The Normandy Battlefields: Bocage and Breakout

From the Beaches to the Falaise Gap

Leo Marriott, Simon Forty

Date Published :
April 2017
Publisher :
Series :
Then & Now
Illustration :
Color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612004198
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 12 X 9 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks


The Normandy Battlefields details what can be seen on the ground today using a mixture of media to provide a complete overview of the campaign. Maps old and new highlight what has survived and what hasn’t; then-and-now photography allows fascinating comparisons with the images taken at the time.

The Normandy Battlefields: D-Day & the Bridgehead ended as the Allies fought to expand their D-Day foothold. In Bocage and Breakout, Leo Marriott and Simon Forty take the story forward as the success of the invasion continued into the Cotentin, with Cherbourg falling on 29 June, before it bogged down in face of determined German defense and the bocage countryside—innumerable small fields surrounded by hedgerows, each one hiding anti-tank weapons, mortars and machine guns. As US First Army fought its way south, on the eastern edges of the bridgehead, British and Canadian forces were fighting a war of attrition around Caen facing the bulk of the German armor as division after division was fed into Normandy. Like a pressure cooker, the fighting intensified until, seven weeks after D-Day, Operation ‘Cobra’ broke the German line. Quickly Patton’s Third Army, operational from 1 August, flooded through the gap exploiting the German confusion, encircling what was left of the German armies in the Falaise Pocket and advancing quickly through into Brittany. Three weeks later, the Battle of Normandy was over, the routed German Army—without most of its heavy weapons left in the Falaise Pocket or on the banks of the Seine—was retreating helter skelter back towards Germany and the Low Countries pursued by the Allies in a reverse of the 1940 Blitzkrieg campaign.

The three months of war in June–July 1944 were brutal, with losses of front-line troops as heavy as in World War I. The German defense was tenacious, particularly in face of Allied air supremacy. The Allies struggled to get into a position to allow their more mobile forces room for maneuver and and the fighting was ferocious. When victory came, it came at a cost: 209,672 casualties among the ground forces, including 36,976 killed and 19,221 missing. The Allied air forces lost 16,714 airmen. The corresponding German losses were even more significant: some 450,000 men, of whom 240,000 were killed or wounded. More important to the Germans were the losses of heavy equipment—tanks, assault guns, artillery, personnel carriers. As an example, 12th SS Panzer Division had lost 94% of its armor, nearly all of its artillery and 70% of its vehicles. With c20,000 men and 150 tanks before the campaign, after Falaise it had 300 men and 10 tanks. Mixing text, maps and images, many of them specially commissioned including aerial photography, The Normandy Battlefields: Bocage and Breakout explains and interprets the complexities of the Normandy campaign in an original and cohesive package.

About The Author

Leo Marriott has written numerous books on aviation, naval and military subjects including Treaty Cruisers, Catapult Aircraft, Jets at Sea and Early Jet Fighters: British and American 1944-1954. He is now retired after a fifty-year career as an air traffic controller but still maintains his pilot’s license flying a syndicate-owned Cessna 172. Apart from aviation and naval history, his other interests include sailing, photography and painting.

Simon Forty was educated in Dorset and the north of England before reading history at London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing since the mid-1970s, first as editor and latterly as author. Son of author and RAC Tank Museum curator George Forty, he has continued in the family tradition writing mainly on historical and military subjects including books on the Napoleonic Wars and the two world wars. Recently he has produced a range of highly illustrated books on the Normandy battlefields, the Atlantic Wall and the liberation of the Low Countries with co-author Leo Marriott.



Opposing forces
Timeline June 7–August 28
Airpower by Leo Marriott
Mulberry A
Mulberry B
Traffic Management
Collateral Damage

1 The Cotentin and Cherbourg
The North Coast

2 First Army in the Bocage
Fighting in the Bocage
La Haye-du-Puits
The Attack of XIX Corps
Panzer Lehr Counterattack
The Battle for Saint-Lô

3 The Battle for Caen
The Canadian Front
21st Panzer Division
Operation Perch
Operations Martlet and Epsom
Operation Charnwood
Operations Jupiter, Greenline, and Pomegranate

4 Breakout
Operations Atlantic and Goodwood
Operation Cobra
Third Army Operational
Operation Bluecoat
Operation Lüttich
Operation Totalize

5 Brittany
The North Coast
The Battle for Brest

6 The Falaise Gap
Third Army Advances
Operation Tractable

7 Aftermath
The Forgotten Front

Credits & Bibliography


"This will appeal across a wide range of military tastes - the modeller, the military historian, the battlefield visitor, and the wargamer - and at a very fair price for a book of this calibre."

- Miniature Wargames

“Essential reading for anyone with an interest in the military history of WW2 and specifically the D-Day landings. Amazing photographs and maps, this is a coffee table book you will not be able to put down! Marriott and Forty know their subject and share their expertise and knowledge in a way that's not been available in previous books about such a complex subject matter.”

- Books Monthly

“Messrs Forty and Marriott provide a seriously entertaining look at events in Normandy from ground level and all points upwards using the perfect mix of facts and dates aligned to genuinely excellent archive and modern photography. I cannot fault this book and thoroughly recommend it."

- War History Online

"The text is well presented and the result is a most useful guidebook to visiting the inland battles of the Normandy Campaign, some of which are often overlooked.”

- GunMart

“For the sheer volume of information both textual and visual, this book is excellent value for money…as a work of reference it is invaluable and is strongly recommended to students of the NW Europe campaign.”

- Casemate: Journal of the Fortress Study Group

“A very well presented, nicely designed and engaging book on a timeless subject; highly recommended.”

- Military Modelling

“All those aerial shots and maps should be useful as reference for a more credible diorama excellent addition to your library.”

- DetailScaleView

“Without doubt, this would be a most useful guide to have when touring the Normandy Battlefields, which it excels in explaining the complexities of the campaign, blow by blow, battle by battle. A must-read.”

- Britain at War

‘’...the title The Normandy Battlefields Bocage and Breakout is contrasted against the stunning aerial photograph that adorns the front cover. Aside from helping this book to stand out amongst an already packed market, the image has didactic properties. I anticipate using this book during my next visit to Normandy because the descriptions of battle, the excellent aerial and archive photos, and fascinating biographies suit the tourist. It also doesn’t matter about your previous knowledge of the Normandy Campaign; this book has you covered. For those with a long-held interest or academics with a focus on Normandy, this book will clarify the well-known arguments and rekindle interest without ruffling feathers. All the important components of the Normandy story are here and even some lesser-known areas, too.’’

- H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online

"I found this to be a well-balanced book, with an amazing array of photographs, supported by an unusually detailed narrative of the battle for a book of this nature."

- History of War

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