter (talk) 18:20, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Just to note the same sorta issue was raised in regards to the French in Tunisia. Apparently the Free French (an organisation established in London by De Gaulle) is not the correct term to apply to all French forces fighting on the Allied side following the fall of France and prior to mid '43. So in that repesct and in this case i think we should use the most approbirate article and rename it in the infobox Poland i.e. [[Polish Armed Forces in the West|Poland etc--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:52, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

The obvious difference between the two is that using "French Forces" may be confusing since there were French Forces fighting under Axis command. But there were no such forces as regards the Poles - they were all fighting on the same side (as long as you consider Soviets and Western Allies "same side"). So the ambiguity that arises wrt the French, does not arise wrt to the Poles.radek (talk) 21:34, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Basically, I think that until June 1945, when recognition was withdrawn (by France, by US and UK in July), it should be "Poland" - since an ambiguity as with the French does not exist - for non-Soviet Poles. Some of the command structure stuff is irrelevant here. American units served under Montgomery who was under Eisenhower. This doesn't change the fact that Britain participated in this or that battle. For the Soviet-Poles it should be "Soviet aligned Polish forces" or something like that, until the time when PKWN was recognized (the date escapes me at the moment) after which it can be "Poland" as well.radek (talk) 02:21, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Raded-this is logical.--Molobo (talk) 15:41, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Please take into consideration also, that Poland had a long history of foreign occupation, fighting on the side of whomever promised the return of Polish independence including Napoleon as well as WWII Allies. In that sense, it remained politically alive on international stage always. The issue of adequate nomenclature is important here. Polish armies were present all over Europe precisely because the Polish lands were occupied, however, both Polish military and Polish government retreated through Romania in 1939 with its official structure practically intact. That century old tradition, unparalleled by any other nation, is the reason why to include Poland as such would be most appropriate I think. --Poeticbent talk 14:48, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Poland's history has no relevance to the discussion. No one is denying that Poland should be represented in the info box of this article, as they clearly had an active role in the fighting, what is being discussed is how to adequalty word that considering the countries position; the different political and military that exisited representing Poland.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:03, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Please remember about Polish Underground State also.--Jacurek (talk) 20:21, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Please remember that till 5 July 1945 Polish Second Republic was internationally reckognised in international relations and represented by Polish Government in Exile. So it's ok to name those units as part of Poland. As to the East it should be mentioned they were under Soviet influence/control.--Molobo (talk) 15:39, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

It looks like the consensus above, and on the milhist talk page, is to use 'Poland' and to pipe the link to an appropriate article. Thanks everyone for the comments ;) EyeSerenetalk 14:29, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank you all.--Jacurek (talk) 00:01, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Montgomery[edit]

"Disappointed that a significant portion of Seventh Army had eluded them, many in the Allied higher echelons—particularly among the Americans—were bitterly critical of what they perceived as Montgomery's lack of urgency in closing the pocket"

My understanding was Montgomery had a genuine reluctance to close the gap because he was worried about the allied forces inflicting large scale casualties on themselves. I don't have a source though, possibly world at war or an exhibit on Montgomery at the imperial war museum, london, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Could anyone help out? The section is already well balanced though so I don't think it is a big problem.

BTW, Well done the the contributors to this article, it makes for an interesting read. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.147.138.99 (talk) 20:09, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind comments. I confess I haven't come across that view before (not in relation to Monty anyway, though as explained in the article it may have been a concern for Bradley). One source - I can't remember which - did speculate that Montgomery operated throughout on the assumption that he could always go for the 'long envelopment', so wasn't too worried about pushing hard to close the gap. I don't know what other editors can add - it would make an interesting addition if we can source it. EyeSerenetalk 20:20, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

The 'Falaise Controversy' disappears up its backside when you stop looking on WWII as a war of manoeuvre and treat it as a war of exhaustion (ermattungskrieg) like the Great War but with a few superficial knobs on. Why risk heavy infantry losses at Falaise when Allied methods were based on infantry conservation, which hadn't stopped the rate of loss in Normandy causing serious shortages? the crossings of the Seine were the barrier that mattered but sadly Monty's writ didn't run there just as it didn't in the narrows between Sicily and Italy in 1943 or in the air around Caen in June or Arnhem in September. Bradley's apparent lack of grip over Patton meant that the US force south of Falaise was weaker than it need have been, the French armoured division was a political token meant for other things and the Allies had the firepower to cash in on the German rout. This wasn't a defeat - it was a crushing victory which deprived Germany of its most valuable colony. Keith-264 (talk) 21:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

