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As I understand it Operation Perch was the codename given to the operations made by XXX Corps after they had secured their beach. Going off what “Battle Zone Normandy: Villers-Bocage” states it was to be spearheaded by 50th Division which was to capture Bayeux then strike down the road take Tilly-sur-sulles following which 7th Armour would move through them capture Villers-Bocage then head southeast towards Evercy to capture several hills and then onto the Orne River, this last move being supported by the 1st Airborne Division codenamed Operation Wildoats or Wild Oats whom would be dropped to support the advance on Villers-Bocage and Evercy.
However as we know this didn’t happen, the 1st Airborne were not flown in since the airforce refused to do so and the 50th Division didn’t brake through at Tilly. The yanks capture Caumont, which leaves the Panzer Lehr’s flank open, and Dempsey orders the 7th Armoured to outflank them and capture Villers-Bocage.
This is where my question comes in, on the net and in all literature on the campaign (for example, the Official History, The Struggle For Europe etc) that ive read they basically make out that Operation Perch was the outflanking move by the 7th Armour and not the fighting undertaken by XXX Corps or they downplay the entire operation to a few lines which mostly focuses on Michael Wittmanns ambush on the 4CLY RHQ.
Which has left me confused, was Operation Perch the XXX Corp fighting or just the right hook undertaken by the 7th Armour?
I feel certain it’s the former but would love confirmation from anyone who has read up on the subject.
Thanks for your help
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Defense Near Tilly-sur-Seulles 1944.
At that time, the close-meshed network of impenetrable bushes and walls of stone and earth dominated the landscape. The command authorities of the German Command still harbored thoughts of attacking, now on 9 June. The Panzer Lehr Division was to attack after assembling abreast the Tilly-Bayeux road behind the city of Bayeux. Meanwhile, enemy pressure near Tilly forced the abandonment of Audrieu. In order to cover the important town of Tilly, the Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901 (Oberst Scholze) had to be divert-ed towards this village.
The attack to the north had to be conducted by Group Schönburg alone (II Battalion, Panzer Lehr Regiment and I Battalion 902nd Panzergrenadier Lehr Regiment). Group Schönburg had already advanced through Ellon by 1700 hours, but, on order of the division commander, was then stopped and ordered to return to its departure positions. Thus when it dawned 10 of June of 1944, the division maintained the front Christot - Tilly - St. Germain d'Ectot.
In the meantime, the 901st Rgt. was involved in heavy defensive fighting around Tilly. New enemy forces were advancing from Hill 103 toward the town and even the 12th SS Panzer Division was forced onto the defensive near Christot. After the British breakthrough attempt toward Caen had failed - the 12th SS and the 21st Panzer Divisions repulsed them - Field Marshal Montgomery shifted his main effort to the west, between Seulles and Aure. On 10 June the 50th Infantry Division and the 7th Armored Division were supposed to attack through Tilly—Villers-Bocage toward Evrecy, after an enormous fire preparation by the cruiser ORION and organic artillery.
This is where the clash between elements of the 7th British Armored Division (Desert Rats) with the 1./Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr-Regiment 901 (Oblt. Monz) occurred and during that action Uffz. Rudi Brasche destroyed five Sherman tanks advancing along a sunken road with panzerschreck and grenades ................
Sources: Infantry Aces: The German Soldier in Combat in World War II. Franz Kurowski
Die Pz Lehr Div. F. Kurowski.
The Western Front 1944. Memoirs of a Pz-Lehr-Officer. Helmut Ritgen.
Cheers. Raúl M .
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I think perch was quickly changed to to take advantage of a German weakness on a flowing battlefield.
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Details for Op PERCH were laid out in 30 Corps Operation Instruction No 2 (Issued for confirmation to Corps HQ only) dated 9 Jun 44 and:
2. The aim of 30 Corps is to seize the ground in the area HOTTOT 8166 and the high ground one mile EAST of JUVIGNY 8566."
To be conducted in 2 phases, phase one by 50 (N) Div and then after regrouping 7 Armd Div were to seize the high ground in area HOTTOT with 50 (N) Div protecting their west flank.
Hope that answers your question, although this looks like a kind of warning order confirming verbal instructions given by the BGS to Div Cmdrs. The war diary doesn't seem to contain any updated version.
Op Instruction No. 3 is XXX Corps proposal for "Wild Oats".
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The idea behind Operation Perch was good, but the British did not yet have enough strength to carry it out. Leigh-Mallory promised Montgomery that he would have the support of the heavy bombers in future operations to try and make up for his reluctance to carry out the airborne drop. Whether or not Leigh-Mallory was correct about the airborne drop is debatable. The Germans had moved the III Flak Corps into the Caen area in the week following D-Day, so there would have been considerable flak available to contest the drop. In addition, if the British had dropped the 1st Airborne Division in Normandy, it would no longer be available to act as a threat in reserve in support of Operation Fortitude. The Germans might have interpreted the drop as a threat to Paris and moved substantial reserves to the Caen area from the Fifteenth Army such as the 116th Panzer Division, and the 84th, 85th, and 331st Infantry Divisions. The last thing the Allies wanted was for the Germans to reinforce Normandy with divisions from the Fifteenth Army.
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