National Archives catalogue number WO 170/518.
L of C
Airborne Forces Headquarters
Battalion Combat Team
Division / Divisional
Forward Observation Officer
Landing Craft Tank
Light Machine Gun
Line of Communication
Officer Cadet Training Unit
Observation Post / Operation (if lower case)
Prisoner of War
Regimental Combat Team
Special Service Force
Month and year : August 1944
Commanding Officer : Brig C.H.V. Pritchard
1st August 1944
Bde Comd visited 1 Airborne Task Force and had further discussions with Gen Fredericks.
2nd August 1944
Preparation for the operation proceeds rapidly. The Bde Maj conducted Exercise 'CUMBERSOME' in order to familiarise Bde HQ and attached personnel with Group and R.V. drill. During the afternoon Col Evans, Comd Artillery Depot, visited the Bde Comd and discussed various problems.
3rd August 1944
Training and preparation still in progress. The Lt Bty and ATk Bty carried out Glider Exercise 'LOAD' with completely satisfactory results. During the afternoon Bde Exercise 'THISTLEDOWN' was started and the Bde Gp moved to CAMPINO and GALERA Airfields.
4th August 1944
Bde Exercise 'THISTLEDOWN' cancelled after first two groups were already airborne. Pathfinders had already dropped but owing to heavy ground mist it was decided to cancel remainder. Some difficulty was experienced in landing owing to ground mist at aerodrome. The Airfield control and administration proved very successful.
5th August 1944
Deputy Comd and party moved off to join 36 US Inf Div and seaborne party. He also took certain signal personnel and the demonstration squad.
6th August 1944
The Bde Comd and CO 6 Bn visited 517 US Para Regt, later the Bde Comd went to HQ 1 Airborne Task Force. In the evening a conference of all Staff Officers and sp arms was held to discuss certain phases of the operational roles.
7th August 1944
In the morning a further conference was held and all COs gave their detailed plans which were then coordinated. In the afternoon the Bde Comd flew to CASERTA to see the Chief of Staff AFHQ and stayed the night.
8th August 1944
The BM and IO took part in Task Force HQ Signals Exercise. Final preparation of Briefing Room for mass briefing. The Bde Comd visited 36 Inf Div HQ and discussed final tie up of Tac HQ.
9th August 1944
General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson visited the Bde and lunched at Bde HQ Mess. He spoke to all the men and officers and expressed great interest in the Bde's activities. He also presented wings to the latest qualifying course.
10th August 1944
Briefing of Coy Comds and above. The American Cml Coy are also using our Briefing Room. Preparations at TARQUINIA now proceeding fast.
11th August 1944
Briefing material taken to TARQUINIA. Maj Coulthard arranged mobile film unit to film the briefing at TARQUINIA.
12th August 1944
Bde Comd visited 1 Airborne Task Force HQ and discussed operation with Gen Fredericks. Pl Comds briefed and final preparations put in hand. All men issued with Union Jacks, morphia and extra field and shell dressings.
13th August 1944
All gliders loaded and briefing of Glider Pilots with mobile film unit taking shots of briefing. The BM briefs Bde HQ and later Group Comds each brief own groups. All preparations completed and just waiting to go.
14th August 1944
Concentration at Bde - prepare to move. Bde move to Airfield carried out successfully. Bde lives happily under the wings of their planes. A fine night and after a few hours restless sleep the roar of engines and DRAGOON was airborne.
15th August 1944
Half an hour before first light Bde HQ landed. By 0615 hrs Bde HQ had been set up in LE MITAN, operation was going well, wireless comn established with 4 & 6 Bns and also Tac Bde. 5 Bn very scattered. In the evening the Horsa Gliders landed on the Bde LZ having been delayed by bad weather. By 2000 hrs the Bde arty was in fair strength, 64 Bty having 10 guns in action, 300 ATk Bty having 12 and the Mortar Coy having two pls in action. Large numbers of prisoners had been taken, all original objectives achieved with very slight losses and 'D' Day ended in a quiet note.
16th August 1944
A quiet night with our patrols active but little or no enemy activity. At 0915 hrs Col Pearson arrived by light plane and landed on the strip prepared by the Indep Pl. He brought up to the minute news of the attack. At 1020 hrs the first resupply came, the planes flew high and fast and containers and baskets were scattered far and wide. During the afternoon the American 550 Bn put in an attack on LE MUY and later 4 Bn occupied LE MUY and the factory area to the East. At 1340 hrs Tac Bde reported that the Seaborne forces had taken FREJUS at 0900 hrs and were advancing towards LE MUY. At 2100 hrs reports again received from Tac that 142 RCT were advancing towards LE MUY and would not stop until contact made with Para Force.
17th August 1944
After another quiet night 4 Bn reported contact with forward elements of 36 US Div at 0700 hrs. At 0730 hrs Col Pearson and the CO of leading Bn 142 RCT arrived at Bde HQ and joined the Bde Comd at breakfast. At 1100 hrs a further re-supply landed on the LE MITAN LZ. At 1130 hrs ordered to prepare to move to concentration area. Bde HQ to be established at CLASTRON. The move started at 1200 hrs and despite the lack of transport and the bulk of equipment that had to be moved Bde HQ was firmly established at its new location by 1600 hrs. During the afternoon the Bde Comd held a conference to discuss the regrouping of the Bde and to gain a clear picture of the equipment state. The Bde was now prepared to move into Army Reserve.
18th August 1944
Reorganisation and re-equipping of Bde is put in hand immediately. Conference held at Bde HQ to discuss salvage. The Bde Comd left for HQ 1 Airborne Task Force and brought back the news that the Bde would be used in the FAYENCE - CANNES sector. The Bde was put on 3 hours notice from 1000 hrs on 19th.
19th August 1944
The Bde salvage drive progressing very well. By the middle of the morning it is possible to practically re-equip the Bde up to full standard. In the afternoon the Bde Comd left for HQ 1 Airborne Task Force and returned with the news that the Bde will take over a sector now held by 41 RCT by 2000 hrs on 20th. The Bde will move to concentration area North of FREJUS night 19/20 Aug.
20th August 1944
By early morning the Bde had established a base at GALLIANI North of FREJUS and then rested until midday - a large percentage moved in captured MT and borrowed American transport which presented a rather unusual picture. By 1800 hrs 6 Bn and 1 Coy 4 Bn had taken over from 141 RCT. The Bde Comd left for 1 Airborne Task Force where he was told that a considerable number of enemy units are concentrating between GRASSE and CANNES. Whilst the Bde Comd was away OC No.1 S.T.F. arrived and told the BM that No.1 S.T.F. would take over the sector on the morning of the 21st. At Task Force HQ nothing is known of this relief and the Bde Comd was given the task of occupying a point some distance in front of our forward positions, to be completed by first light 21st. Later in the evening a patrol from 4 Bn contacted the enemy killing 1 Sjt and capturing two P.W.
21st August 1944
Slight chaos appears to reign. Col Coxen and Maj Ingram arrive with orders for Bde to take over third position. Div receive a false report from American LO that Bde HQ is unoccupied, also imaginary breakdown in comn found later to be due to Div HQ tapping on to the wrong set of lines. 5 Bn alerted 1 Coy and manned new position at first light reporting that previous unit had left 36 hrs before. At 0815 hrs 22nd Airborne Task Force G2 arrived and clarified situation, 3rd SSF will relieve Bde of all commitments by 1400 hrs. The changeover was completed without incident and the Bde moved down to concentration area at GALLIANI. The Bde Comd held a conference of unit COs to discuss embarkation and near future, also to inform them that he is leaving for AFHQ.
22nd August 1944
The Bde Comd leaves for ITALY to see Gen Wilson at AFHQ. In the Bde Comd's absence Col Pearson assumes comd. The Bde now comes under 7 Army.
23rd August 1944
The Bde Comd left FRANCE by plane. At 1300 hrs orders received giving details of Bde's proposed move. A conference was held to discuss methods etc, the move is unlikely to take place within the next 48 hrs.
24th August 1944
Further conferences, the position re move is obscure. After pressure 7 Army state move not on for 36 hrs at least.
25th August 1944
At 1100 hrs Deputy Comd received confirmation that move would not take place that night. Bde officers visit CANNES which had been liberated by 5 Bn. At 2206 hrs orders received to embark at once and sail by first light. Deputy Comd called immediate conference and work on the move was put in hand.
26th August 1944
By 0200 hrs the Bde Gp with the assistance of an American Tpt Coy and using its own captured vehicles is at the Beach. By 0830 hrs all stores guns and personnel were aboard. 4 & 5 Bns on the "FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE", Bde HQ, 6 Bn, Lt Bty and ATk Bty with R.E. and Med on the "DOROTHEA DIX" and they sailed at 1800 hrs.
27th August 1944
Convoy passes through the SARDINIA Straits.
28th August 1944
0600 hrs land sighted and by mid morning NAPLES was reached, but it was not possible to disembark as no berths were available. The Bde spent a peaceful night in NAPLES Harbour.
29th August 1944
At 0630 hrs all unit comds and IOs disembarked and moved to staging area. At lunch time the Bde Comd arrived and held a conference at which he stated that the Bde Gp will be prepared to carry out a further operation by 7 Sep. The Bde Gp disembarked fed at the staging area and moved off in groups to Base at ROME, dirty, weary but triumphant.
30th August 1944
The Bde Comd held a conference of unit comds and discussed the forthcoming operation. The Bde IO left to join the Bde Comd who had returned to AFHQ in order to carry out preliminary planning at 5 Airborne Div (Plans).
31st August 1944
During the morning the Bde Comd attended numerous conferences both political and military to discuss the more detailed planning of the future operation. In the morning it was decided that the Airfield at GIOIA was unsuitable and a conference for COs and Staff Officers was held to discuss the forthcoming moves.
THESE ORDERS MAY NOT BE TAKEN INTO BATTLE.
PARTS WHICH ARE SIDE-LINED MAY BE EXTRACTED AND CARRIED IF CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL.
BIGOT - DRAGOON
2 INDEP PARA BDE GP OO NO.1.
10 Aug 44.
Ref maps: FRANCE 1:100,000 sheets 16Q, 15R, 15Q.
FRANCE 1:25,000 sheets XXXV-44-1 and 2, XXXV-44-5 and 6.
1. Enemy See Annx 1 att.
2. Own tps See Annx 2 att.
3. 2 Indep Para Bde Gp will seize area excl LA MOTTE 3941 - pt 100.7 4143 - excl LE MUY 4239, destroy all enemy in that area and deny enemy access therein, holding it for further ldgs on D Day.
(a) Force Comd: Brig C.H.V. PRITCHARD, Comd 2 Indep Para Bde Gp.
(b) Air Comd: Col T.J. MANNING, Comd 51 Wing, USAAF.
(c) Devolution of Comd: In the event of Force Comd becoming a cas after take-off, Maj J.L. WILLIAMS, BM, 2 Indep Para Bde Gp, will assume comd of Force until arrival of Lt Col D.R. HUNTER, MC, Comd 5 Para Bn. On completion of PHASE I, senior offr in Bde Gp will take comd, in order Lt Col V.W. BARLOW, Comd 6 Para Bn, Lt Col H.B. COXEN, DSO, MC, Comd 4 Para Bn, Lt Col D.R. HUNTER, MC, Comd 5 Para Bn until the arrival of Col T.C.H. PEARSON, DSO, Deputy Bde Comd, who is ldg with 36 US Inf Div.
5. Briefing and issue of maps and air photos See Annx 3 att.
6. Air Plan See Annx 4 att.
7. Outline Ground Plan
(a) Centre pt: DZ: 420420 LZ: 420428
(b) On ldg localities will be occupied as in Trace X att.
(c) Units will be prepared to operation without physical contact with seaborne forces for 48 hrs after ldg.
8. 4 Para Bn
(a) Under comd: one tp 300 AL ATk Bty, det (one offr & nine ORs) 127 Para Fd Amb.
(b) In sp: 64 Fd Bty, one tp 2 Para Sqn RE, one FOO team, one OP party 64 Fd Bty.
(c) Will occupy high ground pt 113.5 4339.
(d) Time of drop: Blocks J and K: 0505 hrs (See Annx 4, Appx A), Blocks L, M & N: 0509 hrs (See Annx 4, Appx A).
(e) RV: 419414.
(i) Dominate town of LE MUY.
(ii) Hold br 423398.
(iii) Deny to the enemy entry into bn sector, destroying all therein.
(iv) Harass enemy by offensive action.
(v) Be prepared to assault and destroy enemy in LE MUY.
9. 6 Para Bn
(a) Under comd: one tp 300 AL ATk Bty, det (one offr & nine ORs) 127 Para Fd Amb.
(b) In sp: 64 Fd Bty, two dets 300 AL ATk Bty, one tp 2 Para Sqn RE, one FOO team.
(c) Will occupy high ground NE of LA MOTTE.
(d) Time of drop: 0454 hrs.
(e) RV: 413422.
(i) Sp bn of 517 RCT in LA MOTTE.
(ii) Deny to the enemy the use of br 394410.
(iii) Hold CLASTOON 413410.
(iv) Deny to the enemy entry into bn sector, destroying all therein.
(v) Harass enemy by offensive action.
10. 5 Para Bn
(a) Under comd: one tp 300 AL ATk Bty, det (one offr & nine ORs) 127 Para Fd Amb.
(b) In sp: 64 Fd Bty, one tp 2 Para Sqn RE.
(c) Will be in Bde res in area LE MITAN 425422.
(d) Time of drop: Blocks F and G 0500 hrs (see Annx 4, Appx A), Blocks H, I & J: 0504 hrs (see Annx 4, Appx A).
(e) RV: Force to form strong pt area 100.7: buildings 417433. Remainder of Force: 428427.
(i) Form strong pt in area pt 100.7.
(ii) Hold br 438426.
