On 6 June 1944, after almost a year of special assault and combined operations training, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (Maj-Gen R.O.D. Keller) and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade (Brig R.A.
On 6 June 1944, after almost a year of special assault and combined operations training, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (Maj-Gen R.O.D. Keller) and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade (Brig R.A. Wyman) were part of the Allied forces which attacked the Normandy coast of France in Operation Overlord. Landing on "Juno" Beach, between Vaux and St Aubin-sur-Mer, the Canadians penetrated about 9 km inland by the end of D-Day. Beating back enemy counterattacks during the next several days, the Canadians continued to thrust inland against growing opposition, aided by highly effective tactical air support. Supported by British formations on either flank, a lodgement area was gained and additional formations reinforced the assault forces. In the Canadian sector the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division (Major-General C. FOULKES) and 4th Canadian Armoured Division (Major-General G. Kitching) arrived to form the Second Canadian Corps under Lieutenant-General G.G. SIMONDS. With these and additional forces, the First Canadian Army (Lieutenant-General H.D.G. CRERAR) took over command of the eastern part of the Allied front.
During June and July the Canadians fought a number of battles to seize enemy positions. Carpiquet, Caën, Vaucelles, Bourguébus Ridge and Verrières Ridge were some of the major areas where heavy fighting took place. During late July and August while the Canadian and British forces held most of the German formations on the eastern sector, the American Army broke the German line at St-Lô. The possibility of a massive pincer movement to encircle the German armies in Normandy was presented to the Allied commanders. The Canadian Army was ordered to launch several massive armoured and infantry attacks towards Falaise. After a series of fierce battles, Falaise was seized on August 16, and in the final attack on Trun and Chambois, Canadians and Poles met with American forces to complete the pincer movement. This ended the Normandy Campaign. The pursuit of the enemy into Belgium and the Netherlands began. Canadian forces suffered 18,444 casualties during the Normandy fighting. The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, which fought under British command, lost over 300 officers and men in their operations.
See also WORLD WAR II.