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Normandy Battle Coming to Climax
Source: "Pampa News (By Associated Press)", August 18, 1944
Submitted by Cheryl Blevins
Transcribed by Charlie Vines

A battle of annihilation on the grand Russian scale, expected to climax within the next 48 hours, blazed tonight in the Normandy trap, crunching in its vise of the doomed legions of Field Marshal Gen. Guenther von Kluge, as Berlin broadcasts declared American armor had stabbed within 12 miles of besieged Paris.

The desperate Germans, scourged by swarms of Allied aerial might, fled in general retreat toward the shelter of the Seine river in the direction of Rouen.

British and Canadian forces in thrusts below the mouth of the Seine shaped a new trap for the disorganized German Seventh army, estimated to have been cut down to between 40,000 and 100,000 men. Berlin told of heavy battles on the western approaches to Paris, but there were indications that Lt. Gen. George S Patton, possibly in a new feint toward the French capital, again was cutting in behind the Germans and in conjunction with the British and Canadian drives was corraling the fleeing enemy before a "Dunkerque" escape could be effected across the meandering Seine.

PATTON'S OPERATIONS SECRET
Allied headquarters veiled in secrecy Patton's operations west of Paris. At the northern flank of the Allied line, British troops advanced four to six miles beyound Troarn on the winding road to the port of Le Havre, capturing four towns.

A voice over the Paris wave length shouted in German, "They are coming." A battlefront dispatch said Patton's armored columns were pounding along the "last lap toward" Paris in a broad 70-mile arc.

A Swiss newspaper asserted that the German soldiers were fortifying Paris for a pitched battle.

Some 400 miles to the south of the Paris battle theater, Maj. Gen. Alexander M. Patchs forces invading southern France won strategic positions along a coastal highway leading toward the Rhone valley, against resistance that was officially reported as crumbling. The U. S. Seventh army surged inland from points 30 miles or more beyond the 50-mile long beachhead after seizing five road centers.

Gen. Eisenhower's headquarters announced the capture of the rail and road junction of Authon (pop.1,269), 30 miles southwest of Paris, in a swift drive 21 miles due east of Chartres across the Aunay river.

An Allied supreme command spokesman told patriots with Paris, "The day is not far off when you will have to rise and chase out the enemy and his accomplices. You can already hear the guns and soon will hear the rumble of the tanks." The spokesman gave the French underground instructions over the American broadcasting station in Europe.

Allied warplanes cooperated closely with ground forces in shaping a new trap for routed German forces attempting to escape across the Seine. Medium and light bombers blasted 16 bridges acros the Risle river west of the Seine yesterday, and a great fleet of bombers from Britain dealth a followup blow today. The Germans were reported concentrating hundreds of barges for a "Dunkerques" escape attempt across the Seine.

In southern France, American assault casualties were estimated at less than 300 while German prisoners, including a general and his staff, were estimated at 7,000. Latest official reports places Patch's forces within 10 miles of Toulon and within six miles of Cannes on the Riveria. A Berlin broadcast reported fresh Allied landings on both sides of Toulon.

Gen. Cherniakhovsky's Third White Russian army drove to the very frontier of East Prussia and threatened momentarily to carry ground fighting to German soil. The Russians were reported massing for a crossing of the Szeszuppe river after checking strong German counter-attacks.

A Moscow broadcast reported that the Germans falling back on their own territory were burning German towns and villages along the East Prussia border in a scorched earth stratgy. Moscow broadcast said the Russians were reported to have crossed the border.



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