(iii) Protect Bde HQ.
(iv) Deny to the enemy entry into bn sector, destroying all therein.
11. Bdys and areas of responsibility See Trace X att.
12. Arty and Air Sp See Annx 5 att.
13. RE See Annx 6 att.
14. Glider P
(a) Comd 1 Glider P Sqn reports Bde HQ when unloading completed.
(b) Pilots of 64 Fd Bty gliders come under comd 64 Fd Bty on ldg.
(c) Pilots of 300 AL ATk Bty gliders assist 300 AL ATk Bty to unload on ldg. When unloading completed RV and SW corner of wood 425424 and come into Bde res.
(d) US Glider Ps will be moved to Task Force HQ for [emp?] and evac when ordered by Task Force.
15. Indep Para Pl
(a) 1 Indep Para Pl less one sec drops 0334 hrs D day. Tasks, in order of execution :
(i) Provide homing aids for Bde Gp para element.
(ii) Assist in clearing Bde Gp LZ.
(iii) Provide homing aids for Bde Gp glider element.
(iv) RV SW corner of wood 425424 and come into Bde res.
(v) Provide homing aids for Task Force glider element with first ldg 1819 hrs.
(b) One sec 1 Indep Para Pl drops with Bde HQ. Tasks:
(i) Provide rfts necessary to enable remainder of pl to carry out tasks (iii) and (v) above.
(ii) Provide homing aids for resup aircraft.
(c) On completion of tasks detailed in sub paras (a) & (b) above:
(i) One sec will come under comd 6 Para Bn.
(ii) Pl less one sec will RV 425424 and come into Bde res, with primary role of providing homing aids for resup aircraft.
16. AA Def No weapons smaller than calibre .50 will be fired at aircraft unless attacked.
17. Horoscope See Annx 7 att.
18. D Day H Hr
(a) Will be notified later.
(b) Times of ldg of airtps will remain unaltered irrespective of H hr.
19. Maint See Annx 8 att.
20. Med See Annx 9 att.
21. Bde HQ
(a) Main HQ
(i) Closes present location 1000 hrs D-1. Reopens GALERA airfd same time.
(ii) Time of drop : 0459 hrs.
(iii) RV SW corner of wood 425424.
(iv) Est HQ at LE MITAN.
(b) Base HQ Opens present Main Bde HQ location 1000 hrs D-1.
22. RV colours
(a) 4 Para Bn RED
(b) 5 Para Bn BLUE
(c) 6 Para Bn GREEN
(d) Bde HQ YELLOW
(e) 64 Fd Bty BLUE
(f) 300 ATk Bty RED
23. Recognition sigs, codewords and passwords See Annx 10 to be issued later.
24. Liaison Offrs
(a) Capt A.C. JOHNSON, AAC, will report to HQ 1 Airborne Task Force on 8 Aug, and will drop with para element of Task Force HQ.
(b) Arty LO from 509 BCT will drop with 4 Para Bn.
(c) Lt. G.T. CRISP, 6 Para Bn will drop with 2 Bn 517 RCT.
25. Sigs Plan See Annx 11 att.
26. Code Names
1 Airborne Task Force RUGBY
36 US Inf Div CAMEL
45 US Inf Div DELTA
6 US Corps KODAK
(a) Bde Sig Offr and ALOs at respective airfds will synchronise watches with HQ 51 TC Wing at 1700 hrs D-1.
28. 2 Indep Para Bde Gp will, on completion of PHASE I, be prepared to seize LE MUY and operate against the enemy to the NORTH and EAST.
29. This will be dictated by the situation on completion of PHASE I, but Bn Gps will be prepared to act as follows:-
4 Para Bn Seize LE MUY supported by 5 Para Bn.
5 Para Bn
(a) Relieve 4 Para Bn in area high ground Pt 113.5.
(b) Operate to EAST of high ground Pt 113.5.
6 Para Bn Operate NORTHWARDS from area high ground of LA MOTTE.
30. Supporting arms will be prepared to assist operations carried out by Bn Gps.
31. Seaborne element of the Bde Gp, as laid down in 2 Indep Para Bde Gp Op Instrs No.1, 3 & 5 and such further Op Instrs as may be issued, will land in DRAGOON area D+10.
32. Seaborne element consists of:-
Comd: Maj C.E.R. Dudgeon, 5 Para Bn.
Personnel: 17 offrs & 496 ORs.
[Signed J.L. Williams] Maj
BM, 2 Indep Para Bde Gp
ANNX 1 to 2 INDEP PARA BDE GP OO NO.1
INFM - ENEMY
1. APPRECIATION OF ENEMY SITUATION AGAINST AIRBORNE TPS
(a) French Maquis and other organisations cannot be expected to have any immediate effect on enemy rfts moving to the coast to contain the bridgehead until D+3, but after this day such divs at 157 Res Div, 338 Div and 9 Pz Div, may well be held up by resistance activities.
(b) 509 Para Bn Owing to the difficult DZ, time of drop and necessity of assembling arty, it is improbable that the Bn will constitute any threat to the LE MUY - FREJUS highway until at least 3 or 4 hrs after landing. This means that the Bn will be unable to prevent enemy mobile res moving from LE PUGET area to LE MUY.
(c) Immediate reserves. We must accept the worst possibility, namely that until the seaborne landings actually take place, all available mobile reserves in the LE MUY area will be committed against the Para Force. We must assume that the enemy appreciation will be accurate and he will be aware that by occupying LE MUY area we shall be cutting his L of C in the ARGENS Valley. He will have 2½ hrs in which to deal solely with the airborne element and it is probable than until 0700 hrs D Day all mobile reserves will be in action, then when the seaborne assault takes place possibly some forces may be detached to the FREJUS - S.RAPHAEL area, to assist the beach def forces.
(d) After seaborne assault (approx 0700 hrs). The action of 36 US Div will have added effects on our situation; it is important, therefore, to know the presumed enemy reaction to this landing as appreciated by 36 Div. The enemy def on the beaches will be very strong, based on prepared posns, and a system of local counter attacks probably of coy strength. When the enemy realises that the holding of the beaches is an impossible task, he will withdraw slowly, fighting a series of delaying actions, at the same time preparing the main counter attack with the intention of throwing our assault forces into the sea. The main counter attack would most probably develop from the ARGENS valley and be of two bns strength. If the main counter attack is unsuccessful they will continue to withdraw to the line of the high ground (passing through LA MOTTE) and then endeavour to contain the beachhead. This will be possible only if
(i) they withdraw slowly enough to allow reserves to come up to these posns on the high ground,
(ii) they correctly appreciate the assault at FREJUS - S.RAPHAEL as the main assault and not a feint,
(iii) 36 US Div's adv is not too rapid.
Intelligence 36 US Div does not lay down any timing for these enemy reactions. It is therefore quite possible that, by the evening of D Day, at the earliest, the Para Force will have to deal with the withdrawing elements of the tps who have failed to defend the beaches.
