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World War II Wiki
World War II Wiki

The Battle of Cherbourg was a battle that occurred in the French coastal town of Cherbourg in 1944. It was fought between American and German forces as part of the Normandy Campaign and resulted in a key strategic victory for the Allies. Beginning on the very day of the Invasion of Normandy, the fight for Cherbourg and the Cotentin peninsula it was located on continued until June 30, 1944. In the end, the battle proved a great success for the Allies, providing them with access to a major port sooner than initially anticipated by the Germans, however the defenders of the city had managed to successfully damage the port enough so that it could not be put into use until August of that year.

Casualties of the battle numbered about 2,811 Americans killed, 13,564 wounded, and 5,665 missing.[1] German casualties numbered about 7,000 killed or missing and 30,000 captured.


American Plans[]

Fighting as an extension from the Utah beach landing site, the men of the American VII Corps making their way to Cherbourg were under the command of Major General J. Lawton Collins, himself operating under Lieutenant General Omar Bradley. From Operation Neptune's very beginning, Cherbourg was planned a key city to be captured to provide the Allied forces with a suitable port to offload the necessary supplies needed to keep the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe progressing. Allied strategic planners had wanted the port secured by D+14 (D-Day + 14 days), though this date was pushed back by a day to account for newly moved German troops that had entered the region. The decided upon course of action was to advance northward from the Utah beachhead and right of the Douve river until the city had been captured. [1]

German Plans[]

The commanders of the German forces fighting in Cherbourg and the Cotentin peninsula were Generals Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben and Friedrich Dollmann. Despite strong German feelings that any Allied landing would come in the much shorter crossing point, the Pas-de-Calais, German strategists recognized Normandy, specifically its ports of Cherbourg and Le Havre as potential landing sites. Accordingly, German positions were strengthened and troops sent to the Cotentin peninsula, with ideas of Cherbourg and Le Havre becoming future Allied objectives being supported by what appeared to be lighter Allied bombing of both cities. Regardless, German forces in France generally all had the same problem of a lack of immediate mobility to respond to whatever landing site had actually been chosen by the Allies.




  1. 1.0 1.1 Zaloga, Steven J. Cherbourg 1944. Osprey Publishing (2015), Page 91