In preparation for Operation Cobra, American forces pushed southwest to take control of the remainder of the Cotentin Peninsula still under German control. The Americans made progress towards St-Lô against stubborn German resistance in the infamous hedgerow fighting – negotiating sturdy embankments topped by tangled bushes and shrubs – that marked most of the Normandy campaign. The Americans advanced towards the city between a series of ridges, which gave the Germans a clear view of their enemy, whom they targeted with artillery fire. After a lengthy struggle to secure Hill 122, which overlooked their position, the Americans were able to destroy the German lookout point and move into the city. Once the fighting had finished, over 95 per cent of St-Lô had been destroyed and the Americans had suffered significant casualties in their struggle to gain a foothold. A photo of the body of Major Thomas Howie draped in an American flag became an iconic symbol of the battle.
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