(e) During the period 0430 hrs to 0700 hrs D Day. Of the forces in LE MUY, the Regt HQ Coy will probably send out recce patrols from the recce pl to ascertain details of the airborne ldg, whilst the remainder in conjunction with 2 Coy 148 Atk Bn will take up def posns to hold LE MUY and the bottleneck to the SE. The greater part of 3 Bn 765 Inf Regt at LE PUGET will most probably be moved up to LE MUY area by MT, and in conjunction with 148 Assault Gun Unit will undertake the counter attack role against the airborne elements. It is not absolutely definite whether 148 Assault Gun Unit is Field or Atk, and there is a possibility that if they are Atk they will go to reinforce the beach def against tks rather than in sp of the counter attack against airborne ldgs. The earliest possible time for this counter attack to develop is estimated at 1½ hrs after the first drop (eg, 0600 hrs). The OCTU at DRAGUIGNAN will provide a counter attack force of approx two bns of slightly lower establishment, led by regular offrs and NCOs. It is almost definite that this force will be used against the airborne force, more so than 765 Inf Regt. They will be first class tps, all ardent Nazis, and they constitute the main counter attack threat. Approx time of arrival of first cadet tps should coincide with 765. A small force of about 200 cadet offrs together with service tps will remain in def of Corps HQ at DRAGUIGNAN, though a det of engr will go with the main body. The greater weight of the counter attack will probably be launched against 509 and 517, as the features occupied by 509 constitute a direct threat to LE MUY and the bottle neck whilst 517 threaten all routes from the WEST & NW to LE MUY incl that from Corps HQ at DRAGUIGNAN. It can be expected that at least two coys of 3 Bn 765 and one bn of the cadets will be sent against 509 & 517. The second cadet bn will be committed against 2 Para Bde whilst the remaining tps of 3 Bn 765 will join the Regt HQ Coy in LE MUY, who are being threatened both by 509 in the SOUTH and 4 Para Bn in the NORTH. The priority of tasks will probably be:-
(i) Elimination of paratps on feature immediately NORTH of LE MUY, and reoccupation of this ground.
(ii) Capture and occupation of the high ground - LA MOTTE area.
It is unlikely that this bn will use the rd DRAGUIGNAN - LE MUY, as one bn will already be committed against the Americans in this area. It will most probably use the route leading into the 6 Para Bn area from the NW in order to avoid unnecessary delay.
(f) After 0700 hrs. After 0700 hrs, if the LE MUY bottleneck is still held by the enemy, he will detach 3 Bn 765 and send them back to LE PUGET area in order to assist the beach defs. After the seaborne assault it should be obvious to the enemy that in our present position we constitute a good threat to his most important L of C. It is likely, therefore, that increased efforts will be made to dislodge and destroy the Para Force. If this appears too great a task, he will make every effort to secure the LE MUY bottleneck by capturing and occupying the commanding feature NORTH & SOUTH of LE MUY to be held by the 4 Para Bn and 509 Para Bn respectively. As second priority he will attempt to retake the high ground in LA MOTTE area which commands the DRAGUIGNAN - LE MUY highway. The posns NORTH & SOUTH of LE MUY will also be regarded by the enemy as most suitable for a delaying action if the beach forces are forced to withdraw to the high ground NORTH of LA MOTTE (see para (d)).
(g) Later D Day. The Para Force must expect further tps entering the area both from EAST & WEST. From the WEST it will probably be an unidentified tk bn at the moment in BRIGNOLES, which will be fresh, whilst from the EAST the leading elements of the tps withdrawing from the beach will be encountered. There are several different factors to be considered with regard to the withdrawing tps. If the Americans succeed in blocking the rds NORTH of FREJUS and the enemy succeeds in holding the LE MUY bottleneck, it is most probable that all the beach defending force will withdraw along the FREJUS - LE MUY highway. If on the other hand we hold both the rds NORTH of FREJUS, and the LE MUY bottleneck, the enemy forces may either attempt to force his way through the bottleneck or withdraw up the dry river valley to the EAST to the feature commanding LE MUY from the NORTH. As they should be disorganised and in rapid retreat with American forces on their heels it is unlikely that they will attempt to force the bottleneck. If the Americans fail to blocks the rds NORTH of FREJUS, there are three possibilities:-
(i) The beach defenders will not withdraw, hoping for rfts from 148 and the NORTH.
(ii) They will withdraw to the NORTH.
(iii) Para Force having failed to hold LE MUY, he will withdraw part to the NORTH and part to the WEST.
(h) D+1. By D+1 the reserve Regt of 244 Inf Div will be committed either on 36 US Inf Div axis or on 45 US Inf Div axis, depending on two main factors. If
(i) 36 Div adv is rapid and they constitute a strong threat to the LE MUY [?]ey, and
(ii) 36 Div adv is very slow and at the same time 45 Div also makes only small progress, in this case they will be committed on 36 Div axis as this is the more important rd to TOULON.
If, however, 36 Div adv is slow whilst 45 Div meet with rapid initial success, it is more likely that they will be committed on 45 Div sector.
It is likely that 2 Indep Para Bde Gp will be attacked very shortly after landing. The threat being greatest from the LE MUY area. Therefore it is vital that the bde reorganises rapidly so as to fight on the ground of their own choosing.
ANNX 2 to 2 INDEP PARA BDE GP OO No.1.
INFM - OWN TPS
1. SEVENTH ARMY, incl 1st Airborne Task Force, and supported by Western Naval Task Force and XII TAC is assaulting the SOUTH coast of FRANCE to secure a beachhead EAST of TOULON and then assault and capture TOULON.
2. (a) 1st Airborne Task Force (Force RUGBY) consisting of:
HQ 1 Airborne Task Force
2 Indep Para Bde Gp
517 RCT, Para
509 Inf Bn, Para
550 Inf Bn, Glider
551 Inf Bn, Para
463 FA Bn, Para
602 FA Bn, Glider
442 Inf ATk Coy, Glider
A Coy, 2 CML Bn, Glider
D Coy, 83 CML Bn, Glider
887 Engr Coy, Glider
is assisting in the effort of VI US CORPS (KODAK Force) by preventing mov of enemy forces into the beach assault area from WEST and NW.
(b) DZ and LZ areas and areas of responsibility: see Trace 'X' att.
1st Airborne Task Force HQ
Adv HQ, Para
Main HQ, Glider
Task: Est HQ in LE MITAN 425422
509 Bn Gp
509 Inf Bn, Para
463 FA Bn, Para
one pl 596 Engr Coy, Para
Task: Occupy area 4
517 RCT Para
517 Inf Regt, Para
460 FA Bn, Para
596 Engr Coy less one pl, Para
D Coy 83 CML Bn, Glider
442 Inf ATk Coy, Glider
551 Inf Bn, Para
one pl 887 Engr Coy, Para
602 FA Bn, Glider
Tasks: Occupy areas 1, 2 & 3, and
neutralise resistance in LA MOTTE.
550 Inf Bn, Glider
one pl 887 Engr Coy, Glider
Task: Task Force res.
Sig Coy, Glider
Med Coy, Glider
Time of ldg
After several weeks of intensive preparation 'D' day dawned on 15 Aug 1944. In the early hours the Independent Platoon had taken off and preceded the Bde in order to establish homing aids on the DZ. Despite clouds and heavy ground mist the drop was successful; Capt Baker, the first paratroop to land in Southern France, had assembled with his stick of 12 at the RV and with the aid of local guides proceeded to the DZ, set up a Eureka Beacon by 0445 hrs. A further party with a second Eureka and four lights had arrived and these were immediately established in the vicinity of LE MITAN.
The Bde Gp crossed the coast at approx 0440 hrs and flew into FRANCE without opposition. Unfortunately owing to the cloud and heavy mist many planes wandered from their course and only 73 sticks dropped on the Bde DZ. The remainder were dropped as far apart as FAYENCE and CANNES. The landing was unopposed but there was a certain amount of firing on the DZ by our own troops who failed to identify fellow parachutists.
On reassembly it was found that Bde HQ was intact, 4 Bn 30-40% intact, 6 Bn 70% intact, but the 5 Bn could barely raise a coy as most of the 5 Bn had been dropped in the FAYENCE area. (see attached stick layout).
By 0615 hrs Bde HQ was established at LE MITAN as per plan and within 20 mins wireless contact established with Tac Bde HQ who were accompanying 36 U.S. Div.
The 4 Bn despite their low strength succeeded in carrying out their first task and by 0730 hrs reported to Bde HQ that pt 113 on the high ground dominating LE MUY had been occupied. The strength of 5 Bn personnel in the area prevented them carrying out their original task and Maj McCall brought his small force to LE MITAN to act in defence of Bde HQ.
6 Bn who had been more fortunate, occupied LA MOTTE and the high ground and later, after the German garrison at CLASTRON had surrendered, one coy was put into CLASTRON.
During this period the Independent Pl and the RE had been heavily occupied in clearing the LZ of hundreds of poles which had been erected by the enemy as anti airborne defences. Owing to ground conditions the glider force which had been due in at 0800 hrs did not arrive until 0920 hrs, having spent some time circling above CORSICA until the mist cleared. The ATk Bty in Horsas had returned to ITALY and did not arrive until later in the afternoon.
The initial glider landing was completely successful and unopposed; the sight was so impressive that the German garrison at CLASTRON surrendered immediately and with this the area of the LZ was entirely clear of enemy. The small group of houses at LES SERRES controlling the bridge over the River Naturby and leading into LE MUY was still occupied and 'C' Coy of 4 Bn was sent to clear the area and hold the bridge.
This was successfully carried out, not however without some casualties which were considerably lighter than the enemy's. The enemy had 16 killed and 29 P.W. as against our 7 killed and 9 wounded including the only officer killed on the operation - Lt Stewart.
By 1015 hrs in the morning the Bde had successfully accomplished its first tasks although operating with less then 60% of its strength. 4 Bn had occupied the high ground NORTH of LE MUY, they had also captured LES SERRES and held it against a series of minor counter attacks.
The 5 Bn had established standing patrols on the two roads leading EAST and NORTH of the DZ whilst 6 Bn had occupied LA MOTTE and the high ground to the NORTH as well as CLASTRON. All RE road blocks had been successfully established and the Lt Bty had several guns in action close to Bde HQ.
The Fd Amb had been unable to adhere to their original plan of setting up a dressing station at ST MICHEL which was situation on the northern part of the DZ as the 5 Bn force holding the road was rather under strength. However, a temporary dressing station was set up in a small house next to Bde HQ which proved inadequate; despite an acute shortage of both accommodation and orderlies the two surgeons Maj G.C. Wells and Capt T.B. McMurray were able to deal with all casualties, though at times they had to carry the cases into the room and after operating to carry them out themselves. The position was eased slightly by some German prisoners who were put to work as orderlies and proved very efficient.
The remainder of the morning was comparatively quiet around the LZ area. Stray sticks which had dropped wide of the DZ began to trickle in and the strength of the Bde Gp grew hourly. Parties began to clear the DZ, towing away gliders, burning others which could not be moved and removing more poles which were still obstructing the landing areas. During this time 6 Bn had sent patrols to contact 517 RCT which had dropped WEST of LA MOTTE to block the roads leading towards LE MUY from the WEST. Physical contact had not yet been established with 509 Bn but a wireless message reported that elements had occupied the high ground SOUTH of LE MUY and that eleven 75mm guns were in position on the heights overlooking the town. Messages from Col Pearson indicated that the initial landing of 36 Div was going according to plan.
Meanwhile scattered groups of parachutists who had been dropped many miles NORTH of the DZ were beginning to work their way SOUTH towards the RV. A party of 4 Bn including the CO and eighty men, were dropped in the neighbourhood of FAYENCE. Three separate groups of 5 Bn were dropped in the FAYENCE area, the first consisting of the CO, half Bn HQ and the majority of 'C' Coy; the second consisting of 'D' Coy and a number of American parachutists under command of 'D' Coy Commander - Maj J.A. Blackwood, and the third consisting of the IO - Lt J.S. Holden, and twenty men. The first group started off for the Bn RV and proceeded SOUTH not meeting much enemy opposition. The party split into three, the CO with an escort of two men moved on ahead to contact Bde HQ as soon as possible and arrived in at 1530 hrs. OC 'C' Coy, Maj S.K. Hart and the Adjutant, Capt M.H. Shepherd each took half of the remaining force and arrived at Bde HQ at 2030 hrs and 2230 hrs respectively. The second group under Maj Blackwood was dropped NE of FAYENCE in the area MR 524744 and by 0830 hrs 4 Offrs and 64 ORs including a section of Divisional Signal Coy was assembled. At 0845 hrs the group left the area with the intention of proceeding to LZ via road junction 520728, river valley 5256. Approaching the village of TOURETTES 5256, the group heard firing in FAYENCE and shots were being fired in their direction; at the same time it became obvious that if the enemy were in TOURETTES, the village could not be by-passed without the party coming into full view of the enemy. A patrol was sent forward to report on the enemy situation. The village was found to be clear but FAYENCE was reported held by the enemy. The group entered TOURETTES and took up defensive positions. The Maquis reported that there were some wounded parachutists a few Kilometres NORTH of the village; a stretcher party was organised to go out and collect them. The 2IC, Maj P.B. Dudgeon, was found to be amongst the wounded, who were brought back and put in the Partisan Hospital. At 1330 hrs the village was taken over by the Maquis and the group proceeded SOUTH towards LE MUY. Just SOUTH of TOURETTES a convoy of enemy vehicles was sighted about two miles to the WEST moving Eastwards. Maj Blackwood ordered the group off the road and an ambush was laid. However, just before the convoy was due to pass the group, fire was opened up further down the road and the vehicles stopped. Maj Blackwood sent a patrol forward to investigate the source of the firing. During this time an officer from 517 RCT reached the group stating that he had a force of 60 men with him as well as an 81mm and a 60mm mortar. A few minutes later the patrol returned with the information that about 15 enemy vehicles were being held up by a mixed British and American Force of about 25 men, but they were now being attacked by a force of 60 to 70 Germans. The group then moved down towards the vehicles, took up position, and fired on them with LMG and Mortar fire, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and damaging several of the vehicles. The enemy withdrew to Vic 5216 LZ leaving 8 killed and 4 wounded, as well as an officer and two men who were taken prisoner earlier in the battle. A farmhouse nearby was found to contain five Americans, one of whom was the Chief of Staff, 1 ABTF, who immediately put themselves under command of Maj Blackwood. After consolidating the position a party of Maquis were contacted and the German PW were handed over to them. A few hours later contact was made with a strong U.S. group from 3 Bn 517, and the Force group proceeded SOUTH towards LE MUY, bivouacing near BIGNOLES for the night.
The third group of 5 Bn under the IO Lt Holden was dropped two miles NE of FAYENCE. No contact was made with the enemy that day, but progress was very slow owing to a number of men who had received minor injuries on landing. At 1100 hrs Lt Miller was found together with a number of his platoon. Lt Miller had been injured on landing and could not walk. He was put under the care of the Maquis and the remainder of the party joined Lt Holden. By 1230 hrs the force had grown to 1 officer and 30 men and was moving towards the WEST of FAYENCE. FAYENCE was still held by a small number of enemy who were occupying the high ground to the NORTH of the town. At 1800 hrs Lt Holden and 3 ORs entered the town to visit Maj P.B. Dudgeon, who was still being looked after by the Partisans, and who was unable to walk. Later the party returned to a bivouac area a few miles to the WEST of FAYENCE.
Meanwhile all was still quiet in the area of the LZ. Preparations for the reception of the gliderborne force had been completed. By 1600 hrs 4 Bn had almost two complete rifle coys but very few supporting arms. The CO had been contacted by W/T and had reported that he was bringing a force of 80 men SOUTH from the FAYENCE area. 6 Bn strength was by this time 17 officers and 300 ORs and the missing platoon of 'A' Coy was on its way to join the Coy. 'C' Coy had been sent out as a standing patrol to a point on the road between LE MUY and LE LUC with a view to ambushing any enemy withdrawing Westward from LE MUY, but the patrol returned at 2000 hrs reporting that no enemy had been seen. Other patrols were sent towards LE MUY to ascertain the strength of the enemy in the town. Col Hunter arrived at Bde HQ at 1600 hrs and reported to the Bde Comd that a large force of 5 Bn was making its way SOUTH from FAYENCE. By this time 5 Bn had grown sufficiently in strength to form a stronger position round the NORTH road leading into the LZ from the NORTH, and it was agreed that the dressing station should be moved to ST MICHEL, a building NORTH of the DZ, which was far more suitable for the surgical work.
At 1800 hrs the leading planes of the air armada arrived carrying 551 Para Bn, 550 Glider Bn, two coys of the Mortar Bn, 300 AL ATk Bty, Medical Services and the remainder of Div HQ. For over half an hour the sky was filled with planes and gliders. The LZ was by no means perfect and many rough landings were made, thanks to the great skill and tenacity of the Glider Pilots the percentages of casualties were very low, only two gliders overturned and the total casualties for the landing were 1 killed and 7 injured, though at times, it appeared impossible that guns, jeeps and men could come unscathed from some of the more spectacular crashes.
After the landings were completed 300 ATk Bty took up defensive positions in support of the Bns and also manned ATk defences on the road blocks. Div HQ was established in LE MITAN next to Bde HQ and 550 Glider Bn assembled SE of the DZ preparatory to attacking LE MUY.
After dark an attack was put in on LE MUY by the Glider Bn supported by fire from 64 Bty - owing to the darkness and the heavy automatic fire brought down by the enemy it was realised that it was hopeless to attempt to take the town that night and 550 Bn withdrew to wait until the following morning.
The night 15/16 Aug was quiet, no counter attacks materialised and the enemy made no effort to break out of LE MUY. At first light patrols from 4 Bn made contact with 509 Bn across the Argens valley whilst a patrol from 6 Bn to LE MUY returned with 11 PW who had tried to escape from LE MUY when they realised the hopelessness of the situation. Later in the morning 550 Glider Bn attacked LE MUY and by 1530 hrs LE MUY was completely in our hands and resistance had ceased - 170 PW were taken.
6 Bn though not participating in the attack had sent a patrol of 4 men to a house SW of the town and 6 officers and 54 ORs surrendered to them, handing over 6 ATk guns and 2 staff cars.
Meanwhile the two parties of 5 Bn were making their way SOUTH from FAYENCE. 'D' Coy force reached the road leading into the LZ from the WEST, and Maj Blackwood went ahead to report the arrival of the force, consisting of 5 officers and 110 ORs. Throughout the long trek to the LZ area they had suffered no casualties. Just as this force returned, information were received that a convoy of 15 enemy vehicles was forming up in the area of the track 4743. The CO ordered Maj Hart and 20 ORs to move along the road and engage the vehicles. However, the convoy had been seen also by Lt Holden's which had been moving SOUTH in the direction of LE MUY. His party opened fire on the four leading vehicles, killing the drivers and wrecking the machines. As the vehicles were still being attacked, enemy infantry were seen to be approaching the force. Fire was brought to bear on them and the enemy dispersed, but owing to the superiority in numbers of the enemy, Lt Holden's force withdrew to the hills. A fierce fight then ensued, during which the enemy tried to pass through more vehicles, but fire was opened on the trucks and the infantry escorting them, and eventually the trucks were abandoned and the infantry took to the hills. During this action 7 enemy were killed and 7 more taken prisoner. The party then repaired 2 staff cars and one heavy vehicle out of the convoy and drove to BAGNOLS where the prisoners were handed over to Partisans. When Maj Hart's party arrived at the track junction 4743, the action was over, and all that was found was eight abandoned cars and 7 dead Germans, although 12 enemy were still in a nearby farm. These were engaged by the force, but only two PW were taken as the remainder dispersed.
During this time the Adjutant, who had been on patrol with another officer and 10 men in the area of ST PAULEN FORET, returned to Bn HQ with the information that there was no enemy traffic on the lateral road between FAYENCE and DRAGUIGNAN, but that a small force of enemy were known to be operating between ST PAULEN EN FORET and X rds LES QUARTRES CHEMINS 411502. The Partisans were erecting a road block at the X roads. On receipt of this information the CO sent Capt Hunter, Lt Brammall and 12 ORs to contact the Partisans at the X roads, spending the night there, and then moving on in the morning to harass enemy movement in the area CALLAS, MONTFERRAT. The Partisans were contacted, but could not report any fresh enemy activity.
