August Footnote 2: "Bocage"

"'Pleasantly shaded woodland,' says Larousse for 'bocage.' The woodland stands between small thickly banked hedgerows, enclosing fields first won from the wastes by Celtic farmers who tilled the land before the coming of the Romans, and separated by narrow and winding lanes. Through over a thousand years of growth the roots of hedgerows have bound the banks into barriers which will rebuff even bulldozers, while winter rains and the hooves of Norman cattle have worn the surface of the roadways deep beneath the level of the surrounding fields. The countryside is thus perfectly suited to anti-tank defense. Tank crews which will brave it must expect a bazooka shot from every field boundary or risk ambush in lanes so constricted that they cannot traverse their turret. And if, in the hope of faster progress, they cling to the larger roads, they will be brought every few hundred yards to strong , stone-built villages in which every house forms an infantry fortress, every barn a hiding place for an anti-tank gun. Bocage, for all the soldiers of the Liberation armies, swiftly lost its pleasant sylvan undertones. Bocage came to mean the sudden, unheralded burst of machine-pistol fire at close quarters, the crash and flame of a panzerfaust strike on the hull of a blind and pinioned tank." John Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy, p. 152-3

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