Panzer IVs comprised around half of the available German tank strength on the Western Front prior to the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Most of the 11 panzer divisions that saw action in Normandy initially contained an armoured regiment of one battalion of Panzer IVs and another of Panthers, for a total of around 160 tanks, although Waffen-SS panzer divisions were generally larger and better equipped than their Army counterparts. Regular upgrades to the Panzer IV had helped to maintain its reputation as a formidable opponent. The bocage countryside in Normandy favoured defence, and German tanks and anti-tank guns inflicted very heavy casualties on Allied Armor during the Normandy campaign, despite the overwhelming Allied air superiority. However, despite the general superiority of its armoured vehicles, by 29 August 1944, as the last surviving German troops of fifth Panzer Army and seventh Army began retreating towards Germany, the twin cataclysms of the Falaise Pocket and the Seine crossing had cost the Wehrmacht dearly. Of the 2,300 tanks and assault guns it had committed to Normandy including around 750 Panzer 4 Tanks over 2,200 had been lost.
The capture of Caen and Carpiquet at the same time was followed immediately by renewed attacks west of the city in order to capture the high ground between the Odon and the Orne, to encircle Caen from the south, and above all to continue to engage the main German force so it could not block an American breakout to the south. This time the attack was on a broader front with no fewer than six divisions: the 49th and 50th attacked south to Hottot, the 59th attacked south to Noyers, the 15th Scottish was to attack Evrecy, an objective of EPSOM, followed by the 53rd, and in the first attack the 43rd Division was to capture Hill 112 and Maltot on 10th July 1944.
Between 29 June, when the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions regained the hill, and 23 July, when they were driven from Maltot, the area around Hill 112 changed hands many times and thousands of Allied and German troops were killed or wounded on its bloody slopes. The 43rd Division alone lost more than 2,000 men in the first 36 hours of operation JUPITER to regain Hill 112. It was reported that the Odon River was dammed with corpses.
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