July started with guarded optimism by the German High Command. A single allied attack in Italy pushed into the German front line now about 60 miles north of Rome. THe line buckled but didn’t break three cadred infantry divisions retreated back to the next line of defenses after being hit by two strong American corps. The Luftwaffee managed to be present over the battlefield preventing the retreat from becoming a disaster and reserves were able to fill in the second line of fortifications in front of the American advance.
In France the fighting was mainly along the flanks with Allies leary of striking at the two SS Panzer corps that held the German Centerdug in about 60 miles north of Paris. The British attacked westward into Normandy pushing back a German infantry which managed to retreat in good order. On the eastern flank an American armored corps managed to push fifteen miles along the coast driving back the German defenders without breaking through.
In late July the German command felt their best opportunity for a counter attack was at hand. Three German corps including several SS Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions hit the American III corps. The Germans had called up every single-seat fighter their strategic air defense forces could spare to support the effort. The result was a massive and inconclusive air battle that decreased, but did not stop intervention by large numbers of American P=47s. The battle on the ground was a bloodbath with three American divisions and two SS Panzer divisions reduced to cadres. The American survivors were pushed back 15 miles to shelter behind the lines of a newly formed American corps that was preparing to move up to the Front..
The Allies responded by hitting the Germans hard. In the East the Americanspushed hard towards Boulogne driving the Germans back to the outskirts of the port, but with significant infantry reserves in second line positions the German line bent without breaking. Their repeated successes has made the American beachhead long, but precariously thin. In the west the British continued to push toward Caen driving the Germans back to the outskirts of the port. To the southwest of Caen the British landed a telling blow on the weakest spot in the German line crushing a hodgepodge consisting of a bicycle brigade, a brigade of eastern troops and tow artillery units. The result was a 15 mile gap in the German line that the British infantry pushed into. The only piece of good fortune for the Germans is that no British armored divisions were in position to exploit the hole, but the German command is painfully aware a very large force of Allied armor is now in the beachhead and the rapid build up will get even faster now that Allied engineers have reopened Dieppe.
Now the question is can the Germans bring in enough reinforcements and replacements to patch and firm up their line before the next blow falls. There is also an urgent need to pull the two weakened SS panzer divisions out of the line to be rebuilt, but it’s unclear if they can be spared from the front lines.