The Falaise Pocket or Battle of the Falaise Pocket was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. A pocket was formed around Falaise, Calvados, in which the German Army Group B, with the 7th Army, the battle is also referred to as the Battle of the Falaise Gap, the Chambois Pocket, the Falaise-Chambois Pocket, the Argentan–Falaise Pocket or the Trun–Chambois Gap. The battle resulted in the destruction of most of Army Group B west of the Seine river, which opened the way to Paris and the Franco-German border for the Allied armies. Following Operation Cobra, the American breakout from the Normandy beachhead, rapid advances were made to the south, despite lacking the resources to defeat the U. S. S. Four depleted panzer divisions were not enough to defeat the First U. S. Army, Operation Lüttich was a disaster, which drove the Germans deeper into the Allied envelopment. The Germans began to withdraw on 17 August and on 19 August, by the evening of 21 August, the pocket had been sealed, with c. 50,000 Germans trapped inside. Many Germans escaped but losses in men and equipment were huge, two days later the Allied Liberation of Paris was completed and on 30 August, the remnants of Army Group B retreated across the Seine, which ended Operation Overlord. Early Allied objectives in the wake of the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France, included the deep water port of Cherbourg, Cherbourg was not captured by the VII U. S. Corps until 27 June and the German defence of Caen lasted until 20 July, Army advanced down the west side of the Cotentin Peninsula to Avranches. On 25 July the First U. S. Army commander, the First U. S. Army broke through the German defences near St. Lô and by the end of the third day had advanced 15 mi south of its start line at several points. On 30 July, Avranches was captured and within 24 hours the VIII U. S, Corps of the Third U. S. Army crossed the bridge at Pontaubault into Brittany and continued south and west through open country, almost without opposition. The U. S. advance was swift and by 8 August, Le Mans, after Operation Cobra, Operation Bluecoat and Operation Spring, the German army in Normandy was so reduced that only a few SS fanatics still entertained hopes of avoiding defeat. On the Eastern Front, Operation Bagration had begun against Army Group Centre which left no possibility of reinforcement of the Western Front, eight of the nine Panzer divisions in Normandy were to be used in the attack but only four could be made ready in time. The German commanders protested that their forces were incapable of an offensive but the warnings were ignored and Operation Lüttich, the Allies were forewarned by Ultra signals intercepts and although the offensive continued until 13 August the threat of Operation Lüttich had been ended within 24 hours. Operation Lüttich had led to the most powerful remaining German units being defeated at the west end of the Cotentin Peninsula by the First U. S. Army, Bradley said This is an opportunity that comes to a commander not more than once in a century. Were about to destroy a hostile army and go all the way from here to the German border. The First Canadian Army was ordered to capture high ground north of Falaise to trap Army Group B, the Canadians planned Operation Totalize, with attacks by strategic bombers and a novel night attack using Kangaroo armoured personnel carriers. By 10 August, Anglo-Canadian forces had reached Hill 195, north of Falaise, the following day, Simonds relieved the armoured divisions with infantry divisions, ending the offensive. S
Polish infantry moving towards cover on Hill 262, 20 August 1944
German forces surrendering in St. Lambert on 19 August 1944
German prisoners taken during the battle are given tea by their captors.
General Eisenhower reviewing damage (including a wrecked Tiger II) in the pocket at Chambois