The Allied record in Normandy is irritating simply because we could have done better. The extensive casualty rates to infantry and armour nearly exhausted American arms and created a political crisis in Canada. The dazzling success of American armour during “Cobra’s” pursuit eclipsed the Canadian armoured battles of August, despite the fact that the vast majority of Allied tank casualties from direct gunfire engagements occurred in II Canadian Corps. The exultation of operation manoeuvre, the closing of the Falaise Gap and the liberation of Paris obfuscated the reality of tactical deficiency. It required three bloody months and seven major operations to drive the Germans out of Normandy. This occurred despite total air supremacy and a strategical numerical advantage. The reasons for tactical frustration are technical, geographical, and primarily, doctrinal.

Second Canadian Corps has long been deprived of critical operational analysis. This is perhaps because the technical complexities of armoured warfare at the tactical and operational level generally are not well understood. Canadian armour fought tank battles throughout Operations “Spring,” “Totalize,” and “Tractable,” but it did not maneuver. Canadian armour’s greatest opportunity for strategic victory occurred in Normandy. It is appropriate that an armoured officer review these matters, pick up the thrown gauntlet and attempt to explain the armoured battlefield as it related to Operation “Totalize.”