For the remainder of the Bde Gp the day had been comparatively quiet, the first flight of aircraft carrying supplies for the Bde flew over the area during the morning, dropping the containers from a height which in cases exceeded 2,000 ft, consequently the supplies were scattered and dropped over a wide area; this made their collection exceedingly difficult, but a salvage party was organised under the Staff Capt, Capt Heygate, and by the afternoon a divisional supply dump had been set up at the side of the LZ. A landing strip had been prepared at the NORTH end of the LZ and just prior to the supply dropping an Auster aircraft carrying Col Pearson landed on the DZ. Col Pearson reported on the progress of 36 Div. FREJUS and ST RAPHAEL were in our hands and 142 RCT would start to move up the ARGENS valley towards LE MUY in the afternoon. Col Pearson's visit was significant in that he was the first direct contact between 36 Div and Airborne Forces.
Throughout the night 16/17 Aug, nothing had materialised in the area of the X rds 411502, so the party moved NORTH to contact the Maquis at CALLAS. Whilst they were here the CO with a party of 6 ORs left Bn HQ in a jeep to proceed to FAYENCE which had been reported clear of enemy, and where Maj P.B. Dudgeon was reported to be, having been taken there by Partisans. The party moved to FAYENCE via the X rds QUARTRES CHEMINS and contacted the Partisan force there, who reported that Capt Hunter's party had moved to CALLAS. He was also told that the enemy expected the night before were now approaching the X rds. An ambush was laid and the enemy, preceded by scouts, were attacked at point blank range. A fire fight ensued. The enemy then took up defensive positions around the X rds. As the CO's party was obviously outnumbered the party retired and returned to Bn HQ. The CO then ordered 'B' Coy less one pl to move up to AUBERGE PENNAFORT 422474 with the object of dealing with the enemy at the X rds. This force was later joined by the remaining pl of 'C' Coy, making the total strength of approx 130 all ranks. While this preparation was taking place, the Bde Comd ordered 6 Bn to send 2 pls to X rds 383478 to prevent any enemy who had escaped the 5 Bn action. At 1400 hrs a number of enemy were engaged at the X rds on arrival and were pursued as they withdrew towards the EAST. Meanwhile Capt Hunter's patrol had heard through Partisans that there was considerable enemy activity on the DRAGUIGNAN - FAYENCE road to the WEST of QUARTRES CHEMINS causing a certain threat to CALLAS. The patrol reached the road 1 mile WEST of QUARTRES CHEMINS, saw the enemy in a farmhouse and engaged by them fire, taking them completely by surprise. The enemy were engaged by the patrol until amn had run out. It then withdrew to CALLAS to get more amn from the Partisans. By the time this was done, a report was received that some of the enemy were moving from the road towards CALLAS. At about 4 Kms from the village the enemy turned WEST in the direction of DRAGUIGNAN. Capt Hunter then split his patrol, leaving all but two under command of Lt Brammall to organise the defence of the village while he took the 2 ORs to the farmhouse on the road where the enemy were still in position: a short fire fight ensued, Capt Hunter was forced to withdraw owing to enemy superiority in numbers and fire power, and returned to CALLAS where he found the village completely organised for defence. The patrol had been strengthened by the arrival of Capt Cruden and his stick which had been dropped several miles NORTH of the village. During this series of small actions it was estimated that some 20 enemy were killed and wounded for the loss of one man killed and one wounded.
Early that morning Bde HQ received a message that forward elements of 36 Div had reached LE MUY, and an hour later the commander of 142 RCT arrived at Div HQ. This meant that the Div had been joined by both of the seaborne forces, and was no longer acting in an isolated role. Throughout the day the two Divs moved through LE MUY and continued the advance towards DRAGUIGNAN and TOULON. For the Airborne Task Force the roles of securing the LZ and preventing enemy movement towards the beachhead from the WEST were completed. However, until 45 Div captured DRAGUIGNAN, the right flank was still open, and while seaborne elements were advancing Eastwards 'B' and 'C' Coy of 5 Bn were in contact with the enemy at QUARTRES CHEMINS. So it was not yet possible for the Div to come into Army reserve until the enemy threat in the NORTH had been cleared.
At 1830 hrs news reached Bde HQ that the force holding LES QUARTRES CHEMINS had been heavily counter attacked, and had been forced to withdraw to some high ground nearby. By dark the situation was not clear, although it was certain that the enemy were in possession of the X rds. The Bde Comd went to the AUBERGE area, to ascertain the situation and came back to report to the Div Comd, to find out whether the policy was to keep contact with the enemy or to allow them to withdraw NORTH, as they would eventually have to do. The Div Comd gave orders to keep contact with the enemy; the message was passed to 5 Bn, but through sources unknown the message was not received and contact was lost. However, at dawn movement was observed by 'B' Coy which turned out to be the enemy trying to withdraw to the NORTH; a party was sent round to cut them off, and the enemy eventually surrendered consisting of 10 officers and 87 ORs.
So ended the action at LES QUARTRES CHEMINS, and so ended too the Bde's immediate contact with the enemy. When it was ascertained that the area of QUARTRES CHEMINS was clear of enemy, the two coys of 5 Bn were ordered to withdraw and the whole Bde concentrated in the area of LE MUY with the object of acting as part of the Army reserve and at the same time patrolling to roads within an area of 5 miles of the town, to round up any enemy stragglers.
Account of Stick 99 - Jumpmaster [?]
On the 14.8.44 I checked my aircraft, and found every thing to be quite O.K. The pilot told me the D/Z was easy to find, and that he would give me a thirty second red & he would land me right on the D/Z.
On the 15.8.44 I was dropped at 0504 hrs, having a 1 second red, at a point approx five miles N.W. of Cannes. The approx height of drop was about 2000 feet. On landing I endeavoured to find my stick, but could only find three of them, so I decided to push on to some high ground at "Montre de Forrestaire". After we had been walking about two hours we came to a small white house, it was unoccupied, we decided to fill water bottles. I had been here for ten minutes when a German soldier was seen by Pte [Tyldealy?] who shot & killed him at a range of about 10 yards. Ten minutes later another German soldier appeared & was killed by C.S.M. Care. At this period I decided to get moving up to the high ground, before I eventually reached the peak we killed 3 more of the enemy & took 1 prisoner. On reaching the high ground I saw that Sgt. Blue and the rest of my stick had reached the point about an hour before me. Also here was Sgt. Hodder & a few men of A Coy.
On information received from Sgts. Blue & Hodder it was impossible to push on as the enemy had a position in the road from Agay. So I decided to send out two patrols during the night and hold the high ground. Two bridges in our area were prepared for demolition, & Hawkins grenades we placed out in the roads. We held the position during the night without any trouble. During the night movement was seen in the fields about two miles away, & I sent Sgt. Hodder out to find out what it was. Sgt. Hodder brought in an American M.O. who was very fatigued, but performed an operation at once on the leg of Pte. Heap A Coy who was a casualty.
