This photograph shows US soldiers marching in Saint-Lô after another major victory, on July 1944. Whatever beauty the place had was lost after a heavy Allied bombardment destroyed 95% of the city. Saint-Lô was later on referred to as “The Capital of Ruins,” because that is all that was left after it was finally conquered.
After the invasion of Normandy, this section of the country remained a vital point because of its strategic crossroads where food, medical supplies, and ammunition were sent through to keep the enemy strong. The Americans knew they had no choice but to win back the area. It was one of three major conflicts in the Battle of Hedgerows that occurred between July 9th and 24th.
Normandy Was Conquered
The beaches of Normandy were critical to their plan to push the tactical invasion through France. It served as their base, and from there they would relentlessly launch countryside attacks in the hope of sweeping the land clean. They fought in towns, followed meandering tracks, ambushed, and clashed in close quarters.
Soon enough, the Allied forces would increase their presence in the area. They secured the port of Cherbourg, the infusion of 850,000 troops and 150,000 vehicles followed. This picture shows the influx of US soldiers, military trucks, and jeeps driving into town after a hard battle.
The Attack's Aftermath On France
The featured photo shows us what Normandy looked like after the initial push of Allied troops inland. Residences were turned to rubble after the bombing, and these soldiers were tasked with dusting up whatever was left of the resistance, which made them more vulnerable in close quarters.
Meanwhile, enemy forces would regroup in neighboring towns. They would take advantage of the destruction of cities by setting up snipers in nooks, and placing traps. Shootouts became more difficult to win, and the Germans were determined to prevent the Axis from losing any more ground.
The Aftermath At Saint-Lô
This photograph shows two boys, likely brothers, perched atop a tree, witnessing the Allied victory in Normandy. It doesn’t seem very much like the happy moment they must have anticipated when imagining the day the last of the Axis troops would be rooted out of their hiding place. The once proud buildings became badly perforated, some reduced to sticks, no bigger than toothpicks when viewed from a distance; in heaps of splinters, burning, broken, a shadow of Saint-Lô used to be before the war.
The Americans reached the Seine River, and Paris was liberated from the Nazis not long after. This was the last phase of the Battle of Normandy, and the objectives were veering towards Germany. They planned on meeting the Soviets from the East, so they could team up and surround the base of the Nazi regime and chop it down.
Welcomed By The French
The success of the Normandy invasion resulted in heaps of destruction. People were hungry and homeless, but with practically nothing left after the long battle, they welcomed the Allied troops with open arms. Never would you expect to see such smiling faces in the midst of such ruins.
They were just glad the Nazis were finally dead or captured. Finally, they had real lives ahead of them again, a future to work on, and regain what had been lost. This was a major victory for the Allies. Without Normandy, the Germans could no longer send reinforcements through France to the Eastern Front to deal with the crawling Soviets. This proved a major disadvantage to them, and it would turn the tide forever against their cause.