The securing of the Cotentin Peninsula enabled the Allies to turn most of their attention to the west where the majority of German occupying forces were still active. However, Brittany and most of the south of France were still under German occupation and needed to be secured to protect the rear of the main Allied invasion force. The Americans moved through Brittany in two main bodies, one assigned to the west and one assigned to the south, assisted by French Resistance forces throughout. Hitler’s order to hold France’s port cities as fortresses soon after the invasion of Normandy meant that much of Brittany’s inland terrain was sparsely defended. The main ports, on the other hand, had been heavily fortified and occupied by large numbers of German troops who defended them stubbornly. Many of these cities did not surrender until much later in the war, after being besieged and heavily bombed by the Allies.
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