Although Operation ‘Totalize I’ was arguably the finest feat of Allied armoured action in both the world wars, it is perhaps the least studied and publicised.
Using eye-witness accounts from tank crews and infantry, Ken Tout reveals how on 7 August 1944 a combined Canadian and British force sent four armoured columns south of Caen to close the Falaise gap.
Caen had been an objective of the British forces assaulting Sword Beach on D-Day. However, the German defences were strongest in this sector, and most of the German reinforcements sent to Normandy were committed to the defence of the city.
Driving through the night, the British tanks reached their objectives behind German lines and linked up with their Canadian colleagues.
The elite Wittman Troop counter-attacked with Tiger tanks, the most feared weapon of the Normandy campaign, only to be wiped out for minimal Allied loss. Operation Totalize I was a stunning success and sealed the fate of the German forces now encircled and trapped in the Falaise Pocket.
Ken Tout served with the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry during the Second World War, fighting in Sherman tanks and seeing action in Operation ‘Totalize I’. Tout’s books have attracted many plaudits and have been described as Second World War classics.
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