National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1242.
Note: The War Diary for August 1944, excluding the 9th Battalion Residue in England, is missing.
C in C
Oxs and Bucks
Army Air Corps
Airborne Forces Holding Unit
British Liberation Army
Commander Royal Engineers
Division / Divisional
Forward Defended Locality
Forward Observation Officer
Forming Up Place
Glider coup-de-main force - led by Captain "Gordon-Brown"
Infantry Training Course
Light Anti Aircraft
Light Machine Gun
Medium Machine Gun
Bomber Command navigation system
Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Regimental Aid Post
Rounds per minute
Royal Ulster Rifles
Taken on Strength
Month and year: June 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. T.H.B. Otway
1st June 1944
0900 - C.O. briefed Battalion on forthcoming operation in R.A.F. Sgts Mess. Remainder of day spent in sub-unit briefing.
2nd June 1944
All D. sub-unit briefing.
1130 - Air Chief Marshall LEIGH-MALLORY, C in C Allied Air Forces spoke to G.B. Force.
3rd June 1944
0900 - Tps were taken to Airfield by M.T., where a/c were inspected, containers loaded, parachutes drawn and fitted. Tps returned to transit camp by M.T.
4th June 1944
0830 - Word was received that Op had been postponed for 24 hrs. The day was spent in further briefing of sub-units. A final Drum Head Church Service was held in the open. Earlier in the morning the Camp Commandant and staff presented the Bn with a maroon flag having on it a Blue Silk "Bellerophon" as in the Airborne sign. This flag was made by the W.V.S. of Oxford for the transit camp and the men's wives gave up some of their coupons for it. When the flag was hoisted on the camp flag pole a deputation of the Camp Administrative staff asked the Camp Commandant, Capt. P. YOUNG, to present the flag to 9 Para Bn to take into action. This was done and the flag was dedicated by the padre, the Rev. T. GWINNETT C.F. at the last Church service.
5th June 1944
0800 - Word received that the operation was definitely on. Morale rose to 100%. In the afternoon compulsory rest was ordered.
2000 - Glider parties (Adm jeeps & 6 pdr A/Tk guns) left for HARWELL Airfield. Recce party consisting of Major Smith, Major Parry, CSMI's Miller and Harold, Sgt's Knight, Easlea, Pinkus and Lukins and Ptes Adsett and Mason, left also for HARWELL.
2115 - Main body of Bn left transit camp for BROADWELL Airfield, collected parachutes and emplaned at 2245 hrs.
2310 - Path-finder A/C took off.
2312 - Adm and A/Tk gun gliders took off.
2312 - Main body took off.
6th June 1944
0020 - TROWBRIDGE (Recce) party dropped on DZ accurately and proceeded to carry out appointed tasks. There was no losses from this A/C.
0030 - OBOE of 100 Lancasters bombed DZ area. Some of Recce party were caught in this OBOE but suffered no casualties.
0050 - Main body of the Bn dropped over a wide area.
0235 - 110 All ranks had reported at the RV by this time.
0250 - Strength of Bn now approximately 150 all ranks. Bn Commenced march to first objective.
0400 - C.O. summoned "O" Group and issued orders for the assault on the Battery.
0415 - Assault commenced - immediately previous to which one glider was seen to circle the Battery position and crash land in an orchard in the area of the firm base. Casualties 1 Officers killed. 2 Coy Comds, Adjutant & one other officer wounded. Success signal put up. Bn commences withdrawal. Appx A. Appx B.
0600 - Bn reorganised prior to move to LE PLEIN. Strength now approximately 80 all ranks. Battery shelled by enemy.
0730 - Bn commenced move to LE PLEIN and was caught in bombing of hostile targets. Appx C.
0930 - Bn arrived at LE PLEIN, took up positions in the area CHATEAU D'AMFREVILLE and engaged the enemy. Heavy Mortaring throughout the day. Lt. Halliburton wounded and subsequently died.
7th June 1944
Place: Le Plein
Bn attacked by the enemy. Considerable sniping which caused some casualties. C.O. visited Brigadier Lord Lovatt Commanding ISS Bde.
2130 - Bn relieved by 1 SS Bde and proceeded to LE MESNIL where temporary positions were taken up. In this area the Bn reverted to Brigade control and were given orders to hold the high ground SOUTH of ST Côme.
8th June 1944
Place: St Come
1200 - Attack by enemy infantry developed on the right flank and was repulsed. Further enemy attacks launched during the latter part of the day. Ground held.
9th June 1944
Place: St Come
During the night 8/9 June two 3" mortars were received also 3 Vickers MGs. Up to this time the Bn's sole heavy weapon had been one Vickers MG. In the early morning a determined enemy attack was launched following a heavy mortar concentration. This attack and others that followed were repulsed with very heavy losses to the enemy. During the afternoon a counter attack was launched against an enemy force which had infiltrated into the Bn area. The Counter attack force suffered the loss of the 2 ic and one Pl Comd and 5 ORs killed and a further five wounded.
10th June 1944
Place: St Come
Numerous attacks made by the enemy during the day and previous night. All were repulsed. The Bn increased in strength by the arrival of stragglers to approximately 170 all ranks. One missing Coy Comd who had been commanding a scratch force at Bde HQ arrived.
1200 - An enemy force, half a company strong, appeared & commenced digging in. As a result of our fire the force was almost completely wiped out.
1400 - A further enemy attack was launched and repulsed.
1900 - An attack by one and a half enemy Coys launched and again repulsed with heavy losses. C.O. 21st Bn 857 Regt captured. Reported that his Unit had been wiped out.
2300 - "C" Coy detailed to seize and hold the Chateau ST COME. It did so and was attacked all through the night.
11th June 1944
Place: St Come
During the night 5 Black Watch arrived in the area and launched an unsuccessful attack later in the day on BREVILLE. C Coy relieved in the Chateau by one Coy 5 Black Watch.
12th June 1944
Place: St Come
Attacks launched during the night continued during the day when hostile tanks were reported in the vicinity.
1500 - An intense Arty and Mortar bombardment began on the two Battalion positions and lasted three quarters of an hour. Casualties - only two slightly wounded. Bombardment followed by a determined infantry attack supported by six Mk IV or French tanks and a number of SP guns. Fairly heavy casualties were inflicted in the Bn until the situation quietened down at about 2000 hrs.
2100 - Arty concentration commenced and lasted for ten minutes but was not followed by an infantry assault.
13th June 1944
Place: St Come
Bn relieved by 2 Oxs and Bucks. Strength 11 Officers and 218 O.Rs. Bn proceeded to LE MESNIL where a quiet morning was spent. Later Air Activity which caused some concern in the Bn but no Casualties. R.A.F. Typhoons inadvertently strafed Bn positions.
14th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Quiet night but considerable air activity. Patrol under RSM despatched 2330 and returned 0330. B Coy rejoined Bn at Brickworks.
15th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Little activity except in the air. Counter attack roles rehearsed.
16th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Heavy mortaring from first light was continued spasmodically throughout the day. Much air activity. Quiet night.
17th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Continual enemy mortar fire.
1900 - Bn returned to RANVILLE.
18th June 1944
Intermittent shelling, otherwise quiet.
19th June 1944
Heavy rain. Arty & smoke put down by the enemy.
20th June 1944
Moved to rest area at ECARDE.
21st June 1944
Bn in rest area.
22nd June 1944
Bn in rest area. CO received a letter from General Gale acknowledging a letter sent by CO on behalf of Bn congratulating the DIV Comd on the award of the LEGION OF MERIT.
23rd June 1944
Bn in rest area. Entertainment by ENSA accompanied by the echo of gunfire.
24th June 1944
Bn in rest area. One officer Major Parry rejoined Unit from U.K. L/Cpl. Green returned to Unit after passing through enemy lines. Appx E.
25th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Bn returned to the line and took over from 13 Para Bn in the area LE MESNIL cross roads. Work started immediately on the improvement of trenches and the command post was reconstructed. On approaching the area from the East the Bn came under fairly heavy shellfire.
26th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Owing to the manpower situation the CO decided to reorganise the Bn into two Coys each of two platoons to take effect from the 27 June. Canadians shelled at point blank range by a 75 mm gun mounted on a cart. The gun position was too close to the Canadians to be shelled by us so fire was brought to bear about three hundred yards to its left. The gun crew withdrew but returned when the shelling had ceased. CSM Beckwith took out a patrol after dark to obtain an identification at 145735. No Identification was, however, obtained. Enemy patrol sighted by our standing patrol at 143734.
27th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Wiring of B & C Coys front commenced. Patrol under Lieut. JONES sent out to obtain an Identification at 144734 but failed to do so. Returned with information that this position was occupied by a Coy HQ in the area 147735 and that an S.P. gun was well camouflaged and sighted in the hedge at 143733. Average mortar and shell fire. Snipers sent out. Routine inter-coy reliefs carried out. Capt Greenway evacuated.
28th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Bn visited by Col. DAVIS C.I.A. who inquired into the suitabilities of weapons.
2200 - Mock attack carried out by 8 PARA bn on our right to force the enemy to divulge his defensive fire tasks. Patrol under CSM BECKWITH due to go out at 2330 was postponed until 0030 on account of 8 Para Bn's attack. Object was to obtain an Identification, it failed to do so.
29th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Unusually heavy mortaring during the evening which caused casualties to four officers of Bde HQ and three civilians. Arrived in the Bn position of A Coy 1 RUR. During the night there was intermittent shelling during which Lt. Slade's trench received a direct hit. Lt. Slade who was in the trench at the time was unhurt.
30th June 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
After considerable efforts the 2 ic and his batman commenced and completed, at the expense of the M.Os blast wall, the officers mess blast wall. Patrol sent out under Sgt. WOODCRAFT to ascertain whether or not point 501 at 144735 was occupied. If it was unoccupied a Pl of A Coy was to take possession of it. The patrol reported that the position was in fact occupied. It returned without either Sgt. WOODCRAFT or Cpl. SIMPSON and reported that both had been wounded and left where they fell. Shortly afterwards, however, Sgt Woodcraft returned unwounded and confirmed that Cpl. Simpson was still lying wounded. This NCO was later evacuated by 12 Devons.
9th Parachute Battalion (Residue)
Month and year: June 1944
Commanding Officer : Capt F.H. Tavener
5th June 1944
2320 - Bn took off for op "OVERLORD". 3 Sjts 3 Cpls posted from 1 AFHU.
6th June 1944
0645 - L/C HULL 6465258 died in 107 Gen Hosp OXFORD as a result of GSW in spine.
7th June 1944
1500 - Transit Camp BROADWELL evacuated.
8th June 1944
Bn Residues formed under Comd of Capt F.H. TAVENER 153312, consisting of Home Details, 1st Reinforcements and WE Residues.
9th June 1944
Six drivers and 3 - 3-tonners moved to Figsbury to form part of Div Tpt Pool.
12th June 1944
2000 - 1 Sjt, 1 Cpl and 6 privates posted to Airborne Forces Depot.
20th June 1944
0800 - 10 Privates posted to 1 AFHU.
23rd June 1944
2000 - 20 Privates posted from 1 AFHU and TOS 1st Rfts.
24th June 1944
2300 - Lt A.R. JEFFERSON 197048 rejoined Residues from Theatre of Operations.
28th June 1944
2300 - Lt H.C. POND 255225 rejoined Residues from Theatre of Operations.
29th June 1944
1000 - Brig R.G. Parker 17679 Comd CAE lectured to all officers re France.
Month and year: July 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. T.H.B. Otway
1st July 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Normal mortaring and shelling snipers active but no kills. It was now becoming apparent that all ranks in the Bn were suffering from severe mental fatigue. This was inevitably caused by heavy duties falling upon the same men. Sections were now down to an average of three men. CO interviewed Sgts of all Coys to ascertain the situation. Up till now the Bn had been out of the line for four days since D Day and the effect of continuous fighting on the men now was most pronounced. CO made representations to Bde Comdr who appreciated the situation sympathetically and informed the Divisional Commander. CO informed the latter that he would like the Bn relieved in 48 hrs. Patrol under CSM Beckwith was sent out but had to return at the request of the 1st Canadian Para Bn who were suffering Casualties during their construction of MG pits as our patrol was operating whilst digging was in progress.
1200 - Visit to Bn of Lt. Gen. Browning and Major Gens. Gale, Crawford and Domas. Digging at point 501 continued in the heavy rain. Normal mortar & shell fire.
3rd July 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Command Post completed.
4th July 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
Construction of new positions at 501 almost completed. Representatives of 13 Para Bn made recce of Bn area preparatory to taking over the following day. Owing to our strength it was no longer possible to maintain 3 rifle coys. A, B, and C Coys were therefore formed into two Coys known as No.1 Coy & No.2 Coy. No.1 Coy (Major G.E. Smith) occupied point 501. Men now on their last legs.
5th July 1944
Place: Le Mesnil
1000 - Bn relieved by 13 para bn. Strength of the Bn was now 11 Offs (Padre & MO incl) and 177 ORs. 3 Para Bde moved back to the rest area at ECARDE in heavy rain. A majority of the men were able to reoccupy their original dugouts after much baling out.
6th July 1944
Day spent in cleaning up, reclothing and rest. CO decided to move Bn HQ and HQ Coy to another field where new dugouts were to be constructed. In the evening the Bn was reinforced by 2 Offs and 70 ORs from the OXF & BUCKS L.I. 9 ORs from the BUCKS Regt. and 27 ORs from the South Lancs Regt. 1 Off from the Essex Regt and 1 from the Monmouthshire Regt, total 4 Offs and 106 ORs. With these additions it was possible to reorganise into 3 Coys. The strength of the Bn was now 16 Offs and 287 ORs.
7th July 1944
Rest and reorganisation continued. In the afternoon the Bde Comdr addressed all Offs of the Bde at Bde HQ.
9th July 1944
Bn Church Parade in the open; the 2nd since leaving the U.K.
10th to 19th July 1944
The period 10 to 19 July was spent in Individual Training. NCO [?] courses and recreation. A number of men were sent to the 1 Corps rest camp for a period of 2 days in batches of ten. Many excursions were made to cinemas etc on the west side of the ORNE. All ranks derived a great benefit from going into the interior of the bridgehead.
16th July 1944
1200 - The C in C visited the Div and presented ribbons to Offs and ORs who were the recipients of awards. No awards were made on this occasion to 3 Para Bde but the Bn was represented at the Parade by LT Col. OTWAY and RSM. REES.
17th July 1944
1400 - Div Comdr addressed all Offs of the Bde at Bde HQ. After giving an account of the activities of the Div up to this date he gave an account of the battles in other sectors of the bridgehead and outlined his policy for the future.
