On 13 June the British were continuing their efforts to move towards Caen from the west, when an ambush by a unit of German tanks resulted in an embarrassing defeat at Villers-Bocage. This subsequently marked the shift to more attritional engagements in the area. Between 12–30 June the main activity on the Normandy front involved American forces pushing north towards the port of Cherbourg. A large number of German units were cut off once the Americans managed to traverse the Cotentin Peninsula on 18 June. The Americans needed to secure Cherbourg’s vital deep water port intact but following a naval artillery bombardment to assist ground troops in taking the city, the Germans sabotaged most of the port facilities, rendering it mainly useless. It took a while longer for the Americans to capture the last pockets of resistance, but the way was now set to continue on south.
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