[Daily article] August 12: Falaise Pocket

In the Battle of the Falaise Pocket (12–21 August 1944) in the Second
World War, Allied forces encircled and destroyed most of the German Army
Group B west of the Seine river in a pocket at Falaise in northwestern
France. It was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy. The
Americans had broken out from the Normandy beachhead, the Third U.S.
Army under General George Patton was rapidly advancing, and British and
Canadian forces were launching offensives south of Caumont and Caen.
Adolf Hitler ordered Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, the commander of
Army Group B, to conduct a counter-offensive at Mortain instead of
withdrawing. Four depleted panzer divisions were not enough to stop the
First U.S. Army, which converged with the British Second Army and the
First Canadian Army on the Falaise–Chambois area, directed by the
Allied ground forces commander, General Bernard Montgomery. German
counter-attacks forced some gaps in the Allied lines, but by the evening
of 21 August the pocket had been sealed, with around 50,000 Germans
trapped inside. Many escaped, but losses in men and equipment were huge.
A few days later, the Allies liberated Paris.

Read more:

Today’s selected anniversaries:


American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Deimos, the smaller
of the two moons of Mars.


The last known quagga (example pictured), a subspecies of the
plains zebra, died at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.


World War I: Despite the Belgian victory in the Battle of
Halen, they were ultimately unable to stop the German invasion of


The IBM Personal Computer, the original version and progenitor
of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform, was introduced.


The Oscar-class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy
suffered an on-board explosion and sank in the Barents Sea during a
military exercise.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

1. (historical) A type of bronze used for making cannons.
2. An alloy of 88% copper, 10% tin and 2% zinc, originally used for making
3. A dark grey or bluish-grey colour; gunmetal-grey.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  I wish I could write a book that will be read for as long as our
civilization lasts … would value it much more highly than any business
success if I could contribute to an understanding of the world in which
we live or, better yet, if I could help to preserve the economic and
political system that has allowed me to flourish as a participant.
–George Soros

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