18th July 1944
0600 - Large numbers of heavy bombers from the U.K. passed over head on their way to bomb CAEN; the prelude of the battle; The Bn turned out to watch the air battle which was a sight to gladden every body's heart. The procession of aircraft continued without stop for 4 hrs. During the day armoured formations having crossed the ORNE, passed through the camp in an endless stream. Cpl. Mills and Lt. Slade nearly met their doom when a Bull dozer almost removed the Officers Latrine in which they were ensconced.
19th July 1944
1730 - CO attended Bde conference and returned with the news that the Bn was to go up the line next morning. Coy Comds accompanied the CO on a recce of the new area at present occupied by 12 Devons. Recce carried out in drenching rain. Orders issued for move.
20th July 1944
Bn left ECARDE for to take over a sector immediately west of the "Triangle". Very heavy rain during which several attempts were made to dig in. Reported by 12 Devons that this was a very quiet piece of the front. No bombs or shells fell in the Bn area during the day.
21st July 1944
Continued heavy rains during the night and most of the day. Work commenced on new Command post. This was to be a real luxury affair with two tables and chairs and ample space. RE asked for advice on construction. First bombs in Bn area which increased in number as the day passed.
2300 - German recce aircraft flew overhead. Considerable British flak.
22nd July 1944
Patrols from B Coy out during the day. A certain amount of enemy movement reported. Increased Mortar fire. Bde had now in support 150 Fd Regt RA, who did great work in retaliation. Evening "Stonk" to which the enemy replied but little.
23rd July 1944
Patrols and snipers active. Fairly quiet during the morning but renewed activity during the afternoon. Our own Mortars particularly active. Interchange of Coy posns, A Coy now in rear position, B Coy forward, C Coy intermediate positions.
24th July 1944
CRE visited Bn area accompanied by Lt. Shand. Whilst inspecting two derelict enemy tanks it appears Lt. Shand stood on a necklace of 75 grenades and was killed - CRE seriously wounded. Considerable mortar activity to which our guns replied with zest. CO visited a General Hospital in BAYEUX. Likely to leave the Bn tomorrow.
25th July 1944
Lt. Col. OTWAY evacuated. A Coy patrols out both day and night, two prisoners taken during the evening. Normal activity by both sides. Visit by Div Comdr.
Commanding Officer: Major A.J.M. Parry
26th July 1944
Coys change over. Enemy patrol bumped into C Coy FDLs exchange of fire in which a number of enemy were hit at very close range. One seriously wounded captured. Remainder fled. Patrols and snipers out but nothing to report. Fairly heavy mortar and artillery fire. A few casualties suffered.
27th July 1944
Normal activity but night more active than usual. Enemy aircraft came overhead at about midnight and dropped five bombs in B Coy area. One scored a direct hit in a dugout and killed both occupants. These were the first bombs we had had. Medical Officer (Capt. Watts) left the Bn for a period at the Bde rest house which had recently been established at HERMANVILLE. MO relieved by Capt. Atkinson (224 Para Fd Amb).
28th July 1944
Grand stonk laid on by Bde Comd. Fd and Medium Arty to put down heavy concentrations. Stonk later cancelled by 1 Corps. Much disappointment. During the day a Polish deserter came in with a severe arm wound. He proved a very useful prisoner and gave us much information. Appx A. During the evening a captured Panzerwurffer was borrowed from 3 Div to amuse us and to annoy the enemy. A number of rockets were fired in quick succession after which the party broke up.
29th July 1944
Bde Comd visited a neighbouring Bde to recce a new area which the Bde was to take over. Bde "O" Group during the evening. Enemy activity on a reduced scale as a result of our own retaliation. Patrols out but nothing to report.
30th July 1944
Place: Bois de Bavent
0900 - CO contacted OC 1 BW with a view to carrying out a recce of the new area. Bn to take over from sub units of three different Bns of 51 Div. A very hot day. Two mortar bombs landed very close to the Command post, the roof of which had just been removed by 1 BW. Day extremely quiet. Nothing known about the enemy in this sector.
1300 - Bn moved in. A & B Coys forward, C Coy in reserve. Positions already dug so little work apart from maintenance required. Bn in high spirits. Work commenced immediately on the construction of a bigger and better Comd Post.
31st July 1944
Place: Bois de Bavent
Bde Comd recce'd Bn area with CO. At A Coy's forward position one 5cm mortar bomb fell very close; evident that party was being observed. Bde Comd was surprised as it was thought that enemy was further in the woods. Visited A Coys rear pl, followed all the way by mortar fire. Bde Comdr, CO and OC A Coy took refuge in a narrow slit trench around which five mortar bombs fell in quick succession. Direct hit scored on trench five yds away in which a Cdn soldier was killed. Bde Comd very annoyed, returned to his HQ and ordered a STONK on the forward edge of BOIS DE BAVENT. Very considerable mortar activity during the day.
9th Parachute Battalion (Residue)
Month and year: July 1944
Commanding Officer : Capt F.H. Tavener
4th July 1944
2300 to 0600 - 1st Rft Night Exercise - Pl in Attack. South Staffs cease to be attached for rations and accommodation.
6th July 1944
109081 T/Capt TEA ROBINSON joined Bn from Theatre of Operations.
7th July 1944
79893 Lt AG BARLOW posted to Bn from No 1 AFHU. 9 ORs joined from Theatre of operations. 6 Posted from No 1 AFHU.
5th July 1944
6 ORs joined from Theatre of Operations.
1[5?]th July 1944
T/Capt ROBINSON TEA (109081) visited 3" Mortar Wing S.A.S. Netheravon. 4 ORs posted from No 1 AFHU. 4 ORs posted to Airborne Forces Depot.
17th July 1944
262161 Lieut C.J. JONES proceeded to Chester on MMG course.
18th July 1944
3 ORs joined from Theatre of Operations.
19th July 1944
5 ORs joined from Theatre of Operations.
21st July 1944
4 ORs joined from Theatre of Operations.
22nd July 1944
153843 T/Capt C.P. GREENWAY joined Bn from Theatre of Operations.
26th July 1944
75399 Lt M.N. Glen, 274729 Lt D.A. Harpley, 320043 2/Lt D.D. Graham and 31 ORs posted from No 1 AFHU. 6 ORs posted from Theatre of Operations.
29th July 1944
8 ORs joined from Theatre of Operations.
9th Parachute Battalion (Residue)
Month and year: August 1944
Commanding Officer: Lieut. A.R. Jefferson.
1st August 1944
34 O.R's from No.1 Airborne Forces Holding Unit. and CDN/484 Lieut. G. Lee.
2nd August 1944
6 O.R's from Depot and School Airborne Forces. (Ex B.L.A.)
4th August 1944
2 C/Sgt's from Depot and School Airborne Forces. (Ex B.L.A.).
5th August 1944
21 O.R's from No.1 Airborne Forces Holding Unit. and 71193 Lieut. E. Ferro.
6th August 1944
R.S.M. Miller and 49 O.R's to B.L.A.
8th August 1944
2 Stirling A/C dropped 40 men on Divisional D.Z. Captain A.D. Chilton and Lieut J. Jones and 15 men to B.L.A.
9th August 1944
2 Stirling A/C dropped 40 men on Divisional D.Z. 1 Cpl. and 4 Ptes from Depot & School Airborne Forces. (Ex B.L.A.).
14th August 1944
Lieut Pavey and 2/Lieut. Graham commenced Divisional Platoon Weapons Course. Duration 3 weeks. 1 N.C.O. and 12 men to CHESTER on MMG course.
15th August 1944
274720 Lieut. D. Harpley, 71193 Lieut E. Ferro, CDN/484 Lieut. E. Lee, 79893 Lieut. A. Barlow. and 70 men leave for B.L.A.
16th August 1944
3 O.R's report from B.L.A.
17th August 1944
Lieut. Abbott proceeded on R.S.I. Course at CATTERICK.
18th August 1944
179124 Lieut. R.O. Blair, 321580 2/Lieut. J.A. Don, 323015 2/Lieut. T.W. McGuffie, 323565 2/Lieut. R.H. Jones. and 32 O.R's joined from Clay Cross.
19th August 1944
4 O.R's report from B.L.A.
21st August 1944
Lieut. R.O. Blair to Platoon Commanders Course, School of Infantry. 2/Lieut. J.A. Don and 2/Lieut. R.H. Jones proceed on Divisional R.E. Course. 5 days.
22nd August 1944
Lieut. M. Glen proceeds to 'I' Course at MATLOCK. Rifle Course 'C' Range.
23rd August 1944
Lieut. A.R. Jefferson assumes command of Residues.
24th August 1944
Captain F.H. Tavener proceeded on Company Commanders Course at Barnard Castle. 5 C47 A/C dropped 46 men on Divisional D.Z. Lieut. A. Bagnall seriously injured and taken to Tidworth Military Hospital. Advance Party under C/Sgt. Brook of 6 O.R's proceeded to DUNSTER. 3 O.R's reported. (Ex B.L.A.).
27th August 1944
2/Lieut. Don and 2/Lieut. H.W. Jones rejoin from Div. RE Course.
28th August 1944
Lieut. B.R. Browne reported himself by telephone as alive.
Month and year: September 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. N. Crookenden
1st September 1944
Major A.J.M. Parry went to the area of MERVILLE and discovered the remains of 23 bodies belonging to this unit. An impromptu sing song and Concert was held in the local Hall and was a huge success. The Brigadier came to dinner in the Officers Mess.
Place: APO England.
43 OR's joined from AAC ITC.
2nd September 1944
Burial party sent to MERVILLE BTY under C.O.
3rd September 1944
Bn resting at BEUZEVILLE and waiting for return to ENGLAND.
4th September 1944
Bn marched approx: 3 miles, waited for transport, was picked up & taken to Transit Camp.
5th September 1944
Awaiting to embark.
6th September 1944
Place: APO England
Lieut. McGuffie selected for M.M.G. Course SAS Netheravon.
Embarked, sailed for Southampton where Bn arrived at approx 2100 hrs. dropped anchor and stayed aboard over night.
7th September 1944
Disembarked Bn was taken by train to BULFORD arrived at 1300 hrs.
8th September 1944
Place: APO England
Kit inspection and sorted out to Coys.
9th September 1944
Place: APO England
Issue of kit.
10th September 1944
Place: APO England
Bn granted 10 days leave.
12th September 1944
Place: APO England
Bn granted a further 4 days extension.
13th September 1944
Place: APO England
8 ORs ex BLA joined from Depot.
16th September 1944
Place: APO England
Commencing of Mobilization. Orders issued. Lt.Col. Crookenden assumed command of Unit.
9 PARA BN OP ORDER No 1
Ref Maps: FRANCE 1/100,000 Sheet 7F
1/50,000 Sheets 7E/5, 7E/6, 7F/1, 7F/2.
1/25,000 Sheets 40/16, NE, SE, SW, NW Sheets 40/18 SE, SW
1. (a) Coastal Fmns
(i) One bn 731 Inf Regt (711 Div) area CABOURG 2179.
(ii) Res bn 711 Inf Div area DOZULE 2673.
(iii) One coy Inf Regt area FRANCEVILLE PLAGE 1578.
(iv) Res bn Inf Regt, 742 Eastern Bn, One bn 193 Local Def Regt, are in area CAEN 0368.
(v) 4 Gun Flak 168784 unoccupied but work in progress. 4 Gun Flak 123771 still occupied.
(b) Mob Res
(i) 21 Pz Div area BAYEUX 7879 - CAEN 0368 - LISIEUX and probably TROARN 1667. Div has approx 300 tks incl 90 PANTHERS and is split into 3 Battle Gps of 100 tks each.
(ii) 12 SS Pz Div area MEZIDON U25 - BERNAY - DREUX Q33. Total tk strength - Pz KPFW IVs - 25, PANTHERS - 96, TIGERS - 20, TOTAL - 141.
(iii) 352 Fd Div - AUNAY T85 - GANISY T45.
(iv) Mob inf bde area COUTANCES T2455.
(c) Details of bty at 155776 are at Appx A.
(d) For detailed infm see 9 Para Bn Summary of Infm No 1.
2. (a) 3 (Br) Inf Div is ldg on beach WEST of OUISTREHAM 1079 at H hr and is to capture CAEN by H plus 12 hrs.
(b) C Sqn INNS OF COURT are carrying out deep recce and may move into 6 Airborne Div area from SOUTH EAST of CAEN during D or D plus 1 day. See para 47 below.
(c) 6 Airborne Div with under comd 1 SS Bde is protecting left flank of 3 (Br) Inf Div by denying to enemy use of area between R ORNE and R DIVES NORTH of rd TROARN 1667 - SANNERVILLE 1368 - COLOMBELLES 0770.
(d) FORCE 'A' (5 Para Bde Gp) is holding area BENOUVILLE 0974 - LE BAS DE RANVILLE 1073 - RANVILLE.
(e) FORCE 'C' (1 SS Bde) is mopping up and securing area incl FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - excl CABOURG - all incl VARAVILLE 1875 - LE PLEIN 1275.
(f) FORCE 'D' (6 Airldg Bde Gp less 12 DEVON with under comd 13 Para Bn) is securing firm base area ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE 0971 - ESCOVILLE 1271.
(g) FORCE 'E' (PARKER FORCE) is est base area CAGNY 1064 and is acting offensively to SE and EAST.
(h) 8 Para Bn (FORCE 'B') is destroying brs at TROARN 176680, BURES 174698 and 176703 by H plus 2 hrs, and is seizing and holding high ground area rd junc 140703.
(i) 1 Cdn Para Bn (FORCE 'B') is
(i) Securing and protecting DZ during ldg of 3 Para Bde Gp by destruction of HQ area VARAVILLE and neutralization of enemy if occupying houses area 167753.
(ii) Destroying brs at VARAVILLE 186758 by H plus 2 hrs.
(iii) Destroying brs at ROBEHOMME 195797 and 199739 by H plus 2 hrs.
(iv) Covering move to and assault on bty by 9 Para Bn from interference from SOUTH as follows -
(a) Comd - Major WILKINS, 1 Cdn Para Bn.
(b) Tps - A Coy.
(c) DZ - As for 9 Para Bn.
(d) RV - rd and hedge junc 168755. Colour - Orange.
(e) Route - rd and hedge junc 165757 - hedge junc 162761 - rd junc 162764.
(f) OC A Coy, 1 Cdn Para Bn will report to 9 Para Bn report centre when ready to move.
(g) Objective - area rd juncs 154768 and 155768.
(h) Tasks - (i) Protect left flank of 9 Bn Gp en route to objective. (ii) Clear GONNEVILLE SUR-MERVILLE 1676 and est sec post at X rds 163769 until Bn Gp has passed through. (iii) Neutralize enemy posn at 153771. (iv) Hold area rd juncs 154768 and 155768 until Bty 155776 has been neutralized.
(i) On reaching Objective OC A Coy, 1 Cdn Para Bn will send liaison offr to rd junc 158773.
3. See 9 Para Bn Summary of Infm No 1.
4. Timing will be issued later.
5. Under comd 9 Para Bn - One sec 4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA, One tp 591 Para Sqn RE, One sec 224 Para Fd Amb, Three jeeps and three trailers - 716 Lt Comp Coy RASC, Det REME. In sp - FOB dets No 92 and 93. A Coy, 1 Cdn Para Bn.
6. 9 Para Bn will -
(a) Capture and destroy enemy bty 155776 by P minus 30 mins.
(b) Seize and hold high ground area LE PLEIN 1375 until relieved by 1 SS Bde.
(c) Destroy enemy HQ at SALLENELLES 132766.
(d) Deny enemy movement on rds FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - SALLENELLES and FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - rd junc 156768 - BREVILLE.
7. Five phases - PHASE I - Drop, PHASE II - Approach, PHASE III - Assault, PHASE IV - Withdrawal. Consolidation in area LE PLEIN. PHASE V - Attack on SALLENELLES posn.
PHASE I - DROP
ALLOCATION OF A/C ETC
8. For all arrangements prior to Drop see Adm Order Nos 1 & 2.
9. (a) Area of squares 1675, 1775
(b) Line of Flight NE - SW.
(c) Time of drop P minus 4 hrs 30 mins.
(d) Height of drop 500 ft.
(e) RV Area of Wood 169757 - For layout see diagram in Briefing Room.
10. (a) Allocation of Lights on DZ - 9 Para Bn Gp - Red, 1 Cdn Para Bn Gp - Orange, Bde HQ - Green.
(b) Men with kitbags will be helped by nearest individual. Kitbags will be unpacked and dumped at RV.
(c) Lifebelts will NOT be thrown away but will be dumped at RV.
(d) Jumping Jackets will be dumped at RV.
(e) Offrs equipped with "bird-noises" will sound these at intervals on landing and all men will rally on these offrs who will lead them to the RV.
(f) Landing may be opposed. No person will open fire unless directly attacked at close quarters.
ORGN OF RV
11. (a) Guide Party - Comd - Major AJM PARRY
Tps - Batman, I Cpl, One guide each A, B, C and HQ (Sjt KNIGHT) Coys.
(b) Drop at P minus 5 hrs to organise RV.
(c) Report centre will be marked by RED Aldis Lamp.
(d) (i) Sub-Unit Guides will carry small coloured lights as follows - A Coy - Red, B Coy - Blue, C Coy - Green, HQ (Rear Bn HQ) - Yellow, RE - Maroon. (Each Guide will carry one coloured torch of other coys).
(ii) In addition Guides will have white cloth markers with sub-unit designations in black as follows - A Coy - A, B Coy B, C Coy - C, 2 Pl - 2, 3 Pl - 3, 4 Pl & Sniping Parties - 4, RE - RE, Rear Bn HQ - RHQ. HQ Coy will be responsible for putting RE and all HQ sub-unit markers in posn.
(iii) All lights and markers will be duplicated.
(e) Sub-unit comds will report to report centre in person immediately on arrival with approx Nos present. They will report again (in person) at P minus 3 hrs 30 mins and P minus 3 hrs.
(f) In addition to guides mentioned in (a) above all personnel of duplicate guide a/c (who will also have lights and markers as in (d) above) will report to Major PARRY immediately on landing. Should original guide party not be at RV Lieut CHRISTIE on landing will be responsible for orgn of RV.
(g) Bn will leave RV not later than P minus 2 hrs 45 mins.
12. All personnel dropped on wrong DZ will make for - (i) X rds 163769. (ii) rd junc 158773.
13. (a) DZ -
(b) Line of Flight - To be notified later.
(c) Time of drop -
(d) Major PARRY will send I Cpl to Glider LZ on ldg to "count-in" Bn gliders and ascertain that all have landed safely.
(e) I Cpl will meet Lieut CHRISTIE at RV and inform him of glider state.
(f) If unloading party is required Lieut CHRISTIE will obtain from Bn HQ and will personally supervise unloading.
(g) Before unloading own stores from gliders O's C B Coy and 4 Pl will ascertain glider state from I Cpl at RV.
PHASE II - APPROACH
14. Bty 155776
15. (i) Marching personnel - Rd junc 168761 - hedge junc 167766 - stream junc 164767 - X rds 163769 - rd junc 158773 - rd 159774 (2400 yds approx).
(ii) Tpt - rd junc 168761 - X rds 173765 - X rds 163769 - thence as for marching tps (3260 yds approx).
ORDER OF MARCH
16. DF Party, A Coy less "G-B" Force, Adv Bn HQ, 'O' Gp (incl FOB det 92), 4 Pl and Sniping Parties, B Coy, 2 Pl, C Coy, RE, 3 Pl, Rear Bn HQ (incl Sec Fd Amb and Unit Med personnel and FOB det 93).
17. (a) TROUBRIDGE party - Major Smith, CSM/I MILLER, CSM/I HAROLD.
(b) Drop - P minus 5 hrs.
(c) Tasks - (i) To confirm enemy posns and defs. (ii) To discover best approach into bty as made by OBOE ie whether OBOE has cleared mines, wire and A Tk ditch.
(d) Move off on ldg only after OBOE - route as for marching personnel of Bn, but avoiding rds.
(e) Major SMITH will meet Bn Comd at X rds 163769 with report.
(f) Duplicate TROUBRIDGE party under Lieut DG SLADE will move off direct from RV and carry out above tasks should Major SMITH's party have failed to arrive. If Major SMITH's party has arrived Lieut SLADE will be responsible for recce of dummy bty posn.
PHASE III - ASSAULT
18. (a) Sup by 'B' Coy.
(b) Will travel in duplicate guide a/c and move off with duplicate TROUBRIDGE direct from RV - route as for TROUBRIDGE party.
(c) RV with TROUBRIDGE party - rd junc 158773.
(d) Tasks - (i) Recce gaps in minefields outside perimeter or clear gaps if time permits. (ii) Tape out best approach for assault as indicated by TROUBRIDGE party.
19. (a) B Coy - Breaching.
(b) C Coy - Assault.
(c) A Coy less G-B Force - Res.
(d) G-B Force - direct assault by glider.
(e) Sniping gps - neutralize AA rifle and MG posts.
(f) 2 Pl - HE and Illumination.
(g) 4 Pl - diversion - draw enemy fire - force main gate.
(h) RE - destruction of guns.
(i) RA - A Tk guns engage rear of gun emplacements.
(j) Remainder - Hold firm base in area rd juncs 158773 - 159774.
20. For detailed breaching and assault plan see Appx 'B'.
21. (a) Comd - Capt GORDON-BROWN
(b) Tps - 2 Pls A Coy each organised on following basis -
R HQ - Pl Comd, Pl Sjt, Batman.
Three secs each - Sec Comd, 7 ORs.
One Offr and 7 ORs Tp 591 Para Sqn RE.
(c) Tasks - (i) Direct assault by landing on bty in three gliders. (ii) Capture and hold guns until arrival of main assaulting force.
(d) Weapons - (i) All ranks will carry normal scale of grenades and Sten guns with bayonets. (ii) Normal pl weapons less brens will be taken in gliders and collected after success. (iii) Six "Life-Buoy" flame throwers will be taken.
(e) Time of drop - P-50 mins (to be confirmed).
22. Two Gps -
(a) Comds - 1st Gp - CSM HARRIES, 2nd Gp - CSM ROSS.
(b) Tps - 1st Gp - Three Bren dets A Coy, One A Tk Sec 4 Pl with A Tk Rifles, Three snipers A Coy. 2nd Gp - Two Bren dets A Coy, One Bren det C Coy, One A Tk sec 4 Pl with A Tk Rifles, Three Snipers C Coy.
(c) Tasks - neutralize all enemy posts. Snipers 2nd Gp will concentrate on flak towers; snipers 1st Gp on pill-boxes and protected MG emplacements.
(d) Amn - These parties will carry as much additional amn as is possible.
23. (a) Comd - Lieut BR BROWNE.
(b) Tps - 4 Pl less two A Tk Secs.
(c) Task - Create diversion by neutralizing fortified house at 157777 and forcing entry by North gate.
24. (a) Comd - Major CHARLTON.
(b) Tps - Para Bn HQ, 2 Pl, 3 Pl less one sec, Unit Med Personnel, Sec Fd Amb.
(c) Tasks - Hold area rd juncs 158773 - 159774 as rallying pt for Bn on neutralization of Bty. One sec 3 Pl will neutralize AA posn to NW of Bty.
PHASE IV - WITHDRAWAL AND CONSOLIDATION IN AREA LE PLEIN
25. (a) Bn rallying pt area rd juncs 158777 - 159774. For details of withdrawal see Appx 'B'.
(b) For disposns see enlargements in briefing room.
26. Area high ground LE PLEIN 1375 - detailed disposns shown on enlargement in Briefing Room.
27. Track and rd junc 152764 - fence and track junc 149766 - fence junc 146757 - fence junc 141759 - fence junc 139756 - fence junc 137757 - fence and rd junc 135754.
ORDER OF MARCH
28. Adv Gd B Coy with under comd one sec 3 Pl and two PIAT dets 4 Pl. Main Body Adv Bn HQ (incl one Bren det and one PIAT det 4 Pl and FOB det 92), C Coy with under comd two PIAT dets 4 Pl, 2 Pl, 3 Pl less one sec, Rear Bn HQ (incl 4 Pl less seven PIAT dets and one Bren det), RE. Rear Gd A Coy with under comd two PIAT dets 4 Pl.
29. (a) Coys will be prepared to counter-attack on following code words - MELON - B Coy counter-attack C Coy area. ORANGE - C Coy counter-attack A Coy area. LEMON - A Coy counter-attack B Coy area. TANGERINE - C Coy counter-attack B Coy area.
(b) In each case coy not taking part in counter-attack will sp by fire.
PRIORITY OF TASKS
30. On arrival LE PLEIN. (a) Stand patrols and snipers. (b) Counter-attack recce. (c) Breaching and clearing of houses. (d) Digging.
31. (a) On commencement of assault of Bty both TROUBRIDGE parties with one guide per rifle coy and 2 and 3 Pls will move to LE PLEIN.
(b) Guides will remain at Rear Bn HQ where they will be collected by Major SMITH.
(c) Tasks - (i) Recce def posn at LE PLEIN as per disposns given and arrange for sub-units to be led in on arrival. (ii) Contact patrol 13 Para Bn at LE PLEIN and ascertain - I - Infm about enemy in area. II - Disposns of 5 Para Bde. III - Details of inhabitants of LE PLEIN, especially suspicious characters. IV - Water situation at LE PLEIN. (iii) RV Bn Comd corner of wood 137757.
PHASE V - ATTACK ON SALANELLES POSN
32. (a) Comd - Major PARRY.
(b) Tps - A Coy with under comd - One Pl B Coy, One Sec 3 Pl, One PIAT Sec 4 Pl.
(c) FOB 92 and 2 Pl will sp attack.
(d) Should full scale assault on MERVILLE Bty not be necessary, with resultant increased strength available for SALANELLES, Bn Comd may decide to attack SALANELLES with two coys.
33. Enemy HQ (believed Naval) at SALANELLES 132766.
34. Rd junc 128753 - rd and hedge junc 128759 - hedge junc 128761 - hedge junc 130763 - house 131764.
35. (a) On reaching area LE PLEIN duplicate TROUBRIDGE party under Lieut SLADE will recce SALANELLES posn.
(b) Tasks - (i) Recce route to posn. (ii) Ascertain enemy defs, disposns and strength. (iii) Choose OP for 2 Pl and FOB 92.
(c) Lieut SLADE will report to Major PARRY en route LE PLEIN - SALANELLES.
36. For details see Appx 'C'.
READJUSTMENT AT LE PLEIN DURING PHASE V
37. One pl C Coy will take over A Coy area, with standing patrol of three men in place of A Coy standing patrol.
38. (a) I Sec Standing Patrols at NE Corner of Wood 133757 and high ground 138737. Patrols will withdraw only if capture imminent.
(b) OC C Coy will find fighting patrol which will remain in area FRANCEVILLE PLAGE after withdrawal of Bn from Bty - For details see Appx 'B'.
(c) Capt ROBINSON will comd this patrol. Pl Comd will accompany.
(d) One No 18 W/T set will be taken.
(e) This patrol will carry yellow smoke (own tps) indicators.
(f) For further details see Appx 'G'.
39. (a) Sec to accompany SALANELLES force will be sec from C Coy area at LE PLEIN.
(b) All fire by observation.
40. Tasks in area LE PLEIN in order of priority -
(a) Sp Attack on SALANELLES posn.
(b) Cover move of 45 Royal Marine Commando NE to FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.
(c) DF task on X rds 144751 on call Bn HQ, Coy Comd or by observation.
A TK (4 PL)
41. (a) Two PIAT dets with each coy in LE PLEIN area.
(b) Policy - Leading enemy tks will be allowed to within 50 yds of own posn before fire is opened.
42. (a) Tp 591 Para Sqn RE will revert to comd 591 Para Sqn RE area br at RANVILLE after capture of bty. They will accompany Bn to LE PLEIN, after which they will proceed independently.
(b) 3 Para Sqn RE are laying minefd at X rds 134744.
43. (a) Fire Sp for attack on Bty - HMS (Cruiser) "ARETHUSA".
(b) FOB's will break wireless silence (to be confirmed) at P-30, P and P plus 30, for purpose of establishing contact with HMS "ARETHUSA".
(c) FOB's will be responsible for informing HQ Ship Naval Comd Force 'S' and cruisers "ARETHUSA" directly bty is captured. If Bty is not captured by P plus 30 mins (timing to be confirmed) FOB's will bring neutralizing fire to bear on bty from cruiser.
(d) During assault 92 FOB will remain with Firm Base. 93 FOB will be in area sec MG.
(e) On capture bty 93 FOB reverts control higher formation. 92 FOB remains in sp Bn for attack on SALANELLES with one destroyer in call.
A TK RA
44. (a) Sec 4 Airldg A Tk Bty reverts comd 4 Airldg A Tk Bty area rd junc RANVILLE 114735 on capture bty.
(b) Sec will accompany bn to LE PLEIN and then proceed independently.
45. (a) Hy OBOE (One hundred Lancasters each carrying 4000 lb bomb) Bty 155776 from P-4 hrs 50 mins to P-4 hrs 40 mins. This is more than greatest tonnage dropped on LONDON during German Blitz in one night. Area covered will be approx 2000 yds sq.
(b) Neutralization of Flak and SL - Attacks on Flak and SL by low flying fighter a/c will assist in covering the passage of para and glider a/c over coast line.
(c) Deception - Dummy paratps, delay battle noise simulators, flares and other issue confusers will be dropped to SW of CAEN and on high ground EAST of R DIVES from P-4 hrs 45 mins to P-4 hrs 25 mins.
(d) FRANCEVILLE PLAGE and locality 138790 will be heavily bombed shortly before H hour.
P hr to H plus 1 hr. NORTH of CANAL DE CAEN A LA MER 119789 - SOUTH edge of FRANCEVILLE PLAGE 155786 - br 219761 - EASTERN bank of R DIVES to br 177681 SOUTH of TROARN 1667 - SOUTH side of rd to rd junc 135764 - NORTH side of rd to SANNERVILLE - CUVERVILLE 1069 - rd junc 085700 - thence direct to EAST edge of BLAINVILLE 0873 - bend in rd at 076746 - ST AUBIN D'ARQUENAY - COLVILLE-SUR-ORNE.
H plus 1 hr to H plus 4 hrs. As above except line WEST of the river where the line will run CAZELLE 0276 - BEUVILLE 0675 - SW edge of BLAINVILLE 0873.
H plus 4 to H plus 5 hrs. As above except that the town and outskirts of FRANCEVILLE PLAGE to be incl in prohibited area.
H plus 5 hrs onwards. Line of coast from mouth of R ORNE to mouth of R DIVES, then along EASTERN bank of river to br 219761, thence as above. For bombing inside the above areas "local bombline" will be used.
22 INDEP PARA COY
46. "EUREKA" det will move with taping party to guide in G-B force.
47. (a) G-B Force remain with 'A' Coy until area LE PLEIN.
(b) Remainder with Bn HQ until area LE PLEIN.
(c) On arrival LE PLEIN glider pilots will RV area wood 113735.
48. (a) Clearance of enemy minefds will be carried out by bns on orders from Comd 3 Para Bde.
(b) Marking of minefds Standard red and white gap signs will be used. Cleared carriage ways of the rds will be marked by pairs of gap signs every 200 yds. Cleared verges will be marked by notice boards at 400 yds, and gap signs moved out from carriage ways. Verges will be cleared to 10 ft width only. RIGHT verges will be cleared in priority to left. Line laid through gaps in a minefd will be laid on RIGHT of gaps facing enemy.
(c) Rd Blocks In addition to the rd mining shown in Para 14(a), 3 Para Bde OO No 1, rds may be blocked with temporary rd blocks within Bn areas. Blocks on the following routes will be so arranged that traffic can easily pass after being examined. This will be done by having a removable rd block or a concealed diversion covered by an anti-tank weapon. Route I LE PORT 098754 - br 099748 - rd junc 108744 - RANVILLE 114735 - BREVILLE 133744 - rd junc 140728. Route II Rd junc 140728 - rd junc 133726 - rd junc 133744 - rd junc 112732 - LE BAS DE RANVILLE 106735 - rd junc 106745. Route III Rd junc 109742 - SALLANELLES 132769 - LE PLEIN 129753 - rd junc 128746 - BREVILLE 133744.
C SQN INNS OF COURT
49. Certain portions of C Sqn INNS of COURT may move into 6 Airborne Div area from SOUTH EAST of CAEN during D or D plus 1 day. Troops to be expected Two patrols each of one Daimler Scout Car and one Daimler Armd Car. Probable Route CAGNY - DEMOUVILLE - LE BAS DE RANVILLE. Recognition Sigs Cars will be flying Blue pennants from aerials. If shot at cars will display yellow celanese triangles and fire yellow smoke. 6 Airborne Div Tps will display yellow triangles in answer. This must be done carefully so as not to disclose the posn to the enemy. After identification cars will be guided to Div HQ.
50. 1. Tools and Eqpt at RV
(i) Picks and shovels - One pick or shovel will be carried by every man jumping with a rifle. These will be stacked in coy dumps on RV less one pick and one shovel per sec or equivalent sub-unit.
(ii) Lifebelts and Jumping Jackets - These will be stacked in coy dumps at RV. Jumping jackets will be marked with a white triangle on the back.
(iii) 77 Grens - Will be stack in coy dumps at RV, less 12 per coy. DETONATORS WILL BE LEFT WITH GRENS.
(iv) Bangalore Torpedoes - 50% res torpedoes will be taken in jeep, gliders. These will be taken on jeeps to LE PLEIN.
2. Amn Jettison containers will be dropped area NORTH of BOIS DE BAVENT. Bde are arranging collection to a dump at 140725. Amn may be drawn after first light D day.
3. Sups Sup P opens late D plus 1. Adm Offr will submit indents for sups D plus 1, D plus 2, D plus 3 and D plus 4 by 0900 hrs D plus 1. Thereafter indents submitted 48 hrs in adv. Figures sent on D plus 1 will be as at Bty on conclusion.
4. Water - NO water will be dropped. NO water will be used for washing or drinking until passed by Med. 4 Canvas water bags per Coy, 2 per Bn HQ, will be carried, 100% res will be taken on jeeps.
5. POL - All vehs will be topped up at airfd before loading. Attention is drawn to Adm Instr No 1.
6. Med - (i) DZ cas will make for rd SE of DZ and RV rd junc 176754. ADS will be est Ho 177736. (ii) After assault on Bty ADS est Ho 154767. MDS will be opened 137729 as soon as possible. One med jeep is allotted to this Bn.
7. Latrines - Latrine will always be dug within def perimeter in pl and equivalent sub-unit areas, except in LE PLEIN area.
8. Docn - Coys will render cas & str state 0600 hrs daily. Amn expenditure will NOT be submitted at 0600 hrs as routine. Amn state will be rendered to show sit at 0600 hrs daily. This refers to amn for main armament only. Eqpt Cas State will be rendered at 0600 hrs daily. Battle and other cas will be rendered as they occur.
9. Mail - Mail for pers evac to hosp will be retained until redirection cards have been received, or for seven days, whichever is the earlier. If no AFs 2024C are received mail will be endorsed:- (i) "Not with unit" (ii) "Hospital" (iii) "Deceased" (iv) "Missing". In case of (iii) and (iv) the endorsement will be counter-signed in TOP LEFT hand corner of cover by an offr of the coy concerned (rank to be shown). This mail will then be handed back to Post Cpl.
(i) Div Refugee dump 117753. Refugees will be sent back under escort to Bde HQ or Div dump, whichever is nearer, by the safest route but refugees will be encouraged to stay in their houses unless it becomes essential to evacuate them.
(ii) Refugees will be segregated according to type.
(iii) No refugees will be allowed to approach any HQ.
(iv) Tps will not engage in barter with local inhabitants. Looting will NOT take place.
11. Currency - No sterling notes may be taken out of UK.
12. Decorations - Recommendations for immediate awards must be recorded on paper by the offr making recommendation within one hour of the act of gallantry having been performed.
(a) 6 Airborne Div area 106736 from P minus 1 hr.
(b) 5 Para Bde (i) 110745 from P minus 4 hrs 45 mins, then 106739 from P minus 3 hrs. (ii) Comd Post 113745.
(c) 1 SS Bde - area LE PLEIN NOT before H plus 5 hrs.
(d) 6 Airldg Bde - to be notified - not before H plus 15 hrs.
(e) 3 Para Bde (i) Comd Post with A Coy, 1 Cdn Para Bn. (ii) Main - area houses 139732 NOT before P minus 2 hrs 30 mins.
(f) 9 Para Bn (i) Assault on Bty - rd junc 157723 [penciled note - ? 157773]. (ii) Occupation of LE PLEIN and attack on SALANELLES - area houses 129753.
52. (a) Lieut MARTIN will join Bde HQ when Bn leaves RV.
(b) Lieut WINSTON (45 Royal Marine Commando) will meet his CO on R.ORNE.
(c) OC B Coy will arrange for - (i) 45 Royal Marine Commando to be met at edge of orchard 124755. (ii) 6 Commando to be met at rd junc 121756.
53. (a) Lights - Capture of Bty - Red - Green - Red 2" Mor Flare confirmed by W/T.
(b) Code Words - See Appx 'D'.
(c) Smoke -
(i) Yellow smoke will be carried as follows -
Unit Med Personnel - 20
A Coy (less G-B Force) - All rifn and sten gunners.
Jeeps and trailers - 30 each jeep, 20 each trailer.
(ii) On capture Bty Unit MO will hand over 20 generators to OC Sec Fd Amb. OC Sec Fd Amb will be responsible for letting off yellow smoke in Bty every 5 mins from P minus 30 mins. Spotting a/c will be overhead and every effort will be made to ensure that smoke is let off when this a/c is overhead.
(d) SALANELLES - Yellow smoke confirmed by W/T.
54. (a) Ground to ground Celanese triangles. 1 SS Bde will wear green berets for move to LE PLEIN.
(b) Ground to Air Celanese stripes. 10 triangles sewn together. Ground strips.
55. (a) Diagram in Briefing Room.
(b) Wireless Silence - Wireless silence until H hr except: (i) When in contact with enemy on objectives. (ii) FOB sets NOT before H minus 90 mins.
(c) Code Signs - Code Signs, Slidex Keys and Maplay Codes will be issued separately. They will only be carried in flight by R Sigs Offrs, Adjts and IOs with bns to whom application for extracts will be made when HQ are est. All Code Signs, Slidex and map ref codes will be used in line comns as well as wireless while area remains a danger zone.
56. (a) Existing lines will NOT be used. Own lines will be laid as soon as possible.
(b) On ldg all existing enemy lines will be cut. Exchange, cable juncs etc will NOT be permanently wrecked.
(c) From P-30 hrs Div HQ will commence laying lines to Bdes etc. These lines will be red or yellow or assault cable and great care will be taken to see that they are NOT cut.
57. Will be taken for emergency.
58. (a) See Appx 'E'.
(b) Will be changed 1200 hrs B D plus 1, thereafter daily at 1200 hrs B.
59. See Appx 'F'.
P HR - H HR
60. P hr - Civil twilight D Day. H hr - Time of Seaborne Ldg.
61. To be notified.
SYNCHRONISATION OF WATCHES
62. To be notified.
Comd, 9 PARA BN
30 May 44
APPX 'A' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
DETAILS OF BTY 155776
Objectives: Bty at 155776:
(i) Gen: This bty consists of four med calibre guns or hows estimated as 150mm hows (5.91 ins). If the guns are 150mm hows their range is 14,600 yds; weight of shell ? 96 lbs. Rate of fire 3-4 rpm.
(ii) Layout of Posn: From the annotated enlargements, copies of which are held at Adv Div HQ, it can be seen that the gun posns are sited in an arc facing NW. All four guns are now completely enclosed by casemates. The walls and roof are of reinforced concrete approx 2 metres (6 ft 6 ins) thick. The floors are also probably of concrete. Nos 1 and 2 emplacements are protected and cam by earth banks which surround the casemates except for the ports at the front and rear. The earthing of No 3 and 4 emplacements is in progress. These casemates contain a room for the det on duty and amn magazines as well as the gun compartment. The constr allows for the guns to be wh out at the rear. A steel door may be provided to close the front and a wooden door the rear entrance. The original open emplacements 36 ft in diameter to the rear of the present posns have now been demolished. The guns are presumably now in the casemates but there is no ph evidence to sp this. Stores and amn will be accommodated in concrete shelters close to the gun sites. Off duty personnel are billeted in the village of MERVILLE FRANCEVILLE. The bty OP may be within the inf strong pt on the bank of the R ORNE at 138789. Comns would be by buried cable and wireless. The water tower at 156782 is now surrounded by wire which suggests its possible use as an OP.
(iii) A Tk Ditch: To the WEST and NW of the bty secs of an A tk ditch have been completed. The completed sec is 300 yds in length, extending from a pt 100 yds NORTH of No 1 casemate to a pt SOUTH of No 4 casemate. A continuation of this 155 yds long, extending to the SOUTH of the bty has been marked out but not dug. There is a branch approx at a right angle to the main ditch opposite to No 4 casemate and extending to within 25 ft of No 4 casemate. The length of this branch is 55 yds. The ditch cuts across the rd at 155776. As a guide to the rate of progress, on 24 Mar the line of the ditch was marked out, the excavator was in posn, but digging had not begun. On 20 Apr, 355 yds had been dug, representing a rate of progress of 13 yds per day. If it is the intention to dig the ditch round the whole perimeter, at the present rate of progress it would be completed about 21 Jun. The width of the ditch is 14 ft.
(iv) Wire: The posn is surrounded by two belts of wire, the outer perimeter probably no more than a cattle fence. It encloses an irregularly shaped area 725 yds x 515 yds. The area enclosed by the inner wire measures 376 yds x 310 yds. The inner perimeter wire is approx 10 ft wide; part of this has been removed to allow for concrete work in progress. The lane between the two belts of wire varies from 90 yds on the EAST side to approx 170 yds on the NORTH and SOUTH.
(v) Mines: The presence of mines between the outer cattle fence and the main perimeter wire can now be verified. They can be clearly seen NE of the bty where there is a belt of seven rows 180 ft long, total width 55 ft, average distance between mines approx 6 ft. There are further belts just SOUTH of the above approx 75 ft in width with the mines less regularly spaced. Further belts are seen NORTH of the bty, WEST of the main entrance. For details see annotated trace available in AFIS room, BROADMOOR. It is probable that there are further mines but these cannot be verified from air phs.
(vi) Other Defs: The posn is defended by a number of MGs. The WE of a bty of this type allows for three LMGs but there may be more. There are approx 15 alternative weapon pits which would take a MG but many of these would be used by rifle secs. There are three LAA posns; two in the area 154781 and one inside the posn. Each is capable of taking a 20mm AA/A Tk gun of which there is one on the WE of the bty. At 152775, close to the dummy bty, four open circular emplacements approx 16 ft in diameter have been constructed. There are unidentifiable objects in these emplacements. This is probably a four gun LAA posn. At 167783, 1400 yds NE of the bty, a probable four gun LAA posn has been constructed. The open rectangular emplacements, approx 20 ft x 14 ft are occupied. Strong pt at 153771. There are probably five cam MG emplacements in the hedges. These are roofed over but it is unlikely that they are of concrete - more probably sandbags with timber sps. It is thought that stores or amn are stacked along the hedges inside this posn, in which case a double purpose would be served. Between the outer and inner perimeter wire three blast marks are seen. These conform to the shape of blast marks caused by smoke generators. There is a possibility that outhouses at 156778 and 157777 are fortified.
(vii) Surrounding Terrain: The village of MERVILLE FRANCEVILLE extends from the NW to the NE of the posn at a distance of approx 300 yds. The various approaches from the village are along second class rds and tracks through orchards. There are four gps of farm buildings in the village and the remainder of the buildings are small settlements. Concrete shelters are being constructed in the wood at 154782. The approaches from the SOUTH and SW are through open fds separated by hedges. None of the fds within 500 yds on the SW and SSW are cultivated.
(viii) Approach rds: Three rds lead in to the posn; One from the NW, one from the NORTH and one from the EAST. What appears to be a small pillbox is seen at rd junc at 153777. There is a rd block on the line of the inner perimeter wire at 155776 covered by a MG posn. The main entrance to the posn for vehs appears to be the one to the NORTH. There is a knife rest type rd block on the approach rd from the EAST. A track which is now disused leads from the outer perimeter on the NORTH side to a gp of farm buildings obviously occupied by tps in NW portion of the village.
(ix) Vehs: The purpose of the shelters at 154782 is obscure. They may be used for protecting MT but as the bty is probably HD this seems unlikely. The horses and limbers would probably be accommodated in the farm buildings in the area.
(x) Str: Is estimated that the total str of the posn is not above 160 all ranks of which approx 100 - 120 would be manning the guns, defs and comns at action stas. Others would be defending amn, vehs and horse lines outside the perimeter.
APPX 'B' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
DRILL FOR ATTACK ON BTY 155776
1. TROUBRIDGE party under Major SMITH recce Bty posn and reports to CO.
2. Taping party from B party under Capt GREENWAY leaves RV as soon as ready with duplicate TROUBRIDGE party under Lieut SLADE.
3. Taping party, after obtaining report from Major SMITH, tapes out approaches to Bty.
4. Duplicate TROUBRIDGE party recces DUMMY Bty posn at 150777 and reports to CO.
5. Bn arrives at this Pt (area rd junc 157773) at between P-1 hr 15 mins and P-60 mins. A Coy est close behind.
6. By this time CO has received reports from Major SMITH and Lieut SLADE and has been met by guide from taping party.
7. CO decides area of assault.
8. CO sends out A Tk RA, 2 Pl, Sniping parties and 4 Pl.
9. CO sends 'O' Gps back to sub-units with orders to report by runner when ready to move.
10. When all sub-units ready for assault, or at P-60 mins CO orders A Coy to move fwd.
11. A Coy move fwd onto cross tape on either side of main arteries.
12. CO orders B Coy to move fwd to outer wire, where they lay Bangalore Torpedoes and remain ready to blow. They will NOT use smoke until gliders have landed.
13. Move fwd of B Coy will be done quietly to gain surprise if possible, unless it is necessary to clear minefds on line of adv with cordtex.
14. (a) If surprise is lost or if time is short CO will order bugle call "CHARGE", which will indicate "NOISY" method. On this call A Tk RA, 2 Pl, Sniping Parties and 4 Pl will open fire. At the same time B Coy breaching parties will double fwd to lay Bangalores, if not already there. (b) Having laid Bangalore Torpedoes Breaching Parties of B Coy will lie down ready to light fuses when gliders land.
15. (a) Four and a half minutes before gliders are due to land CO orders bugle call "REVEILLE". On this call Mortar Officer orders (over telephone) Mortar Pl to change over to one det firing 3" Star Shells and whole area is lit up. (b) At the same time Regtl Police det stand by ready to supplement 3" Star Shells with 2" Mor flares should it be necessary. Signal for this is 2" Mor Flare fired by CO.
16. Two and a half mins before gliders are due to land aircraft gives signal letter 'M' on headlight. On receiving this signal or in time CO orders bugle-call "FALL-IN". All fire with the exception of the diversionary party and flares will then cease.
17. Gliders then appear in sight.
18. When third glider is down CO orders bugle-call "LIGHTS-OUT" and 3" Mor Star Shells cease fire.
19. (a) At the same time B Coy light Bangalore Torpedo fuses and blow gaps. Successful gaps will be indicated by RED, WHITE or BLUE lights. (b) Should one gap be unsuccessful the light from that gap will be moved over to the next gap and placed beside it, indicating that tps must switch.
20. (a) B Coy then throws Bangalore into ditch to clear wire and mines, places bridges or ladders in posn and crosses ditch. (b) As soon as ditch Torpedo goes off C Coy move fwd to outer wire. (c) B Coy clears any mines, as necessary, between ditch and inner fence and blows gaps in inner fence.
21. (a) As soon as inner gaps are blown CO orders bugle call "REVEILLE" on which area is lit up by 3" Mor Star Shells. (b) On this call B Coy will not light any more fuses, even if all gaps have not been blown, and C Coy will assault.
22. 'A' Coy will follow through and take up posn inside wire on either side of centre gap. 'B' Coy less br-head protection tps will then withdraw. Sniping gps join 'A' Coy inside wire.
A. [Tps?] to assault of C Coy will be with C Coy HQ at junc of C Coy Cross Tape and Centre Tape.
B. Should there be no ditch or outer wire (ie, only one belt of wire other than the cattle-fence) B Coy will lay torpedoes in wire. CO will inform OC C Coy at Dis Pt whether this is likely. If so CO will order "REVEILLE" as soon as gaps are blown and C Coy will then assault.
C. If there is no wire or any other obstacle (ie, it has been removed by OBOE) following procedure will be adopted - (i) B Coy will remain at firm base. (ii) C Coy will be led up to furthest cross tape and will lie down. (iii) CO will order "LIGHTS OUT" as before when gliders are down. (iv) Two mins later CO will order "REVEILLE" and C Coy will assault.
D. Should the Bty be "dead" ie, an assault is not necessary, when the letter 'M' is flashed from the a/c CO will order a series of green 2" Mor flares. On this signal glider pilots will pick own LZ and land in vicinity of Bty.
1. When all guns are blown CO will send up success signal Red-Green-Red 2" Mor Flares, followed by Bugle-call "STANDFAST", on which all tps will immediately reorganise where they are.
2. 'O' Gps will then report to CO who will either be inside centre gap or on rd.
3. On ascertaining strength of coys, general posn, etc, CO, after inspecting guns, will order Bugle-call "COOKHOUSE".
4. On this call 'B' Coy parties covering gaps will turn lamps facing inwards and tps will withdraw to posns in firm base in following order - RE, C Coy, A Coy, Adv Bn HQ, B Coy gap protection dets.
5. As CO passes through centre gap he will inform B Coy Officer i/c gap protection dets, who will withdraw dets behind Adv Bn HQ.
APPX 'C' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
DETAILS OF ASSAULT ON SALANELLES POSN
1. LIAISON Liaison with FOB will be established at Rd junc 129753
2. ORDERS TO MOVE When ordered to move by CO, A Coy with under comd one pl B Coy and in sp 2 Pl, will RV at rd junc 129753; FOB will move up to area rd junc 132761 and establish OP under cover of fire, if necessary, of 2 Secs A Coy who will proceed to hedge junc 129763 immediately on receipt of order. When OP est these two secs will withdraw to hedge 127729.
3. MAIN BODY A Coy group less 2 secs will move to hedge 127759. Route: Rd junc 129753 - Rd and hedge junc 125754 - Rd and hedge junc 126759 - along W side of hedge to FUP 129763 - 130762 (after destroyers lift fire).
4. FIRE PLAN 4 Destroyers will register from H-8 mins to H and put down concentration H to H plus 5 mins. 2 Pl will fire H-15 mins to H-8 mins and from H plus 5 mins to H plus 10 mins. 2 Pl will remain in original posns at LE PLEIN.
5. ASSAULT Assault will commence on destroyers' fire ceasing. At H-15 fire pl will proceed to area corner of wood 133763 and cover move of main effort to outer perimeter. Under cover of smoke two pls A Coy and pl B Coy will enter perimeter through rd block and proceed along line of rd northwards. All bdgs will be systematically searched. Lt pl will search and clear buildings on lt side of road; rt pl will search and clear buildings on rt side of road. Pl B Coy will cover rd from posn inside rd block.
6. CONSOLIDATION A Coy Gp will consolidate abreast rd running N to SALLENELLES. N.B. FUP 127759 is approx 800x from centre of objective at which range safety can be assured for own tps against fire of 4.7 guns.
APPX 'D' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
Br at BENOUVILLE 098748 captured intact
Br at BENOUVILLE 098748 captured but destroyed
Br at RANVILLE 104746 captured intact
Br at RANVILLE 104746 captured but destroyed
Bty posn 155776 destroyed
Bty posn 155776 NOT captured and still in action
LE PLEIN occupied by own troops
Enemy HQ 132766 captured
Br 177780 blown
Br 174798 blown
Br 177702 blown
Br 186758 blown
Br 197742 blown
Br 186759 blown
Rd junc 140728 occupied by own tps
Rd junc 140703 occupied by own tps
OUISTREHAM Bty 116797
Br over R ORNE 114762
1 SS Bde's first Check Point at houses 092797
Enemy Posn 108765
APPX 'E' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
The following will be used.
Commencing 0200 hrs on:
D plus 1
D plus 2
D plus 3
D plus 4
D plus 5
D plus 6
D plus 7
D plus 8
D plus 9
D plus 10
Ending 0200 hrs on:
D plus 1
D plus 2
D plus 3
D plus 4
D plus 5
D plus 6
D plus 7
D plus 8
D plus 9
D plus 10
D plus 11
APPX 'F' TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
LE PETIT HOMME
LE BAS DE BREVILLE
APPX "G" TO 9 PARA BN OO No 1
1. NATURE. Fighting.
2. OBJECT. To deny use of rds MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - SALLENELLES and MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - BREVILLE to enemy.
3. TASKS. (a) Maintain contact with enemy and report strength in MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE. (b) Attack all small parties of enemy on sight. (c) Prevent infiltration of enemy in SW direction. (d) Recce MT sheds in MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.
4. TIME. (a) OUT. After reorganisation in firm base on orders CO. (b) IN. (i) First half under Capt ROBINSON when ordered by WT. (ii) Second half under Pl Comd - By 1300 hrs D Day.
5. ROUTES. (a) OUT. Direct. (b) IN. (i) First half direct to NE face of SALLANELLES posn as ordered on WT by OC A Coy. (ii) Second half - rd junc 137773 - SALLANELLES village - rd junc 124761.
6. SPECIAL REMARKS. (a) Strength - One full Pl under Capt ROBINSON with Pl Comd. (b) Will carry No 18 set and Yellow smoke recognition sigs. (c) Will split in half - 1st half under Capt ROBINSON to act as diversion for attack on SALLANELLES as arranged by OC A Coy after whole pl has covered movement of Bn to LE PLEIN. Capt ROBINSON to bring back report on contents of MT sheds. (d) Responsible for setting off yellow smoke indicators from P-30 should sec Fd Amb be unable to do so (see 9 Para Bn OO Para 53). (e) 2nd Half of 'C' Coy Patrol (or 'B' Coy Patrol, according to time) will meet 45 Royal Marine Commando in NE face of wood 148775.
1. NATURE. Fighting.
2. OBJECT. To deny use of rds MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - SALLENELLES and MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - BREVILLE to enemy.
3. TASKS. (a) Maintain contact with enemy and report strength in MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE. (b) Attack all small parties of enemy on sight. (c) Prevent infiltration of enemy in SW direction.
4. TIME. (a) OUT. 1200 hrs D Day. (b) IN. By 1700 hrs D Day.
5. ROUTES. (a) OUT. Cross Country to rd junc 146755 - thence line of main rd to MERVILLE - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE. (b) IN. X rds 138767 - LE PLEIN.
6. SPECIAL REMARKS. Strength - One Offr and 15 ORs.
9 PARA BN
SUMMARY OF INFM No 1
Ref Maps FRANCE 1/100,000 Sheet 7F
1/50,000 Sheets 7E/5, 7E/6, 7F/1, 7F/2
1/25,000 Sheets 40/16, NE, SE, SW, NW; Sheets 40/18, SE, SW
A. DESCRIPTION OF AREA
1. The area over which 6 Airborne Div will be op is known as the CAEN "campagne" which is a region of the Department of CALVADOS.
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 CAEN campagne extends from the BESSIN region in the WEST which is open rolling well cultivated land to the valley of the R.DIVES in the EAST.
4. The principle topographical feature in the area is the flat marshy valley of the R.ORNE NE of CAEN containing a double waterway with the CANAL DE CAEN on the WEST and the river flowing almost parallel to it on the EAST side of the valley.
5. A gen description of the ground in the area is given on the sketch in Briefing Hut.
B. RDS - GEN.
In the close or "bocage" country the rds generally have an embankment 3 or 4 ft high on each side surmounted by a thick bramble or blackthorn hedge. The fds and orchards at each side of the rd are also surrounded by hedges or rows of trees, sometimes on banks, and deployment by MT is, therefore, restricted. In the large cultivated plains EAST and SE of CAEN, however, deployment may be easier, though ditches on each side of the rd can only be crossed by wheels where they are culverted at entrances to fds. Most main rds have tarmac surfaces so that large tell tale dust clouds are not likely to betray movement. Some minor rds, however, have a surface of loose granite chips on gravel, from which dust will rise in dry weather. Concrete rds are seldom found in Western NORMANDY. Rds in old inland towns are generally paved. In the NEPTUNE area CAEN is the most important centre of rd comns, consequently nearly all the principal rds in the area converge on the town.
C. RIVERS, CANALS and BRS
(a) The R.ORNE rises in the area NORTH of ALENCON 8/Z.38 and flows NW on a winding course through wooded stretches in a valley 50-400 yds in width. From CAEN to the sea the valley widens to ¾ miles.
(b) The width of the river varies from 10 ft near its source to 125 ft at CAEN. Below CAEN it is tidal and varies from 125-150 ft. The banks are steep and vary in height from about 6 ft to 10 ft.
(c) Below the confluence of the R. LAIZE the width of the river, the depth of the water and the height of the banks are sufficient to constitute a formidable obstacle.
(d) The steel lattice girder br at 104745 is 350 ft long, 20 ft wide (incl sidewalks) and spans a width of water 125-140 ft. The banks here are of earth. There are 2 open MG emplacements, one AA MG posn and 2 unconfirmed lt A tk guns.
D. A TK OBSTACLES
1. R.ORNE VALLEY:- SOUTH of CAEN, river and valley are probably an obstacle to tks though it cannot be assumed that it is impassable to enemy tks. NORTH of CAEN the river in conjunc with the CAEN CANAL and the marshy low-lying ground between the two forms an effective A tk obstacle.
2. R.DIVES valley:- The valley of the R.DIVES, throughout its length, is highly unsuitable for the passage of tks. The ground is low-lying, apt to be marshy and intersected by numerous small streams and irrigation ditches. Artificial flooding has been carried out to a maximum depth not exceeding 9" over the area shown on sketch in Briefing Hut (also on 1/25,000 def overprint). SOUTH of BURES 1769 the many small tributaries and irrigation ditches are probably not individual obstacles to cross country mov but taken collectively and in conjunc with the river itself and the marshy nature of the ground they constitute a very serious hindrance. Downstream from ANNERAY 2464 provided the brs were blown and the causeways carrying the rds cratered, it is considered that the river line would be impassable to tks. The valley of the R.DIVES is not considered an obstacle to a determined Pz force containing MkV's and VI's.
3. Rly embankment SE of CAEN:- The lengths of rly embankment considered to be effective as a tk obstacle are indicated on sketch in Briefing Hut.
4. BOIS DE BAVENT area:- The thickly wooded area at 1471 contains a number of rides and tracks. Although constituting a hindrance to tks is not considered an obstacle.
5. A/Tk ditch NE BAVENT 1673:- Vertical phs show a probable A Tk ditch marked out NE of BAVENT 1673, which extends from 165735 to 165732. The Southern portion is under constr (width approx 10 ft). Hedge clearance is also seen NORTH of BAVENT, probably for extension of the ditch.
E. DZ 1775 (See annotated ph in Briefing Hut)
(a) Measurements: This DZ measures 1875 yds from A to B and 800 yds from C to D. It is a flat plain cultivated except for two large pasture fds. On the SOUTH and SE side the DZ is bordered by orchards and small buildings and to the NE by the village of VARAVILLE pop 524. There is also a line of orchards to the NORTH. A large country house and outbuildings is located at 177756 and one rather small residence is located at 167752. A track about 6 ft wide runs from the centre of the Southern bdy of the DZ NE to the village of VARAVILLE. Agricultural development of fds is shown as accurately as possible on the att annotated phs.
(b) The line of poles carrying the low tension cable and the tower of the church at VARAVILLE which is visible from the centre of DZ should be sufficient landmarks for orientation. A row of tall trees runs along the line of the hedge from 173752 to the rd at 173753 and from there to 171754.
F. ENEMY ORDER OF BATTLE AND DEF POLICY IN THE WEST.
This will be the subject of a special lecture by the IO during briefing.
G. ATTITUDE OF POPULATION:-
The mass of the population hates the Germans and looks forward to liberation by the Allies. Those patriots who are already working in the Resistance Mov in collaboration with the Allies will at the time of invasion carry out to the best of their ability specific mil tasks already allotted to them. A few political extremists who have so far committed themselves in collaboration with the Germans as to have forfeited all chance of life and liberty in a Free France may be expected to aid the enemy in maintaining order in the rear. Those persons who have adopted the wait and see attitude and who believe that they can persuade their compatriots that they have really tried to act in the best interests of FRANCE will do everything possible to help the Allies in order to prove their good faith. Among these will be found many middle class industrialists and administration and police officials, who have been forced into a certain measure of collaboration in order to keep their jobs.
9 PARA BN ISUM No 1
1. Move of Div from CAEN Sector It is now believed that the recently reported move of a Div from the CAEN Sector involved a hitherto undiscovered Div and NOT 716 Inf Div.
2. A good source reports the arrival, about 19 Jan, of about 3,000 Letts, Russian and German juveniles at CAEN, apparently "fresh" tps destined to form a regt. An inf bn flag was seen and the tps included some arty, engr and "cav" elements.
3. Anti-Airtps Following ROMMEL's visit, special anti-paratp gds and patrols have been instituted in numerous and extensive areas. No evidence of this type of def has appeared in CALVADOS.
4. Airldg obstacles It is reported by a PW that the following precautions against airtps have been taken in the LORIENT G72 area. (a) Installation of tripwire with warning devices. (b) Obstruction of the ground with concertina wire. (c) Planting of booby traps. (d) Minefds on slopes of hills which are most likely to be occupied by airtrps after landing.
5. A Tk From air cover a very small sec of a Tk ditch can be seen at 103723 about 3,000 yds to the SOUTH of BENOUVILLE on the EAST side of the minor rd from ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE to LE BAS DE RANVILLE.
6. VARAVILLE HQ CHATEAU de VARAVILLE is reported connected to the CAEN ST ARNOULT coastal telephone cable, and is a large HQ.
7. Power Line Examination of recent ph cover reveal what is very probably a 120/210 volt electric light cable which runs from CAEN to VARAVILLE. VARAVILLE is known to be provided with electric light and that it is supplied by a coy in CAEN. This power line probably runs to CABOURG via the following routes: 197760 to 167747 visible on phs, 167747 to 136724 NOT visible on phs, 136724 to 124720 visible on phs, 124720 to 119718 NOT visible on phs, 119718 to 074685 visible on phs, 074685 to 061683 NOT visible on phs, 061683 to 043681 visible on phs.
IO, 9th PARACHUTE BN.
27 May 44.
REPORT ON BOMB DAMAGE TO SALLENELLES BTY 155776 - PERIOD 19 - 20 MAY
1. In the bty area there are approx 400 bomb craters, the largest being approx 60 ft in diameter. No 1 casemate is the only damaged casemate, having received two direct hits and one hit very near the side. The only apparent damage is to the rear entrance, the hit on the roof not having penetrated. There are craters very near Nos 2 and 3 casemates but these are not damaged externally. There are no hits on the A tk ditch.
2. There are three direct hits on the Northern inner perimeter wire, probably making a gap in the wire of about 100 yds and two hits on the inner Western perimeter wire, causing gaps of probably 40 yds at each. There are five direct hits on the Eastern perimeter wire, causing gaps of 90, 40 and 90 yds respectively. Two hits on the inner V-shaped wire have cleared gaps of probably 40 and 30 yds respectively. One of the LAA emplacements has been demolished, one badly damaged and the third undamaged but unoccupied. The Comd post is undamaged.
3. Three of the shelters have been badly damaged and made unusable. There are detonated mines between the inner and outer perimeter wire on the EAST side of the bty although no regular pattern is distinguished. In the same area there is a very large crater approx 80 yds long and varying from 15 to 25 yds in width. There are detonated mines in the fd at 159779. The mine pattern is four rows, 13 ft between each row and 11 ft between mines. The length of the belt detonated is approx 70 yds. Re-examination of previous sorties shows that there are two further probable mine belts in this fd at 168773 and 160775. AAL poles have been erected in this fd, probably before the mine sowing. The tower at 156782 which was a probable OP has been demolished.
4. The underground cable joining the Comd post with VARAVILLE is probably damaged inside the bty area. Rds cratered at 157778, 158774 and 157772, and the main entrance rd to the bty posn is unusable. There are four craters inside the posn at 153781 with damage to one veh bay only. There has been a lot of activity at the dummy bty at 1[??]775. Three MG emplacements, comn trenches and three covered dugouts have been constr.
Capture of Coastal Bty Position at 155775 by 9 Para Bn 6 Jun 44
1. PROBLEMS INVOLVED
This Bty was thought to consist of four 150 mm guns in concrete emplacements. Therefore it was of utmost importance that it should be eliminated before it could interfere with landing on the beaches.
The guns were known to be sited in concrete emplacements 12 feet high 5 feet deep. Thickness of concrete 2 metres with a covering of 4 metres of earth; steel doors in front, wooden doors behind. Therefore special equipment needed to destroy emplacements.
Defences - one 20 mm dual purpose gun and several MGs. How many MGs unknown but many alternative positions visible. Str of Garrison - 180 to 200 all ranks.
The bty position was surrounded by a cattle fence enclosing a minefield of an approximate average depth of 100 yds, the inner border of which consisted of a Dannart wire fence 15 ft thick and 5 ft high. In places this inner fence was doubled, and within it the bty position itself was intersected by cross wire.
On one side of the bty position there was an A tk ditch 15 ft wide and 10 ft deep.
Outside the bty position isolated minefields were laid across the open approaches and MGs were sited to cover all approaches.
Therefore it was necessary to carry special equipment to overcome obstacles. Since this equipment was heavier than could be carried by parachutists, it would be necessary for a glider element.
The time factor was vital.
The bty had to be destroyed by 0450 hrs.
Owing to naval and air commitments no one could be dropped before 0020 hrs.
The nearest suitable DZ was 2400 yds from the bty positions.
2. PRELIMINARY ORGANISATION
(a). In order to disorganise the defences, damage obstacles and possibly clear a route through the minefields it was decided to drop an Oboe of 4000 lbs bombs from 100 Lancasters on the bty position between 0030 and 0400 hrs.
(b). One aircraft to drop a party of parachutists at 0020 hrs consisting of:-
(i). A bn RV Organisation Party to organise the Bn RV on the DZ.
(ii). A bty Recce Party to recce route forward and defences.
(c). A first glider element of 5 gliders loads containing special heavy equipment, this included two 6-pr A tk guns. 3 RASC jeeps and trailers containing ammunition, special store etc. Special stores included:-
(i). 24 lengths of scaling ladder for A tk ditch.
(ii). 60 lengths of lightweight Bangalore Torpedo.
(ii). 12 specially constructed duralumin foot bridges to be used if possible to cross the A tk ditch, thereby avoiding mines in it.
Note. A further 120 lengths of Bangalore Torpedo, and 48 lengths of scaling ladder to drop with parachutists. This glider element to land as close as possible to the Bn RV at 0035 hrs.
(d). The bn was to drop at 0050 hrs, re-organise at the RV which had to be cleared by NOT later than 0235 hrs.
(e). A taping party of 1 Off and 8 ORs to travel with CO in first aircraft, also duplicate RV organisation and bty recce parties in case the original parties had gone astray. Taping party to proceed immediately to bty position and to lay tapes as directed by Recce Party to most suitable points for gapping the inner wire defences. This party [to be] dropped with Polish mine detectors.
(f). OC Recce Party to meet CO during approach march, to confirm or otherwise layout of enemy defences, and to lead the Bn to their FUP.
(g). The assault party was to go in from the South East. The assault plan was based upon blowing 3 gaps through the inner wire defences. A "Firm base" to be established about 300 yds outside the Perimeter from which the taping party was to clear lanes 4 ft wide through the minefields to each intended gap.
(h). The Bn to be organised as follows:-
(i). Breaching Coy - One pl to each gap.
(ii). Assault Coy.
(iii). Glider Assault Party - 3 Offrs and 47 Inf, 1 Offr and 7 RE.
(iv). Reserve - One Coy (less glider assault party)
(v). 2 sniping parties (each 3 Bren grps, 3 snipers, 3 A tk rifles).
(vi). Diversion Gp (5 PIATS and 2 bren - incl 2 GERMAN speakers).
(vii). "Firm Base" party (rest of Bn under 2 i/c).
(viii). Mortars in posn 500 yds behind "Firm Base".
3. ORGANISATION ON ARRIVAL
(a). Head of Bn to reach "Firm Base" between 0410 and 0420 hrs.
(b). On reaching Dis P, Breaching Party to divide into 3 Breaching Pls and move to wire on orders of CO and lay Bangalore Torpedoes.
(c). Assault Coy to move to first cross tape behind Breaching Coy.
(d). Reserve to move to second cross tape behind Assault Coy.
(e). Sniping Parties 150 yds to each flank.
(f). Two 6-pr guns to posn 150 yds west of Bty.
(g). Diversion Party to Main Gate north of Bty.
4. ASSAULT PLAN
Movement of Breaching Coy silent if possible; if surprise lost bugle to sound "CHARGE" on which fire to be opened by all supporting arms.
0424 hrs - Glider Assault Det released by tugs at 6000 ft - three gliders. To land in the bty posn. Armed with Sten, grenades and Gen Wades charges for blowing casemates.
0424½ hrs - tug aircraft to signal letter 'M' to Bn HQ after releasing.
0425½ hrs - "Reveille" sounded on bugle - one mortar to switch to star shells to give Glider pilots their targets. No smoke to be used till gliders landed.
0428 hrs - "Fall-in" on bugle - all fire to cease except for Diversionary Party to enable gliders to land.
0430 hrs - 1st glider to touch down. "Lights Out" on bugle - star shells cease.
As soon as dark Bangalore Torpedoes to be blown, and successful gaps indicated by light signals.
Assault Coy pass through gaps - reorganise inside into 4 parties and immediately rush to four gun positions followed by Tp RE.
Bn Comd Post move behind Assault Coy and establish inside wire. Reserve Party move up under hand of Bn Comd. Sniping parties join reserve.
Note. Gliders on landing to rush the two centre gun positions and destroy. Diversionary party to break through at Main Gate as Assault Coy goes in. Recognition signals arranged between all parties involved.
Moderate flak was encountered crossing the coast. But the Bn was dropped over an enormous area. One stick being dropped 30 miles EAST of Bty Position.
The RV organisation party and Recce party were correctly dropped, and got away according to plan.
Half the Taping party got away fairly easily, but without tape, as the party was dropped in a marsh and the tape lost.
The CO's aircraft and parties were dropped close to the DZ, but immediately on top of a GERMAN HQ, which resulted in a short melee before they got away.
By 0235 hrs only 110 ranks had collected at the Bn RV with only 10 lengths of Bangalore Torpedo and no scaling ladders.
There was no sign of the five gliders carrying stores and vehicles to the RV.
The CO thereupon decided to wait for a further 16 minutes before starting.
By 0250 hrs the Bn had grown to 150 strong with an additional 10 lengths of Bangalore Torpedo. Each Coy was about 30 strong. Enough signals to carry on - no 3" Mortars - One MG - one half of one Sniping party - No 6-pr guns - No Jeeps or trailers, or any glider stores - No sappers - No Fd Amb, but 6 unit medical orderlies. No mine detectors - One Coy Comd missing.
The CO decided to advance immediately.
The OC Recce Party met the Bn during the approach march. This party had cut the outer cattle fence, penetrated the minefield to the inner wire where they had waited for half an hour observing and pin pointing the enemy posts by the sound of conversations. They were there joined by the Taping Party, who marked the approach routes by digging their heels in the dust. It is an amazing fact that these two parties accomplished what they did without mine detectors, and without a single casualty. Several trip wires were encountered and neutralised as they felt their way forward with their hands.
As a result of OC Recce Party's report the CO decided to make two gaps only, detailing 15 men to each gap from the Breaching Coy.
The remaining two Coys he amalgamated into one assault Coy - divided into 4 parties 1 per gun - two parties through each gap.
During the approach march the Bn was heavily shelled, and narrowly evaded a hostile patrol 20 strong.
On reaching the 'firm base', fire was opened by 6 enemy MGs from positions outside the wire, 3 on each flank, and by 4 MGs from positions inside the wire.
The CO then despatched his one MG to silence the MGs on the left flank - it did.
He sent the Diversionary Party (now only 1 Sgt and 6 men) via the right flank enroute - they did.
About this time the CO saw two gliders circling the Bty; both being shot at and hit by flak. Having no mortars he could not illuminate the bty posn. One glider appeared to be about to land on the bty, but it subsequently grounded between 4 and 5 miles away. The other crashed landed in an orchard behind the bn. Here the OC attacked a German pl attempting to approach the Bn from the rear. This glider party although far [smaller?] in numbers, held off the German attack for 4 hrs.
As soon as the gaps were blown the Assault Party went in for the guns - [despite?] all flank opposition their speed and determination took them through.
The Diversionary Party forced an entrance at the Main Gate at the same time.
The CO then drew in his Breaching Parties with any oddments as a reserve, and sent them through to mop up the ground between his Comd Post and the guns.
It was a disappointment to the bn to find that the guns were of 75 mm only, and these were destroyed by Gammon bombs. It does not detract however from a magnificent feat of arms, and a display of absolute determination to overcome all handicaps.
As soon as the bty had been captured the Germans began to shell the position accurately and fast from FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.
The bn strength at the finish was 80.
Casualties - 1 Officer killed and 4 wounded, 65 ORs killed, wounded and missing. This does not include severe casualties.
The success signal was fired at 0445 hrs, and a carrier pigeon dispatched to ENGLAND in confirmation.
Personnel missing from the drop continued to arrive for days, and more may do so still. But during subsequent continuous fighting the Bn strength has not since exceeded 15 officers and 278 ORs.
6. PRELIMINARY TRAINING
Before the operation the Bn went out to Camp by itself for a fortnight accompanied by RE and Fd Amb dets.
It there constructed on the ground an exact full scale model of the Bty position including the A Tk ditch.
Every man was detailed to the special task he would be required to do in the operation, and practiced continuously at the task.
5 days and 4 night rehearsals were carried out. After the initial day rehearsals each day rehearsal was followed by a night one.
The rehearsal included an approach march over a slightly longer distance than was anticipated on the operation. All rehearsals were carried out with live ammunition.
The crossing of various types of obstacles with heavy equipment and weapons was practice. As also was assault over the most difficult obstacles which might be expected. It included cattle fence, minefield, outer Dannart, A tk ditch mined and inner Dannart wire.
Re-organisation at the Bn RV was also rehearsed.
Note. The bombing attack had missed the Bty completely. It had in fact almost eliminated the Recce Party.
Report on Assault on "Salemmelles Bty" 6 June 44
On receipt of COs orders given at about 0415 hrs for the assault [due to?] reduced numbers I organised the composite Coy into four parties each consisting of about twelve men. Parties were detailed to respective casemates. On penetrating the perimeter wire in which two gaps were blown, I reorganised the assault parties. During this reorganisation three Machine guns opened fire from our right. One bren gun was detailed to reply with fire. I believe that one of the enemy guns was neutralised by this LMG. The remainder of the Coy proceeded towards the casemates firing as it moved. Progress was slow on account of the cratered condition of the ground. Minefields were crossed during the passage of which two men were I believed killed.
Approximately 50 yds inside the wire I myself sustained a wound in my leg. It was not, however, of a particularly serious nature and I was able to proceed towards the guns. On reaching the gun positions we fired into the casemates and inflicted a number of casualties. I ordered fire to cease and some thirty to forty Bosches came out of the casemates and surrendered. One hundred yards before reaching the casemates we came under moderate shell fire and a few more casualties were sustained.
I supervised the destruction of Nos 1 and 2 guns. Various methods were attempted and after placing two shells, nose to nose, in number 2 gun and firing it, I was satisfied that it would be out of action sufficiently long enough to enable the seaborne force to land unmolested. No 1 gun which was outside the casemate and facing south was neutralised by the removal of various parts of the breach block.
I visited number three gun after the party responsible for its destruction had withdrawn. Lt. Halliburton went to inspect No 4 gun and reported to me that he considered it had been successfully neutralised. Whilst marshalling the prisoners prior to withdrawing Lt. Slade came along and informed me that the position was due to be shelled in a very few minutes by ARETHUSA. I ordered Lt. Halliburton to lead Nos 1 and 2 parties back to the Bn. At this stage I was feeling weak from a considerable loss of blood and followed the Company out of the Battery. Throughout the period of the withdrawal enemy shelling continued and a few more casualties were sustained. On reaching the main body of the Bn I proceeded to the ADS and received medical attention.
(Sgd) A.J.M. PARRY. MAJOR.
9 Bn The Parachute Regiment.
Report on Operations of 9 Para Bn 6 - 12 June 1944
The primary task of 9 Para Bn in the initial landing was the destruction of the Coastal Battery at 155775. A separate report on this action has already been submitted. It is necessary however to recapitulate somewhat in order to describe the state of the Bn on completion of its primary task.
The parachute drop at 0050 hrs had been widely scattered. Consequently only 150 all ranks had been available for the primary task. This task, which was successfully accomplished, involved heavy casualties to the already small force.
The secondary task allotted to 9 Para Bn was to seize and hold the LE PLEIN feature until relieved by No 1 SS Bde.
The Bn strength was now reduced to 80 all ranks, one MG, no mortars, no Fd Amb, no sappers, a few unit medical orderlies. The CO further had 22 prisoners on his hands, and his wounded personnel to consider. Amongst his prisoners he found a German Medical Officer and two medical orderlies. He therefore left his wounded with these medical personnel and two of his own medical orderlies, at a neighbouring chateau. His numbers were now augmented by the crew of a glider who had been fighting a German Pl in the neighbourhood. This brought the Bn strength up to just 100.
The move to LE PLEIN across country was begun at once - it was uneventful. Shortly after the start a formation of Allied aircraft came over, and presumably mistaking them for enemy troops, released two sticks of heavy bombs. These sticks fell on either side of the column and parallel to their line of advance. By extreme good fortune no casualties ensued.
On approaching the village of HAUGER on the north slopes of LE PLEIN the column was warned by a frenchman that the village was occupied by 200 Russians, impressed into the Germany Army after capture on the Eastern Front.
At 0900 hrs the column was fired on from the front and left flank as it approach rd junc 133757. As the advance continued the enemy 30-40 strong withdrew to the cross rds on the eastern outskirts of the village. The leading elements of the column thereupon put in a straight forward attack down the line of the road. This dislodged the enemy who fell back on the rd junc in the centre of the village leaving 15 dead behind them.
The enemy now held a position of some strength with MGs posted on both flanks. The CO therefore occupied the houses at the eastern end of the village.
The enemy now attempted to counter attack by a right flanking move through the orchards. As this attack came in it was met by the Vickers MG at 20 yds range, the attack immediately dissolved, leaving a further dozen dead behind.
It became apparent that the strength of the enemy's position lay in one particular house. The CO therefore decided to send a party of 30 right flanking to take this house in the rear. This attack failed, however, as the house had been properly prepared for defence and loop-holes all round. Furthermore it was surrounded by a 6 ft wall with MGs firing on fixed lines along the edge of the wall.
It was apparent that this force was not strong enough to evict the enemy from the village, and the CO therefore decided to consolidate. He occupied a chateau on the outskirts of the village with his main force, leaving one section at the rd junc.
The position then became one of stalemate. The enemy, though in greatly superior numbers made no further attempts to attack. He did, however, make a very great use of snipers who were most skilfully sited and concealed. Their standard of shooting varied however. In one instance they appeared incapable of learning any lessons from the fate of their comrades. They persistently sniped from the church tower although one man after another was killed in doing so. Subsequently, six dead snipers were found in the tower. The most effective way of dealing with the sniping proved to be the "set a thief to catch a thief" method. Our own snipers by carefully watching located enemy snipers and eliminated them in turn.
This situation lasted for almost 24 hrs, until the afternoon of 7 June when 1 SS Bde (Commandos) arrived, cleared the village and relieved the Bn of responsibility for the LE PLEIN feature.
[Thereafter?] reverted to bde control, and during the night 7/8 Jun moved to the woods south at ST COME 1373, where they were ordered to hold the high ground about 135736. The whole area was heavily wooded and intersected with high thick hedges. At only three points where orchards adjoined the position was there any field of view.
At midday on 8 Jun an attack on the right flank of the position by the enemy infantry developed which was repulsed with comparative ease. It subsequently transpired that this attack was made by troops of the 857 Regt.
During the afternoon and evening several more thrusts from the NE were made in single company strength. None of these attacks were supported by covering fire.
During the night 8/9 Jun, Bde sent up to the Bn two 3" Mortars and 3 Vickers MGs. This enabled the CO to organise a mortar section and a strong MG Pl of 4 MGs, one of which were mobile on a jeep.
At first light on 9 Jun a very heavy Mortar concentration was put down on the Bn area, and a determined infantry attack developed from the NE. In view of the close nature of the country the enemy advanced to within 50 yds before fire was opened - 2" and 3" mortars joined in repelling this attack as the risk of causing casualties amongst our own troops and they did cause a few. The defensive fire inflicted appalling casualties to the enemy who broke and fled. Another attack developed an hour later with the same results. Later in the morning information reached the CO that a serious situation was developing immediately to the south of his Bn area, where an enemy attack was developing on Bde HQ.
The CO immediately organised a force of 30 men and 2 MGs which he led himself, attacking the enemy in the rear. The line of attack was down the main road. The two MGs were placed firing down the road, while the force attacked left flanking, clearing house by house. By degrees the enemy position was outflanked, and the enemy withdrew into a very thick stretch of woodland running parallel to the road.
The MG positions were now altered and one was sited to fire down each side of the strip of woodland thus sealing the enemy within it.
An interesting method was then adopted for clearing the wood from end to end. The party advanced through the wood in two waves. Leading wave armed with stens, second wave armed with 36 grenades.
The second wave would throw a volley of grenades over the heads of the leading wave into the undergrowth beyond. Immediately the grenades exploded the leading wave rose and rushed forward ten yards firing from their stens. The process was repeated until the wood was cleared and resulted in killing 19 Germans and capturing one.
After clearing the wood the party returned to the Bn Area.
During the afternoon an enemy attack by one and a half Coys developed from the EAST. It succeeded in infiltrating through the woods, and the situation became serious. A counter attack, one pl strong led by the 2 i/c was therefore launched. It was partially successful. It stopped the enemy, but failed to drive him back. The counter attack pl was caught in the flank by two MGs which split it in two, killing two officers and 5 ORs and wounding another 5. The pl then withdrew.
The CO was of the opinion that these losses were due to two tactical errors (a) the pl tried to cross a clearing in the woods without first ensuring that its flanks were protected by covering fire. (b) some men rushed a bank, behind which they knew enemy to be without grenading it first.
9/10 Jun. Stragglers from the parachute drop had been drifting in since 6 Jun, and during the night a further 40 had reached Bde and sent up. This included a missing Coy Comd, and brought the Bn strength up to approx: 240. The first task of the reinforcements was to get in the wounded. Then work on perimeter defences.
Night attacks by the enemy were continuous, and these were countered by pushing posts well outside the perimeter, to prevent enemy getting within grenade throwing range. Firing, except at point blank range was strictly forbidden. This policy paid, as PW captured in [?] had no idea of the Bn dispositions.
10 Jun - an attack, preceded by heavy mortaring, developed on the right flank of the Bn positions at about 1100 hrs - it was repulsed.
During the morning a further 30 men arrived from Bde, and enables the CO to re-organise the bn into three Coys of approx: 70 each. Re-organisation of the defences were also carried out - two MGs being sited to fire down the main rd, and one pl pushed across the main rd up to a deep ditch NE of the Bn posn. These dispositions paid a very early dividend.
At about noon half a Coy of enemy debouched from the woods and began to dip in along the main rd in full view of the MGs. Fire was held until all sub-units were hard at work digging. When it did open fire it was devastating, practically the whole enemy half Coy being wiped out.
An enemy party then advanced unawares on the Pl position concealed in the ditch. Fire was held until 10 yds. Some of the enemy dead actually falling into the ditch. The remnants broke and fled.
At 1400 hrs a further attack developed on the bn positions down the line of the track from the NE. Mortar amn was by this time running short, and it was suggested by the NCO i/c PIAT that these weapons should be pointed in the air and used as mortars. This was tried, and proved most effective, even though the effect was largely morale. Attempts at infiltration continued during the afternoon, and at one point an enemy SP gun ambled forward. A Vickers MG opened on the gun which promptly blew up. Presumably some amn was hit.
At 1900 hrs a very determined attack by one and a half Coys developed from the NORTH on the left flank of the bn position in the direction of BREVILLE. Many of these were shot and a few taken prisoner. It subsequently transpired that these were the fleeing survivors of a disastrous attack by the enemy of 5 Bde positions at RANVILLE. At 2000 hrs an enemy attempt was made to influence the battle by cutting in our Bde RT set. The bn was ordered to send men out carrying yellow triangles to meet 'your friends on the left flank'. The order was not complied with.
Conditions quietened down by 2300 hrs and one coy was dispatched to seize and hold the chateau at ST COME. - it did so, and was attacked all through the night. The bn was left in peace.
During the night 10/11 Jun 5 BW arrived in the area preparatory to an attack they were launching on the village of BREVILLE the following morning. One coy 5 BW took over the chateau from the 9 Para Bn.
The attack on BREVILLE by 5 BW on the morning of 11 Jun failed, and the Bn withdrew into the 9 Para Bn area to re-organise, having suffered heavy casualties. In the afternoon 5 BW moved entirely into the Chateau area.
During the night 11/12 Jun sporadic attacks against the chateau and 9 Para Bn areas were maintained, and continued on morning 12 Jun when enemy tanks were reported in the vicinity. OC 5 BW kindly placed two of his A tk guns under command 9 Para Bn and these were sited in area cross rds 136737.
At 1500 hrs an intense arty and mortar bombardment on the two bn positions began and lasted for three quarters of an hour.
