Home > CMH > Vol. 17 (2008) > Iss. 2
Outside the Box: A New Perspective on Operation Windsor—The Rationale Behind the Attack on Carpiquet, 4 July 1944
Operation Windsor never seemed to fit. Why, one asks, would the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division launch a major operation to seize Carpiquet village and airfield a mere four days before I British Corps started the much larger three-division Operation Charnwood to seize Caen? It seemed a distraction from the main effort—a needless diversion of resources. This view was reinforced by the standard interpretations of the battles as reflected in the two introductory quotations: Windsor as a prelude to Charnwood. I had succumbed to what I will call the black box syndrome. I looked only within the analytical framework established by countless historians from C.P. Stacey to Terry Copp3 to John A. English, and, like them, saw Operation Windsor as a precursor to Operation Charnwood. It was upon visiting the battlefield in 1997 and 1998 with the Canadian Battlefields Foundation student study tour that I gained a more complete understanding of the battle. For it is only on the field itself that one can understand that Operation Windsor had very little to do with Operation Charnwood, and so much more to do with Operations Epsom and Jupiter. Epsom is familiar to any scholar of the campaign, but Operation Jupiter, the 43rd Wessex Division attack on Hill 112, is more obscure. It was the ground that showed me the link which was reinforced by a close review of the I British Corps operations log. In this article I will try and show that the traditional interpretation of Operation Windsor has suffered from a “Canada-centric” bias that fails to relate the ground to the battle and assumes that all that precedes Charnwood must be setting the stage for that battle. First a review of the traditional interpretation is required.
Patterson, David "Outside the Box: A New Perspective on Operation Windsor—The Rationale Behind the Attack on Carpiquet, 4 July 1944." Canadian Military History 17, 2 (2008)