Then, in a massive pincer-like manoeuvre, the British, Canadian and Polish troops in the north and the Americans and the French under Leclerc, coming from Alençon in the south, captured a section of two German armies in the area of Falaise-Chambois (the ”Corridor of Death” in Montormel). The Battle of Normandy ended on 21 August 1944, in Tournai-sur-Dives. The Allies had won their first victory on the continent. Three days later, they crossed the Seine and entered Paris.
Stuart Light Tank in Leclerc's division heading to Avranches. Photo: Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / National Archives USA
In Falaise, the Allies recorded a loss of 209,672 men, two-thirds British and Canadian.
Main lines of advancement of the Allies between June and September 1944.
The ”Red Ball Express”
Due to the damage inflicted on the railways and rolling stock, equipment and supplies had to be transported by road in August 1944. This led to the birth of the Red Ball Express, created by the head of transport for the American Army, Major General Frank A. Ross. On 29 August, the Red Ball Express recorded a record volume of traffic with nearly 6,000 vehicles on the road. The Red Ball Express transported nearly 400,000 tonnes in 81 days.
This title was conferred to the victorious route taken from Saint-Lô (Normandy) to Bastogne (Belgium) by General Patton's 3rd United States Army whose XX Army Corps (under General Wolker) swept through Avranches in late July and reached Moselle in early September. And with Leclerc's 2nd armoured division that landed with them on Utah Beach and the 60,000 French Forces of the Interior (FFI) that fought alongside them, the 325,000 men in Patton's army formed a magnificent fraternity of arms.
Website of Normandy's regional tourist committee