National Archives catalogue number WO 170/1343.
Advanced Dressing Station
Bridge / British
Forward Observation Officer
Landing Craft Tank
Medium Machine Gun
Motor Transport Officer
Officer Cadet Training Unit
Prisoner of War
Royal Army Service Corps
Regimental Combat Team
Support / Start Point (if upper case)
Vickers Machine Gun
Month and year : August 1944
Commanding Officer : Lieut.Col. V.W. Barlow
1st August 1944
Place: Ottavia (670730) Ref Map Italy 1:50,000 Sheet 17.
The training and organisation for a definite operation continues. The next stage is a dropping exercise of the whole Bde Gp, the object not being the tactics but the organisation of launching the Brigade. Capt. J.M. Neill, the Signals Officer, relinquishes his acting rank on becoming surplus.
2nd August 1944
The Commanding Officer has now been briefed for the op and has prepared his plan from the model and photos at Bde Ops Room.
3rd to 4th August 1944
Exercise "THISTLEDOWN", a full Bde Gp exercise is held. Full Airfield Control Staff and organisation is used exactly as it will be for the operation. Feeding and other admin arrangements are set up and work smoothly. We emplane at 0440/4 Aug and take-off in blocks from 0500 hrs. A two hour flight is ordered, but having taken off, met reports indicate that the D.Z. is covered by ground mist and we are ordered to return without dropping. The object of the exercise, that of practising the launching organisation, is accomplished however and it proved successful.
6th August 1944
The Commanding Officers briefs the 2IC, Adjt and I.O. at the Bde Briefing Room. The C.O. gives his outline plan. I.O. is given the necessary material to start work on preparing the Bn Briefing Room for briefing the Bn on 11 Aug. This will mean much hard work all day and night for the "I" Sec from now on. A very effective wire is placed round the Briefing Tent and a guard mounted on the entrance.
7th August 1944
Part of the Bn will be seaborne. Essential vehs, M.T. and Adm personnel are told off and stand-by ready to move off to join ground forces awaiting embarkation. They will come in some time after the initial seaborne assault.
9th August 1944
Coy Comds are briefed.
11th August 1944
The seaborne element under the M.T.O., Lieut R.V. Phillips, move off to a transit area near NAPLES at which port they are scheduled to embark later in the month. Pl Comds are briefed in the Bn Briefing Tent which is now ready after much work by the 'I' Sec. A good model has been constructed based on the available air photos and maps of the area. Maj Gen E.E. Down, C.B.E. addressed the Bn and tells us something of the Airborne operations in NORMANDY. Rigid security regulations are enforced in the Camp. Itinerant barbers and ubiquitous launderers are no longer welcomed.
12th August 1944
The Bn is briefed by Pls under Pl Comds. In this initial briefing an hour is allotted to each Pl.
13th August 1944
Bde Comd, Brig. C.H.V. Pritchard, addresses the Bn and wishes them good fortune in the great adventure ahead. The Bn Op Order is issued after the Staff had worked through the night in a scene reminiscent of a newspaper publishing office. Final briefing is made as transport on the scale of one three ton lorry per aircraft arrives at the camp.
14th August 1944
The Commanding Officer addresses the Bn and outlines the operation, wishing all ranks "good hunting".
0900 - Statichutes are drawn by each man and lorries loaded with containers.
1200 - The Cooks' lorries go off to the Airfield to prepare the feeding arrangements there.
1400 - We parade on the Camp Parade Ground.
1500 - Tpt moves off for Airfield.
Place: Galera (635580)
1700 - Arrive at Airfield and have a cup of tea - a forerunner of a new tea era about to start. The Bn Canteen - "The Red Dragon" - is serving cakes - and tea when we arrive, and continue to do so until we leave.
1930 - We have a hot meal and bed down until midnight when we have breakfast.
15th August 1944
Place: Galera (635580)
0100 - There is no retrenching now - we are in the plane ready for the pilot in his turn to taxi to the runway for the take-off.
0200 - The Bn Gp takes off from GALERA Airfield. Other units of the Bde Gp take-off from other Airfields in the ROME area. The Bde is under comd of 1st Airborne Task Force of which the Bde is the only British formation - in fact we are the only British Army troops in the 7th (U.S.) Army which is undertaking the invasion. The flight is smooth and unopposed and when the planes cross the French coast shortly after 0430 hrs, there is no A.A. fire as has been expected.
0650 - The Bn dropped in cloudy conditions with quite a considerable ground mist. The original house selected as a Bn R.V. was changed by the C.O. on arrival at the house at M.R. 408419.
0715 - As soon as it became light green smoke generators were lit and the Bn gradually reported in: 150 were by now assembled including the C.O., 2IC and all the Coy Comds - better than anyone had dared hope.
0800 - We see our first prisoner, found on the D.Z., by Sgt. Thomas of the 'I' Sec. The P.W., a pioneer, states that CLASTRON (413410) the objective of "C" Coy., is occupied by one hundred men.
0845 - B. Coy., who were to have taken over LA MOTTE (3941) from II Bn / 517 R.C.T. move to the village and find it unoccupied: it is put into a defensive position. C. Coy., still located at Bn HQ, send out a patrol under Lieut W.G. Pierce to find out what is the situation at CLASTRON.
