By Major General Michael Reynolds The political and military reasons for launching Operation Goodwood have been discussed in virtually every book written about the Normandy campaign. In essence, by July 10, 1944, five weeks after D-day, the Allies were facing a crisis. The only large port in their hands, Cherbourg, was not yet operational, the Americans had failed to achieve their planned breakout, German occupation south of Caen was blocking the advance of the British and Canadians to the Falaise Plain, and insufficient ground had been captured in the Allied bridgehead for the forward airfields to be constructed. Significantly, four German infantry divisions had reached Normandy in early July with the aim of releasing the panzer divisions for their classic counterattack role in operations against the Americans. British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the overall Allied ground commander, was thus facing criticism from all quarters. If his declared strategy of breaking out from the west was to succeed, it was essential that he create a sufficient threat on the Caen flank to hold and attract the German armor, which might otherwise be used against the Americans. Consequently, and having already failed to achieve a breakthrough to the west of Caen, Montgomery decided to launch a strong armored thrust on the east side from the Orne bridgehead. As he put it in a letter to Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke on July 14, “The Second [British] Army is now very strong ... And can get


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