To be honest I think most of the manoeuvre vs attrition argument is based on a false premise anyway. Attrition facilitates manoeuvre which facilitates attrition; the two are not in opposition but intimately related. Re exhaustion (and wandering off-topic), I recall reading something a while ago written by an economist that correlated national military performance during WWII directly with national GDP, which I thought was an interesting analysis (though it breaks down somewhat when applied to the Soviet Union). EyeSerenetalk 21:30, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I see it as a spectrum. The economic capacity to assemble a war machine bigger than that of the opposition is the most significant factor in industrial warfare after all. The grand manoeuvres of WWII didn't amount to much in the end.Keith-264 (talk) 22:21, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Refactored to untangle from the above (we don't usually thread comments in with other comments; it's fine to just post at the bottom of the section) EyeSerenetalk 14:59, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

  • "Dempsey (Diary) later recorded that Bill Adam [from the British War Office] came out on a visit to Normandy about the second week of July, and in a talk in my caravan he warned me that if our [British] infantry casualties continued at the present rate it would be impossible to replace them, and we should have to 'cannibalize' - to break up some divisions in order to maintain the rest." <ref.> Liddell Hart Papers, also Letter to Carlo D'Este from General Adam dated 28 February 1979, from Carlo D'Este, Decision in Normandy, (New York, HarperPerennial, 1991), p. 260. 71.218.120.49 (talk) 07:51, 4 March 2010 (UTC)falaisegap.
  • Montgomery wrote to CIGS Alan Brooke on August 14th: "Regret time has now come when I must break up one infantry division. My infantry divisions are so low in effective rifle strength that they can no - repeat NO - longer fight effectively in major operations. The need for this action has been present for some time but the urgency of the present battle operations forced me to delay decision." <ref.> Carlo D'Este, Decision in Normandy, p. 262. On 28 August 1944 Major-General L.O. Lyne's 59th (Straffordshire) Infantry Division disappeared from British 21st Army Group's Order of Battle. <ref.> Max Hastings, Overlord, (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1984), p. 343. Clearly, the delicate British manpower situation was one factor Montgomery had to consider in operations at the Falaise Gap. 71.218.120.49 (talk) 07:51, 4 March 2010 (UTC)falaisegap
  • Dr. Forrest C. Pogue interviewed MOntgomery's Intelligence officer Brigadier 'Bill' William in May, 1947: "Monty didn't want to do the short hook. Freddie (de Guingand) using my information and his own ideas, persuaded Monty into that (the Falaise encirclement) with Bradley urging for it from his angle. Monty didn't want to do it, but saw a chance to pull it off after he had pushed Bradley back (evening August 12th)." <ref.> Dr. Forrest C. Pogue interviews with Brigadier Williams, May, 1947, US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA, from Carlo D'Este, Decision in Normandy, 450. Also see Major- General Richard Rohmer, Patton's Gap, (New York, Beaufort Books, 1981), 226, 227. 71.218.120.49 (talk) 07:51, 4 March 2010 (UTC)falaisegap
  • Could someone please explain, "Bradley's apparent lack of grip over Patton meant that the US force south of Falaise was weaker than it need have been ..." to me. 71.218.120.49 (talk) 07:51, 4 March 2010 (UTC)falaisegap

Citation 12.[edit]

McGilvray, p. 54. What book? --Totalserg (talk) 06:55, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Good catch! I believe this is from The Black Devils' March - A Doomed Odyssey - The 1st Polish Armoured Division 1939-45 by Evan McGilvray, publ Helion & Company; 1st edition (1 Nov 2004), ISBN-13 978-1874622420. Page 54 can be viewed on amazon (if you log in), though it doesn't seem to support the edits referenced. The page number may well be from a different edition though, so I'm hesitant to amend the article without further information. EyeSerenetalk 19:31, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Amendment - page 55 seems to support the article info (didn't look through far enough!). I'll update the article. EyeSerenetalk 19:36, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Polish losses[edit]

Michael Reynolds in his work 'Sons of the Reich', p.89, quotes the Canadian OH, by Stacey, p. 271 and claims that for the entire period of 1 - 23 August the Poles suffered only 1,374 casualties.

Additionally, although not entirely helpful for this article, he quotes from the same page in Stacey's work the casualties for the First Canadian Army, during this period, was 12,659 casualties: 7,415 Canadians, 3,870 British and the above figure for the Poles.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:56, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Updated :) EyeSerenetalk 11:03, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Few questions[edit]

Sorry for my bad english. I translate this article into russian and I have two questions:

1) I found the Hastings's book in russian language, but I do not see number "150,000" (men in the Falaise pocket). It is a mistake of translation of the book or data are taken from another source?
2) Link montormel.evl.pl does not work. There is another source for those text? --Totalserg (talk) 05:22, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Your English is excellent (better than my Russian!). To answer your questions:
  • I will check the Hastings book when I get home tonight, unless someone else does it first
  • The montormel site went dead a few days ago, while we were working on Hill 262. That article has been re-written without using montormel, and I'll be going round the related articles and altering them too. It may take some time though, so in the meantime you can refer to the Hill 262 article for the best information. Done
Hope this helps :) EyeSerenetalk 07:39, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Don't forget about Hastings, please. And if 150000 is there, write me some text wiht this place, please. --Totalserg (talk) 18:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I've had a quick look at Hastings and can't see the 150000 - it may be a total of estimates he's made in different places, but I'll take a more detailed look when I get the chance :) EyeSerenetalk 07:23, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Nope, still can't see the 150,000 figure in Hastings, so I've removed it pending further information. EyeSerenetalk 15:46, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the help. --Totalserg (talk) 18:10, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

removed text from recent annon edit[edit]

This view, although widely held, had no basis in fact. In reality Montgomery had specifically ordered that army boundaries be disregarded for the purposes of sealing the pocket. The order to halt Patton came from Bradley himself, in contravention of Montgomery's instructions, as confirmed by Bradley in his own memoirs.

