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Breaching The Ramparts: The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division's Capture Of Boulogne In World War Two

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The First Canadian Armys performance during the Normandy Campaign has received mixed criticisms by allies and historians alike. Montgomery, commander of the British 21st Army Group, was very critical of the Canadian Army for what he perceived as a lack of speed and boldness. Despite these criticisms, the Canadian Army performed admirably in many cases. Its achievements testified to its ability to learn and adapt as it gained experience. This was evident in its clearance operations along the English Channel coast, aimed at alleviating the Allies supply problems and enabling Montgomerys pursuit across the Ruhr. One of these ports was at Boulogne, whose capture fell to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The Germans defenders had a division-sized element, while the understrength 3rd Division only had two brigades available for its main assault. Yet, despite their disadvantaged position, the Canadians achieved their mission. The aim of this monograph is to examine the effectiveness of the 3rd Divisions performance by looking at three key elements the commanders ability to adapt his understanding of the environment to an operational method, his ability to visualize an operational method based on his understanding of his mission, and his ability to describe and direct the operation. These elements will help determine whether the divisions capture of Boulogne was actually to its ability to effectively plan and execute a challenging operation.

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