72 Years Ago| Operation Cobra: The Mission Gone Unspeakably Wrong
This Day In WWII: July 25, 1944
Seven weeks after the invasion of Normandy, American soldiers were on the frontline of the battle against the Nazis in the European Theater of War. After securing Normandy the Allied Forces encountered a stalemate against the Germany army and were unable to press forward through France without seriously endangering their own troops. General Omar Bradley commander of the US First Army was eager to advance his forces devised a plan called Operation Cobra which involved sending over 2000 bombers to attack the Nazi garrisons after American troops had vacated the area. General Bradley proceeded despite poor weather conditions that day and the B-17 bombers attacked the holdouts in Normandy, but all did not go as intended.
“What happened was the bombs they dropped left smoke behind. And the Americans mistook that smoke for the smoke of their own smoke screen which they had worked out and bombers assumed that was an empty space and it’s actually full of American soldiers. And they bombed it from these B-17s these immense bombs and they bombed it for a long time and killed a great many American Soldiers.”
– Paul Fussell Jr.
Due to poor planning Operation Cobra caused 150 friendly fire casualties including the death of General Lesley McNair the highest ranking US official killed in the European Theater of War. The attack opened the line for American soldiers to mobilize and advance throughout France but in the aftermath, many Americans lost their lives and those details were kept hidden by the US Military to keep up morale.