After storming the beaches on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of France bogged down in seven weeks of grueling attrition in Normandy. On July 25, U.S. divisions under Gen. Omar Bradley launched Operation Cobra, an attempt to break out of the hedgerows and begin a war of movement across France. Despite a disastrous start, with misdropped bombs killing hundreds of GIs, Cobra proved to be one of the most pivotal battles of World War II, successfully breaking the stalemate in Normandy and clearing a path into occupied France.
James Jay Carafano, a retired army lieutenant colonel, has taught at West Point, the Naval War College, National Defense University, and Georgetown. He lives near Washington, DC.