World Battlefronts: Heavy Going

Cold, drizzling rain had turned much of the Normandy front into bogland. But the Allied troops slowly pushed ahead, slopping through mud and water, building up the pressure of guns and armor until they cracked stubborn German defenses at both ends of the line. In the payoff at week's end the British and Canadians finally drove into the battered, rubble-strewn city of Caen; on the western side the Americans sliced through at La Haye-du-Puits and drove south.

Crush-Through. Taken together, the two gains were the greatest invasion success since the fall of Cherbourg. One...