Allied Victory at the Falaise Pocket

The Falaise Pocket was the site of a primary engagement at the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War, which involved a strong Allied victory of Hitler’s Nazi forces. It took place during the penultimate year of the war, at a time when the Germans could scarcely afford another loss. Although Hitler had some reason to think he might be able to gain an advantage, the Battle of Falaise Pocket turned out to be an ill-advised move that resulted in heavy losses by the German army.

Hundreds of thousands of Nazis gathered in Normandy, ready to do battle with their enemy. It was not long, however, before they were completely surrounded on three sides. While many did manage to escape, many also lost their lives. Even some of those who ran from the Battle of Falaise Pocket found themselves surrounded elsewhere. Thousands were killed off the banks of the Dives River, victims of a fierce Allied assault. The battle was given a fitting title, attributed to the fact that the Nazis were almost literally pocketed by the Allied forces. Bodies littered the battlefield, and German spirits were all but obliterated by their loss.

The engagement itself took place almost precisely seven decades ago, on the fifteenth of August in 1944. This is the second time a major Allied assault in Normandy has seen its seventieth anniversary this year, with the anniversary of Falaise Pocket following the semi-recent anniversary of D-Day. If there were ever any doubt that 1944 was a big year for the Allied forces, these two anniversaries make it clear that the tides of war reached a major turning point the year before the conflict ended, The Telegraph reports.

The Allied victory off the banks of the Dives River was essentially a climactic result of what had begun two and a half months prior, when the Allied landing ships reached the beaches of Normandy. Falaise Pocket and everything that followed saw the culmination of the long and hard-fought Allied struggle to storm their way through France and liberate the nation from the occupying Nazi troops. After weeks and months of doubts, set-backs, and hesitations, the Allies finally saw that their mission was truly achievable.

Seventy years on, the site of Falaise Pocket is a much different place. The blood has dried, the bodies have been cleared away, and the landscape has regained its beauty. Not surprisingly, this locale will soon set the scene for a number of commemoration ceremonies in honor of the Allied victory that helped solidify their eventual triumph. Though the sheer brutality of the battle itself was horrendous, many are able to celebrate Falaise Pocket for the effects it had on the arduous Allied struggle.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE