American General Omar Bradley’s decision to stop Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army at Argentan, France, on Aug. 12, 1944, gave the German armies in the Falaise Pocket a chance to escape encirclement.
Montgomery accepted Bradley’s decision and ordered the Canadians to capture Falaise before turning east to close the gap at Trun and Chambois.
On the morning of Aug. 15, three Canadian divisions converged on Falaise, a town which the corps commander, Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, thought was the wrong objective. Simonds could not disobey orders, but he could decide to use his only reserve, the battered Polish Armoured Division, to manoeuvre around the German positions and strike south to meet the Americans at Chambois.
The Poles started east at 11 a.m., moving in two columns over...