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Abstract

This article provides historical insight into the failure of German armoured counterattacks in the immediate aftermath of the Normandy invasion. The failure of an armoured battlegroup of the 12. SS-Panzerdivision to take the village of Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse on the night of 8/9 June 1944 was not exclusively due to poor planning, lack of coordination and not enough infantry support. Though these factors were present in abundance, the main reason for failure was German confidence in mutated armoured tactics that were successfully used by the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front. These rough tactics, though successful in the Ukraine in 1943, actually violated established German armoured doctrine. The failure of the Waffen-SS commanders to recognise the need for greater preparation and, by default, larger and more powerful resources doomed their early offensive operations against the Normandy bridgehead, one of which is examined in detail within this article.

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