Possible item to investigate--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:18, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Is there a source for this? I don't recall seeing it in anything I've read, but obviously that's hardly definitive :) EyeSerenetalk 11:07, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I dont have the book and Google books only gives snippet view; so not enough information from what i can see to provide a cite.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 11:30, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Eisenhower Falaise quote[edit]

Dwight D. Eisenhower said of the Typhoons "The chief credit in smashing the enemy's spearhead, however, must go to the rocket-firing Typhoon aircraft of the Second Tactical Air Force. The result of the strafing was that the enemy attack was effectively brought to a halt, and a threat was turned into a great victory."

From: Peter Grey and Sebastian Cox. Air Power: Turning Points from Kittyhawk to Kosovo. London: Frank Class Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-7146-8257-8. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.86.52 (talk) 11:18, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Copied from the article[edit]

Recently posted on the article itself: Ranger Steve (talk) 19:36, 25 February 2010 (UTC)


-The Allied ground forces commander, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery . . .” is in error. Throughout the Normandy campaign Montgomery was a general, not a Field Marshal; he was not promoted to Field Marshal until 1 September 1944. This is common knowledge and should need no source, but use [Nigel Hamilton, Master of the Battlefield, Monty’s War Years, 1942-1944, [New York, McGraw-Hill, 1983], 832, 833.]

-“The Allied ground forces commander, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, had envisaged a theatre strategy of drawing German forces away from the US front to the British Canadian sector, this preparing the way for the US breakout.[22]” – Is not entirely correct. It would be more correct to say that, “By June 30th the British Army had not captured Caen, and now Montgomery issued his first directive that showed an intention of holding on the left and breaking through on the right. He directed the British forces to contain the greatest possible part of the enemy forces. This was a correct evaluation, brought about by the German reaction at Caen.” [Alfred D. Chandler Jr., Editor, the Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, The War Years, Volume III, [Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins Press, 1970], 1969. This appreciation of Montgomery’s intensions is confirmed by British Secretary of State for War, P.G. Grigg, “Of course his [Montgomery’s] original idea was to break out of the bocage country around Caen into the open in the first few days after landing – it would be idle to deny that. . . . At Caen I am sure that he soon came to the conclusion that to break out would cost more casualties than with his shrinking British manpower he could afford and I know that he adjusted his plans [to protect British lives] . . . .” P.G. Grigg, Prejudice and Judgment, [London, Jonathan Cape, 1948], 373.

  • This is a fairly regular bone of contention between historians (and editors!), though I think we've reached a rough consensus that the prevailing view is that Monty did intend to draw the Germans to the British/Canadian sector to prepare for an American breakout. When, why and how he settled on this is another matter, but I think at the moment making this change would be resisted. What we really need is an article that fully covers the issue - there simply isn't the space or focus in the "Battle of..." articles to do it justice. EyeSerenetalk 15:39, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

-“The First United States Army successfully ruptured the thin German lines screening Brittany . . .” suggests that the US Army simply walked out of the Carentan, and this was not true. It would be true to say that the bulk of German armor was in front of the British and Canadians at Caen. But to suggest that the German front at St. Lo was thinly held is to denigrate the performance of American officers and the infantrymen who had bled their way through some of the worse bocage country in France. Casualty figures just getting to St. Lo were brutal. Five excellent German divisions had appeared on the western flank in front of the Americans since the invasion: Panzer Lehr Division, 2d SS Panzer Division, 17th SS Panzer Grenadiers, the 5th Parachute Jager Division and the 353d Infantry Division. [Paul Hausser, General of Waffen-SS, Seventh Army in Normandy (25 Jul – 20 Aug 44), Historical Division, Headquarters, US Army, Europe], 1.

