Operation Charnwood involved 115,000 troops of British I Corps who were tasked with a final assault on Caen following a number of failed attempts over the previous month. Caen is split in half by the Orne River, which marked the extent of the assault’s main objective. Heavy air bombardment was conducted on 7 July against German defences north of the city, before the main infantry advance on 8 July was lead by a rolling artillery barrage. As the Allies moved towards the city, naval artillery suppressed the movement of a panzer division to reinforce the Germans’ eastern flank. After suffering heavy casualties, the Allies managed to enter the city and took the German airfield in the west. The Germans began to retreat and embedded themselves to the south across the river. Unfortunately most of the important historic buildings in the city had been destroyed during heavy artillery and aerial bombardment.
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