Original top secret orders for Operation EPSON June 1944

Object Title

Original top secret orders for Operation EPSON June 1944

Original top secret orders for Operation EPSON June 1944

Date

1944

Reference

ARMY 1/5

Level

File

Scope and Content

First sheet headed 'TOPSEC CONFIRMING THAT EPSOM WILL TAKE PLACE AT 0730 26 JUN.',

Extensive grouping of documents issued to Capt. Lawton, an intelligence officer with the 15th Scottish Division, part of VIII Corps, relating to Operation EPSOM, also known as the First Battle of the Odon. Intended to end with the capture of Caen, one of the key objectives of the breakout, the British offensive actually ground to a halt after 5 days of steady fighting, the result being described as tactically indecisive, but representing a strategic victory for the Allies. The key element to this strategic success was that two Panzer divisions, earmarked for a projected offensive against Bayeux, were drawn into the conflict and pinned in the front-line, tying up all of the Germans' available strength.

The papers include a set of the orders issued to the Royal Artillery with details of objectives, the units involved, code-words, map references &c. Other orders relate specifically to elements of the 15th Scottish Division; the 44th Lowland Brigade, 46th Highland Brigade, and 227th Highland Infantry Brigade.

15th Division spearheaded the 8 Corps attack, its first day's fighting being described by Montgomery in the following terms; '8 Corps attack was launched at 0730 hours on 26 June with 15 Division leading. The enemy was well concealed in difficult country, and extensive minefields covered his positions. The weather was bad with heavy rain and low cloud, but progress was made during the day in spite of the heavy fighting, particularly around Cheux. By the end of the day leading troops were well south of the village .' (Normandy to the Baltic.) His conclusion on the operations; ' ... the pledging of the Panzer divisions in a defensive role signified the failure of all hopes of ever driving the Allies out of France.'

Intriguing documentation which allows minute scrutiny of the planning and intentions of this key post-D-Day operation. [Booksellers description]

Extent

1 folder

Access Conditions

Open access

Reproduction Conditions

Crown Copyright

Language of Material

English

Contents

ARMY - British Army
  ARMY 1/5 - Original top secret orders for Operation EPSON June 1944