Following the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, the Allied invasion of France quickly bogged down. The British and Canadian advance stalled in front of the city of Caen, a German defensive bulwark. In response Field Marshal Montgomery devised the controversial Op. Epsom; an attack to the west of the city which would drive south capturing vital bridges on the Odon River before moving east to encircle Caen’s defenders.
The battle which raged between 26 June and 1 July 1944 saw the British VIII Corps, spearheaded by the inexperienced 15th (Scottish) Division, create the ‘Scottish Corridor’ across the Odon. They met strong opposition and counterattacks from four elite SS-Panzer Divisions, including 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend’.
This tour’s detailed exploration of the battle reveals how it was a turning point in the Normandy campaign in which untested British troops wrested the strategic initiative from Hitler’s battle-hardened forces. Dr Dighton’s close examination of the tactics used during the operation demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of each side, while also highlighting the vital turning points in the action. As you will see from drone footage, satellite data and historical photographs, the nature of the terrain fought over had a decisive impact on the conduct of the battle, directly shaping its outcome.’