National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1246.

 

Abbreviations

105745

7/II

AA

AAC

A/C

Airldg

Amn

Arty

A/Tk

Bde

Bks

Bn

Br

Brhead

Cas

CB

Cdn

Cdo

CO

Comd

Conc

Coy

Def

DF

Disposn

Div

DZ

Est

Fd

FDL

Fm

FOO

Fwd

GAF

Gren

HD

Hy

I

Incl

Inf

Infm

IO

Junc

LAD

LMG

LST
Lt

LZ

MDS

Med

MG

MMG

MO

Mor

MT

Offr

O Group

OP

OR

Ord

Ox Bucks

Pk

Pl

Posn

PT

PW

Pz Gren

QM

RA

RAMC

Rd

Rds

RE

Rec

Ref

Regt

REME

RM

RQMS

RUR

RV

SDP

Sec

Sig

Sitrep
SL

SP

Sqn

SS

Sup

Tk

Tkd

Tp

Tpt

U/S

Veh

Wef

X-rds

Map Reference

No.7 Kompanie, 2nd Battalion
Anti-Aircraft

Army Air Corps

Aircraft

Airlanding

Ammunition

Artillery

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Barracks

Battalion

Bridge / British

Bridgehead

Casualties

Counter-battery

Canadian

Command

Commanding Officer

Command

Concentration

Company

Defence

Defensive Fire

Disposition

Division / Divisional

Drop Zone

Establish

Field

Forward Defended Locality

Farm

Forward Observation Officer

Forward

German Air Force

Grenadier

Highland Division
Heavy

Intelligence

Including

Infantry

Information

Intelligence Officer

Junction

Light Aid Detachment

Light Machine Gun

Landing Ship Tank
Light

Landing Zone

Main Dressing Station

Medical

Machine Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Mortar

Motor Transport

Officer

Orders Group

Observation Post

Other Ranks

Ordnance

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Park

Platoon

Position

Physical Training

Prisoners of War

Panzer Grenadier

Quartermaster

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Medical Corps

Road

Rounds

Royal Engineers

Recovery

Reference

Regiment

Royal Electrical and Mechnical Engineers

Royal Marines

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant

Royal Ulster Rifles

Rendezvous

Supply Dropping Point

Section

Signal

Situation Report

Searchlight

Self-Propelled

Squadron

Special Service

Support / Supplies

Tank

Tracked

Troop

Transport

Unserviceable

Vehicle

With Effect

Crossroads

 

Month and year: June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. P.J. Luard

 

6th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0050 - 13th Bn. (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, forming part of 5th Parachute Brigade dropped from DAKOTA and ALBEMARLE a/c on D.Z. 'N' - NORTH of RANVILLE, near CAEN, Dept of CALVADOS.

 

0230 - Bn moved off from R.V., having rallied on the Bn hunting horn call (L for Lancaster), and formed in Companies.

 

0300 - Village of RANVILLE now cleared of enemy.  Very few enemy were found, as from infm received from inhabitants, it appears that the main body of the enemy were away, and that the majority of those left behind departed with all speed when they saw parachutists.  Those PW taken were wounded and seemed very young.  Identification from PW, dead and documents was 7/II Pz Gren Regt 125.

 

0320 - Glider party arrived on L.Z. 'N', now cleared of poles by 'A' Coy.  Party consisted mainly of A/Tk guns, which moved rapidly into posn.

 

0510 - British aircraft observed attacking posns in area LE PLEIN - OUISTREHAM.

 

0600 - Patrol to HEROUVILLETTE reported village in enemy hands.

 

0855 - Report received from Bde HQ that news from seaborne tps is that they have broken through first line of defs.

 

0900 - 12 Para Bn outpost heavily mortared.

 

1005 - Enemy S.P. guns reported on 'A' Coy front.

 

1020 - 'A' Coy attacked by about 40 men and 3 S.P. guns.

 

1032 - 'A' Coy's last LMG wiped out.

 

1033 - 'A' Coy reported attack repulsed.  A/Tk guns knocked out 3 S.P. guns incl 2 destroyed.  PW identified as 125 Pz Gren Regt (21 Pz Div).

 

1120 - Infm received of counter-attacks against 7 Para Bn and 12 Para Bn.  All these attacks are being held.

 

1200 - Arty conc put down on HEROUVILLETTE RACECOURSE to assist 'A' Coy.

 

1210 - 'A' Coy reported one more S.P. gun knocked out.

 

1212 - 'C' Coy put in limited counter-attack to assist 'A' Coy.  Enemy cas reported as 1 Offr and 42 ORs killed and 6 ORs captured.

 

1230 - 7 Para Bn report one Pl of enemy wearing Brit airborne smocks and red berets penetrated part of our line.

 

1330 - 1 S.S. Bde Commando tps passed over BENOUVILLE BRS and through Bde posns towards FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.

 

1650 - 4 Schmeisser machine pistols and amn found in RANVILLE sent to 'A' Coy.

 

1710 - 'A' Coy again attacked by approx 50 of 3/I/Pz Gren Regt 125.  Attack again repulsed.

 

1800 - 5 Para Bde report 7 Para Bn not yet relieved on BENOUVILLE BRS and 12 Para Bn repulsed number of enemy attacks.

 

2100 - Main glider party 6 Airldg Bde, landed on L.Z. 'N'.

 

2100 to 2130 - L.Z. shelled from SOUTH.

 

2330 - Dakota a/c dropped supplies by parachute.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 6 Jun 44

Killed - 1 OR, Wounded - 25 ORs, Missing 2 Offrs and 56 ORs.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0630 - 'B' Coy shelled spasmodically from SOUTH.

 

0945 - Ju 88 shot down by Spitfire just outside Bn area.

 

1305 - L.Z. and Bn area shelled for 10 minutes.

 

1430 - SE side of L.Z. being shelled.

 

1440 - 'A' Coy holding enemy attack on left flank.

 

1550 - Reported 2 Oxf Bucks driven out of ESCOVILLE and holding posns in HEROUVILLETTE.

 

1640 - 'A' Coy attacked, losing one A/Tk gun, but counter-attacked and regained gun and all ground lost.

 

1750 - 2 enemy ORs of 716 Arty Regt surrendered to 'B' Coy.

 

1821 - Reported enemy in ESCOVILLE now withdrawing southwards.  1 R.U.R. have captured LONGUEVAL.

 

1930 - 4 PW from 12 SS Pz Div captured.

 

2030 - CSM McParlan, 'A' Coy, reported.  This WO was dropped off the D.Z. and established a fighting base at ST SAMSON with 10 men of his stick and some Fighting French.

 

2133 - Enemy cas to date-

Killed

POW
Tanks

Captured equipments:

5 Offrs 126 ORs

15 ORs

4 knocked out.

3 MG 42

4 Schmeisser m/c

3 Motor-cycles

1 Motor-cycle and side car

4 3-ton lorries

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 7 Jun 44

Killed - 1 OR, Wounded - 1 Offr 5 ORs.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0500 - 4 PW 12 SS Pz Div captured.  Presence indicated move WEST of 12 SS Pz Div to brhead area.

 

0800 - Bn area shelled.  Thought to be 105 mm S.P. guns to the S.E.

 

0905 - 'A' Coy observed enemy smoke and MG fire NORTH of HEROUVILLETTE.

 

1119 - Shelling resumed from area ESCOVILLE - ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE.

 

1130 - Captain F.A.N. Elliston killed by gunshot wound in the chest.

 

1215 - RANVILLE still being intermittently shelled.

 

1220 - British arty putting down C.B. fire.  Enemy shelling ceased.

 

1320 - Allied fighters sweeping overhead.

 

1705 - 857 Regt 346 Div identified by interrogation.  Bridge 105745 attacked by enemy bombers.

 

1710 - 2 ME 109's attacked bridge 105745, dropping 2 x 500 lb bombs.  1 ME 109 destroyed.

 

1855 to 1915 - Bn under enemy mortar fire.

 

2000 - 1 OR A/Tk pl killed by shellfire.

 

2135 - Area again shelled.  Lieut J.B. Sharples, Lieut H.M. Pollak and CSM Maguire, wounded.  M.D.S. hit.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 8 Jun 44

Killed - 1 Offr 1 OR, Wounded - 2 Offrs 8 ORs.

 

9th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

1255 - 1 Coy enemy observed WOOD 131738.

 

1325 - C.O. to Capt Kerr - "Do not open fire on COPSE without direct orders from me".  Bn area shelled.

 

1345 - Movement observed COPSE 103720.  ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE being shelled, by our arty.  Oxf Bucks occupied ESCOVILLE without opposition.

 

1440 - 'A' Coy patrol mortared.

 

1445 - Bn area mortared.

 

1505 - 'A' Coy arrange mortar fire on Copse 103720.

 

1750 to 1800 - Bn area under shellfire from direction ESCOVILLE.

 

1830 to 1905 - Bn area under shellfire from direction ESCOVILLE and from VARAVILLE direction.

 

1910 to 2030 - Very heavy shelling of Bn area by guns and heavy mortars.  HEROUVILLETTE heavily attacked by enemy infantry and tanks, but all attacks repulsed.  Some tks approached our posns but driven off.

 

2055 - Enemy forming-up in WOODS NORTH of D.Z.

 

2100 - Bn area attacked by low flying fighters.

 

2110 - 'B' Coy attacked from NORTH.  Attack repulsed.

 

2120 to 2130 - Enemy fighters ground-strafed and bombed area.  Intermittent shelling and bombing at irregular intervals throughout night.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 9 Jun 44

Killed - 2 OR, Wounded - 2 ORs, Missing 1 OR.

 

10th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0300 - Capt Kerr, commanding 2 Pls of 'B' Coy, covering northern approaches, reported enemy MG fire on his posns from Woods near BREVILLE.  Bde HQ confirmed presence of enemy bn in BREVILLE and arrangements were made for reception of possible attacks.  Intermittent shelling, resembling ranging continued until dawn.

 

0600 - Sup arty of 2 Fd Regts registered targets area 130738 - 126744.

 

0725 - Enemy debouched from Woods about 129736 - 2 Coys infantry.

 

0730 - Arty engaged enemy (about 50) 124744.

 

0745 - Approx one bn enemy spread about between 117740 - 122925.

 

0825 - Enemy now at 118734 - 30 yards from posns.  Heavily engaged by LMGs.

 

0845 - 'C' Coy.  Pl moved to orchard 115735.

 

0920 - Some enemy remnants conc in Wood 121734 and mortar fire falling on x-rds 114735.

 

0935 - Wood 121734 being heavily shelled by our arty.

 

1010 - 18 PW brought in.  Identified as II/858 Inf Regt 346 Div.

 

1155 - 'B' Coy report further enemy attacks.

 

1230 - 1 Pl enemy moved into EAST end of R.V.

 

1330 - Enemy reinforcing R.V. by infiltration.

 

1355 - Enemy smoke area 117738.

 

1455 - HEROUVILLETTE shelled by enemy.

 

1530 - Several pls of enemy moved astride rd 129741.

 

1640 - R.V. attacked by Sherman tanks, 2 Coys 7 Para Bn and 'C' Coy 13 Para Bn.  Cleared of enemy.  73 prisoners taken.

 

1830 - Bn area under shellfire.

 

2005 - Enemy working party observed area 123733 - Arty OP reports enemy forming up with S.P. guns in BREVILLE.

 

2315 - 249 Sqn RE under comd for def.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 10 Jun 44

Killed - 5 OR, Wounded - 1 Offr 17 ORs

 

11th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0600 - Quiet night - no shelling or bombing in bn area.

 

0608 - 'B' Coy bombarded with 4" mortars.

 

0730 to 0810 - Bn area mortared.