  • Perhaps something like "The First United States Army paid a high price for their advance, but successfully ruptured the thin German lines screening Brittany..."? EyeSerenetalk 15:39, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

- “. . . Montgomery had for some time been planning a “long envelopment”, by which the British and Canadians would pivot left from Falaise towards the River Seine while the US Third Army blocked the escape route between the Seine and Loire rivers.” The original northern boundary for the Americans was the line Domfort – Alencon. [Sir Francis De Guingand, Operation Victory, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1947], 407. On August 3 Montgomery moved this line north into the British sector about 12 miles to a line generally Ranes – Sees. [Chester Wilmot, The Struggle for Europe, Westport CN, Greenwood Press, 1972], See map facing p. 417. By August 8, Montgomery and Bradley had mutually agreed to again move the line north into the British sector about 8 miles to just south of Argentan – Gace, giving the Americans more room to close on the southern German flank. [See Wilmot’s map facing page 417] The meaning of these boundary changes is that the pre-invasion through August 3 British pivot out of Normandy was in the Sees –Alencon area. On August 3 the British pivot would have been changed to between Sees and Argentan. It was not until August 16th that the British pivot was moved to the Falaise –Argentan area, and then the southern most British road axis would have been through Argentan – Evreux. [See De Guingand, 408] The phrase “Montgomery had for some time been planning a . . . pivot left from Falaise towards the Seine. . .” is misleading.

  • Hmmm... this is perhaps too much detail for the article text, but maybe a footnote would help to clear this up? EyeSerenetalk 15:39, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

-“Concerned that American troops would clash with the British, who were advancing from the north-west, Bradley over-rode Patton’s orders for a further push north towards Falaise and halted Haislip’s corps.” This statement is in error. Bradley did not halt Haislip’s corps, Montgomery did. Preeminent US military historian Dr. Forrest C. Pogue interviewed General Montgomery’s intelligence officer, Brigadier E.T. ‘Bill’ Williams in 1947. Dr. Pogue wrote, in part, “Remember (he) was in Freddie’s (De Guingand) truck near Bayeux when 2nd French Armored made its swing up and crossed the road toward Falaise. Monty said tell Bradley they ought to get back. Bradley was indignant. We were indignant on Bradley’s behalf. . . . Bradley couldn’t understand. Thought we were missing our opportunities over inter-Army rights.” Dr. Forrest C. Pogue, Interviews, US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA. From Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy, (New York, Harper-Collins, 1991), 451, 452. Also see Major General Richard Rohmer, Patton’s Gap, (New York, Beaufort Books, 1981), 226, 227 and William Weidner, Eisenhower & Montgomery at the Falaise Gap, (New Jersey, Xlibris, 2010), 334. Supporting documentation comes from Montgomery’s Chief of Staff, General Francis De Guingand, who wrote, “My impressions at the time were that he (Montgomery) had been a little too optimistic about the probable progress of 21st Army Group. . . . It is just possible that the gap might have been closed a little earlier if no restrictions had been imposed upon the 12th Army Group commander as to the limit of his northward movement.” Francis De Guingand, Operation Victory, 407. Bradley denied he his northward movement was restricted, but De Guingand’s reputation for veracity is excellent. Further supporting documentation is supplied by the War Diary of Air Vice Marshal Stephen C. Strafford. Strafford wrote about a meeting he attended with General Bradley on 14 August, “General Bradley explained on the map his general intentions. . . . He states that the American forces had little opposition between Alencon and Argentan and had started toward Falaise, but had been instructed by the C-in-C, 21 Army Group (Montgomery) to halt on the inter-army group boundary. There had been few German troops in the area when the Third Army forward elements had arrived there . . . .” The War Diary of Air Vice Marshal Stephen C. Strafford, AEAF, 14 August 1944, from D’Este, Decision in Normandy, 440, 441.

Bradley has put forward numerous excuses for his failure to close the trap from the south. None of them stand up to historical scrutiny. The excuse provided here, that Bradley was, “Concerned that American troops would clash with the British . . .” is one of his weakest arguments. One day after Bradley’s meeting with Air Vice Marshal Strafford, Eisenhower held a press conference. He told the assembled newsmen, “One of the duties of a general is to determine the best investment of human lives. If he thinks expenditure of 10,000 lives in the current battle will save 20,000 later, it is up to him to do it.” Captain Harry C. Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower, (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1946), 645. Also see William Weidner, Eisenhower & Montgomery at the Falaise Gap, 343. Bradley’s self-described ‘chance of a lifetime’ gone because a few men may get killed or wounded during the battle. It does not make any sense. British historian H. Essame was right, “He (Bradley) would have done well not to make this excuse.” H. Essame, Patton: A Study in Command, (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), 169.

A few days later, General George S. Patton, Jr. wrote, “I believe that the [halt] order . . . emanated from the 21st Army Group, and was either due to [British] jealousy of the Americans or to utter ignorance of the situation or to a combination of the two. It is very regrettable that the XV Corps was ordered to halt, because it could have gone on to Falaise and made contact with the Canadians northwest of that point and definitely and positively closed the escape gap.” Martin Blumenson, The Patton Papers, 1940-1945, (Boston, Houghton-Mifflin, 1974), 508, 509.

