The Americans expanded their beachheads, capturing
the port of Cherbourg, and then moved south to break through the
German lines at Avranches. Spreading out to the west, south, and
east, they flanked the German 7th Army and reached Argentan. The
Americans moved swiftly, encountering less resistance than the
British and Canadians who - after taking Caen - inched slowly
southward to meet up with the Americans at Argentan. This was
an attempt to cut off the German 7th Army. Fierce, bloody resistance
was met at the town of Falaise.
The Germans fought to keep a corridor open for
retreat, but the advancing Allied armies ultimately closed all
avenues of escape. Almost 40,000 Germans managed to escape to
fight another day, but 10,000 died and 50,000 were captured. For
Hitler, Falaise was the worst defeat since Stalingrad. When the
Allied Supreme Commander Eisenhower saw the aftermath, he wrote:
"It was literary possible to walk for hundreds of yards at
a time, stepping on nothing but dead and decaying flesh."
Falaise became known as "The Killing Grounds".