 

0740 - Black Watch attacked BREVILLE.

 

0825 to 0830 - Bn area mortared.

 

0930 to 1015 - Bn area mortared intermittently.

 

1030 - Bn area shelled.

 

1135 - Arty OP reports large conc enemy tks approaching HEROUVILLETTE from ST HONORINE.

 

1340 - R/T intercept - Enemy tks and inf moving along rd TROARN - ESCOVILLE.

 

1645 - Area mortared from BREVILLE direction.

 

1845 - Our arty ranging on BREVILLE.

 

2045 - Our arty ranging on ST HONORINE.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 11 Jun 44

Wounded - 1 Offr 8 ORs

 

12th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0600 - Fairly quiet night - slight shelling and bombing.

 

1145 to 1200 - Area shelled intermittently.

 

1430 - Our Arty shelling BREVILLE.

 

1530 to 1600 - Area mortared - 1 OR killed.

 

2145 - Very heavy arty barrage put down by our arty on BREVILLE preparatory to attack by 12 Para Bn and 1 Coy 12 Devons.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 12 Jun 44

Killed - 1 OR, Wounded - 1 OR

 

13th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

During night area shelled and bombed at intervals.  One bomb fell in 'B' Coy area, knocking out an A/Tk gun and killing one OR and wounding one OR.

 

0640 - Bde report BREVILLE and ST HONORINE LA CHARDONNERETTE in our hands.

 

0915 - Enemy counter-attacking ST HONORINE LA CHARDONNERETTE.

 

1445 - 12 Para Bn captured 50 PW in BREVILLE.  PW state 857 and 858 Gren Regts have sustained 70% cas and are now operating in scratch battle groups.

 

1545 - Area shelled.

 

1930 - Area machine-gunned by Typhoon fighters.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 13 Jun 44

Wounded - 6 ORs

 

14th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Fairly quiet night.

 

0925 - Area shelled - thought to be S.P. guns.

 

2150 to 2220 - Bn area shelled.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 14 Jun 44

Wounded - 1 OR

 

15th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Intermittent shelling during night.  Fairly quiet day.

 

1700 - Bn area shelled.

 

1705 - Pte Denby found two marked enemy maps on D.Z. which proved to give locations, plan of attack and O/B of 346 Inf Div.

 

2115 - Firing from EAST of BREVILLE.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 15 Jun 44 - NIL

 

16th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0500 - Very close shelling on Bn. HQ.  No cas.

 

0530 - Smoke and small arms fire observed area HEROUVILLETTE - RACECOURSE - ESCOVILLE.

 

0615 - 10 enemy observed moving SW from HEROUVILLETTE with hy equipment.

 

0640 - Bde reports enemy tks moving up from SW.

 

0710 - ESCOVILLE being heavily attacked by inf and tanks.

 

0805 - ESCOVILLE in enemy hands.

 

0830 - Bde reports following enemy attacks:-

                            BREVILLE - 0550 hrs.

                            LE MESNIL - 0500 hrs.

                            PRe BARON - 0515 hrs.

                            ESCOVILLE - 0630 hrs.

 

0915 - Bn area shelled.

 

No further incidents 16 June 44 except for occasional shelling.  It is appreciated that enemy attacks were recce in force to discover new disposns following arrival of 51 H.D.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 16 Jun 44

Killed - 2 ORs, Wounded - 3 ORs

 

17th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0330 - BREVILLE attacked by one pl enemy - unsuccessful.  Major W.A.B. Harris, MC to comd 12 Para Bn.

 

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1100 - Unit relieved 1 Cdn Para Bn as part of general relief of 3 Para Bde by 5 Para Bde.  No incidents.

 

1905 - Our arty put down C.B. fire on mortars which were shelling us intermittently.

 

2205 - Area Bn. HQ heavily mortared.

 

2314 - 'A' Coy standing patrol at FARM 144731 report heavy tracked vehs on rd to BAVENT.

 

QUIET NIGHT - CONTACT PATROLLING CARRIED OUT.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 17 Jun 44

Wounded - 2 ORs

 

18th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0045 - Bn area mortared.

 

0750 - 'C' Coy report enemy shelling.

 

0815 - 'C' Coy report enemy mortaring from 143731.

 

1315 - Lt R.M. Town (Sig Offr) to MDS for rest for one day on account of sickness.

 

1450 - Enemy shelled Bn area.

 

1545 - Enemy mortar fire from 146731 - our mortars engaging.

 

2325 - Enemy shell fire on Bn area.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 18 Jun 44

Wounded - 4 ORs

 

19th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0100 - Enemy shell fire on Bn area.

 

0210 - Enemy mortar fire on Bn area.

 

0218 - Lieut W.F. Hodgson returned from attempt to reach BAVENT with fighting patrol.  Engaged enemy at 147733.

 

1030 - Enemy S.P. gun reported at 146734.

 

1200 - 7 Pl ('C' Coy) attack S.P. gun at 146734 after mortar preparation.  Pinned down before reaching objective and withdrew.  Major R. Collins and 14 ORs wounded.  2 ORs missing.

 

1235 - Bn area shelled.

 

1800 - Routine contact patrols established under control of I.O. - each Coy to provide two patrols per day, each of 1 NCO and 1 OR.

 

2120 - 12 Devons opened party by mortaring enemy posns in WOOD 146734.  It then appeared that the enemy expected an attack, as he (the enemy) fired all his weapons and put down mortar fire.  One or two sections were observed moving near our front and after over two hours of wild firing on their side and concentrations on pin-pointed targets on our side, all was quiet by midnight.  The development of such a large action from such a small beginning is suspected to be the result of panic in the enemy lines.  Certainly all their M.G. was fired at nothing.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 19 June 44

Wounded - 1 Offr 14 ORs.  Missing - 2 ORs

 

20th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1120 - Quiet morning and afternoon - rifle grenades containing propaganda leaflets fired on our posns.

 

1650, 1730 and 1740 - Bn area shelled intermittently at approx these times.

 

1758 and 1835 - Bn area shelled intermittently at approx these times.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 20 June 44

Wounded - 3 ORs

 

21st June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0545 - Our mortars fired on suspected enemy posns at 146725.

 

1005 - Enemy mortar located at tr/hedge junc 149726.

 

1330 - Bn area mortared.

 

1645 to 1700 - Bn area shelled.

 

1730 to 1800 - Our own mortars engaged enemy.

 

1800 to 1915 - Mortars on both sides engage located targets.  Eventually our mortars silence enemy posns.

 

2210 - WOOD 147736 shelled by our arty.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 21 June 44

Wounded - 3 ORs

 

22nd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0420 - Bn posns shelled.

 

1140 - News received that the Bde Comd has been awarded the American Silver Star for the splendid work of the Brigade.

 

1835 to 1921 - Bn area shelled intermittently.

 

2030 - Another party - This time one of our contact patrols located enemy at 146730.  They threw a grenade, killing two, and withdrew.  The enemy then mortared our standing patrol at the Farm 143731 from 146730 and from Wood 147727.  Our mortars promptly put a concentration on both of these, and thereafter every time they fired we replied fourfold (which is now our policy).  When all enemy posns were quietened, a further conc was put down on the patrol from 146735 - these bombs actually fell near their own posns at 146730 - before our mortars could reply, 12 Devons put down a concentration on WOOD 146735 which effectively silenced the battery there.  Action ended at midnight.

 

2200 - During the battle, movement of tkd vehs was heard eastwards from WOOD 146735 - presumably these are S.P. guns pulling out for the night.  In case of tks, 'A' Coy layed mines on rd EAST of standing patrol.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 22 June 44

Wounded - 2 ORs

 

23rd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0350 - Slight enemy mortar fire - our mortars replied with 10 rds per gun on each LUKE and JOHN.

 

0500 - S.P. guns shelled our area.

 

0930 - 2 S.P. guns located area WOOD 147728 - engaged by our mors and arty.

 

1030 - 2 S.P. guns located area WOOD 147728 - engaged by our mors and arty.

 

1225 - Bn area mortared.

 

1410 - Occasional shells on Bn area.  One man of 'A' Coy injured by sniper - shot whilst burying German dead.

 

1810 to 1900 - Bn area mortared - our mortars engaged enemy batteries and FDLs.

 

1915 - 'C' Coy patrol reports enemy MG posts at 143735 and mortar posn at 145735 - 2 S.P. guns at 173775.

 

2211 - Enemy movement at 146733.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 23 June 44

Wounded - 3 ORs

 

24th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0300 - Shelling from "LUKE" and "LUKE MINOR".

 

0515 - Much movement and words of command from "LUKE".  Movement of tpt heard in area LE PRIEURE.

 

1630 - 3 rounds fell in Bn. HQ area - one achieved direct hit on shed housing Command Post - no cas.

 

1930 - Mortars put down 500 bombs on "JAMES".

 

2025 - Two enemy approached patrol at 'B' Coy, Farm 14375.  Sjt Badel fired killing one.  Patrol withdrew and later recovered body.  Identification 858 Gren Regt.

 

2105 - Enemy S.P. guns ranged on Standing Patrol farm.

 

2140 - Our mortars engaged "JAMES".

 

2255 - Our mortars engaged "JOHN".

 

2335 - Contact patrols for night cancelled in view of fighting patrols to be carried out about midnight by both flanking units.

 

2350 - Bn area heavily shelled and mortared, 7 Para Bn being shelled also.  Sounds of enemy MG fire.  'B' Coy reported attack on their front.

 

2355 - D.F. tasks ordered.

 

25th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0110 - 7 Para Bn firing - presumably being attacked.

 

0025 - Area still being shelled and mortared.  Our mortars engaged all known enemy locations.

 

0028 - "PETER" on fire!!  Lt Jeavons concussed and one OR killed by direct hit on slit trench.

 

0100 to 0600 - Shelling and mortaring going on on both sides.  Battle died down at 0600 hrs but odd shelling persisted all night.

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 24 June 44

NIL

 

13 Para Bn casualties for 25 June 44

Killed - 3 ORs.  Wounded 1 Offr 10 ORs.

 

1300 - Handover to 1 Cdn Para Bn completed and Bn moved to rest area near RANVILLE on banks of R. ORNE.

 

25th to 30th June 1944

2 ORs wounded by MG fire while returning from zeroing weapons.

 

General Summary

The Battalion dropped into FRANCE on night 5/6 June and as a result of the drop 62 men are missing, of the majority there is no news.  Two officers, Lieut A.H. Lee and Capt (QM) S. Daisley, who was in the Bde Glider Element are missing.


All tasks allotted to the Battalion were completed according to schedule and the battalion dug in around RANVILLE prepared to repel attacks, which proved to be few and far between, and ineffective.  There was considerable shelling of the Battalion positions and the majority of the casualties were due to this.  The biggest attack was put in against 'B' Coy on 10 Jun and was repelled with heavy losses to the enemy.

 

On 17 Jun the Bn moved forward to LE MESNIL and relieved 1 Canadian Parachute Bn, and from there on 25 Jun, in to a rest area near BENOUVILLE bridges for a much-needed rest.

 

Total casualties for the month were - Killed - Offrs 1 ORs 16.  Wounded - Offrs 6 ORs 119.  Missing - Offrs 2 ORs 59.  A number of officers have been lost.  Major W.A.B. Harris MC, Capt R.M. Kerr, Lieut B.W. Metcalf and Lieut J.M. Bercot were posted to 12th Parachute Bn.  Capt F.A.N. Elliston was killed and Major R.G. Collins, Lieut B.S. Arnold, Lieut J.B. Sharples, Lieut H.M. Pollak and Lieut J.S. Jeavons wounded.  Capt H.J. Ainsworth broke his leg on landing.

 

Quartermaster's Summary

 

Stores

 

Date

Received or Issued

Remarks

Rangefinders MkVII

- 4

3 Jun

Rec'd

Carried by QM in Glider - failed to arrive

Wireless Sets No.18

- 3

7 Jun

"

 

Wireless Sets No.38

- 4

7 Jun

"

 

Guns M/G Bren

- 4

"

"

In partial recovery of weapons and equipment which

Guns M/G Vickers

- 3

"

"

failed to arrive from D.Z.

OML Mortar 3"

- 3

"

"

 

Telescopes, Scout

- 1

"

"

 

PIATs

- 2

"

"

 

OML Mortar 3"

- 2

8 Jun

"

To replace damaged by enemy action.

Wireless Sets No.38

- 2

"

"

In recovery of losses on D.Z.

Guns M/G Bren

- 2

"

"

To replace damaged by enemy action.

OML Mortar 3" Baseplate

- 3

10 Jun

"

To replace damaged and U/S parts.

OML Mortar 3" Barrel

- 3

"

"

"

Wireless Sets No.38

- 3

17 Jun

"

To replace damaged and U/S parts.

Wireless Sets No.18

- 1

"

"

"

Carbines M/G Sten

- 55

25 Jun

Issued.

 

Rifles No.4 Mk.1.

- 64

"

"

 

Lamps S.D.

- 8

"

"

Returned to Ordnance Fd Pk as surplus to requirements.

Bayonets No.4 Mk.1.

- 90

"

"

 

Watches G.S.

- 5

"

Received

In lieu of deficiencies of Watches, wristlet.

Mortar 2" Inf Patt.

- 1

28 Jun

Rec'd

To replace u/s weapons returned.

Mortar 3" complete

- 1

"

"

 

Barrels, spare, Bren

- 9

"

"

To replace deficiencies.

Wallets, spare parts

- 9

"

"

 

Wireless Set No.18

- 1

30 Jun

Rec'd

To replace deficiencies.

Carbines, M/G Sten

- 5

"

Issued

Surplus to requirements - to Ord Fd Pk.

Watches G.S.

- 2

"

Rec'd

In lieu of Watches, wristlet, deficient.

 

 

Month and year: July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. P.J. Luard

 

1st to 5th July 1944

Place: Rest Area Nr Ranville

 

Bn resting in Div rest area since 25 June 44.  Time devoted to P.T., recreation., cleaning and repair of arms, etc.  Vacancies for film and other shows were allotted and trips to the beaches were organised.  100 infantry reinforcements arrived 3.7.44.

 

5th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1130 - Take-over of previous posns from 1st Cdn Para Bn completed.  The line has been pushed forward according to the plans made by us before our relief.

 

1820 - Enemy fighter a/c attacked neighbouring posns.

 

1826 - Enemy fighter a/c attacked neighbouring posns.

 

2030 - 'C' Coy mortared, suffering one cas.

 

2100 - Our arty shelled enemy F.D.Ls.

 

2135 - 'C' Coy mortared by 5cm mortar at 145727.

 

General: A quiet day, punctuated by sporadic bursts of mortar and M.G. fire.  We took no offensive action, but replied vigorously to all enemy activity.

Casualties for 5 July 44

Others Ranks.  Killed - 1.  Wounded 1.

 

6th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1130 - Bn handed over posns to 12 Para Bn and left for BENOUVILLE to train for, and rehearse a Bn attack planned originally as a company raid and now extended to Bn level.

 

6th to 10th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

During this period the bn carried out rehearsals of day and night advances.  Early in the period (see note) it was learned that the attack as planned was not to take place, and that the bn was to continue training as a 'div assault bn', with the object of attacking when and where opportunity offered or circumstances dictated.  The training was done, but on 9th July it was decided to move us back into the line the following day.

 

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1100 - Take-over from 12 Para Bn completed - posns as before.  A certain amount of shelling and mortaring of our posns was caused by a raid carried out by 7 Para Bn on our right.  It was noted that the enemy guns and mortars were in action 10 minutes after our arty conc started, and 6-barrelled mortars 50 minutes after.  During the night contact patrols made contact with enemy posns, reporting no change in previous locations.

 

11th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

No activity during day apart from occasional mortar and M.G. fire.  At dusk the enemy put up illuminating flares at odd intervals.  During the night Bn R.A.M.C. personnel assisted by 'C' Coy recovered bodies of Pte Denby and Pte Stanyon, which had been lying in disputed ground.  Two patrols were sent out to determine extent of enemy wiring, and returned with the required information, having penetrated as far as the houses at 149727, where they heard movement, and hedge junc 146728, where voices were heard.

 

Casualties for 11 July 44

Offrs.  Wounded - 2.  ORs.  Killed - 2.  Wounded - 13.

 

12th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0710 - 8 Me 109's flew over Bn area, but dropped nothing more dangerous than an empty petrol tank in 'A' Coy area.

 

1000 - Lieut G.H. O'Brien-Hitching, when posting 'A' Coy snipers in a forward posn, was wounded by M.G. fire in the area of hedge junc 146725.  Both he and Pte Corbett RAMC, who went out to fetch him, were captured by the enemy.

 

1255, 1305, 1400 - Rear areas heavily shelled and mortared by the enemy.  No shells fell in bn area.  Number of shells varied from 20 to 70 on each occasion.

 

1730 - 'A' and 'B' Coys mortared by 5cm mortars from area 146725.  Our mortars silenced enemy fire.

 

Night: A patrol of three penetrated to enemy posn at 149727 and laid delayed action H.E. charges close to enemy trenches.  'C' Coy, having failed to locate the body of Sjt Muir on previous night's patrol, made deeper patrols in vain.

 

Casualties for 12 July 44

Offrs.  Missing - 1.  ORs.  Killed - 1.  Wounded - 2.  Missing - 1.

 

13th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0445 - Bn. HQ area mortared by enemy 81mm mortars.

 

0450 - Bn. HQ area mortared by enemy 81mm mortars.

 

0500 - Our mortars fired slow rate neutralising fire.

 

1025 - Bn. HQ area again mortared.

 

1050 - Bn. HQ area again mortared.

 

1109, 1135, 1301, 1313, 1320 - At these times enemy mortar bombs in small numbers fell in Bn area.  No action was taken (in view of policy of keeping front quiet and limitations on mortar bomb expenditure) until 1322 hrs.

 

1322 - Our mortars fire on known enemy mortar posns.  This mortar and counter-mortar fire lasted all afternoon and well into the evening.  None of it was particularly heavy or concentrated, and it is not proposed to report further exact timings, as this kind of nuisance fire is a more or less permanent feature of this part of the line.  The policy is to reply to each salvo with about 3 times the number of bombs fired at us.  This is only carried out when the mortaring becomes a nuisance to fwd troops.

 

Night: A patrol was sent out to plant H.E. at hedge junc 146728, but unfortunately drew fire and were forced to dump the H.E. just outside our own wire.

 

Casualties for 13 July 44

Other Ranks: Wounded - 1.

 

14th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0530 - FARM 143730 sustained 5 direct mor hits - no cas.

 

0645 - An enemy deserter from II/858 Gren Regt was wounded entering our lines in 'B' Coy area.

 

0716 - Another deserter entered 'B' Coy lines - this time unhurt.  This PW reported that Lieut O'Brien-Hitching had died soon after being captured.

 

1450 to 1515 - Intermittent shelling and mortaring.

 

1845 - Bn area again mortared.

 

Night: A patrol made contact with the enemy at rd/track junc 145733, and left delayed action H.E. charges.  These went off later and successfully blew down a telegraph pole close to the enemy.  The policy of these patrols is to establish moral ascendancy over the enemy by indicating to him the strength of our patrol activities.

 

Casualties for 14 July 44

NIL

 

15th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

This was a singularly uneventful day.  What mortaring there was was well distributed and ineffective for the most part.  On the whole the enemy appeared to be content to leave well alone.

 

Night: Lieut BOYLE and 2 O.Rs patrolled to area 145733 and laid delayed-action incendiary charges.  On the way back they bumped into, and promptly captured, an enemy patrol of 1 NCO and 2 ORs of II/858 Gren Regt.

 

Casualties for 15 July 44

Other Ranks: Killed - 1.  Wounded - 3.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1140 - Bn area mortared.

 

1215 - As a result of interrogation of PW., which disclosed the location of the enemy Coy HQ and Bn. HQ, and the times at which meals were issued at these places., a combined mortar and M.G. shoot was fired at this time on to both targets, and on to a counter-mortar target.  A total of 280 bombs were fired.  There was no immediate enemy reaction.

 

2300 - Enemy a/c active over Bn area.  Some bombs which were dropped fell in the enemy lines - fortunately on a located mortar posn.

 

General: Capt D.J. Tibbs and Lieut W.F. Hodgson were decorated today with the 'immediate' award of the Military Cross.  The investiture was held by General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery.

 

Night: During the night attempts were made to trap any other enemy patrols venturesome enough to approach our posns, but without success.

 

Casualties for 16 July 44

Other Ranks: Wounded - 2.

 

17th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

In accordance with policy, the front was kept very quiet today., the eve of the attack S.E. of CAEN.  There was no reply to such slight enemy mortar fire as fell in our area.

 

Casualties for 17 July 44

NIL.

 

18th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0530 - The air attack S.E. of CAEN commenced with heavy bombing by LANCASTERS AND HALIFAXES.

 

0630 - Arty barrage following air attack commenced.

 

0645 - In view of the possibility of an enemy attempt to lose contact on this front, because of the heavy attack now being carried out further SOUTH, recce patrols were sent out by fwd Coys with the task of maintaining contact with the enemy.  This they did and discovered that the enemy still held his posns.

 

1230 - Throughout the morning the enemy troubled us at intervals with mortar fire, and some rockets fell near, but not in, the bn area.  The noise of the battle to the SOUTH became more and more distant.

 

1330 - Contact patrols again confirmed presence of enemy.

 

1650 - A patrol sent out to test enemy reaction was heavily fired on., one NCO being killed.  (Cpl Lysaght).

 

1800 - Intermittent mortar fire on Bn area.

 

Night: Contact patrols confirmed continued presence of enemy.

 

Casualties for 18 July 44

Other Ranks: Killed - 2.  Wounded - 1.

 

19th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1000 - 2 enemy O.Rs came into our lines as deserters and gave valuable information.

 

1200 - An attempt was made to draw enemy fire - thus maintaining contact.  Mors and M.Gs fired, and the enemy reacted favourably, replying with similar fire.

 

1700 - Bn area mortared.  This mortar fire continued at widely dispersed intervals throughout the evening.

 

Night: Contact patrols confirmed presence of enemy in his original posns.

 

Casualties for 19 July 44

NIL.

 

20th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0020 - Enemy a/c dropped bombs near Bn area.  During the early hours of the morning the enemy fired frequent flares and light signals, making the work of our patrols very difficult.

 

During the day there was no action of any sort apart from occasional mortaring by both sides.  Our policy is to reply at least three-fold to all enemy mortar fire.

 

Night: Contact patrols confirmed presence of enemy at 147728 and 149726.  Up to date there have been no indications of any enemy withdrawal in this sector, and since the main attack further SOUTH has now been halted, it is unlikely that a withdrawal will take place.

 

Casualties for 20 July 44

NIL.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Another very quiet day.  The enemy again responded to attempts to draw his fire, particularly when a PIAT was used against one of his sniper posns.  Mortar fire was infrequent.

 

Casualties for 21 July 44

NIL.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Even less activity than previous day.  Slight mortar fire - NOT in Bn area.  Left forward Coy area taken over by 12 Devons.

 

Casualties for 22 July 44

Other Ranks: Wounded - 2.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

The enemy was very sensitive all day and fired on the least provocation.  'C' Coy were unfortunate in sustaining a number of cas from enemy mortar fire, as a result of very accurate fire from 50mm and 81mm mortars on their forward positions.  Two cas were also caused by a troublesome enemy sniper.  See attached SITREP giving full details.  Appx B.

 

Casualties for 23 July 44

Other Ranks: Killed - 1.  Wounded - 5.  Missing - 1.

 

24th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Handover to 12 Para Bn completed, and battalion marched to rest area.

 

Casualties for 19 July 44

NIL.

 

24th to 30th July 1944

Place: Rest Area near Div HQ

 

Bn in rest area.  The opportunity was taken to have a general clean-up, which was most necessary after the rains of the previous few days.  Whilst in the rest area there was no trouble from enemy bombing or shell-fire.  Recreational parties were organised for cinema and stage shows and for swimming on the beaches.  As on previous occasions, a Church Service was held.

 

30th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0930 - Bn took-over from 7 Para Bn in sector SOUTH of line previously held.  'A' Coy is left fwd coy., 'B' Coy in reserve, and 'C' Coy right forward coy.

 

1015 - Take-over complete.  For the rest of the day there was literally "nothing to report".  Only odd rifle shots were fired and only fleeting glimpses of the enemy observed.

 

Casualties for 30 July 44

NIL.

 

31st July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Orders received to hand-over to No.3 Commando on 1 Aug 44, on 5 Para Bde going into Div reserve.  During the day the area was occasionally mortared, but no bombs fell near our posns.  The enemy fired bursts of M.G. occasionally, but with no effect.

 

General Summary

A quiet month.  One long spell of duty was carried out in the line at LE MESNIL and the rest of the month was spent at rest or training areas.  On 28 July, the Bn was informed that within a few days it would move into Corps Reserve.  This was generally understood to be preparatory to a return to the U.K., a move which had been long expected, was much overdue, and concerning which numerous rumours had been rife for some time.  The warning order for the move was, however, cancelled the following day.  During the month Major G.W. Bristow was wounded by a direct hit on his slit-trench and was evacuated.  He was the first Company Commander to become a casualty.  Major R.M. Tarrant, OC 'HQ' Coy took-over 'B' Company in place of Major Bristow.

 

Quartermaster's Summary

The following stores were received and handed in during the month:

 

5

1 Pistol Signal 1" to DMA (surplus).

10

4 Modified Base Plates 3" Mortar received from Ordnance in lieu of 4 Old Patt returning to Ordnance.  12 Rifles No.4 Mk.1 returned to DMA (surplus).  1 Sten Mk V returned to DMA (shrapnelled).

11

4 Stens Mk V received from Ordnance in respect of 'A' Coy deficiencies.

12

4 Motor-cycles Lt Weight patt returned to Ordnance via LAD.  (2 shrapnelled  2 unserviceable).

15

1 Bedford Water Truck received from Beach Ordnance Group.

21

1 Vickers MMG received from Ordnance in replacement of one returned to DMA (unserviceable).

28

1 Watches, Pocket received from Ordnance in respect of Lieut Lagergren (Watch, Wristlet removed by Med Authorities on his admission to Hospital).

 

 

Month and year: August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. P.J. Luard

 

1st August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1200 - Bn relieved from posns recently taken over from 7 Para Bn (relieving formation 1 SS Bde).  Bn moved into original area in RANVILLE, where it came with 5 Para Bde into div reserve.

 

2nd to 6th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn resting in a reserve role at RANVILLE.  There was no operational activity during this period.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

Bn took over posns from No.46 R.M. Cdo.  The take-over was completed without incident and apart from slight occasional mortar fire there was no activity.  LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON (139763) was occupied by one pl as an outpost posn and was manned as an O.P. by the I. sec.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

During the night a patrol succeeded in locating the enemy FDL and in fixing the posns of several MGs.  The enemy at the SALLENELLES strong point put over occasional bursts of MG fire during the night., presumably as a result of the patrol activity on our left flanking unit.  There was no enemy activity during the day.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

Patrols were sent out again during the night to maintain contact with the enemy FDL - this they did successfully.  During the day some mortar fire was put down on our FDLs and on LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON.  Enemy activity in their own FDLs was observed from the O.P.  Several targets were taken on successfully by our mortars.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

During the night an enemy patrol was observed in the immediate vicinity of the GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON.  The patrol was 15 strong but avoided contact with a sallying force sent out from the Farm.  Our patrols continued to maintain contact with enemy FDLs.  By day enemy activity was observed in his FDLs and several targets were engaged by our mortars.  Some light mortar fire fell in the bn area.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

During the night a patrol one platoon strong lay in wait for a repetition of the previous night's enemy activity in the area of the GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON.  Unfortunately the enemy did not choose to repeat his performance.  The main event of the day was a visit by Mr George Formby, who gave a short show at Bn. HQ to as many men as could be spared from the FDLs.  Contact with the enemy was maintained by observation.

 

12th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

Patrol activity during the night was limited by a dense mist which arose.  Contact was made, however.  The enemy continued his policy of non-aggression throughout the day and was more careful in the way he moved about his FDLs.

 

13th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

1100 - Bn handed over its posns to Belgian Group and moved into Div reserve once more at RANVILLE.

 

13th to 16th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn remained in its posns at RANVILLE, taking the opportunity to train for mobile operations, as the enemy was expected to carry out large scale with-drawals in the near future.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

1500 - Bn moved off to an assembly area in the BOIS DE BAVENT in transport, following information that the expected withdrawal had commenced, and that fwd tpt were pushing over R. DIVES.

 

18th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

0400 - Bn moved off through TROARN, and across the R. DIVES to area 207703 in rear of 3 Para Bde, where food arrived and the bn. rested throughout the day.  Just before midnight the bn moved off from the concentration area to cross the river at 237719 and to attack the village of PUTOT-EN-AUGE.

 

19th August 1944

Place: Goustranville

 

0145 - Bn. arrived at bridge 237719 to find it blown and not crossable.  A change of plan was then made by the Bde. Comd entailing the transfer of the original assault to 7 & 12 Para Bns and the follow-through assault to 13 Para Bn.

 

0500 - Bn. now concentrated WEST of river crossing 237718 awaiting orders to cross.  Whilst in this area considerable number of mortar bombs fell around the bn. but no casualties were suffered.

 

1000 - Bn. crossed river, covered by arty barrage, and entered the village of PUTOT-EN-AUGE.  From here the advance was continued after a short pause up the steep slope to what was later known as 'Hill 13'.  B Coy led the advance and had almost gained the summit when they were engaged by heavy MG fire, inflicting many casualties.  Attempts by A & C Coys to carry out flanking attacks were pinned down.  Appx A.

 

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

1530 - Orders were given to consolidate the posns already held and not to advance further.  This was done, and extremely accurate arty fire and small arms fire inflicted very heavy casualties on an enemy counter attack which never reached our FDLs.  During the day the following officers were wounded - Major Tarrant., Capt Tibbs (RAMC)., Lieut Bibby (missing).  There were nearly 70 all ranks killed wounded and missing.  Capt Grantham took over comd of B Coy., Lieut Town becoming adjutant in his place.

 

20th August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

During the night 48 RM Cdo took Hill 13 and there was no enemy activity on our front.  By day a number of enemy were seen, and a recce patrol in the evening found the house at 255723 occupied by a pl. of enemy, heavy mortar fire was an annoyance and accounted for a number of casualties.

 

21st August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

1530 - Bn. moved to a conc. area at the foot of the hill near PUTOT-EN-AUGE and prepared to move forward in transport.

 

2330 - Bn. moved in tpt to ANNEBAULT 4201.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

0430 - Bn. moved out of ANNEBAULT on foot with orders to take up posns covering bridges at PONT L'EVEQUE.

 

1330 - A Coy entered PONT L'EVEQUE without opposition until they took up positions fwd of rd junc 518038 just WEST of the br at 520037.  Appx B.

 

1415 - The whole Bn. is now in PONT L'EVEQUE - A Coy is heavily engaged from across the river - in addition two MG's and mortars a S.P. 20 mm AA gun has been fired at ground targets.

 

1530 - 1 tp CROMWELL tanks of the Airborne Light Tank Sqn entered the town to give support.  An armoured bulldozer filled in the centre bridge to allow the tanks to pass, and they went over and harassed the enemy with fire from our side of the river.

 

1845 - C Coy took over the battle area from A Coy.  The town centre is now well alight and is spreading rapidly.  The town is cleared up to the bridge at 520037 but no further progress can be made.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

0600 - One pl. of B Coy succeeded in crossing the br, and made its way forward to the houses at 522037.  This pl. was quickly followed up by the remainder of B Coy, and by A & C Coys until a bridgehead over the river had been formed.  Further progress was held up by stiff opposition.

 

1240 - After several hours of stiff fighting the enemy has been observed to bring up reinforcements in tpt.  Our armour has been ordered up to give covering fire.

 

1330 - Orders received to give up bridgehead and withdraw through a covering force of one Coy 7 Para Bn.

 

1415 - Withdrawal from PONT L'EVEQUE commenced.  By this time the whole town centre was either blazing or collapsed and smouldering, and the only practicable way was through the gardens on the southern side of the town.  The effect of the enemy reinforcements was now felt, as he had pushed out his flanks to make the river crossing extremely difficult.

 

1515 - All tps are now withdrawn from eastern bank of the river.  The withdrawal was successful and was carried out with very small losses.  Bn. went to rest area 500018.

 

24th August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

1030 - The bn. once again moved forward.  During the night the enemy had withdrawn from PONT L'EVEQUE and 7 Para Bn was hard on his heels.  The bn. moved off across country to secure the high ground WEST of LES AUTHIEUX SUR CALONNE 5904.  This they did without opposition, and were in posns in the area 585044 by 1900 hrs.  There was no actual contact with the enemy, and our posns were designed to seal off the enemy's southern flank.  All troops spent the night under cover.

 

25th August 1944

Place: Les Authieux

 

This day was spent resting and preparing for subsequent operations.  No moves took place and no contact was made with the enemy.  In the evening orders were received to prepare to advance.

 

26th August 1944

Place: Les Authieux

 

0515 - Bn. moved by march route in the wake of 7 Para Bn. towards PONT AUDEMER 7609.  At SAINT MACLOU 6810 the bn. was picked up in tpt and carried to PONT AUDEMER.

 

Place: Pont Audemer

 

1130 - Bn. now installed.  Slight casualties were caused by mortar fire in the bn. area.

 

1745 - Bn. moved out of PONT AUDEMER in tpt.

 

2015 - Bn. arrived in rest area at GENNEVILLE 5912.

 

26th to 31st August 1944

Place: Genneville

 

Bn. rested under cover in GENNEVILLE.  On August 29th 44, orders were received to prepare for the move back to England on 2 Sep 44.

 

Ref. maps.

1: 25,000

 

 

1: 50,000

40/16 NE & SE

43/16 NW & SW

138 SE & SW

7E/6. 7F/2. 8E/5. 8F/1.

 

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. P.J. Luard

 

1st to 4th September 1944

Place: Genneville

 

Final preparations being made for return of the Bn to U.K.

 

4th September 1944

Place: Genneville

 

QM, RQMS and adv party leave for transit camp prior to embarking for U.K.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Gennoville

 

Bn arrived at No.60 Transit Camp at GENNOVILLE by M.T. and prepared to embark for U.K.  Night spent in Transit Camp.  1 NCO and 31 Ptes posted to unit at Larkhill in U.K. from D.S.A.F.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Genneville

 

1030 - Church Parade held in Transit Camp.

