Operation Goodwood – British Army’s Largest Tank Battle in 25 Amazing Images

Sherman Firefly carrying infantry during Operation 'Goodwood', 18 July 1944.

Operation Goodwood in Normandy, France was a British offensive against the German forces at the end of July 1944. It is called by some historians as ‘the largest tank battle in British Army’s history’. British forces deployed 2 infantry divisions and 3 armored divisions with 1,100 tanks.

The Germans engaged 4 infantry divisions, 3 armored divisions, 2 heavy tank battalions with 377 tanks. The British forces wanted to take control of Caen in Northwestern France to break through the German lines and liberate the rest of the occupied country.

The British forces advanced 7 miles to the eastern part of the city but the Germans prevented a total breakthrough. The British had 3,474 casualties and lost 314 tanks. The Germans had unknown number of casualties but over 2,500 German soldiers were captured and they had lost 75 to 100 tanks in the battle.

Lancaster_B_Mark_IIs_at_RAF_Waterbeach_July_1944_IWM_CL_4213Avro Lancaster B Mark IIs of No. 514 Squadron RAF taxy onto the main runway at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, for a daylight attack on fortified villages east of Caen, in support of the Second Army’s armoured offensive in the Normandy battle area (Operation GOODWOOD).

464px-Damaged_Halifax_Operation_Goodwood_IWM_CE_154Vertical aerial photograph showing Handley Page Halifax B Mark III, LW127 ‘HL-F’, of No. 429 Squadron RCAF, in flight over Mondeville, France, after losing its entire starboard tailplane to bombs dropped by another Halifax above it. LW127 was one of 942 aircraft of Bomber Command despatched to bomb German-held positions, in support of the Second Army attack in the Normandy battle area (Operation GOODWOOD), on the morning of 18 July 1944. The crew managed to abandon the aircraft before it crashed in the target area.

425px-ColombellesVertical photographic-reconnaissance aerial photograph of the steelworks at Colombelles, east of Caen, France following a daylight attack on German fortified positions by aircraft of Bomber Command on the morning of 18 July 1944, in support of Operation GOODWOOD. The whole target area is studded with a dense concentration of craters and almost every building in the steelworks has been destroyed.

600px-Staffordshire_Yeomanry_Operation_GoodwoodA Sherman tank and an Crusader AA Mk III tank of the Staffordshire Yeomanry in France during Operation Goodwood, July 1944

Sherman_tanks_carrying_infantry_wait_to_advance_at_the_start_of_Operation_'Goodwood',_Normandy,_18_July_1944._B7511Sherman tanks carrying infantry wait to advance at the start of Operation ‘Goodwood’, Normandy, 18 July 1944.

British_infantry_and_Sherman_tanks_wait_to_advance_at_the_start_of_Operation_'Goodwood',_Normandy,_18_July_1944._B7513Infantry and Sherman tanks wait to advance at the start of Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944. A Sherman Firefly is in the foreground.

594px-FightinggoodwoodSoldiers of 1st Welsh Guards in action near Cagny during Operation Goodwood

Sherman_tanks_of_the_Staffordshire_Yeomanry,_27th_Armoured_Brigade,_carrying_infantry_from_3rd_Division,_move_up_at_the_start_of_Operation_'Goodwood',_Normandy,_18_July_1944._B7520Sherman tanks of the Staffordshire Yeomanry, 27th Armoured Brigade, carrying infantry from 3rd Division, move up at the start of Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

600px-York_bridgeCromwell tanks moving across ‘York’ bridge, a Bailey bridge over the Caen canal and the Orne river, during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

601px-ShermancrossingbridgegoodwoodA Sherman Firefly crosses ‘Euston Bridge’ over the Orne as it moves up to the start line for Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

593px-GoodwoodfigthingpositionInfantry and tanks wait to advance at the start of Operation ‘Goodwood’.

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King_Tiger_rammedA King Tiger of the 503rd heavy tank battalion, after it has been rammed by a British Sherman commanded by Lieutenant John Gorman of the 2nd Armoured Irish Guards, Guards Armoured Division during Operation Goodwood. Gorman and his crew then captured most of the Tiger’s crew. The event took place on 18 July 1944 to the west of Cagny, Normandy, France.

The_British_Army_in_Normandy_1944_B7529Loyd carriers and 6-pdr anti-tank guns of 3rd Irish Guards advance during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

601px-The_British_Army_in_Normandy_1944_B7549Sherman Crab flail tanks advance south of Escoville during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

745px-The_Campaign_in_Normandy_1944_B8032German PzKpfw VI Tiger tank overturned during the Allied heavy bombing at the beginning of Operation ‘Goodwood’, July 1944.

602px-The_British_Army_in_Normandy_1944_B7649Cromwell tanks assembled for Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

601px-The_British_Army_in_Normandy_1944_B7553Sherman tanks and Crab flail tanks advance with infantry south of Escoville during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

598px-The_British_Army_in_Normandy_1944_B7563Cromwell tanks of 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry advance near Escoville during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

606px-The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7524Sherman tanks of 23rd Hussars, 11th Armoured Division, make their way across open ground in front of the factory chimneys at Colombelles steelworks during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

598px-The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7543Sherman tanks and a Sherman Firefly move through Escoville during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

601px-The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7506Sherman flail tank moves up to cross the Orne river during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7674Smiling German Prisoner of War during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

604px-The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7538A tank commander talks to infantry on his Sherman Crab flail tank at the start of Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

597px-The_British_Army_in_the_Normandy_Campaign_1944_B7557Sherman Firefly carrying infantry during Operation ‘Goodwood’, 18 July 1944.

All images courtesy of Wikipedia