0930 - The C. Coy. patrol having returned from CLASTRON with reports that it is occupied, then advance on it. There is some sniping and one man is severely wounded and subsequently dies in the ADS.
0940 - Almost 300 men of the Bn have now reported in.
1015 - The village of CLASTRON is taken by C. Coy. and one Officer and 85 O.Rs. are taken prisoner.
1200 - B. Coy. destroy an amn dump SOUTH of LA MOTTE killing two enemy and taking a few prisoners.
1420 - The bridge at 395411, South of LA MOTTE is mined by R.E. under comd B. Coy. and the road there blocked. A. Coy. have now established themselves on the high ground N.E. of LA MOTTE.
1600 - A recce patrol is sent to the cemetery at LE MUY which is held in strength by the enemy.
1810 - The ATk gunners land successfully, on the D.Z. used by the Bn, in Horsa gliders.
1845 - A. Coy. report LES CLOTTES (397443) clear of enemy.
1850 - The WACO gliders are now coming in on their L.Z. which is the same ground as used by us. It is far from good and all are crash landed - some do not survive.
2000 - All Coys send out routine patrols but no contact is made.
2300 - B. Coy. hand over nine P.Ws. from 1048 Assault Gun and A.A. Unit. There is no more action during the night.
16th August 1944
0900 - Three men of C. Coy. report in holding a receipt for six officers and 54 O.Rs., six ATk guns and a car they had taken en route and handed over to a U.S. unit. Forward patrolling by all Coys fails to produce contact with the enemy.
17th August 1944
0930 - Personnel of 5 Para Bn trying to reorganise contact a considerable body of enemy 200-300 strong in the area of X rds at 4150. While 5 Para Bn engage them, B. Coy. less one Pl embus is such tpt as the Bn has captured and made for X rds 383478 to cut any enemy movement south.
1320 - Lieut. Bosse reports in. He was dropped well off the D.Z. and on the way in, he "liberated" LE PUGET, but the Germans followed close behind him so the Mayor had to wait for formal handing over until Lieut. Bosse was able to contact personnel of the sea assault forces and enter the village a second time.
1330 - B. Coy. in pursuance of their task contact the enemy at 385500, inflicting casualties. But the seaborne forces are advancing fast and our initial task is nearly completed. While B. Coy. have been trying to bring the enemy to action, the rest of the Bn have been bringing in the supplies dropped by C.47's and left, by the Germans at CLASTRON.
1400 - The Bde Gp have broken off all actions in the sectors and the seaborne forces have pushed through. The Bn concentrates in area 4141.
1800 - The Bn has little to do except salvage the D.Z. for airborne equipment. The possibility of taking up a defensive position in the as yet unexploited East sector is not out of the question and we are on 3 hours notice to move. At the end of this phase the Bn has 28 Officers and 458 O.Rs. Of these 10 were more or less simple D.Z. casualties. Three men have been killed, two were wounded and four are still missing though circumstantial evidence suggests they are prisoners. The Bde are to go back to the area of FREJUS and it is thought probable that this Bn will take up a defensive position.
19th August 1944
2200 - The C.O. takes a recce party in tpt while the Bn marches to Camp GALLENI (5736) a march of fifteen miles.
20th August 1944
0300 - The C.O. comes back from a recce and the Bn is ferried forward to take up a position near MONT VINAIGRE.
1600 - (6243) Final positions is Bn HQ at 628480, A. Coy. at 617453, B. Coy. at 614453, C. Coy. at X rds 617447 and a Coy Gp of 4 Para Bn under comd at 245629. The Bde ATk Bty are supporting with their 6 pdrs and the Mortars are concentrated around C. Coy. with one sec of the MMG Pl there and one with B. Coy. L/C Dwyer reports in, having escaped from German hands and reports that the three other missing personnel are PW's.
21st August 1944
3 (U.S.) S.S. Force takes over position after we had been there less than 24 hours, and we ferry ourselves back to Camp GALLIENI.
22nd to 25th August 1944
Bn concentrated in this former internee camp awaiting sea tpt back to ROME - there are rumours of another job waiting for us there.
26th August 1944
0045 - Bn marches off to ST. RAPHAEL, goes on board an L.C.T. and thence to a transport, the Dorothea L. Dix and set on course for NAPLES.
29th August 1944
Disembark at NAPLES, have a mid-day meal at a transit camp set up by our seaborne element (which never put to sea) and go on straight up to our old location near ROME.
31st August 1944
Place: Ottavia (670730)
Commanding Officer holds a conference and tells us we have to be fully re-equipped and in all respects ready for a further airborne operation by 5 Sep 44. The M.O., Capt. Stock, who twisted a knee on the operation, goes to Hospital as does Lieut. Taylor.
6TH BATTALION (ROYAL WELCH) PARACHUTE REGIMENT.
OPERATION INSTRUCTION NO.1.
30 Jul 44
1. Prior to any airborne op the Bn will be prepared to despatch a seaborne party consisting of the personnel tpt and stores necessary to enable the Bn to continue to fight as a Lt Bn for a period of 15 days.