 

1530 - Bn moved to embarkation area near ARROMANCHES.

 

1700 - Bn (16 Offrs 270 ORs) embarked via L.S.T. on board SS EMPIRE JAVELIN with 7th Bn.

 

4th September 1944

0700 - SS EMPIRE JAVELIN set sail in convoy for SOUTHAMPTON.

 

Place: Southampton

 

1800 - SS EMPIRE JAVELIN dropped anchor outside SOUTHAMPTON harbour for the night after uneventful crossing.

 

5th September 1944

Place: Southampton

 

0800 - Ship prepared to dock.

 

1230 - Bn disembarked and entrained for BULFORD.

 

1600 - Bn arrived BULFORD Sidings and proceeded to LARKHILL BKS by M.T.

 

Place: Larkhill

 

1600 - Lieut E.V. Wraight arrived with 13 ORs and 5 Jeeps and trailers from SOUTHAMPTON.

 

1645 - Bn arrived at LARKHILL CAMP.  Lieut B.R. Allen promoted Capt w.e.f. 17 Jun 44.  New list of distribution of officers published in Bn. Orders.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Lieut E.V. Wraight proceeded on 3" mortar course SAS, NETHERAVON.  All technical equipment inspected by REME.

 

8th September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Bn proceeded on 10 days leave until 17 Sep 44.

 

12th September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Mobilization orders received.  Mobilization to be completed by 0001 hrs 30 Sep 44.

 

13th September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Bn granted extension of leave until 21 Sep 44.  This leave is to be considered embarkation leave.

 

21st September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Bn returned from leave.

 

 

Appendix

13th Bn. (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, A.A.C.

OPERATION ORDER No.1

 

Ref maps: FRANCE 1/50,000 7F/2,

                FRANCE 1/25,000 40/16 NW.

 

INFORMATION

1.  ENEMY  See separate Int. summary.

 

2.  OWN TPS

        (a) 6 Airborne Div is responsible for preventing enemy penetration westwards over the brs across the R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN.

        (b) 5 Para Bde has been given the role of seizing intact the brs at 098748 and 014746 and holding brhds to EAST and WEST.  Landings take place between H-5 and H-4 hrs.

        (c) 3 Para Bde is landing at H-4 and infesting high ground between R ORNE and DIVES.

        (d) 1 SS Bde is landing by sea WEST of the CANAL DE CAEN and fighting its way down to the brs, passing over them at about H+4 hrs, and then moving NORTH to attack coast defs EAST of the river mouth.

        (e) 6 Airldg Bde is landing on LZ EAST of R ORNE at H+12 hrs and will then move SOUTH through bn posn to take up posn to secure ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE 0971 and ESCOVILLE 1271.

        (f) 5 Para Bde plan is as follows:-

                (i) Coup de main party of 52 Lt Infy to land in area of the brs and seize them at H-5.

                (ii) 7 Para Bn lands H-4 Hrs 30 mins and secures brhd on WEST bank.

                (iii) 12 Para Bn to secure brhd on EAST bank.

                (iv) 13 Para Bn to seize and hold RANVILLE and clear and protect DZ and LZ EAST of river.

 

3.  TOPOGRAPHY.  See separate Int. summary.

 

INTENTION

4.  13 Para Bn will:-

        (a) Clear obstructions on Glider landing strips as required and as soon as possible.

        (b) Protect the work on the Glider strips and the landing of the Gliders.

        (c) Secure and hold RANVILLE.

 

METHOD

5.  The operation is divided into five separate phases.  Phases are covered by separate traces.

        Phase I.  (Trace A/B).  Landing of DZ protective force.

        Phase II.  (Trace A/B).  Landing, RV, clearing LZ and est of night covering posns.

        Phase III.  (Trace C).  Development of RANVILLE defences, and est of day covering posns before relief of working party.

        Phase IV.  (Trace D).  Further development of RANVILLE defences, construction of minefd and day covering posns after relief of working party.

        Phase V.  (Trace E).  Est of final posns of RANVILLE after occupation of high ground to NORTH and EAST by 3 Para Bde and 1 SS Bde.

 

PHASE I.

 

6.  5 Pl under comd Lt. J.S. JEAVONS will drop from 3 ALBEMARLES on DZ "N" at P-5 hrs.  Secs will RV by sec sticks on the DZ and move as follows:- (a) One sec to rd junc 115749.  (b) One sec to X-rds 125739.  (c) Pl HQ and one sec to area X-rds in RANVILLE 114735.  These secs in all cases will prevent entry into the DZ area until relief in the case of, (a) by 12 Para Bn.  (b) by 'B' Coy.  (c) by A.tk pl.  Offensive action will be taken against the occupants of vehs approaching the DZ, if possible, silently.  No vehs will pass their rd blocks.  All telephone and telegraph wires will be cut at once.

 

7.  In RANVILLE great care will be required.  It is NOT known whether or NOT RANVILLE is held.  The posn will be approached with great care and offensive action taken against all Germans found, silently if possible.  No attempt will be made to clear the village, but only to dominate the area of the X-rds by removal of all sentries and occupation of the vantage points.

 

PHASE II.

 

8.  Bn will drop on DZ N 128742 - 121734 at P-4 hrs 20 mins, after a flight of 1 hrs and 1 min 22 secs after crossing the coast.  Direction of run in - NE - SW.  Flight table is attached, Appx 'A'.

 

9.  Bn will RV silently and with all possible speed in COPSE 123735 in the following order from WEST to EAST. - 'A', 'B', 'HQ', 'C'.  Rally will be to hunting horns - Bn call and Coy calls at the RV.  There will be no homing lights in the RV.  Other Bns are using coloured lights.  Coy comds, when they consider that the men from the DZ are in the RV will collect Pl reports and themselves report to 'O' Gp at 'A' Coy locality.  (WEST end of COPSE).  Protection of the RV will be as shown in Trace A/B.

 

10.  In the event of an attack during the drop, all men NOT closely engaged will move direct to the RV.

 

11.  Coys will retain 30 75 grenades.  All remaining 75 grens will be collected in Coy RVs for use in Phase 4 and left in dumps.  One container of 75 grens is being dropped in the RV area, (see para 39).

 

12.  Snipers will RV under Lt. J.M. BERCOT with 'HQ' Coy.

 

13.  Move from RV.  On orders from Comd Offr bn will move off as under:- 'A' Coy direct to 591 Para Sqn RE RV at COPSE 114738, and commence work with all tps under comd and under direction of Major P.A. WOOD, RE.  'B' Coy with A.tk pl under comd will seize and hold X-rds 114735 and 117733 and will clear all houses on either side of this road incl of the X-rds.  When cleared O.C. 'B' Coy will sound his coy call.  The coy will then move to posns as shown on Trace A/B.  'C' Coy and 'HQ' Coy less A.tk pl, on hearing 'B' Coy call will move to posns in RANVILLE via X-rds 117733 and track SOUTH to CHATEAU area to posns as shown on Trace A/B.  'C' Coy will search all houses SOUTH of the NORTH wall of CHATEAU PARK, thence to area as shown on Trace A/B.

 

14.  Standing patrols will be est immediately as shown on trace A/B.

 

15.  Snipers will move as in attached directive to Lt J.M. BERCOT (see Appx 'C').

 

16.  If RANVILLE is held in strength 'C' Coy will be prepared to attack and clear the village so as to remove the threat to the security of the LZ and working party, and hold the X-rds 114735.

 

17.  Alarm.  Alarm signal for working party from covering party:- Three RED verey lights, duplicated by code word RED sent by wireless.  This signal will only be given on authority of O.C. 'B' Coy, from the Rd-junc 118737.  Until this signal is given enemy activity will NOT interfere with the continuation of the work.  Work will continue during normal STAND TO periods.

 

18.  Maximum use will be made of mine warning signs and dummy mines for blocking all rds into bn area.  Rds will be mined by necklaces of mines in battle patrol areas.  They will be marked and carefully guarded day and night and will be removed when the battle patrol move from the area.  No other rds will be mined except on orders from Bn. HQ.

 

PHASE III.

 

19.  By P hrs posns will be est as shown in Trace C.  New posns will be dug at once.

 

20.  Battle outposts and patrols will infest the approaches to the brhd and by offensive action will force the early deployment of enemy columns.

 

21.  There will be no withdrawal except on orders from Bn. HQ.

 

22.  M.M.Gs.  One sec MMG will be sited after P hrs about track junc 117727, shooting WEST.  One sec in 12 Para Bn area at about track junc 109729, shooting SE, will be covering the gap between HEROUVILLETTE and locality 118727.

 

23.  O.C. A.tk pl will hand over three PIATS and bombs to 'B' Coy at P hr for protection of approaches from EAST and SE.

 

24.  About this time it is estimated that vehs of 4 Airldg A.tk Bty R.A. will be moving through the village from the WEST to their posns.  Every assistance will be given to assist their passage.

 

25.  At about P+2 hrs 20 men of 22 Indep Para Coy may move in through HEROUVILLETTE, and 20 men from LE PLEIN area 1375, via 'B' Coy areas to 12 Para Bn area.

 

PHASE IV.

 

26.  On arrival of 'A' Coy in RANVILLE area after completion of work of LZ, moves as per trace D will take place.  All posns will be dug in at once.

 

Minefields.

27.  'B' Coy will lay A.tk minefds with bn 75 grens left in RV from incl Rd and Wood junc 118733 to NE corner of WOOD 119734.

 

28.  'A' Coy will lay A.tk minefd from excl WEST end of buildings 118728, thence WEST to excl stream, thence NORTH along line of stream and prolongation of this line to effect a junction with SOUTH end of minefd laid by 'B' Coy, above.

 

29.  Wire as available will be erected to cover minefds, and maximum possible use of dummy mine posns and warning signs will be made.

 

30.  591 Para Sqn RE will lay AP mines to thicken this minefd.

 

31.  Mines will be delivered to site under Bde arrangements.

 

PHASE V.

 

32.  Final posns as shown on trace E will be taken up on orders from Bn. HQ.

 

33.  'B' Coy are responsible for covering both minefds by fire by day and night.

 

34.  The role of 'C' Coy in all phases is attached at Appx 'D'.

 

35.  Points of contact with:-

        6 Commando - BREVILLE X-rds 134744 by snipers.

        1 Cdn Para Bn. - X-rds 125729 by 'B' Coy.  X-rds 124724 by 'A' Coy.

        12 Para Bn. - incl to 13 Para Bn Rd and track junc 113737.  Incl to 13 Para Bn Rd junc 112736.  As arranged by Coys adjacent on the spot.

 

ADMINISTRATION

GENERAL

36.  Div Maint area - WOOD 109734.

 

37.  Re-sup night D/D+1.  SDP - DZ "N".

 

SUPS.

38.  Sup P opens D+1 at place and time to be notified.  Sups for refugees and PW will be provided only under Div arrangements.

 

AMN

39.  Mine containers with bn reserve amn will drop at end of DZ.  They will be salvaged later on orders from Bn. HQ.

 

40.  Bde amn reserve will be est in area COPSE 109734.  A Bde dump will be formed immediately after drop in area 094746 - Code word NUTS.  Amn will be drawn from these as required under Bn. arrangements.  In emergency amn may be taken away from any dump on Authority of an officer or N.C.O.

 

TPT.

41.  All available tpt incl captured tpt and horse tpt will be taken to Bn. HQ.

 

42.  Bde tpt area - Area COPSE 112733.

 

MED.

43.  (a) DZ COP - CHURCH 111736.  (b) ADS - Building 105735.  (c) RAP - CHATEAU 114734.

 

44.  Known DZ cas will be reported to Bn. H.Q. as soon as possible.

 

45.  Walking wounded will be directed to ADS.  They will NOT be carried in tpt.

 

CIVILIANS.

