Battle of Saint Malo

The Battle of Saint-Malo was an engagement fought between Allied and German forces to control the French coastal town of Saint-Malo during World War II. The battle formed part of the Allied breakout across France, and took place between 4 August and 2 September 1944. United States Army units, with the support of Free French and British forces, successfully assaulted the town and defeated its German defenders. Much of Saint-Malo was destroyed in the fighting. The German garrison on an island off the shore continued to resist until 2 September.

Saint-Malo was one of the French towns which were designated as fortresses as part of the German Atlantic Wall program, and its pre-war defenses were considerably expanded prior to the Allied landings in Normandy during June 1944. The town had been selected for use as port by Allied pre-invasion planning and, after some debate, it was decided to capture rather than contain it as Allied forces broke out of Normandy and entered Brittany in August 1944.

After initial attempts to quickly capture the locality failed, US Army forces began a siege operation. Infantry units attacked and defeated large numbers of fortified German positions with the support of artillery and aircraft. A fortification on the edge of Saint-Malo was the final German position on the mainland to hold out, and surrendered on 17 August. After extensive air and naval bombardments, the garrison on the nearby island of Cézembre surrendered on 2 September. Due to the extensive damage caused by German demolitions, it proved impractical to use Saint-Malo as a port. The town was also heavily damaged during the battle and was rebuilt after the war.

Date: July 25 to July 31 1944
Location: Saint-Malo
Country: France

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