Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseWhile the bulk of the Allied forces moved eastward toward Paris, General Troy Middleton's VIII Corps (of George Patton's Third Army) moved in the opposite direction to secure the Brittany Peninsula after breaking German formation at Avranches. By removing German control of Brittany, additional ports would become available for the Allies' use. Middleton's first move called for the Fourth Armored Division to move southward, taking Rennes on August 4th and Nantes on August 6th. This initial move trapped four German divisions at the peninsula. Then the Americans turned back north, taking the small port of St. Malo on 14 Aug after three days of fierce German resistance.
ww2dbaseAt this point, realizing that the combination of Allied bombing and German sabotage had already rendered many ports in the region useless, General Omar Bradley ordered Middleton to simply besiege the remaining major ports of Brest, Lorient, and St. Nazaire, and avoided major confrontations that would cause unnecessary casualties.
ww2dbaseAt Brest, Middleton slowly wore down General Ramcke and his airborne troops with a series of small attacks, while Allied bombers from Britain bombed the city. Brest fell to the Allies on 19 Aug, though still at a cost of 10,000 casualties. Lorient and St. Nazaire were under siege for the remainder of the war. General Fahrmbacher held on to Lorient until 10 May 1945, and General Junck surrendered his garrison at Saint Nazaire on 11 May.
ww2dbaseSource: Crusade in Europe, the World at War.
Last Major Update: Aug 2005
Brittany Campaign Interactive Map
Brittany Campaign Timeline
|6 Aug 1944||In France, US 4th Armored Division advanced to Lorient and US 6th Armored Division advanced toward Brest.|
|1 Sep 1944||US troops began their attack on Brest, France.|
|13 Sep 1944||The German garrison at Brest, France maintained heavy resistance against US Ninth Army.|
|18 Sep 1944||US Ninth Army captured Brest, France.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945