46.  Civilians will be ordered to remain in their houses.  There will be no movement of civilians on roads in the RANVILLE area.  Where houses are required for defence civilians will be moved to neighbouring houses.

 

REFUGEES.

47.  Movement of refugees in the RANVILLE area will NOT be permitted.  Where it becomes inevitable they will be directed to CHURCH 111736 and kept moving.

 

P.W.

48.  P.W. will be brought immediately to Bn PW compound at CHATEAU Fm buildings 114734.

 

49.  Bde P.W. collecting point will be est in area Buildings 110746.

 

REQUISITIONS.

50.  A certificate will be given to civilians for all items requisitioned, e.g. houses, tpt, etc.  Certificate will show item requisitioned, name and address of owner, signature of officer, and condition of items, e.g. good, indifferent, bad.  Unit will NOT be shown.

 

REPAIR AND REC.

51.  All damaged vehs and weapons and locations will be reported at once to Bn. HQ.  They will be taken to Bn. HQ where possible.

 

52.  Bde collecting post - area COPSE 112733.

 

SALVAGE.

53.  Damaged br weapons, wireless sets etc will be taken to Bn. HQ.

 

54.  Undamaged enemy weapons, particularly A.A. & A.tk guns will be reported to Bn. HQ. by quickest possible means.

 

55.  Captured sups will be tested to M.O.  If fit for consumption they will be held in Bn reserve.  If unfit for consumption they will be buried or destroyed.

 

CONTAINERS.

56.  Any jettisoned containers found lying round the RANVILLE area will be made as conspicuous as possible in order to assist the work of the Bde Salvage Party.  These containers will hold Bde amn res, tools etc.  They should be moved to the nearest road, or stood on end.  No attention will be paid to containers of the 591 Para Sqn RE on DZ.

 

BICYCLES.

57.  Bicycles are dropping from aircraft as shown in Appx 'A'.  Sticks jumping from these aircraft will be responsible for collecting bicycles from the DZ and taking them to the RV.  Coys will deliver bicycles as under to O.C. 'HQ' Coy immediately on arrival in RV.  'A' Coy - 3.  'B' Coy - 3.  'C' Coy - 2.  O.C. 'HQ' Coy will hand over these bicycles to Lt. BERCOT for use by snipers (7) and Int. OP (1).

 

RETURNS.

58.  Initially - Daily cas and str states.  Daily amn state.  Subsequently - Returns will be rendered as per Appx 'D'.

 

ADM LAYOUT.

59.  See Trace P.

 

COMNS.

60.  Adm messages will normally be sent by runner.  Only very important adm messages will be sent by wireless or line.

 

INTERCOMN.

RECOGNITION SIGNALS.

61.  All Br and Cdn tps celanese triangles except Commandos who have union jacks and wear green berets.

 

62.  Br armd cars or tks will fire yellow smoke if shot at.

 

63.  With RAF or Allied Air Forces, the yellow strips made of celanese triangles or TR flares yellow will be shown when required, or, when friendly aircraft signals a succession of white OR yellow verey lights.

 

64.  Allied aircraft will be painted with black and white strips on the wings inside the national markings, and round the fuselage.

 

65.  In Phase II a recce party of 4 Airldg Bty RA will move by night round the SOUTH of the bn posn and will be using red filter torches as recognition signal.  Red filter torches are also being used by 12 Para Bn.

 

WIRELESS SILENCE.

66.  Wireless silence until H hr, except from Bn. HQ if the enemy are engaged in RANVILLE in such strength as to make quick comn with Bde imperative.  Listening watch by control sets throughout.  No netting whatsoever until H hr.

 

LINE.

67.  Line will be laid as soon as possible.  First priority to 'B' Coy HQ at rd junc 124736.

 

68.  Line through a minefd will be laid on the right side of the gap facing the enemy.

 

69.  No line that is red or yellow or assault cable will be cut after P-3 hrs.  All other line which will be enemy line, will be cut at once when found.

 

70.  Exchanges, buried cable or test points will not be destroyed or cut but will be disconnected.

 

PIGEONS.

71.  Pigeons will be provided to Bn for urgent comn to base.

 

PASSWORDS.

72.  Passwords will be issued from Bn. HQ 24 hrs ahead.  Great care will be taken against compromise.

 

MOVEMENT OF HQ.

73.  Advance Bn. HQ. in RV with 'A' Coy, thence with 'B' Coy into RANVILLE.  After securing of RANVILLE in garden of cottage 114734.

 

74.  Rear Bn. HQ in RV with HQ Coy.  After move into RANVILLE with Adv Bn. HQ.

 

FREQUENCIES & SETS.

75.  Allotment of frequencies and sets is shown on Signal diagram attached at Appx 'E'.

 

76.  'C' Coy will deliver 2 spare 38 sets to Bn. HQ as soon as possible after move into RANVILLE.  'A' & 'B' Coys will each deliver two spare 38 sets to Bn. HQ. as soon as possible after LZ has been cleared.

 

[Signed]

Captain,

Adjutant, 13th Bn. (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, A.A.C.

May 1944

 

APPENDIX "B"

Directive to Officer Commanding 'C' Company.

 

1.  'C' Coy is held in reserve throughout all phases of the operation.

 

2.  In Phase II 'C' Coy may be used to remove any threat to the LZ or work on the LZ by securing RANVILLE should 'B' Coy be unable to do this.

 

3.  Thereafter, 'C' Coy will only be used to counter attack any enemy attack in force which threatens the security of the RANVILLE crossroads, the LZ area, or landings on the LZ.

 

4.  The Officer Commanding 'C' Coy will, therefore, reconnoitre covered routes from his base in RANVILLE, so that his coy may move to counter-attack the flank of any enemy attack.

 

5.  I consider the most likely lines of approach into the RANVILLE area to be:- (a) via HEROUVILLETTE.  (b) via HE LONGUEVILLE 114745.  (c) LE BAS DE RANVILLE.

 

[Signed Luard]

Lieut Colonel,

Commanding, 13th Bn. (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, A.A.C.

 

APPENDIX "C"

Directive to Snipers under Lt. J.M. BERCOT.

 

1.  Snipers will be posted so as to cover enemy movement about:- (a) the road junction LE MESNIL 133725.  (b) road junction 140728.  (c) CHATEAU ST COME 139740.  (d) road junction BREVILLE 135745.  (e) road junction LE PLEIN 128753.

 

2.  Lt. BERCOT will contact local inhabitants so as to obtain information of vantage points for observation, probable enemy movement and any enemy locations or quislings in the immediate area.  I consider that, generally speaking, the poor people of the district will be the best for first contact.

 

3.  After snipers are positioned the "get away man" will position himself concealed so as to protect their rear and be available to leave, under covered route, with vital information.

 

4.  Snipers will only fire on worthwhile targets, such as, Officers.  D.Rs.  Drivers of enemy cars, if certain of killing.  O.Ps.  Recce parties.  Wireless sets.

 

5.  If the enemy should occupy the high ground they will inflict the maximum important casualties and prevent enemy observation of the LZ, within their area of responsibility.  This may require considerable movement.

 

6.  When the Commandos and Canadians come into the area they will contact the nearest Commander, hand over all information they have obtained and withdraw to Battalion Headquarters in RANVILLE.

 

7.  From the RV the "get away men" and Lt. BERCOT and his batman will each collect a folding bicycle from O.C. 'HQ' Coy.  (see para 57, Op. Order).

 

8.  When in their areas they will note all available tpt and will return to Battalion Headquarters by transport if possible.

 

9.  Any time after H+3 I expect that Commandos, wearing green berets and Union Jacks, and Canadians wearing steel helmets and with yellow celanese triangles, may come through their areas.  In addition the 9th Parachute Battalion, equipped the same as the Canadians, may come through the NORTH sector.  Some men of the Independent Parachute Company may pass through LE PLEIN at about P+2 hours.

 

10.  Each pair will have one 38 set.  Wireless silence will NOT be broken, except in most urgent circumstances until H+1 hours.  Frequencies are issued by the Signal Officer - diagram attached to Bn. Operation Order.  Instructions regarding wireless silence will be adhered to.

 

11.  Men returning with vital information will pass that information on to battle outposts through which they may pass.

 

[Signed Luard]

Lieut. Colonel,

Commanding, 13th Bn. (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, A.A.C.

 

13 Para Bn - Summary of Information.

(Condensed from 6 Airborne Div Summary of Information No.1 and subsequent ISUMS).

 

Ref maps: 1/100,000 Sheet 7F.

                1/250,000 Sheet 7 & 8.

 

PART I - ENEMY DEFS.

 

A.  DEF POLICY

1.  GENERAL  The length of coastline to be defended and the shortage of available forces have dictated a policy of linear def on the beaches, with special attention to def of vulnerable points and protection of installations such as ports and airfds.  Great use has been made of inundations to canalise attack.

 

2.  COASTAL DEF.  The coastline has been divided into Coastal Div Sections varying from 20 to 80 miles length depending on the degree of vulnerability.  Where coastal divs have only two regts, both of these are held fwd on the beaches, leaving one bn of each regt in res roughly 4 miles inland.

 

3.  MOB RES  Mob res consisted of armd or mot divs some 20 - 50 miles from the coast on the scale of one to three per Army.  The tasks of these fmns are to destroy invading forces by counter-attack or to contain them until arrival of strategic res.  It is possible that these divs may move by night in view of Allied air superiority.  It is improbable that the whole of a div will be committed to battle until the C in C has appreciated where the Allies main effort is conc.  Nevertheless, the Div comd will be responsible for obtaining infm of air and sea ldgs in his area and strong battle groups will no doubt be used for this task.

 

B.  Order of Battle & Def Layout.

1.  711 Inf Div. (Comd Maj-Gen KURT DEUTSCH).

        (a) Composition:-  731 Gren Regt.  744 Gren Regt.  651 Arty Regt.  711 Cyclist Coy.  ? 711 Engr Bn.  ? 711 Sigs Bn.  ? Small force of tks and S.P. Arty.

        (b) Descriptions:-  Low category div of only 2 Gren Regts and one arty regt.  Contains unfit, disabled or very young tps.  Str.  13,000 men.  20 A.tk guns.  60 inf, fd, or med guns.  Estimated fighting efficiency - 40% in static role and 15% in counter-attack role.  Div sign - Red diamond on light background.

        (c) Locations:-  Div HQ is at PONT L'EVEQUE 4/L.5204.  The only bn WEST of the R DIVES is in the area CABOURG 2179.  It is unlikely that the div would ever take on a counter-attack outside its own area, but once the threat is clearly defined WEST of the R ORNE the whole div might well move to the high ground EAST of the DIVES.  In this case the div arty would be moved far enough WEST to bring the brhd area within range.

 

2.  716 Inf Div.

        (a) Composition:-  726 Gren Regt.  736 Gren Regt.  ? 642 Eastern (OST) Bn.  ? 656 Arty Regt.  ? Cyclist Coy.  ? Engr Bn.  ? Sigs Bn.  ? Tk Sqn.

        (b) Description:-  Low category div of only 2 Gren Regts and one arty regt.  Contains unfit, disabled, and very young tps, and is reported to incl 30% Poles and only 50% Germans.  Large numbers of Russians are reported in the div sector up to a str of 2 bns.  It is not clear how these Russian tps will be used, but their most likely role is that of a "div bn" used for counter attack purposes.  Str.  Expected to consist of 8 Bns incl 2 Russian bns.  Mostly in fixed posns - 24 gun hows, 12 med hows, 20/25 A.tk guns.  Russian bns contain 5 or 6 Coys of 200 each, generously equipped with small arms but lacking hy weapons.  If the div does possess a tk sqn it is likely to consist of Fr or obsolete German tks.

