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Over 800,000 shells were fired during the complex artillery bombardment (amended late in the day) which included elaborate schedules for creating uncratered 'tank lanes' - at least 100 yards wide - to allow better progress for the armoured vehicles. In some instances these unshelled areas merely created spaces for unimpeded enemy firezones or spared the German defensive machine gun positions which fortuitously occupied them - with disastrous consequences for the attacking infantry.

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