  • More on the last three points below... EyeSerenetalk 15:39, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Is there anything here that we can use? There are plenty of sources that contradict what's been written above; our task has been to try to state the consensus view (perhaps giving more recent sources more weight) and, where relevant, mention the differences of opinion. The point about Montgomery's rank is taken - thank you. Other than that, my feeling is that most of this is already covered. It might be worth writing up a little more on the stop order controversy though. EyeSerenetalk 11:42, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I was under the impression that this had been dealt with in Bradley's memoirs, that he originated the stop because of lack of troops. What was it, hard shoulders rather than broken necks? I think the Patton jibe is all right but I'd want something calling it that. As for Falaise being a failure, come back Quintus Fabius Maximus, all is forgiven.Keith-264 (talk) 16:51, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

In regards to the point on British fighting strength; losses during the year were lower than expected. I feel that based off Ashley Harts book Colossal Cracks, while it presented a problem it was not as serious as suggested by some authors - well at least not by the end of this campaign.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 11:02, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I have the impression that the manpower shortage determined much of the 'British way of war' after mid-1942 and that the cost of taking on the Germans in France was high despite this. The accelleration of losses after the landings and first fortnight of the battle of Normandy galvanised the army to increase the number of infantry replacements which meant that the army in France neeeded to be careful about losses until the autumn (quite apart from humanitarian concerns). IIRC these changes began before the German collapse in Normandy which took the pressure of losses off for a while. That the problem of infantry replacements was temporary, couldn't have been known around the time of Goodwood.Keith-264 (talk) 13:46, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I've seen a few historians make much of Monty being entrusted with Britian's 'last great Army' (as in there wouldn't be the manpower to operate on such a scale again). Some use it to answer those critics who claim Monty lacked 'drive' in Normandy by saying he was under huge pressure not to incur heavy casualties - to which the counter-argument, I suppose, is 'casualties now save more lives later' (assuming it was realistic to think that the war could have been ended in 1944).
What do we think about adding something to the article re 'closing the gap', maybe to the analysis section? We don't go into very much detail on that controversy, other than to pooh-pooh Patton, so getting the other perspective down might be informative. EyeSerenetalk 15:22, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
More casualties now takes no account of the effect on the troops suffering them. British and US troops had far more power to assert their interests than German soldiers, which is one reason why the Allied armies didn't treat their men as callously as the Germans. Notice that much of the criticism of the time comes from the memoirs of middling and higher commanders, rather than primary sources like signal logs and reports. In Colossal Cracks SA Hart suggests that high German losses protected the German army from serious problemms with exhaustion and shell-shock because people didn't live long enough to suffer the symptoms. Soldiers who faltered could be shot even if the Allies hadn't already killed them. Clearly such a practice would be unthinkable in the Allied armies, even if the management wanted to resort to it. Has anyone ever bothered to calculate costs and benefits of closing the Gap earlier? Plenty of armies broke out of encirclements in the Big Two so it may turn out that making the Germans run the gauntlet was more efficient. It's also the case that the Germans had plenty of experience in salvaging the most important troops (who weren't the front-line ones), they were out of the bag before the encirclement loomed.Keith-264 (talk) 15:46, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
In regards to British casualties 21st AG predicted casualties all arms all ranks on med definition so excluding commandos, airborne, motor battalions and the the indy MG battalions and their actual casualties; cumulative losses in brackets:
39, 446 casualties 6 June - 6 July 24,464
26,305 (65,751) 7 July - 7 Aug 26,075 (50,539)
25,282 (91,033) 8 Aug-7 Sept 14,597 (65,136)
26,141 (117,174) 8 Sept - 6 Oct 11,565 (76,701)
28,540 (145,714) 7 OCt - 13 Nov 26,776 (103,477)
26, 141 (171,855) 14 Nov - 8 Dec 5,919 (109,396)
Stephen Ashley Hart, Colossal Cracks, p. 47
Now why the German collopse does explain some things the infantry losses were still 60 odd thousand under the expected losses by the end of the year. The surprising part is how close to the predicted losses they were in July - after the fighting had passed the fortified costal zone and the likes of Epsom. I think this would support Copp's assertion the fighting had entered the attritional phases. At any rate i think the need to break other formations would have happened regardless - it had already taken place during the war in the desert etc.
If i was to give my opinion i would bet it had been on the cards for the 59th Div since early 1944 that was what was planned for it.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:16, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
If the British had been that desperately short of troops they would have re-deployed the Indian Army from Burma and elswhere to Europe. That army was over 2,000,000 men strong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.82.27 (talk) 19:39, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Not if, the British Army was desperately short of trained infantry men; see Colossal Cracks for further information. Indian units were deployed in Italy and most of the British Indian Army was engaged in a little thing called the Burma campaign ;) At any rate 2 million men do not equate to trained infantry, the British Army itself was larger. If the article on the British Indian Army is to be believed in regards to division numbers there was only 26 tops (although one would need to check if there was 26 active at the same time).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:34, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Aftermath[edit]

