Closing the Falaise Pocket 16 August 1944


Map Code: Ax00530

By 16 August the Canadian Operation Tractable had succeeded in wearing down German resistance and had taken Falaise, further closing the gap with the Americans in the south. The second part of the operation then began with Polish and Canadian forces moving east towards Trun, through which one of the last remaining escape routes available to the Germans ran. At this point Field Marshall Kluge realized that his battered army had no chance of sustaining a counterattack against the Allied encirclement. Although Hitler had been insistent that they fight to maintain their position up to this point, he permitted a retreat from the Falaise Pocket on 16 August. This was too late to save the vast majority of German forces further west as many would have had to travel up to 40 miles (64 km) to escape. From this point the Germans began a mass retreat east, causing severe blockages of roads in the process.

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