        (c) Locations:-  Div H.Q. CAEN - 83 RUE DE GEOLE 030688, IMPASSE BAGATELLE.  Battle HQ. - 016699.  726 Gren Regt. - Area BAYEUX 7879.  736 Gren Regt. - HQ CHATEAU de BIEVILLE 056740.  Bn. HQ ST AUBIN D'ARQUENAY 0777, Bn. HQ DOUVRES le DELIVERANDE 0180, Res Bn. HQ CAEN, (? GEORGIAN) Arty Bty CAEN area.  Local Def Regt 193. CAEN. (grn tps).

        (d) Dispositions affecting bn area.  736 Gren Regt. - from incl FRANCEVILLE to incl  TRACY 8386 with 2 bns on coast and one in res.  Right coastal bn. - from 7th Army right bdy to excl LUC 0482.  Centre of coy areas as follows.  EAST OF R ORNE area 1579.  OUISTREHAM 1179.  LION SUR MER 0681.  Left coastal bn. - from incl LUC to incl TRACY.  Res bn. - Believed to be disposed in area immediately SOUTH of BIEVILLE 0674 - LEBISEY 0471 - NORTHERN outskirts of CAEN.

        (e) Div signs.  Variously reported as:- (i) Outline of Kremlin (colour unknown).  (ii) Two or three crossed oakleaves (colour unknown).  (iii) Black tree on green ground.  One of these may still be in use on vehs.

 

3.  352 Inf Div.  This div, stationed in the area of CANISY 8/T45, is probably a mobile counter-attack div.  Elements of this div should be able to operate in the area CAEN - BAYEUX by about H+3 hrs.  The whole div should be available by H+8 hrs.

 

4.  12 S.S. (PZ Div HITLERJUGEND Comd S.S. OBERFUHRER FRITZ WITZ).

        (a) Composition:-  12 S.S. Panzer Regt.  25 S.S. Panzer Gren Regt.  26 S.S. Panzer Gren Regt.  12 Arty Regt.  12 Recce Unit.  12 A.tk Coy.  12 Engr Bn.  12 Sigs Bn.

        (b) Description:-  This div is probably the best left in the WEST.  It consists of ex-Hitler youth members led by NCOs who have seen service in Russia.  The div is probably up to strength and fully equipped, containing some PANTHERS - state of training is well advanced.  Str - estimated full strength is 21475.

        (c) Locations:-  The div is at present in the area BERNAY 7/Q87 - LAIGLE 7/Q74 - DREUX 7/R33.

        (d) Probable role.  It is appreciated that this divs primary role lays NORTH of LISIEUX and secondary EAST of the SEINE.  It is well conc and once a decision is made it should be able to operate in the area S.E. of CAEN as follows:- Recce Units 4 to 5 hrs approx.  One Pz Gren Regt Gp 6-7 hrs approx.  Tk regt 10 to 11 hrs approx.  Whole div 12 hrs approx.

        (e) Div signs.  Two crossed oak leaves surmounted by a shield containing the letter S.

 

5.  17 S.S. Pz Gren Div "GOTZ VON BERLICHINGEN".  This div is located in the THOUARS area differs from a Pz S.S. Div in that it possesses only a tk or assault gun bn instead of a regt.  The div is reckoned to be 75% trained and NOT fully equipped.

        Organization:-  37 S.S. Pz Gren Regt.  38 S.S. Pz Gren Regt.  Other units numbered 17.

        Emblem.  Probably a St. Johns cross.

 

6.  21st Pz Div.

        (a) Composition:-  21st Pz Recce Unit.  Tk Bde.  Tk Regt.  Tk Regt.  192 Pz Gren Regt.  494 Pz Gren Regt.  155 Pz Arty Regt.  A.tk Bn.  Pz Engr Bn.  Sigs Bn.

        (b) Description:-  21st Pz Div was destroyed in TUNISIA and the present div is nearly up to strength.  This div is that which most closely affects the area of ops, as recent reports show the div conc more closely on the CAEN area.  From that it appears that the div has been given an area of responsibility extending EAST to WEST of CAEN.  Str - It is reported that 21 Pz Div has about 300 tks incl about 90 PANTHERS.  This gives a tk bde of 2 regts - a possible distribution would be 3 battle gps containing tk element of 100 tks each.  The Pz gren element is reported as two regts of 3 bns.

 

7.  3 Para Div.  This div located in BRITTANY is now reported to have received SP guns and assault guns.  It appears unlikely therefore that it will be used in an airborne role.

 

8.  GAF Identification.

        (a) Composition & location.  HQ 931 GAF Lt Bty CAEN.  HQ 2 Tp 991 Lt Bty CAEN.  HQ 3 GAF SL Bty CAEN.  (14 Regt).

        (b) Str.  No information available.  N.B.  In German army AA Arty forms part of GAF.

 

PART II - TOPOGRAPHY.

 

A.  GENERAL.

1.  The NEPTUNE area is known as the CAEN "campagne" and is in the region of the Department of CALVADOS in NORMANDY.

 

2.  The region specialises in the raising of cattle, particularly horses, growing of sugar beet and vegetables and the production of cider and certain textiles.

 

3.  The principle topographical feature in the area is the flat marshy valley on the R ORNE NE of CAEN containing a double waterway with a CANAL DE CAEN on the WEST and the River flowing almost parallel to it on the EAST side of the valley.

 

B.  ROADS.

1.  GENERAL  In the close or "bocage" country the roads generally have an embankment 3 to 4 ft high on each side surmounted by thick bramble or blackthorn hedge.  Fields and orchards are also surmounted by hedges or rows of trees, sometimes on banks, and deployment by M.T. is therefore restricted.  In the large cultivated plains EAST and SE of CAEN most rds have ditches on each side which can only be crossed by wheels at culverts.  Most main rds have tarmac surfaces but some minor rds have surfaces of loose granite chips.  Concrete rds are seldom found - in old inland towns rds are generally pave.

 

2.  The two main rds in the bn area are from CABOURG to CAEN and from TROARN across the brs to OUISTREHAM.  These rds resemble an English class B motor rd, and are suitable for hy traffic in two streams only.

 

C.  RIVERS.

1.  The R ORNE - Flows NW from NORTH of ALENCON 8/Z38 to the sea.  Below CAEN valley widens to a mile, containing CANAL de CAEN, and river is tidal.  Width varies from 125 to 150 ft.  Banks are steep and vary in height from about 6 ft to 10 ft.  R ORNE valley is subject to flooding.

 

2.  CANAL DE CAEN - Runs parallel to R. ORNE from the Port of CAEN to the Port of OUISTREHAM.  Is capable of taking shipping up to 6000 tons.  Depth reported at 27 ft.  Width 150 ft narrowing to 50 to 60 ft at locks, the latter control water level which is therefore constant.

 

3.  The R. DIVES - NORTH of TROARN the river winds slowly through a broad marshy valley drained by numerous tributaries and ditches.  Banks in the area are artificial and approx 5 ft high.  River becomes tidal NORTH of PONT de VACAVILLE 218761.  Width varies from 20 ft at ST PIERRE 2649 to 150-300 ft at DIVE SUR MER.  Depth average 4 to 6 ft.

 

D.  D.Z.

        (i) D.Z. consists entirely of cultivated fields.  It is for the most part slightly undulating but rises at the EASTERN end.

        (ii) Landmarks - The EASTERN half of the DZ from 123745 - 115735 is well enclosed by trees and hedges.  The WESTERN half is open and the view extends over the valley of the R. ORNE.  The CHURCH at RANVILLE with a separate bell tower (110736) forms a good landmark to the SW.  The CHURCH of AMFREVILLE (128752) on the high ground to the NE should be visible.  The whole area is prepared for the erection of posts.  There is no evidence of anti-landing devices other than posts and wire.

 

 

Account of attack on the positions held by 13th Battalion (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, by 2nd Bn. 858 Gren Regt., 10 June 44.  Known as the 'Battle of Ranville'.

 

The previous evening, 9 June, the O.P. in the sector held by two pls B Coy under command of Captain R.M.T. Kerr, reported movement in the woods N.E. of BREVILLE.  This was in turn reported to HQ 5 Parachute Bde, who confirmed a report of one battalion being in this area.

 

During the night there was some spasmodic shelling of the village and in particular on the N.E. sector.  This was considered to be ranging and was reported to Brigade Headquarters, who considered harassing fire to be more probable.

 

At 0300 hrs 10 June, Capt Kerr came in to Battalion Headquarters to report to the Commanding Officer that there had been some machine gun fire from the same woods and that he suspected an attack.  The Intelligence Officer, Lieut L.H.U. Golding, was sent to HQ 5 Para Bde with this information and a request for a F.O.O. to be attached to the Battalion.  Capt Kerr was told to remain in observation, report all movement and on no account to open fire and so disclose his positions.  The request for a F.O.O. was granted by Brigade who were doubtful about the attack, which was considered to be most unlikely.

 

At 0600 hrs, the F.O.O., Lieut Hastings, South Notts Yeomanry, RA, was reported in position at the Church Tower in Ranville, where two battalion signallers, Pte John and Pte Thompson were waiting with the Commanding Officers Rover set, to maintain communication.

 

The F.O.O. was asked to register the openings from the woods N.E. of Ranville and the two cross-roads on the D.Z., which were considered to be likely Forming Up positions.  These registrations were started at once by the fire of one Field Regiment, with one Field Regiment in reserve, which actually was never used during the engagement.  The F.O.O.s wireless call was "Easy 6", which became a battalion by-word for efficient artillery support.

 

At 0645 hrs a fighting patrol from C Company under Sjt Holland, was sent out over the D.Z. to make contact, if possible, with the enemy.  This contact was successfully made and it was established that the troops in the woods were in fact Germans.  This information was not, however, received until 0800 hrs, as the fighting patrol had no wireless.

 

At 0725 hrs German troops were seen to debouch from the woods, and the cross roads in the village were shelled by the enemy.  Stirlings on a supply drop had been fired on from the woods, from which the enemy came, and so it was considered likely that they were indeed Germans and "Easy 6" was asked to engage them, once they came in the open.

 

The artillery opened accurate fire on the enemy and without doubt caused considerable casualties among them, but the first wave had by now reached the cover of the first gliders on the L.Z.  Meanwhile the supporting companies had come out of the wood and by 0745 hrs the whole battalion had debouched from the woods over a front of about 800 yards and 800 yards in depth with apparently two companies up.

 

Engaged throughout by the artillery, who fired with the most telling results, the enemy attacked the N.E. corner of Ranville and at one point, came round to attack the North by the orchards by the cross roads.  Meanwhile the village was subjected to mortar fire, particularly to the North.  The attack on the North was directly broken up by the artillery and never came in in force, though some men did infiltrate in, some being taken prisoner and one, who had climbed onto a roof being shot by RQMS Hanstock, who took Orderly Room Serjeant Ferdinand's rifle to do so, as Ferdinand could not see him on the roof even with his glasses on.

 

This infiltration was contained by the Anti-Tank platoon, under command of Lieut A. Lagergren.

 

Meanwhile the attack on the North East, onto that sector under Captain Kerr had been allowed to come on and no small arms fire had yet been opened, it having been ordered that this was to be held "until they could see the whites of their eyes".

 

Some of the enemy now infiltrated into the Battalion R.V., where they were engaged by the Mortars, under Lieut F.J. Skeate, with great accuracy and despatch.  When they came forward again, fire was opened by all automatic weapons, including six captured German machine guns and one Vickers of the 8th Battalion which had dropped on the Ranville D.Z.  At the same time, B Coy under command of Major G.W. Bristow, opened fire with light automatics and a Vickers gun from the battalion M.G. platoon, onto the supporting companies which were following up.