Zetterling disputes the fate of the 12th SS Pz Div. "In many publications it has been said that the 12. SS-Pz.Div. only had a few hundred men left after the end of the Falaise battle on 22 August. This is completely wrong. According to the very thorough research in the records of casualties suffered by 12. SS-Pz.Div. presented by Meyer it is clear that the division lost about 8 000 officers and men, killed, wounded and missing.37 The casualty reports are almost complete for the divisions units, but those few exceptions warrant the round figure of 8 000. Given the fact that the Werfer-Abt., parts of the Pz.Jäg.Abt. and parts of the Ersatz-Btl. joined the division while it was in Normandy, it is clear that it had around 12 000 men on 22 August 1944. Even though most of its infantry were casualties, the division was far from destroyed. Certainly its combat power was diminished drastically, but its rear services seem to have been almost intact." http://web.telia.com/~u18313395/normandy/gerob/gerob.html Keith-264 (talk) 11:58, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

This is something we need to address on a few articles, I think. EyeSerenetalk 14:06, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Zetterling isn't a perfect source but he has at least trawled contemporary documents. Some parts of other Normandy articles reflect his findings, particularly the distinction between 'destroyed' and U/S or 'knocked out' as it applies to tanks. Mostly his revisions are a matter of the difference between front-line units and the formation or the mistakes of other writers treating detachments from formations (like kampfgruppen) as losses. On the whole I think he adds detail and nuance rather than a drastic rewriting.Keith-264 (talk) 14:16, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Problem I have always had with Zitterlings researched casualty figures is the fact there are almost 81,000 German graves in Normandy spread out across five or six major cemeteries but his established death figures are less than half that. I don't quite understand the disparity myself. In my view its probably important to portray there are different estimate and list both rather than replace them. Wokelly (talk) 20:14, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I wonder if that reflects an inability to write proper records in August? Could the discrepancy be reflected in September and October records?Keith-264 (talk) 08:10, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

This might explain the discrepancy in number of German military killed in Normandy & number buried there: [3]: many of the buried in Normandy were killed in other parts of France.
  • "By 1954, the official occupation of Germany was near its end, and the West German chancellor then, Konrad Adenauer, assigned the German War Graves Commission the task of locating previous German military cemeteries and setting up new burial grounds around the world. Germany and France soon agreed to move the German war dead, which had been buried in more than 1,400 French villages, to six locations in the Normandy region. La Cambe became the largest of those German cemeteries when it was dedicated in September 1961. "
--Frania W. (talk) 19:44, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Text moved from article[edit]

I moved the following here because it's unsourced and in places the tone is not appropriate for a current featured article. If reliable sources can be provided we can discuss working the text into the article where possible. Thanks, EyeSerenetalk 07:22, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Moved from article:

Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives was the last village in the narrowing gap between the Canadians and Polish forces advancing southwards from Trun, and the American and Free French forces pushing northwards from Argentan and Chambois. The capture of Saint-Lambert would finally close the "Gap", and trap tens of thousands of German troops in the Falaise pocket

On August 18, 1944 Major David Vivian Currie, commanding the Sherman tanks of C Squadron of the 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment), with attached infantry from "B" and "C" companies of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment (all of the Canadian 4th Armoured Division), was ordered to move from Trun to capture and hold the village, and to attempt to link up with the American forces understood to be advancing towards the village from Chambois. Events in and around St. Lambert over the next three days would eventually be recognized by the awarding of the Victoria Cross to Major Currie.

