At the end of July 1944, the retreating German Army passed through the town of Avranches in the south of Normandy. Rushing south on a parallel road was Gen. Patton and his third Army, only recently put into the battle.

Avranches sits high on a plateau, overlooking the low lying land that Patton had to cover, and had the Germans had enough time to make a stand on the high ground this might have been different.

Instead they choose to make a stand on the bridge at Pontaubault over the river (La Selune) to the south of the town.

This opposition was quickly overcome and Patton’s Third Army, comprising seven divisions crossed the bridge in three days to then fight in different directions and liberate France. Patton famously said that from this bridge, his was the only army in history to fight in all four directions of the compass at once.


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