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Operation Goodwood Documentary – Part 2/4 – The Prelude – Tank Battle WW2


1976 Production

Operation Goodwood was a British offensive in the Second World War, that took place between 18 and 20 July 1944 as part of the battle for Caen in Normandy, France. The objective of the operation was a limited attack to the south, to capture the rest of Caen and the Bourguébus Ridge beyond. At least one historian has called the operation the largest tank battle that the British Army has ever fought.

Goodwood was preceded by preliminary attacks later called the Second Battle of the Odon. The offensive began when the British VIII Corps, with three armoured divisions, attacked to seize the German-held Bourguébus Ridge, the area between Bretteville-sur-Laize and Vimont and to inflict maximum casualties on the Germans. On 18 July, the British I Corps conducted an advance to secure a series of villages and the eastern flank of VIII Corps and to the west, the II Canadian Corps launched Operation Atlantic, synchronised with Goodwood, to capture the rest of Caen south of the Orne River. When Operation Goodwood ended on 20 July, the armoured divisions had broken through the outer German defences and advanced 7 mi (11 km) but had been stopped short of Bourguébus Ridge, only armoured cars having penetrated further south and beyond the ridge.

While Goodwood failed in its primary aim, it forced the Germans to keep powerful formations opposite the British and Canadians on the eastern flank of the Normandy beachhead and Operation Cobra, the First US Army attack which began on 25 July, caused the weaker German defences opposite to collapse.

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