During the next morning the Maquis told me that about a company of the enemy with machine guns were now in position about three miles from us. As my strength was only 17 in all, and we had NO machine guns, I decided not to try and attack them - but I sent out Sgt. Blue & L/C. Pratt dressed in [civilian clothes?] to try and contact the American Forces. They reached AGAY where they saw Col. Pearson & Major Gardiner of our Bde with the U.S. Army Commander - all information was given, and my orders from them was to withdraw from the position in parties of three or four. I was the last to leave, I took a Renault lorry from the French people with the 8 prisoners we now had. The Americans took care of the prisoners, & my party stopped the night with the American Infantry. I arrived at Le Muy at approx 1800 hrs D+3. The only man of my stick then missing was Cpl. McCrea who arrived back to the Bn at D+7.
I found the French people gave plenty of help & were only too willing to do anything for us.
[Signed J.G. Case-Wall]
Herewith Detail Report of Action taken by Sgt Williams Section Commander of 5 Pl 'A' Company
Dropped soon after 0500 hrs in fairly rough country, the position was found out later to be approximately 7 kilometres N.W. of AGAY on the coast.
0700 hrs. The Stick under Sgt Hodder was collected together.
0730. Sgt Williams taking Cpl Lynd with him set out to recce a house some distance away and to try & find out their position.
0930. Returned to find Sgt [Corin?] looking after their kits Sgt Hodder having moved away with rest of Party.
1500. Striking N.W. across the hills, party met up with L/C Kavanagh & Pte Kershaw these two had been detached to look after Pte Taylor who was injured. They reported that Pte Taylor had been handed over to the care of some Partisans. This was near Valescure (6136).
1900. Met 6 Americans under 1st Sgt Evertson & spent night in hills area (5941).
D+ 1 day.
1000 hrs. Moved towards Mines de Boson when some Partisans were contacted. 40 were in a house at (374425). Information received that Frejus was in American hands. Sgt Williams donned civilian clothes & with two Frenchmen cycled into Frejus. Met Major Gardiner airborne who took him to Col Pearson (Deputy Comdr) who in turn took him to Major Reaves (Intelligence) of 36 Inf Div HQ. Reported that the Germans had no organised resistance N of Frejus. Also reported where he had noted a German battery firing at American Forces. Major Reaves sent Sgt Williams to Captain Bird in charge of '15' Co., Recce (Armoured cars & tanks). Moved 3 - 4 miles up road with Recce Unit towards Mines de Boson where Americans halted.
2000. Arrived back to find Sgt [Corin?] & party [?] Americans after some Germans in hills. They killed one German (found) and probably wounded some but no prisoners.
2115. Sgt [Corin?] & party returned.
2200. Captured 1 German officer & 10 ORs who came to house. Officer probably [? ?] as he had 1.45000 [?] with him. Prisoners handed over to American Recce Unit.
0800. Collected 8 German prisoners in sweep round the area. Took prisoners to FREJUS. Handed our [?] to Major Travis staff of American 36 Inf Div & obtained receipt. Returned to Co. near Le Muy late afternoon same day.
NOTES ON SET UP AND OPERATION OF TAC HQ 2 INDEP PARA BDE DURING OPERATION "DRAGOON"
1. Tac HQ 2 Indep Para Bde was composed as under:-
Sigs: Sjt Cipher duties 1, Cpl operator 1, Sigmn operators 3
Total personnel: 1 offr 6 ORs.
(b) Eqpt One 76 set self contained with charging facilities. One suitcase set (spare).
(c) Tpt NIL
2. Tac HQ moved with the HQ of the assault div (36 US Div) which was intended to relieve the Airborne Task Force. Tasks:
(a) To keep airborne force in touch with ground situation of leading elements of assault troops.
(b) To keep seaborne assault troops in touch with ground situation of airborne force.
(c) To pass demands for resupply to base should other comns break down.
3. On ship. During the initial stages of the landing a set was opened on the net on board the HQ ship manned by two operators and cipher sjt. The 76 set and remaining two operators being on the LCT carrying Div Sigs party, who were to land and set up a CP as soon as the beaches were taken.
4. On shore. The 76 set eqpt less the charging plant was divided into man loads and it was planned to move it in this manner should tpt not be available. The location of this set was to be at the HQ of the assaulting div or relieving force.
5. Sig layout was as under:
76 O Main HQ with ABTF
76 O Tac HQ with assaulting Div HQ
399 O Base. Rome at Allied Air Sup Base.
6. Composition It was found that sigs personnel were adequate, but an addition of a staff offr is necessary, especially when operating with allied fmns whose staff duties differ from Brit fmns. If the org as shown in para 9 is considered necessary an additional cipher operator must be included or the staff offr trained in cipher duties.
7. Eqpt. It was proved that it was essential for Tac HQ to be mobile and self contained for tpt. A scale of one jeep and trailer and MC should be taken. The veh to carry eqpt when the battle becomes mobile. The MC for liaison purposes with fwd units and fmns.
8. It was found that comns on board ship worked well but once the set was got ashore great care had to be taken to avoid screening if both Base and Main were to be contacted.
9. The set on board ship should NOT close down until the set on shore is working. Tac HQ was off the air for 4 hrs owing to move from ship to shore, during which time at least one high priority message for re-transmission to Base was delayed. This was due to the slow calling fwd of the Div Sigs LCT and congestion on the beach. To maintain the seaborne set in operation a staff offr and cipher OR must be left on board until the shore station is working - sigs personnel to be found from spare ship's and HQ operators to man the set during this period.
10. Once Tac HQ was ashore it was found the true picture could not be gained be collating infm at Div HQ, and it was necessary to liaise with fwd regts to get the true picture. This means that without an additional staff offr Tac HQ is left in charge of a sjt and is not satisfactory. The Dep Comd must have a personal vehicle or MC on which to liaise.
11. Deciphering and enciphering of messages is a lengthy business and a full picture cannot be given over the air as congestion occurs and messages must be kept short. It was found that a liaison visit by light aircraft to the Airborne Task Force saved hours of signal time. An Arty OP type of aircraft should therefore always be at the disposal of the Tac HQ comd and a landing strip be prepared on the LZ area as soon as possible. This aircraft must have a pilot trained to land and take off by night with the minimum of aids. It is suggested that such an aircraft and pilot should be included in the Glider Pilots WE. Such an aircraft can take off from a modified LST as soon as the ground strip is constructed on shore.
12. Negative infm concerning the enemy is of great value to the relieving force comd and should be passed to Tac HQ as often as possible. It can then be circulated to other fmns.
13. It is suggested that the following should be the establishment of Tac HQ for future operations whether accompanying a land or seaborne field force.
Staff offr (Capt or Lt)
Sigs Sjt Cipher duties 1, L/Cpl cipher duties 1, Cpl operator 1, Sigmn operators 3
Total personnel: 2 offr, 7 ORs.
1 - 76 set self contained with charging facilities.
1 - suitcase or 76 set spare or 399 set if accompanying land field force.
If accompanying a land field force should be vehs to carry 399 set, i.e. 3 ton lorry and trailer.
Aircraft Arty OP type 1. Pilot to travel with it and operate from nearest Arty OP strip.
14. In a seaborne operation a set must be allotted on the HQ ship for the use of Tac HQ.
15. Infm to be of value to the airborne force must be got direct from the leading bde or regts by LO and not from Div HQ.