Operation Totalize, 1944

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Stephen A. Hart
Other Publication Information
Illustrator: Johnny Shumate, 96 pages, paperback
Product / Stock #
Campaign 294
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

This book covers the British/Canadian offensive to close the Falaise Pocket. After D-Day, the Allies were in a pocket surrounded by German troops and the ocean, and pretty much stuck in Normandy. The Wehrmacht, thinking the British forces in the north part of the pocket to be more likely to go on the offensive, moved their spare forces north to block a breakout.

The Allies were planning dual offenses in late July, having brought reinforcements in across the beaches and through the ports they held. Bad weather postponed these until Operation Cobra, the attack by the Americans in the south began. Cobra effectively destroyed the German defenses in the south, but left the center and northern forces intact.

The armored force continued to advance, and began to encircle the German forces opposite the center.

The idea of Operation Totalize was to strike through the Wehrmacht’s front south-southeast toward the town of Falaise, meeting up with the American force from Cobra to completely enclose the German forces.

Totalize was an offensive by Canadian II Corps. The plan was for a combined arms armor/infantry/artillery attack against a portion of the German line, which would then be followed up with a breakout by two armored columns. The biggest idea in the first stage of the offensive was that the infantry was mounted in armored carriers. These were improvised from Priest SP artillery, by removing the gun.

The attack began at 11:30 PM (2330 hrs) on August 7th, with the Canadian column on the left and the British on the right. The plan worked pretty much as hoped. The second phase was slow to start, got lost, and ran into the SS Panzer division Hitlerjugend, which stopped them far short of the objective.

The book consists of 10 sections

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Opposing commanders
  • Opposing armies
  • Opposing plans
  • The campaign
  • Aftermath
  • The battlefield today
  • Further reading
  • Index

Dr. Hart, who is a lecturer at Sandhurst, has many insightful ideas and interesting facts for this book. The concept most people have of the ground war in World War II in Europe was that except for the Ardennes, we had it pretty easy. This book disabuses that idea.

Many thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review book, and to IPMS USA for the chance to review it.


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