During the early hours of the action, four personal (((should be personnel/FW))) from the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit arrived in St. Lambert in two jeeps. They were able to record the events as they unfolded in black and white photographs (taken by photographer Lt. Donald I. Grant) and on cine film (taken by cameraman Sgt. Jack Stollery). The cine film captures the moment when Major Currie sees a German convoy coming towards the Canadian position, pulls his pistol and steps out to take the officer commanding the convoy by surprise, forcing him to surrender his troops. Lt. Grant's still photo captures the German officer in the seconds after his surrender, his arms still in the air, and also captures Sgt. Stollery at the far left of the photo, his cine camera clearly visible in his hands as he films the events as they unfolded. The series of black and white still photographs taken on August 18th by Lt. Grant are readily available through the Library and Archives of Canada. Unfortunately the original cine film was destroyed in a fire during the 1960's while under the care of the National Film Board of Canada. Fortunately, pieces of the original footage were picked up by newsreel companies and can be seen in several newsreels released shortly after the battle.
EyeSerene:
Could you explain or underline what bothers you about the text that makes you write: "in places the tone is not appropriate for a current featured article."
The event is real, my question would be more about possible copyright infringement.
--Frania W. (talk) 03:33, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Sure. Most of the section is a plain, straightforward factual description, and that's fine. However, the last two sentences deviate from this. We wouldn't normally note in an article where footage is available (especially using the phrase "readily available", which comes over a bit like advertising), and words like "unfortunately" and "fortunately" are editorial commentary. They're expressing the author's opinion, which we aren't supposed to do. Taken together, all this makes the final part of the section seem like it's been written up from personal knowledge - again, not something we're meant to do.
I had the same thought as you about copyright infringement, but I Googled a couple of distinctive phrases and the search returned only mirrors of Wikipedia so I concluded this probably wasn't an issue. Of course, if the text has been lifted from a book it might not show up on Google... another reason why providing sources is so vitally important.
I hope this answers your question, and I'll be very happy to answer any others or give a fuller explanation if necessary. Best, regards, EyeSerenetalk 09:25, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation. I see that we followed the same path checking on the text, getting the same result, i.e. return to wiki article. The event is described in the history of the photographs & film, which you can find online. All the names can be verified; there is even the name of the German officer surrendering to Major Currie. Unless it is too much blabla on only one action of the battle, could not part of the text you removed be kept, i.e. the section that can be sourced? The part I underlined could be removed & summarised in a footnote, with the "fortunately" & "unfortunately" removed.
--Frania W. (talk) 12:25, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
In principle I have no objection to expanding on the action around St. Lambert, with the proviso that the expansion can be reliably sourced. I do think you're right that the underlined portion may be too much focus on one event for what is quite a broad overview article. I wonder if that portion might be better in Currie's article, which is quite brief and could probably do with further expansion? I'm not convinced about the value of footnoting it here because although it's an interesting episode, there's such a vast amount of newsreel footage from the period that again it would beg the question "why this in particular?" If you have a link to the footage it might make a good addition to the External links section though.
On the sourcing issue, again because this is a featured article and must comply with our verifiability core policy we need to be pretty rigorous about using only the highest quality sources. You'll notice the refs list is entirely published works by recognised historians and subject experts and there are few websites listed as sources in the citations list. We rarely use online sources, mostly because actually proving they meet WP:RS is difficult. Blogs, forums, self-published sites and the like are normally unacceptable, which unfortunately rules out most of the internet. However, if you have some sources in mind I (and undoubtedly the other article editors) will be happy to discuss them and see what we can do. I should mention that as a practical matter the onus is on the provider of material to also provide the sources for it (not that we can't or won't help out, but as volunteers we just don't have the time to chase up every suggestion ourselves!)
Most of the above is just my take on things. I know there are a number of editors watching this page - the article was quite a large collaborative effort - so I think it would do no harm to see what others think. Best regards, EyeSerenetalk 13:56, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
EyeSerene:, we could not agree more. In fact, after reading over the section "Closing of the gap", I see how this paragraph was giving too much weight to the filming of the action (and to its crew), since filming was common practice. This paragraph has more its place in the article on Saint-Lambert, Calvados, where it has been added by same user who had inserted it in the Falaise article.
You were right from the beginning, and I am glad we had that talk as it has clarified the (non)importance of some details within a certain context.
Cordialement, --Frania W. (talk) 14:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

The HALT ORDER at the FALAISE GAP[edit]

Your take on the Falaise Gap is all wrong. Please, someone do some research on that thing. All of these gentlemen have an excellant reputation for veracity, you should carefully consider what they have to say.

"My impressions at the time were that he [Montgomery] had been a little too optimistic about the probable progress of 21st Army Group.... It is just possible that the gap might have been closed a little earlier if no restrictions had been imposed upon the 12th Army Group Commander as to the limit of his northward movement." Major General Sir Francis De Guingand, Operation Victory, [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1947], p. 407.

At air conference at General Bradley's headquarters: "He [Bradley] states that the American forces had little opposition between ALENCON and ARGENTAN and had started toward FALAISE, but had been instruction by the C-in-C , 21 Army Group [Montgomery] to halt on the inter-Army Group boundary. There had been few German troops in the area when the Third Army forward elements arrived there...." Air Vice Marshal Stephen C. Strafford, War Diary, Chief of Operations and Plans, AEAF, 14 August 1944, PRO (AIR 37/574). From Carlo D'Este, Decision in Normandy, [New York, HarperPerennial, 1994], p. 441.

"It was some time later that Patton's bitter remarks to Bradley about Montgomery were allowed to be known, but even at the time there were some question being asked in London as to why Patton could not try and close the gap from the south?" F.W. Winterbotham, The ULTRA Secret, [New York, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1974], p. 158. Also see p. 148-158 for an interesting take on the Battle at the Falaise Gap.

U.S. VII Corps had closed the western gap on XV Corps's open flank at 10:00 AM on 13 August 1944: "At 10, General Collins called asking for more 'territory to take.' The Div was, in some places, on the very boundary itself, and General Collins felt sure that he could take Falaise and Argentan, close the gap, and 'do the job' before the British even started to move. General Hodges immediately called General Bradley, to ask officially for a change in boundaries, but the sad news came back that Fiurst Army was to go no further that at first designated, except that a small salient around Ranes would become ours." Major William Sylvan's Diary, First Army War Diary, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Sunday, August 13th: p.57 Since the halt order was not delivered to George Patton until 1130 hours, Haisip's open left flank could not have been a factor in Bradley's decision to halt Third Army, as Bradley later claimed.

Dr. Forrest C. Pogue's notes on an interview with Montgomery's staff officer, Brigadier E.T. "Bill" Williams: "Remember [he] was in Freddie's [de Guingand] truck near Bayeaux when the 2nd French Armored made its swing up and crossed the road toward Falaise. Monty said tell Bradley they ought to get back. Bradley was indignant. We were indignant on Bradley's behalf. De Guingand said 'Monty is too tidy.'" Dr. Forrest C. Pogue interviews, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks, PA from Carlo D'Este, Decision in Normandy, p. 451, 452. Also see Richard Rohmer, Patton's Gap, [New York, Beaufort Books, 1981], p. 192, 193. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Falaisegap (talkcontribs)

You haven't quoted Bradley.Keith-264 (talk) 15:38, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

In further reply to the above, I've explained before that we aren't allowed to analyse source material ourselves or draw conclusions from it that aren't explicitly stated (see WP:OR and WP:SYNTH). Going through the above extracts one by one:
  • De Guingand, Operation Victory - supports the idea that the Gap may have been closed earlier, but doesn't say who imposed the restrictions on 12th Army Group's commander. We are free to conclude De Guingand is implying it was Montgomery but this isn't explicitly stated in the extract.
  • D'Este, Decision in Normandy - supports the stop order originating with Montgomery.
  • F.W. Winterbotham, The ULTRA Secret - mentions questions being asked about progress but not who ordered the stop.
  • Major William Sylvan's Diary, First Army War Diary - again no indication of where the stop order originated from, although it was certainly relayed via Bradley's HQ (the source doesn't say whether or not Hodges spoke to Bradley personally). Your note about Haislip's open left flank seems to be the result of your own analysis; it may be correct, but for the reasons mentioned above we can't use it.
  • D'Este, Decision in Normandy (quoting Dr. Forrest C. Pogue) - again supports the stop order originating with Monty.
So of the above we have a single source that explicitly states (twice, but one of those two mentions seems to be D'Este's own supporting evidence) that the stop order came from Montgomery. D'Este has problems as a source but nevertheless this is probably worth a brief mention (possibly a footnote) in the article. However, there's not enough there to support your statement that "Your take on the Falaise Gap is all wrong". Does anyone have anything else to add? EyeSerenetalk 09:41, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Article's present title[edit]

As it's about something that only ocurred once in its context (WW2), shouldn't this article's title be "Falaise Pocket" rather than "Falaise pocket" (which suggests e.g. a tailoring design potentially realized many many times)...? 213.246.99.215 (talk) 19:50, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Friendly bombing of Canadians[edit]

I have undone the following addition to the article;

On August 8th a group of American Bombers dropped their ordinance right on top of the 7th medium regiment, 12th battery, Royal Canadian Artillery. "The great problem on our side was road space, and it was while waiting in our gun positions, still firing at the retreating German forces, that the first disaster of the campaign befell us. A flight of American Fortresses flying high over 12th Battery area unloaded their bomb load right on top the the battery and on a nearby ammunition depot. B troop recieved most of the damage and Lt. J.E. Clark and ten other ranks were killed or died of wounds shortly afterwards. Captain W.G.Ferguson and eighteen other ranks were wounded and evacuated."[44]

Although tragic, this seems too minor an incident to deserve mention in such a large operation. Certainly, details of the casualties is going too far for summary style. Also, the place where it is inserted could lead readers to believe that this incident was responsible for halting the Canadian assault, which I assume is not the case. The incident is not mentioned at all in the main article Operation Totalize. That article does, however, state that the commander of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Rod Keller was seriously wounded on the same date by a US bombing attack, a more significant event (was this during the same attack?). SpinningSpark 10:39, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree with your removal. The issue of short bombing seems to have been a pretty constant one throughout the campaign. IIRC we mention it where it caused significant problems, but not usually specific incidents unless they were unusually notable (like Keller or the unfortunate General Leslie McNair). EyeSerenetalk 12:04, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
My dad was with the Canadians through Normandy, Belgium and Holland. He came under friendly fire three times, British & American, bombing & artillery. 99.224.165.88 (talk) 18:24, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

12th SS Panzer Division[edit]

In the aftermatch section, it said 12thSSPanzerDivision is reduce to 300men and 10 tanks. I read a book written by Kurt Meyer "12thSS" according to the German, the division return to Germany with 12,000men not 300. It has suffered around 8000 casualities during the Normandy campaign. The tank part seems about right.

That's similar to the conclusions of Zetterling. The 300-10 figure may be for a battlegroup formed from the most operational remnants of the front-line troops and the number who escaped may refer to the non-combat elements of the division.Keith-264 (talk) 06:39, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

CE[edit]

Spring-cleaned the page, removed duplicated citations from the infobox, added a few headings, tidied prose and references.Keith-264 (talk) 10:48, 16 June 2014 (UTC)