2. The party may move 5 - 15 days before the airborne element.
3. Details at Appendix "A".
4. Coys will earmark the personnel now. Nominal rolls to reach Bn HQ by 0900 hrs TUES 1 AUG.
5. Personnel nominated will NOT be informed until further orders.
6. Details at Appx "B".
7. M.T.O. will earmark vehs. Such vehs will be given priority in maintenance and replacement of spare parts.
8. Details at Appx "B".
9. Standard times to be incl in small and large packs are shown at Appx "C". ALL large packs will be marked with the owner's name & number painted in WHITE on the back.
10. A trial loading of a Rifle Coy's two 3-ton vehs will take place 0930 hrs MON 31 JUL.
Offr i/c - 2 IC.
Place - B Coy Lines.
O.C. B. Coy. will detail - 2IC. CQMS. Loading Party - one Pl. 115 Packs. 30 Bivouacs. 5 Offrs valises and packs. Essential Coy Stores (to incl 12 Picks, 12 Shovels GS). One bicycle.
Q.M. will provide - Cooking eqpt for one Coy. 30 bivouacs.
M.T.O. will detail - 2 x 3 ton vehs. One M/C.
11. Os.C. remaining Coys will each detail one offr rep to attend the trial.
12. 2 IC will report result of trial to Bn HQ by 1800 hrs 31 Jul 44.
13. Standard load tables will be issued as Appx "D" to this Instruction later.
14. Sigs Offr will prepare separate loading table for 3-ton RASC veh allotted for carriage of Sigs Office and Stores. To reach Bn HQ by 1800 hrs 31 Jul.
[Signed N.M. Boys] Captain.
Adjutant, 6th Bn. (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment.
THESE ORDERS WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO BATTLE.
6th Battalion (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment.
OPERATION ORDER NO.6.
12 Aug 44.
Ref maps:- FRANCE 1:100,000 Sheets 15Q, 16Q, 15R.
FRANCE 1:25,000 : XXXV, - 44 - 1 & 2 (one map) : XXXV - 44 - 5 & 6 (one map)
1. Enemy. See Annexure 1 att. Any subsequent enemy info received will be notified verbally.
2. Own Tps.
(a) For all units outside Bde gp see Annx 2A att.
(b) 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 landings on D Day.
(c) 2 Indep Para Bde Gp will land by parachute and glider on one D.Z. centre point 420420 and one L.Z. centre point 420428 between 0454 - 0509 hrs (parachutists) and 0814 - 0822 hrs (glider) on D Day, and occupy localities as in Trace "X" att. Order of drop - 6 - 5 - 4 Bn.
(d) Outline plan for 4 Para Bn as follows:-
(i) R.V. 419414.
(ii) Tasks: dominate town of LE MUY. hold br 423398. deny enemy entry into bn sector, destroying all therein. be prepared to assault and destroy enemy in LE MUY.
(e) Outline plan for 5 Para Bn as follows:-
(i) R.V. 428427.
(ii) Tasks: form strong area point 100.7 (418436). hold br 438426. deny enemy entry into bn sector, destroying all therein. protect Bde HQ.
(f) Following tps under command 6 Para Bn for operation:- One tp 300 A.L. A.Tk. Bty. Det 127 Para Fd Amb.
(g) Following tps in sp for operation:- 64 Lt. Bty. Two dets 300 A.L. A.Tk. Bty. One tp 2 Para Sqn R.E. One FOO. team.
3. Topography. Details att at Annx 2B.
4. 6 Bn (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment will occupy high ground N.E. of LA MOTTE, sp "F" Coy 2 Bn/517 RCT in LA MOTTE and secure CLASTRON 413410.
5. Air Plan. See Annx 3 att.
6. Outline Ground Plan.
Phase I. - reorganisation at Bn R.V.
Phase II. - securing of high ground N.E. of LA MOTTE and moving fwd of Bn to deployment area 404418.
Phase III. - support "F" Coy 2 Bn/517 RCT in capture of LA MOTTE and securing of CLASTRON.
[Page missing from war diary]
11. On arrival conc area B Coy Gp will go forward and secure LA MOTTE. Tasks of B Coy Gp:
(i) Contact F Coy 2/517 Bn.
(ii) Est rd blocks at 392416, br 395410. Relieve 2/517 rd block party at 396407.
(iii) Patrol to bend in rd 385414 and contact 2/517.
(iv) V.M.G. primary task, approaches from S.E. V.M.G. secondary task, approaches from S.W.
(v) Make touch with A Coy on rd NORTH & C Coy at 403410.
12. (a) On orders from C.O. C Coy Gp will secure CLASTRON.
(b) Intention is that CLASTRON will be held by one Pl, with Coy less Pl in Bn res in area X-rds 407413.
(c) C Coy will est rd block at cutting area 403410.
(d) C Coy will est contact with 4 Bn on left flank.
13. Mortar Tasks.
(a) Mor Det in sp A Coy from R.V. area will be aligned to engage targets within arc LES CROTTES - Pt 229 (388422).
(b) Two Mor Dets in sp B Coy will be aligned to engage targets within arc Pt 229 - Pt 537 (408400).
(c) One Mor Det in sp C Coy will be aligned on CLASTRON.
