Allied Forces Launch Assault on Le Havre to begin Operation Astonia
Operation Astonia was a battle fought during the Siegfried Line Campaign of World War II from 10 September 1944 to 12 September 1944.
The Allied objective of the operation was the capture of the German-held port of Le Havre. The attack on a fort described by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery as "one of the strongest fortresses of the Atlantic Wall" was a combined attack with elements of both the Canadian and British armed forces and participation from naval and aviation units, and has been described as 'a model of combined operations', with the fort falling within three days of the first assault.
Le Havre was to be dealt with by Sir John Crocker's 1st British Corps, now composed of the 49th (West Riding) and 51st (Highland) Divisions. Strongly fortified and garrisoned by some 12,000 men, it could be taken only by a deliberate "set-piece" attack. From 5 September onward the defences were repeatedly bombarded by the R.A.F. Bomber Command and the 15-inch guns of the battleship Warspite and the monitor Erebus.