With the crushing defeat of the German armies at Falaise, the Allied commanders set their sights on crossing the Seine and liberating the French capital city of Paris, bringing Operation OVERLORD to a conclusion. Huw Hopkins writes for GAR.
Even as fighting continued in the Falaise Gap, American forces struck out towards the Seine, which they crossed near Mantes on 19 August, with the Commonwealth forces following behind at Vernon on the 24th of the month.
All of the ground forces wanted to be part of the liberation of Paris and those which were chosen to drive further south into France and West into Brittany were sorely disappointed that they would miss out.
The German military commander of Paris, Lieutenant General Choltitz had been ordered to defend the suburbs of the city but knew the reality of being able to do so was unlikely; he also did not want to see the destruction of many of the historic buildings in the city. Eisenhower agreed that the first Allied military units to enter the city would be the Free French 2nd Armoured Division and after sporadic fighting, Choltitz surrendered on 25 August.
Operation OVERLORD officially ended on 30 August, however this did not mean the end of the advance, with the Allied forces storming past Paris and continuing to drive the remnants of the German forces across the Somme. Montgomery had always held the goal of crossing the Seine within D+90 and he had achieved this.
Although this brings our chronological coverage of the Battle of Normandy to a conclusion, we have more Operation OVERLORD related content to come over the next couple of months.
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