14. V.M.G. Tasks. As laid down.
15. P.I.A.T. Pl Tasks. As laid down.
16. Arty Support.
(a) Naval F.O.O. One team allotted Bde. Ships available USS "AUGUSTA" and "TUSCALOUSA" each with 9 x 8" guns range 30,000.
(b) F.O.O. As from H plus 5 hours - H plus 9 hours F.O.O. team allotted to Bn will have call on Fd and Med Arty of 36 and 45 U.S. Inf Divs but unlikely much support will be available at this stage.
(c) 64 Lt Bty. In direct sp 2 Indep Para Bde Gp.
(d) 300 A.L. A/Tk. Bty.
(i) Recce party drops with Bn. Rep will accompany B Coy and C Coy to recce gun posns reporting to B.H.Q. at conclusion of recce.
(ii) Tasks in order of priority:-
(a) Prevent enemy armour from entering LA MOTTE from SOUTH or WEST.
(b) Prevent enemy armour from breaking on to D.Z./L.Z. area EAST of CLASTRON.
(c) Cover rd cutting at 401409. hrs.
(iii) Guns being landed by glider 0814 and will be routed fwd from L.Z. through Adm Post.
(e) 4.2" Mors. A Coy 2 CML Bn (U.S.A.) (8 Mors) in Bde Res. Recce parties land by glider at 0814 hrs. Guns land by glider 1843 hrs. Conc area 425415.
17. Air Sp.
(a) DRAGUIGNAN will be bombed by heavy bombers at 0700 hrs D Day.
(b) Requests for Air Sp can be made to Bde.
18. A.A. Def. NO firing at aircraft unless deliberately attacked.
(a) Block rd running NORTH from LA MOTTE with mines in the area of S bend 393417.
(b) Mine br at 395410 and subsequently prepare it for demolition.
20. Adm Order att at Annx 4.
21. Sigs Plan att as Annx 5.
22. Bn. H.Q.
(a) After drop opens at Bn. R.V. Thence to area 404418.
(b) Recognition signals, Code words and Passwords will be issued later.
(c) R.V. colours:- 4 Bn - RED. 5th Bn - BLUE. 6th Bn - GREEN. Bde H.Q. - YELLOW. 64 Fd Bty. - BLUE. 300 A.L. A.Tk. Bty. - RED.
23. Liaison Officers.
(a) Lt. MacAllen, 2/517 PRCHT REGT. (U.S.A.) will drop with 6th Para Bn (Br).
(b) Lt. G.H. Crisp, 6 Para Bn (Br) will drop with 2 Bn/517 PRCHT REGT. (U.S.A.)
(c) Both these officers will re-join unit when B Coy and F Coy have completed their task at LA MOTTE.
24. Synchronisation of Watches. Blocks Comds will synchronise watches with Sigs Offr at 2030 hrs D minus 1 at A/C 12.
25. 2 Indep Para Bde Gp will on completion of task outlined in para 2 (b), be prepared to seize LE MUY and operate against the enemy to NORTH and EAST.
26. Method will be dictated by situation but Bn Gps will be prepared to act as follows:-
4 Bn. - Seize LE MUY supported by 5 Bn.
5 Bn. - (a) Relieve 4 Bn in area Pt 113.5. (b) Operate to EAST of high ground Pt 113.5.
6 Bn. - Operate NORTHWARDS from area high ground N.E. of LA MOTTE.
27. Seaborne Element of the Bde Gp will land in DRAGOON area D plus 10.
[Signed N.M. Boys] CAPTAIN
ADJUTANT 6TH BATTALION (ROYAL WELCH) PARACHUTE REGIMENT.
6th Battalion (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment.
OPERATION ORDER NO.6
INFM - ENEMY
1. APPRECIATION OF ENEMY REACTION 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 beachhead until D+3, but after this day such divs as 157 Res Div, 338 Div, and 224 Div may well be held up by resistance activities.
(b) 509 Para. Bn. Owing to the difficult DZ time of drop and necessity for 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 that 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 is 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 defence the beaches.
(e) During the period 0430 hrs to 0700 hrs D Day. Of the forces in LE MUY the 157 Regt HQ Coy will probably send out recce from the recce pl to ascertain details of the airborne landings, 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 will undertake the counter attack role against airborne elements. The earliest possible time for this counter attack to develop is estimated as 1½ hrs after the first drop (e.g. 0600 hrs). The 1048 Assault gun unit last heard of W of LE MUY consist of 14 7.5 cm. ATk and any infy guns mounted on Mk III chassis. This means that they are subject to the same limitations as tanks and cannot therefore cross the R.NARTUBY except at the two bridges - LA MOTTE and LE SERRES. There are some 550 men in the Unit, whose location changes frequently. It is possible that this Unit may be used to reinforce the beach defences rather than in counter attack against the airborne elements. The OCTU at DRAGUIGNAN will provide a counter attack force of approx 2 bns of slightly lower establishment, led by regulars offrs and NCOs. It is almost definite that this force will be used against the airborne force moreso, 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 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 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 and 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 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 posns 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 and SOUTH of LE MUY to be held by 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 and 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 and WEST. From the WEST it will probably be an unidentified tk bn (consisting of 60 tanks ranging from Mk III to Mk V) 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 probably that all the beach defending force will withdraw along the FREJUS - LE MUY highway. If on the other hand we hold both the rds N. 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 a rapid retreat with American Forces on their heels it is unlikely that they will attempt to force the bottleneck. If the Americans fail to block the rds NORTH of FREJUS, there are three possibilities:-
(i) The beach defenders will not withdraw, hoping for rfts from 148 & 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 res 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 valley, 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.
2. CONCLUSION. 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.
6th Bn. (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment
OPERATION ORDER NO.6.
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
590 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 on 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
3. (a) VI US CORPS is assaulting beaches from AGAY 2252 to CAP CAVALAIPE area 4104 at H hr D Day with three divs - right 36 US Inf Div, centre 45 US Inf Div, left 3 US Inf Div.
(b) 36 Inf Div is ldg on beaches 2653 and 5734 advancing to contact 1st Airborne Task Force in area LE MUY, and seizing gen line 2961 - 2362 - 2264 - 6047 - 4947 - (BLUE line) before continuing adv WEST and NW. RCT tasks are:-
(i) RCT 141. (1) Lands on beach 2553. (2) Destroys enemy defs of RADE D'AGAY and then continues to NORTH and NW to secure its portion of BLUE line. (3) Establishes rd blocks in vicinity of 240627, 271627, and 298616. (4) Protects Div right flank.
(ii) RCT 142. (1) Lands on beach 5734. (2) Captures FREJUS. (3) Drives NW along ARGENS valley rd. (4) Captures LE MUY. (5) Establishes contact Force RUGBY in the vicinity of LE MUY. (6) Occupies BLUE line within its sector, preparatory to continuing adv to NW. (7) Maintains contact with 45 Div on left.
(iii) RCT 143. (1) Lands on beach 2251. (2) Drives with utmost speed to reach objectives at 5935. (3) Assaults ST RAPHAEL from EAST without delay. (4) Drives to area 5935 and prepares to assault FREJUS from NE, on Div order, in conjunction with RCT 142 from SOUTH. (5) Establishes rd blocks at 618447, 588475, and BAGNOLS.
(iv) Tp 'A' 117 Cav Ren Sqn. (1) Lands on beach. (2) Moves to 632352. (3) Establishes rd blocks at 574430, 604433, 613428, 624428, until relieved by RCT 143. (4) Prepares to extend recce NW along ARGENS Valley rd to contact Force RUGBY in the vicinity of LE MUY. (5) Contact to be maintained with RCT 143 and with RCT 142.
(c) 45 US Inf Div is assaulting beaches between 5125 and 4922, with tasks of:-
(i) Capturing ST MAXIME 4921.
(ii) Seizing high ground SOUTH of R. ARGENS area 5430.
(iii) Capturing VILLEPEY 5530.
(iv) Contacting 1st Airborne Task Force.
(v) Seizing gen line 4947 - 4748 - 4045 - 3541 (BLUE line).
4. AIR SP. See Annx 5.
5. ADDITIONAL TPS. Under comd 2 Indep Para Bde Gp: 'A' Coy 2 CML Bn.
(i) This table is based upon MARSEILLES and all times mentioned are in 'B' time.
(ii) Daylight is approx one hr before sunrise, darkness one hr after sunset.
(iii) Correction table:-
(a) NICE - minus 9 mins.
(b) TOULON - minus 4 mins.
(c) AJACCIO - minus 15 mins.
(d) BASTIA - minus 18 mins.
(e) LEGHORN - minus 21 mins.
(f) ROME - minus 30 mins.
(g) NAPLES - minus 34 mins.
7. MAPS. Issues will be made as follows:-
Down to sec comds
Down to Sec Comds
8. Maps and airphotos ware - issued to Bn Comds on 10 Aug, but will be retained by them and NOT issued to any individual until arrival at airfield on D-1.
9. AIR PHOTOS. Are available for study in Briefing Room.
6th Battalion (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment. BIGOT - DRAGOON.
OPERATION ORDER NO.6.
(a) General. The Argens Valley lies in the department of VAR in country consisting of high hills and flat cultivated valleys. The mountain ranges are mostly forested with a fairly dense cover in which chestnuts and cork oak predominate, while the lower slopes are scrub covered. These hills are composed of granite and volcanic rock, with a subsoil of limestone; the soil cover is variable but moderately thick. The valley itself separates the Maures mass from the Esteral mass and runs North Westward from the coast at PLAGE DE ST RAPHAEL for some nine miles. For most of this distance the valley is practically level and consists of silt and gravel averaging about 2 miles wide with branches up the valleys of the streams draining from either side. On the higher parts of this plain and on some of the lower hill slopes there are terraced vineyards, the rest is cultivated with olive and mulberry trees, vines and crops. The watercourses crossing this plain, and presumably the Argens Valley as well, are said to be cut into the plain with banks 15 to 20 ft high. To the South of the valley the ground is rugged and various in height from 300 ft near the coast to a 1200 ft ridge which runs parallel to the FREJUS - AVIGNON highway and about 1800 yds South of it. To the North of the valley the scrub covered ground rises gently until it meets a high ridge some 8000 yds from the river. Further inland and just North of LE MUY there is a flat cultivated plain bordered on the East by a small ridge and on the West by a 900 ft height which dominates the whole plain. Little is known about the water supply in the area, but it is believed that wells and springs are few. The Argens River and tributary running across the plain North of LE MUY are said to have continual flow throughout the year.
Road FREJUS - LE MUY. This road is part of the route which serves the RIVIERA coast and from FREJUS follows an inland course up the Argens valley and crosses undulating country before passing down to the plains of the RHONE Valley. It is more suitable as a route for heavy military traffic than the coast road - and there is little doubt that an attempt will be made by the enemy to use this road to bring up reinforcements as a result of an assault landing at the mouth of the Argens, since any movement along the coast road will be bombarded by the Navy. Leading North from LE MUY is a secondary route across the high hilly country of the Alpes de PROVENCE. This road was recently used as part of the route along which a German Division moved from Southern FRANCE into ITALY. A recent report stated that the road FREJUS - LE MUY although metalled is in a poor condition. Between FREJUS and LE MUY the road bridges several small streams, and it is assumed that the larger bridges (details of which are given below) are prepared for demolitions. The width of this road varies between 20 and 30 ft and has a tarmacadam surface.
Details of Road Bridges.
1. M.R. U488383: Concrete or masonry trestle bridge over River BLEVET. Built up approaches OAL 105 ft OAW 35 ft.
2. M.R. U480385 - 460387: Numerous small bridges over streams.
3. M.R. U448386: Masonry bridge over River ENDRE: OAL 170 ft: OAW 20 ft: Straight approaches rocky and sloping banks.
4. M.R. U424389: Single span masonry bridge over River NETURBY: OAL 80 ft: OAW 33 ft: Straight approaches from the East, steep stony banks.
(c) Railways. The railway running along the Argens valley is part of the main line connecting GENOA and MARSEILLES, and is continuously used by the Germans for transporting troops and supplies from FRANCE to ITALY.
Le Muy. Guide books throw little light on LE MUY - except that it has a peacetime population of 2,500. As a road centre it is most important as it is the focal point of two main roads - namely DRAGUIGNAN - FREJUS and TOULON - LE LUC - FREJUS. Three secondary roads from the North and North West, and one from the South which links LE MUY with the coast, all converge on the town. The main railway line between CANNES and TOULON runs just South of the town and the station lies less than a kilometre to the East. A PW stated that when he was at LE MUY there were ten barracks in the town, all of which were uninhabitable because of the insanitary condition of the buildings.
Map: FRANCE 1:25,000 Sheet XXXV 44 - Sheets 1 and 2.
1. BOUNDARIES. The D.Z. area is shaped like an isosceles triangle, with the hamlet of ST MICHEL as its apex and the main East - West road from LE MOTTE as its base. The two sides are formed by the hills which flank the whole plain of LE MUY on either side.
2. SIZE. Approx. length of base 2,500 yards. Approx. length of West side 2,500 yards. Approx. length of East side 2,000 yards. Distance East - West in middle of D.Z. 1,500 yards.
3. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. These are as follows:-
(a) The level or gently undulating nature of the ground.
(b) The absence of woods.
(c) The two main North-South streams.
(d) The numerous small streams and drainage ditches.
(e) The irregular shapes and sizes of the fields, and the varieties of crops.
Almost 70% of the area is small crop or ploughland, the remainder mostly small vineyards, with a few olive or orange trees.
4. VEGETATION. The plain is predominantly cereal-growing and therefore mostly ploughland. By mid-summer one may expect the harvest to have been garnered, and only stubble to be left in the fields. The furrows run in varying directions in the different fields, and the average distance between furrows is 2 to 4 ft. At the Western edge of the D.Z. are some olive groves, with some 14 ft between the rows of trees, and crops growing in between the trees; the average height of the trees is 15 - 20 ft. Occasionally olives are scattered over the rest of the D.Z., but never more than 6 or 7 together. A large area of the D.Z. consists of ground vines.
5. HILLS AND GRADIENTS. The hills to the East of the plain have an average height of 250 ft towards LE MUY, but at the Northern end are scarcely higher than the D.Z. itself. They are mostly covered with large trees, probably chestnuts and cork oaks, with patches of bare scrub. The Western hills above LA MOTTE rise precipitously from the plain to an average height of 700 ft, and completely dominate the D.Z. Trees are similar to the Eastern hills, save for one or two cultivated clearings. The D.Z. itself slopes up gently from SE to NW - a gradient of 75 ft in 2,000 yards at the Southern end, and 60 ft in 1,000 yards towards the apex.
6. HUMAN HABITATION. On or around the D.Z. are three main groups of houses:-
(a) CLASTRON, at the centre of the base, consists of four houses of over 20 ft length.
(b) LE MITAN, of five such houses.
(c) ST MICHEL, of three.
In addition there are some 14 fair-sized houses scattered over the D.Z.
(a) The R. NARTUBY, which runs parallel to the base, varies from 15 ft to 30 ft in width, has steep banks, is lined with trees, and constitutes a natural anti-tank obstacle for most of its length. It is only crossed by the two main roads at LE SERRES and below LA MOTTE.
(b) The North-South tree-lined stream running from GAUTIER 424414 alongside the main North road, which crosses it at 419428. It is 10 to 15 ft wide, the trees along the bank vary from 10 to 30 ft, and it is crossed by good tracks at 4 points (423415, 419417, 419423, 419424), in addition to the main bridges at 424414, 419428 and 417431.
(c) North-South stream running from 414414 to 413425. It is lines in its Northern reaches by trees 20 - 30 ft high and has a width of 4 - 8 ft. It is crossed by roads at 414425 and 414414, by 6 ft tracks at 415415 and 415416, and possibly by a small track at 415417.
These streams are all dry.
8. OTHER OBSTACLES. The whole plain is criss-crossed by irrigation ditches 2 - 3 ft wide, and sometimes banked up with a low earth wall. These ditches are seldom closer together than 100 yards, and usually some 300 yards apart. Some, but not all, of the roads are lined with low earth mounds or hedges. No stone walls are visible nor are there any telegraph poles or lines in the D.Z. area.
(a) Main road NORTH from LE MUY, which leaves D.Z. at ST MICHEL, is a good metal secondary road, 20 ft wide and in normal use by M.T.
(b) Main West-East road from LE MOTTE, passing South of LE MITAN, is 18 ft wide and metalled.
(c) SW and NE unmetalled road 12 - 15 ft wide, running from 407413 to 418433.
(d) The following tracks are 8 - 10 ft wide, and in regular use by farm carts: CLASTRON 412411 to main road at 414414, LE MITAN to 414425, LE MITAN to 419428, 418425 to 411430, 417431 to ST ROMAN 411439.
(e) Many smaller tracks meander over the plain, providing numerous jeep routes.
10. R.V. The Bn. R.V. is in the area of House at 414422. Coy. R.Vs are at Pts. near House and are shown separately in the aerial photograph enlargement in the Briefing Room. The Bn. R.V. House is on the Western edge of the D.Z., 50 yards East of the prominent S bend on the unmetalled route 13. The House is 250 yards East of the high wooded hills. Two prominent olive (or orange) orchards stand a little to the North one on each side of the road. These should be studied in detail. 200 yards to the East of the R.V. is the nearest N - S stream some 4 - 8 ft wide.
(a) Winds. Summer in the South of FRANCE is hot and dry, but it is marked by the sudden climatic changes which occur throughout the season. The brightest day can be changed to the stormiest day within a matter of hours. This is caused by the MISTRAL, a Northerly wind which blows on an average of 112 days in the year. East of TOULON, however, this wind is infrequent, and storms are not likely to occur more than 5 or 6 times throughout August and September. The MISTRAL may last from a few hours to as much as 12 consecutive days, though commonly its duration is from three to six days.
(b) Rainfall. Is light and there are rarely more than 4 or 5 showers throughout any of the summer months. During the dry spell local streams cease to flow completely and the larger dwindle to a fraction of their size.
(c) Temperature. Below and approx. level of 1,500 ft, the climate is temperate. Near noon on cloudless days the sunlight is intense; the nights are cool.
Temperature in CANNES area during August.
Temperature in Fahrenheit
Extreme Maximum...................... 95°
Main daily maximum................... 82°
Main daily minimum.................... 65°
Extreme minimum........................ 51°
12. Civilians. No organised or active help can be expected in the early stages from the civilian population though this may develop later.
to 6th Bn. (Royal Welch) Parachite Regiment.
OPERATION ORDER NO.6.
1. AIR MARCH TABLE. Extract from Para G 5 - Part I is att Appx "A".
(a) Os.C. A. B. C. Coys will fly in A/c 1 - 19 - 28 respectively. Commanding Officer is flying in A/c No.10.
(b) Mor and MMG dets will fly:-
No. of A/c.
(a) For loading of containers on A/c see Appx "B".
(b) For contents of containers see Appx "A" to Annx 4.
(c) Containers will be delivered to Block Comds by O.C. S. Coy 12 Aug. 44.
(d) In the event of any containers having to be left on the airfield
) will each leave their BLACK
) & WHITE containers
(e) A/c with containers of Sp arms incl MMG, Mor., R.E., SIGS will release containers in middle of stick.
Black & White
Red & White
Black & Yellow
) containers will release containers
) before last man.
(f) Containers of MMG, Mor., pls., R.E. and F.O.O. party only will have green container lighting sets fitted. Remainder will NOT be fitted with lighting sets.
(g) Black & White, Red & White, and Black & Yellow containers will be left on D.Z. for collection later under arrangements of Bn HQ.
(a) After forming up over own airfield A/c then fly to D.Z. by following route:-
Northernmost pt on ELBA.
NORTH of CORSICA.
Naval Beacon Ship
" " "
" " "
Time over Check Pt.
0328 - 0343
0350 - 0405
0403 - 0418
0416 - 0431
0429 - 0444
(b) A/c cross coast at check pt ITHICA I., approx 10 miles ENE of S. RAPHAEL.
5. FLYING. No evasive action is being taken after A/c cross coast.
6. HOMING AIDS. 1 Indep Para Pl are setting up homing aids incl lights, sig strip, Eureka and Radio Compass Beam.
7. One A/c in each Unit Para aircraft will operate REBECCA. If fmn broken each A/c will switch on.
APPX "D" TO ANNX 3
to 6th Bn. (Royal Welch) Parachute Regiment
OPERATION ORDER NO.6.
MOVE TO AIRFIELD.
Ref Maps: ITALY 1:50,000 Sheet 149 - I and II.
(a) This instruction details adm action to be taken from receipt of orders to move to GALERA airfield on D minus 1, until arrival at airfield.
(b) All dates refer to D minus 1 unless otherwise stated.
(a) (i) Following will R.V. 6 Para Bn by 0830 hrs:-
Recce det., 300 A.L. A.Tk. Bty., R.A. (1 Offr & 5 O.Rs.)
Tp 2 Para Sqn R.E. (2 Offrs & 40 O.Rs.)
Det 127 Para Fd. Amb. (1 Offr & 11 O.Rs.)
Det Bde Sigs Coy (7 O.Rs.)
) 6 Para Bn tpt reports to these
) units at 1800 hrs D minus 2.
(ii) Above will be met by R.S.M. and taken on HQ. Coy. attd. strength.
(iii) Unexpired portion rations will be brought and handed over to HQ. Coy 6 Para Bn.
(iv) After arrival all adm of above will be responsibility of 6 Para Bn.
(b) All tps taking part in op will be embussed and ready to move from Camp by 1500 hrs.
3. DRESS & EQPT. as detailed in Appx 4 Pt I.
4. AMN. as detailed in Appx 4 Pt I.
(a) 1230 hrs - midday meal. 1730 hrs - hot drink on airfield. 1930 hrs - hot meal. 2359 hrs - breakfast.
(b) 2 x 1 gall container of tea will be loaded on each A/c by Jumpmaster. Q.M. will supply 2 mess tins per A/c for serving tea. A.L.O. will be responsible for collecting of containers and mess tins on return of A/c and for hand over to Q.M. earliest.
(c) Canteen will operate on airfield under orders Padre from 1700 hrs.
38 x 3 ton (RASC) lorries
7 x 3 ton (Unit) lorries
Os.C. Coys., Q.M.
3 M/Cs (RASC)
reported on 11 Aug 44.
required from 0900 hrs.
) required from 0900 hrs
required from 1400 hrs.
(b) RASC tpt will report to Sp arms as follows:-
2 Para Sqn R.E. - 5 x 3 ton lorries at 1800 hrs D minus 2. (one for containers in A/C other than R.E.)
127 Para Fd Amb - 1 x 3 ton lorry at 1800 hrs.
Bde Sigs Coy - 1 x 3 ton lorry at 1800 hrs.
S. Coy - 8 x 3 ton lorries required at call.
(c) 2 x 3 ton (Unit) lorries will report to NCO i/c Canteen at 0700 hrs D minus 1, and proceed to GALERA airfield and return to Camp.
(d) 5 x 3 ton Unit lorries will report to A. B. C. S. HQ. Coys at 0800 hrs for cooks and proceed to airfield on orders respective Coys.
(e) All vehs as in para (a) above less those in paras (c) and (d) will be marshalled on parade ground by 1400 hrs in Blocks as follows facing Guard Tent - Block E. being nearest road.
Proceed to Bde H.Q.
on order Adjt.
C.O's, Adjt's, O.C.
A Coy Jeeps.
O.C. S Coy, Q.M. Jeeps.
O.C. B Coy Jeep.
O.C. C Coy Jeep.
(f) Each 3-ton lorry will be marked by chalk on windscreen and door with A/C number. Leading vehs of each Block to have in addition Block No. on doors. All action by M.T.O.
7. CHECK PTS.
(a) At S.P. by Bde Provost.
(b) At GALERA Airfield all Block Comds will report arrival at A/C through Report Centres.
(a) 1500 hrs - Tps embussed by. 1520 hrs - Move off. 1545 hrs - Head passes Bde S.P. 1700 hrs - Arr Airfield.
(b) In the event of WET WEATHER all timings (excl time of take-off of A/C) will be advanced TWO hours. Orders to this effect will be issued by Bn. H.Q.
(a) Bn. S.P. - Rd junc 659727. Bde S.P. - Facing SOUTH at R.E. Camp entrance 664723. Dis Pt - GALERA Airfield 621582.
(b) By Blocks under comds as follows:-
Block A - Major L.A. Fitzroy-Smith.
Block B - Capt. M.G. Carr.
Block C - Major H. Lloyd Jones.
Block D - Major D.F. Jones.
Block E - Camp Comdt H.Q. 2 Indep Para Bde Gp.
(c) Capt. A.J. Masterson will be Offr i/c Bn. Gp convoy and will order mov after 4 Para Bn are clear.
10. ROUTE. Rd junc - 659727 to 664723 to rd junc 661691 to X-rds 658659 to X-rds 619658 to rd junc 628585 to GALERA Airfield 621582.
11. SPEED AND DENSITY. M.i.h. 30. V.t.n. 20.
(a) After all tps have debussed tpt will disperse to Block Adm Areas on orders Block Comd.
(b) After A/C have returned from mission tpt returns to Parent Unit on orders A.L.O.