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Battle of St. Germain-sur-Seves

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Battle of St. Germain
Part of Western Front, World War II
Battle of St. Germain
German Fallschirmjaegers fire on US troops.
Date July 22-27, 1944
Location St. Germain-sur-Seves, France
Result American victory
Belligerents
Flag of USA United States Flag of Germany Germany
Commanders and leaders
Flag of USA Omar Bradley Flag of Germany Gunther von Kluge
Strength
60,000 37,200 troops
Casualties and losses
100 killed
400 wounded
200 prisoners
no reliable estimates
The Battle of St. Germain-sur-Seves, also known as the Battle of St. Germain or the Battle of Seves Island was one of the bloodiest battles in the Normandy Breakout campaign, with the US 90th Infantry Division and US 128th Infantry Division, totaling some 60,000 American soldiers, fighting the German 7th Army and several paratroopers. The hedgerows provided a defensive bonus to the Germans, who inflicted heavy losses on the Americans with machine-gun fire that shot from behind the hedgerows, as well as Flak 88 fire from a bunker at the other edge of the island. The American infantrymen seized the Flak guns, so that the Stuart Tanks could advance along with reinforcements.

Background Edit

As the Americans broke out from the beaches of Normandy, the German Army Group B found itself in a tough situation. They were being pushed back, but some of their units were being encircled in the Falaise Gap. The Gap saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the Last Great War, starting out with the Battle of St. Germain. The short-handed US 90th Infantry Division was reinforced by the US 128th Infantry Division, bringing their manpower to 60,000 troops. The two US infantry divisions were to clear Seves Island of German paratroopers and soldiers, who had taken advantage of the hedgerows to create defensive positions that their MGs could suit perfectly. The Germans were led by Gunther von Kluge, commander of Army Group B. The defenders included the Das Reich Division and the German 6th Parachute Regiment. The Americans were led by Omar Bradley, in command of the breakout attempt.

Battle Edit

First Battle Edit

The US 358th Regiment of the US 90th Infantry Division under General Landrum started the attack on 22 July, but without air support because of bad weather. The 1st Battalion suffered heavy losses but held on to the island. The 2nd battalion failed to cross the marshes. In the evening the Germans counterattacked with tanks of the 2nd Panzer Regiment. The Americans were driven back, in one hour they had suffered losses of a 100 soldiers killed, 400 wounded and 200 prisoners.

Second Battle Edit

The Americans had armored support and aerial support at their disposal, so the two divisions and their armor awaited their planes' bombing attack before they would move in to assault the hedgerows. The American troops then advanced, taking cover behind their Stuart Tanks or dead cows; the ones who did not were mown down by German MG42s. The Americans suffered heavy losses in the attack, but they eventually destroyed the first machine-gun bunker and seized a manor house and a barn, before embarking on their assault plan: one unit would flank left, through a house, and up a road; the other unit would head up the hills and flank the German paratroopers and the two would link up and take an artillery battery. They did so, seizing the bridge that Paratroopers used to fire down on the Americans with. The squad then secured the battery, before fighting through German trenches and attacking MG bunkers. They cleared the bunkers out before assaulting the German Flak 88 guns on top of the bunker, which were overlooking the main roads, where US tanks were pushing into town on. The capture of the anti-tank guns facilitated the arrival of Allied reinforcements, who pushed the Germans out of Seves Island, and both sides suffered very heavy losses.

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