This Day in U.S. Military History 28 July 1945
US 1st Army continues its offensive. The US 8th Corps breaks through between Lessy and Periers, capturing both towns. As large numbers of German soldiers are killed or surrender and their armored equipment is destroyed by constant air attack Operation COBRA, the planned Allied breakout from Normandy, continues. This operation, which was supposed to start with a massive aerial bombardment of the German defensive lines along the Vire River on July 24th led instead to one of the worst incidents of “friendly fire” during World War II. Due to poor visibility the bomber strike was called off; however, some of the squadrons did not get the word and dropped their loads on top of North Carolina’s 120th Infantry, an element of the 30th Infantry Division composed of Guard units North and South Carolina and Tennessee. Because word of the cancelled attack had also not reached the frontline soldiers the Guardsmen of the 120th instead of being ‘dug in’ were exposed waiting for the word to advance. More than 150 men were killed or wounded in this mistake. Cobra started the next day, again with some Americans being stuck by our own bombs, but with more hitting the enemy. The 30th Division and other American units punched through the Nazis lines and by early August the Allied armies would break out of Normandy completely, liberating Paris on August 25th.
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