5th ARMORED'S ROLE IN FALAISE TRAP BARED
After a 300 mile drive through enemy held territory in Normandy, the 5th Armored Division sprang the trap from the South on German forces at Falaise, it was disclosed yesterday, as Army censorship removed the division from the secret list.
Commanded by Gen. Lunsford E. Oliver, the division started from upper Normandy on August 1 and in 20 days pushed a total of 400 miles to reach the Seine.
The division's horseshoe-shaped thrust to Argentan was the first successful employment of a full armored division in an exploitation mission behind enemy lines. In this operation, the outfit advanced 150 miles south through Fougeres and Vitre, then continued 100 miles east to Le Mans, swinging 50 miles north to Argentan.
FIRST IN LE MANS
Troops of the Fifth Armored were the first to enter Le Mans, Aug. 9th, and the first in Argentan, Aug. 13. In both instances the cities were taken over by other units to allow the 5th to continue its exploiting mission.
Between Argentan and Gace the Fifth Armored engaged the Germans in three days' hard fighting, while allied units advanced from Caen to Falaise to form the other jaw of the pincers. The Germans, attacked from both north and south and hammered continuously from the air, suffered extremely heavy casualties.
DRIVE TO EURE
The outfit then drove east 70 miles to the Eure River in a single night and liberated Dreux the following Day, Aug. 16. After crossing the Eure, the division remained in contact with the Germans between the Eure and the Seine until the pocket was cleaned out. On Aug. 20, the Fifth reached the Seine at Vernon, 35 miles from Paris.
In one month of almost constant fighting, the division killed 2,811 Nazis and took 4,325 prisoners. The Fifth's own losses were light — approximately 125 dead and 500 wounded. In the same period the outfit destroyed 201 tanks.
I certify that this is a true extract copy of an item from the Stars and Stripes, 6 November 1944.
EDWIN M. COATES
Transcribed by Jim Sorensen—October 26, 2009
N.B. — Minor typographical errors corrected.