 

At 0825 hrs the attack was completely broken up by the sudden and sustained fire from the N.E. sector, and C Company, under command of Major G.H.D. Ford, was ordered to counter-attack.

 

One half, under the company second-in-command, Captain A.R. Clark, to sweep down through the orchards on the North of the village, mopping up as it came and the remainder under Major Ford to counter attack simultaneously on the arrival of Capt Clark's party from the South of the Easterly orchards northwards to take the enemy in the flank.

 

The counter attack finally went in at about 1000 hours.  The enemy attack had then finally stopped and the counter-attack hit them perfectly and completely disorganised them.  Some 20 men surrendered to Captain Clark alone, which caused him slight embarrassment.

 

The execution on the enemy was terrific and none of the enemy who had come forward from the R.V. were seen to regain its cover.

 

C Company were then withdrawn again into reserve.

 

It was now appreciated that there were a number of enemy still in the R.V. and in fact, small numbers, in ones and twos were seen infiltrating into the R.V. through the crops, which were very high.  C Company, the only company available for counter-attack was not strong enough to take this on alone, as the wood was fairly thick.  The wood was therefore engaged continually by the artillery and the battalion Mortars in order to contain them in the wood.

 

The Brigadier, Brigadier J.H.N. Poett, had arranged, therefore, for one squadron of 13/18 Hussars to support a counter-attack by two companies 7th Parachute Battalion into and through the wood, followed by C Company, mopping up.

 

This attack went in at 1600 hours and was completely successful.  73 prisoners were taken.

 

Casualties:-

Killed - 6 O.Rs.

Wounded - 1 Officer.  17 O.Rs.

 

German - 80 German wounded were treated in the M.D.S., the dead were never counted but his casualties were very large.

 

When the D.Z. was finally cleared, 4 light flak guns were found on the cross-roads engaged by the artillery.

 

 

Appx 'B'

Copy of SITREP

 

0800 - 2000 hrs.  23 July 1944.

The only engagement of our one-company front has been a fire fight commencing at 1000 hrs.  At this time one of our snipers, working forward, presumably exploded a booby trap at 144725.  He was not seen after the explosion.  At 1140 hrs an O.R. of the A.Tk Pl was shot dead by a sniper from the area 146725.  In retaliation we attacked his posn with mors and PIATs at 1400 hrs.

 

 

Appx 'A'

Battle of "Hill 13"

 

On the evening of August 18th, the battalion, which was lying up [E?] of GOUSTRANVILLE received orders to prepare for a night march and day attack into PUTOT EN AUGE.  After some alteration in the orders, the Battalion finally set out at 2330 hours and marched off up the road through GOUSTRANVILLE and made for the railway bridge, intending to pass after the 9th Parachute Battalion.  Guided by Captain Golding, the I.O., the head of the Battalion reached the bridge (at 237719) at 0145 hrs.  Here it was found that the bridge had gone, and that the tide had risen to 5 feet 8 inches, and was still rising.  The Battalion therefore turned about in its tracks and guided by the Commanding Officer and Second-in-Command retraced its steps, in absolutely inky darkness, to GOUSTRANVILLE.

 

Here orders were received to follow the 12th Parachute Battalion across the river by the bridge at 237718, which was found to be sound.  The battalion therefore left at 0400 hrs and after an unpleasant approach down the main road, which was being shelled, made its lying up area at the foot of the hill at about 0430 hrs.

 

Here the Battalion lined a hedge and bank, fortunately defiladed from the enemy fire and prayed that the darkness, and then the mist would hold until they could be released to follow the 12th Parachute Battalion across the open and into PUTOT EN AUGE.

 

Gradually the darkness went and the mist lifted and still PUTOT EN AUGE had not been cleared and the Battalion was therefore to disperse as the high ground, including the bank, where it was sheltering was beginning to appear.  Nevertheless, the hun started mortaring and shelling the area, and the Battalion was most fortunate to suffer no casualties during this period.  When daylight came fully, some nine huns were found hiding, extremely frightened, in the area, and were removed.

 

At about 0900 hrs, the battalion, in the order, 'B', 'A', 'C' Coys, crossed over, a most difficult and dangerous passage, which was mostly carried out at the double, into the village of PUTOT EN AUGE.  There was some mortar fire against us and five casualties were suffered, but the battalion reached the village by 1025 hrs and concentrated on the far side.

 

Here orders were received to attack and capture the hill over-looking the village, which was called "Hill 13", passing through the 7th Parachute Battalion.  An "O Group" was held at 1115 hours, and the top of the hill was engaged by the F.O.O. at scale 3, at the same time.

 

Orders were issued for the Battalion to attack, 'B' Coy leading supported by 'A' Coy, with 'C' Coy in reserve.  Mortars and M.Gs were still in GOUSTRANVILLE.

 

'B' Company, led most gallantly by Major R.M. Tarrant, went up the hill, taking the first crest without much trouble, went on to take the second crest direct.  Here, on reaching the crest, they found that the Germans had just at that moment been reinforced, on the reverse slope, by 90 men, and they were forced off.

 

'A' Company tried to shoot them back and made no headway, so 'C' Company were put in right flanking.  Unfortunately 'C' Company also met with aimed machine gun fire and could not make good their flanking move.  At this moment the Germans tried to counter-attack, but most timely D.F. fire was available from 151 Fd Regt, who had managed to get an armoured O.P. across, and the counter-attack never really came on.  The artillery fire was most accurate and excellently directed.

 

By 1500 hrs, the situation was stabilised, with the Battalion holding their ground and continuing to fire on the enemy whenever seen.  Fairly heavy casualties had been suffered, about 70 killed, wounded and missing, including Major Tarrant and Lieut Bibby, both of 'B' Company, and Captain Tibbs the Doctor.

 

Captain Grantham, the Adjutant, took over 'B' Company, and 40 reinforcements, which arrived most opportunely, were drafted in to make up the depleted companies.

 

That night there was no activity on the part of the enemy, and 48 Commando passed through in a silent night attack and occupied the top of the hill successfully.  The only activity was when the Commandos arrived, in the evening to make a reconnaissance of the positions.  The movement was seen by the enemy and mortar fire inevitably came down on our area, wounding five Commando key men, the Battalion I Sjt, four men, seriously, and the second-in-command slightly.  He said again - "You can not take chances with the hun".

 

The following day was uneventful except that the new Doctor, Captain Urquhart, was wounded by a sniper.

 

 

Appx 'B'

Battle of Pont L'Eveque

 

On 21 Aug, the battalion was in a concentration area at PUTOT EN AUGE, and was ordered to advance in M.T. to ANNEBAULT, which had already been occupied by 3 Para Bde, and to be prepared to advance from there to capture PONT L'EVEQUE.  The move started at 2330 hours, and the Battalion arrived at ANNEBAULT at 0200 hours 22 Aug and took up defensive positions EAST of the cross roads.

 

At 0600 hours, the battalion moved forward to the area of LA HAIE TONDU, which had been occupied by 3 Para Bde.  From this point orders were received to continue the advance and, if possible, cover PONT L'EVEQUE.  The advance was without incident, and by 1330 hrs, Bn. HQ was established in the town at 518038.  'A' Company was ordered to move forward astride the main street and clear up the last bridge over the R. TOUQUES.  Considerable enemy opposition was encountered, and mortar fire was fairly heavy from 1415 hrs onwards.  During the afternoon one troop of CROMWELL tanks of Airborne Recce Regt arrived in the village, but were unable to cross the first bridge.  The Commanding Officer requested the use of an armoured bull-dozer to make the river passable for tanks.  By 1730 hours, battalion HQ had moved forward to the square surrounding the Church, and the area of the Church had been set on fire.  This fire spread from house to house and was traced to the fact of the enemy having placed incendiary leaves in the houses., during the previous day.  The enemy had a 2cm flak gun in the vicinity of the last bridge, and engaged the Church Tower setting it on fire.

 

By 1830 hrs, the bull-dozer had filled up the first stream sufficiently to allow the CROMWELLS to advance up to the Church square, from which they engaged the enemy MGs beyond the last bridge.  One tank was set on fire by debris from a burning house, but was extinguished.  At 1845 hrs 'C' Company under Major A.R. Clark was ordered to take-over from 'A' Company and this was done.  Opposition was considerable, and no crossing of the main river had been possible, except for a short time by Lieut Hodgson who swam the river.

 

During this time it had not been possible to feed the Battalion who had had nothing since the previous evening.  Food was therefore called up and the Companies were fed one at a time.

 

By evening, the whole of the area of the two Bridges was blazing and the forward Company, by the second bridge, was withdrawn to the West end of the town.

 

The night was uneventful and at dawn the following day one platoon of 'B' Company was sent forward to find a way through the burning houses and force a crossing of the river, establishing a bridgehead.  This platoon under Captain Skeate went forward and reported having crossed and established a bridgehead on the right.  The rest of the battalion was therefore ordered over as quickly as possible.  This was carried out satisfactorily but almost at once the enemy seemed to have been reinforced, and 'B' Company under Major Grantham reported that they were held up.  This seemed to be the vital flank, 'A' Company were sent forward to help and 'C' Company were held in reserve, with one platoon holding on the left where opposition was stronger.

 

Battalion Headquarters moved to the Safe Deposit of the Bank, wonderfully the only unburnt building in that part of PONT L'EVEQUE.

 

'A' and 'B' Companies concentrated in two big houses and assisted by a couple of P.I.A.Ts succeeded in making some progress, but the enemy were too numerous for them to be able to make good their gains and they therefore reported at about mid-day that though they seemed not to be able to make further progress, they could hold on to what they held.

 

Shortly after this they reported more enemy arriving in Volkswagens round the flank and Brigade was asked for No.48 Commando, which actually arrived five minutes later, as a reserve for the Battalion.

 

At about 1230 hrs, the enemy counter-attacked strongly and though held, casualties were suffered and the troops were becoming tired.

 

The troop of Cromwells was therefore requested to move up to the area of the second bridge to prevent enemy armour coming forward through the town and dividing up our forces.  This was agreed but, the conflagration from the town was such that it was not possible to bring them forward.

 

At 1325 hrs, Rear Battalion Headquarters received a direct from a shell and the Brigade set was put out of action.

 

At about 1330 hrs, the Brigade I.O. arrived at Advanced Battalion Headquarters with a message from the Brigadier that nothing was being gained by holding on and the Battalion was to withdraw in its own time under orders of the Commanding Officer.

 

The Battalion was therefore ordered to withdraw in the order 'B', 'A', 'C' Companies and all casualties and spare men were sent back at once.  'B' Company was to be clear by 1415 hrs and 'A' and 'C' to follow when clear.  All Companies to be across river by 1445 hrs.  The artillery was asked to fire on the Station area and line of the railway at 1415 hrs and on the line of the river at 1445 hrs.

 

The withdrawal went according to plan, except that the enemy, who had been able to work round the left flank, managed to get a machine gun firing down the river and an armoured car firing down the main street, thus preventing crossing the river by the girder that remained of the bridge and making any crossing most difficult.

 

By 1440 hrs all troops were across except one wounded man, whose passage delayed the crossing of the final few until about 1450 hrs.  All was, however, well, as the Brigadier had most wisely told the artillery to fire on order only.  As it was then, all wounded were withdrawn successfully and the Battalion was reorganised above the village and the next day passed through and advanced after the retreating enemy.

 

It was discovered that evening that the enemy had consisted of 800 men fresh from the South, and the next day 127 German graves were found in PONT L'EVEQUE.  The Battalion losses were ten killed and thirty-three wounded, with two missing believed killed.