[The?] 9 Para Bn well dug in in their slit trenches, only two slight wounds resulted from [this?] intense bombardment.
It was immediately followed by a determined infantry assault on the chateau supported by six Mk IV or french tks and a number of SP guns.
The BW suffered heavily from the tks and SP guns. All their carriers were knocked out, as were the crews of their 6 pr guns which were thereby rendered ineffective.
At this juncture the bde comd 3 Para bde personally led a coy of 1 Cdn Para Bn to counter attack. The chateau position held, and the enemy switched his attack on to 9 para bn.
One enemy tank succeeded in penetrating to within forty yds of the 9 Para Bn posn and infantry to within 20 yds. Both were repelled. The tk was hit twice on the nose by PIATS without any effect a third PIAT bomb then hit in the flank and burst right through it, whereupon the tk hastily withdrew.
By 2000 hrs the situation had quietened down, but at 2100 hrs a concentration of very heavy shell fire (probably 120mm) came down on the bn posn - it lasted for ten minutes, but no infantry attack developed.
On the morning of 13 Jun the 9 Para Bn was relieved by the 2 OXF & BUCKS from 6 Airlg Bde.
It had been almost continuously in action since its paratp drop at 0050 hrs on 6 Jun and its strength on relief was 11 Officers and 218 ORs.
Contents of Diary by No.7448426. Pte. Jepp. T. 9th Para Bn
Tuesday - 6th June 44
Dropped in wrong place in 4ft of water, 3.5 Km NE of DZ. Contacted Duce, Penstone and L/c Green. Under fire from LMG post, attacked - forced to withdraw. Made for high ground to WEST but turned back by swamps and MMGs. Getting light so made for shelter of trees to the NORTH. Found empty farm house - flooded - and lay low until dark. Passing patrol did not investigate house, did not stop. At dusk struck out for village 8-1200 yds to EAST, but turned back after progressing only 2-300 yds in ¾ hour.
Wednesday - 7th June 44
At 1500 hrs struck out again, decided to make for more isolated cover than village - and arrived 1800 hrs - 1830 hrs. Enemy patrol halted within 20 yds - moved off 1850 hrs.
Thursday - 8th June 44
Reconnaissance discovered 75 mm cannon about 3-400 yds away, all routes covered or patrolled by enemy.
Friday - 9th June 44
News of other isolated bands nearby.
Saturday - 10th June 44
Established contact with others, arranged consolidation.
Sunday - 11th June 44
All isolated groups consolidated.
Monday - 12th June 44
0515 - 0540 hrs intense naval bombardment of nearby battery, with counter fire. Results not yet determined. News divulged that bombardment was by "Warspite" and Yankee "Arizona". Target - D.M. Result excellent. SALLANELLES dive-bombed about 1030, followed by 30 minutes of battle in that area. 2330 - 2400 hrs heavy bombing of roads, guns in this area. Some guns were knocked out.
Tuesday - 13th June 44
Reveille at 0500 hrs - heavy bombardment of local positions. At 0600 - 0630 hrs Naval bombardment of VARAVILLE, using air burst shells. Fighting along road CAEN - DIVES, Bombing in immediate area about midnight.
Wednesday - 14th June 44
Quiet morning. In afternoon decided to make a break at earliest opportunity - in parties of 4. 2 parties left just after 1300 hrs, - returned about 0300 hrs on THURS.
Thursday - 15th June 44
Northern - North Western route impassable because of deep water - 12 feet. Received news that our presence was known to civilians in local town. D and C dive bombed. Another addition to our party. Now 17 in all. Much talk of departure.
Friday - 16th June 44
Decided to save food and depart on Monday night. Nothing of interest.
Saturday - 17th June 44
Sunday - 18th June 44
3 more comrades joined us. 1 Cdn infantry man, another Canadian and a Roland Cracknell of the 224, both medical orderlies. Now 20 in all. Two men were leaving decided not to from seeing parachutes descending over Oustreham.
Monday - 19th June 44
Awakened by news that Boche was retiring from VARAVILLE, FRANCEVILLE and CABOURG. Great excitement among civilians. Later found positions much as before. After a [?] Penstone and I decided - against opposition - to leave at dusk. Were eventually joined by 7 others making 9 in all. Set off 2330 hrs covered about 3.5 Kms by dawn.
Tuesday - 20th June 44
Lay up for the day in good cover. Moved off 2330 hrs - now right in amongst enemy artillery, covered about 3 Kms then lay up for night till dawn.
Wednesday - 21st June 44
Shelling from nearby positions during day. Now appear to be about 600 yds in front of the guns - possibly mobile 88s.
Statement by No.109081 Capt. T.E. Robinson. For Inclusion in War Diary
On crossing the French coast our aircraft was engaged by enemy AA defences and the pilot had to take evasive action. We were eventually dropped at 183776 Sheet No 40/16 NW. Two O.Rs were wounded by the enemy on landing and were conveyed to a small farm near this point, made comfortable, and left in the care of the farmer. I contacted four men of my stick and also Brigadier Hill with about 20 Brigade Staff.
This area had been flooded and we spent the night wading and swimming about 9 dykes, arriving at VARRAVILLE at dawn. Here "C" Coy of the 1st Canadian Bn were engaging an enemy post. We linked up with Lieuts. Peters and Catlin and a number of "A" Coy and Mortar Pl. The approximate strength of our party was 35.
A Frenchman volunteered to guide our party under the Command of the Brigadier to attack a field gun sited near GANNEVILLE-SUR-MERVILLE. At point 165762 we were bombed by what were alleged to be American aircraft and although I went the whole length of the column I found only 6 men and myself alive. The others were dead *, buried or too disfigured for recognition.
I guided the survivors back to the Canadian RAP at VARRAVILLE with a view to joining the Canadians fight or making my way back to the Battalion. I was dazed and sat down to enlighten myself on the photograph when I found the muzzle of an MG 34 about 6" from my nose. The Germans had infiltrated round the Canadians and the whole of the RAP were put in the bag.
The German force was a fighting patrol of about 40 men and they marched us to a point south of TROARN where they expected to meet transport to take them back to their unit. At about 1600 hrs they lay up in a field and sent out a small recce force. The remainder relaxed and became less vigilant. I took the opportunity of bursting through a hedge and making a dash. They fired after me but missed and I followed the bed of a stream for about 400 yds and lay doggo.
I had however seen an elderly French civilian who came over and talked to me. I was quite frank and told him my position and asked whether TROARN was occupied by the Germans and the best way of making a circuit of the town.
He advised me to hide in a dyke and went off to reconnoitre. Half an hour later he reappeared and signalled me to follow him at a distance which I did. He guided me to a farm on the SE edge of the town where I was given a breakfast of milk and some bread. A number of civilians gathered and escorted me into the town. I was apparently the first Englishman to arrive in the town and the reception they gave me was both overwhelming and embarrassing. All the girls persisted in kissing me on both cheeks and the male population wrung me by the hand. I kissed innumerable young children and babies. I was handed a bouquet of roses and bottles of wine and cognac appeared. They even gave me some half ripe strawberries and coarse granulated sugar. We were all having a grand celebration when a very agitated civilian rushed up with the news that the Germans had re entered the town.
The crowd simply dissolved and I was told to hide in the Church. I streaked over the church wall and made towards the porch. The latch clicked, the door opened and I was pulled inside and guided down into the crypt where I slept for about 3 hrs.
At dawn another Frenchman came to the church and guided me around the eastern edge of the town. I then did a compass march by night through the BOIS DE BAVAN and the BOIS DE BURIS arriving at the 8th Bn's position at 139706 at about 2359 hrs. The following morning I proceeded to LE MESNIL 1372 where I rejoined part of the Bn under the command of Major. Dyer.
* Their bodies were discovered in Sept and were buried by the Bn on the spot.
Statement by a Polish Deserter from 346 Arty Regt Att 858 Regt. 28/29 July 1944
1. 9 Coy 111/858 are along front of wood 144704, strength 30 approx. with 5 more at Coy HQ which is much further to the rear.
2. 11 Coy is S.E. from 9 Coy - from rd 145703 to bend in wood 144703. They are about 20 yds on the inside of the wood. Strength unknown but approx. the same.
3. The mortars are inside the wood about 400 yds NE of 144703. One French Stokes (1917) and the remainder 8-1's which sometimes fire British bombs.
4. Heavy MG positions at hedge and wood junction 144705 and at corner of wood 144703. LMGs SW of SW corner of wood. (South of 9 Coy).
5. Mortar Bomb dump along stone wall running west from above corner. Rd SE - NW is not known to be mined but is covered by 5 Tps of A/tk each armed with 1 OFENROHR and 2 FAUSTPATRONE.
6. Bty. positions of 4 guns at Copse 213731 - 75's with calibre of 76. One gun is 200 - 300 yds west of copse to divert the attention of a/c from the remainder of the guns which are well concealed and camouflaged.
7. H.Q. for 4 Btys in courtyard at 211724.
8. The fwd tps and were equipped with discharger cups.
9. Coys are very much under strength and can not expect reinforcements other than Russians.
10. All men are battle weary.
11. Food and certain supplies are brought up by one and a half Coy. between 0630 and 0830 DST from 163702. They march to and from this position in small groups. The food is not hot.
12. All Poles have been withdrawn from the front line in this Div. (The Deserter was an Arty FOO from 1/346 Arty Regt).
13. The front line is thinly held with slight reserves less than a 1000 yds back.
14. On the night 28/29 July 44 a patrol of Sappers were to clear a British Minefield West of Chateau 145703 and relay in field in front of 11 Coy and along hedge in front of 9 Coy. (Action was to be taken by 51 (H) Div.)
A standing joke amongst the Germans after the attempt on Hitler's life was:- "Our poor Feuhrer - What a pity he didn't die."
FROM: Lieutenant-Colonel C.N. Thomson D.S.O.,
5th Battalion The Black Watch. (R.H.R.)
5th Bn The Black Watch, (R.H.R.),
BRITISH LIBERATION ARMY.
24th July 1944.
Dear General Gale,
Since D Day this Battalion has come into contact with various Battalions of your Division, particularly the 9th Para Battalion, whose Medical Officer and Staff have been extremely helpful to us when we have had considerable numbers of wounded fighting alongside of them. Their Padre too, has buried a great number of dead. We have had more kindness and consideration from 52 Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry and also from the 12 Devons and 12 Para Battalions.
I should like on behalf of all ranks of this Battalion to thank all the above for helping us out at some difficult times, and for the great kindness received at their hands.
I hope you will not think it impertinent of me to say what a very high opinion we have formed of the 6 Airborne Division, and how proud we are to have served along side of them.
(Sgd). C.N. Thomson.
6th Airborne Division,
British Liberation Army.
Report on Wireless Set No 38 Mk II
1. No.38 sets have been netted by wavemeter prior to being dropped and yet when tested on the ground immediately after the drop they have been found to be off net. This has been a continual fault even though great care has been taken to ensure that the tuning dial has been tightly clamped. At the start of parachuting sets, this was thought to be caused by the shock of the container or kitbag hitting the ground, but trial by dropping the set on the man has proved that even the slightest shock sends the set off net. On most operations it will be necessary for a complete wireless silence from the time of the drop and it will be impossible for sets to be renetted until they are immediately required for use.
2. In general the complete set is bulky, awkward to carry and composed of too many parts. It appears to be built on a chassis which allows movement between the component parts of the set, this may account for the sets going off net after a jar. The aerials are issued as four separate rods, three of which are normally used, the set becomes top heavy and pulls away from the wearer causing discomfort. If the equipment is adjusted to counteract this the wearer is made doubly uncomfortable by the tightness of the equipment. A further point of discomfort is that the threat microphone after being worn for some time causes the wearer to perspire and this in turn causes discomfort through chafing. If the microphone is lessened for comfort, no signals are transmitted. If the set is carried as advised, it causes difficulty in breathing to the wearer. It also prevents him from getting on the ground from shell fire, unless he removes the aerial he cannot double or move along any covered approach (hedgerow). If he removes the aerial he cannot hold his [?]pon ready for use.
3. Even with the modification this lead often breaks internally when the set is operated on the move. A number of sets received during the campaign have not had the lead modification carried out. The four pin plug is of a very weak manufacture and invariably at the slightest provocation, breaks internally or becomes unserviceable.
4. The four screws holding the set in position are awkwardly placed and require a screw driver to remove them, therefore there is a delay in set repairs which are often necessary in the field.
5. The supply of 72 hours battery life is required on the ground during the initial stage of an operation. This means that approximately 9 batteries per set have to be dropped and carried by already heavily laden troops.
Lessons Learned from the Recent Campaign
I enumerate the following as being, in my opinion, the lessons learned in the recent Campaign in France:-
1. Weapons (General).
The many hours spent during the previous twelve months on the smaller points of weapon training were fully rewarded. All ranks took the very greatest care of their weapons & kept them always in a clean & serviceable condition under very difficult circumstances.
This much discussed operation of war taught everybody a great deal. Whilst we are by no means perfect much was learned by officers & NCOs who are thus in a position to pass on to others the knowledge they acquired as a result of their experiences. No one can fail to have appreciated the inestimable value of the compass when moving through thick woods etc. Some more attention should be paid in instructing all ranks in its uses. The essential characteristic of alertness was frequently brought out as was also the difficulty in maintaining control. Quite obviously, the smaller a patrol the better - particularly with inexperienced troops. There is no limit to the amount of training that should be carried out in teaching men direction finding.
Whilst there was little opportunity to make the fullest use of men's skill in fieldcraft, the value of having a 'look out' up trees was emphasised time and again. It was obvious that the Germans made much use of trees for observation for their mortars.
All numbers of a section must be capable of carrying out the duties of a sniper. With only a limited and small number the duties are likely to fall upon the few too frequently. It was emphasised that telescopic sights were not indispensable. [Much?] sniping was done with the No IV Rifle.
Far more practice should be carried out in the firing, by all ORs, of the 2" mortar. On a number of occasions good opportunities were lost in putting down smoke because of the inexperience of the firer. Experience has also taught us that the HE bomb has many uses.
Continual practice is required in throwing grenades from such places as the trunks of trees and also from ground level into the enemy's slit trenches. During previous training much was done in practicing men in throwing grenades through windows. I know of two cases in which the thrower has succeeded only in wounding himself because the grenade struck the far window frame and bounced back. Everybody has learned the great value of a 36 grenade. Little, if any, experience was had with any other type.
7. Defence of Isolated Buildings.
In the first two weeks of the campaign the Bn, or parts of it, was required to make use of farm buildings etc. During training in England we had always been warned against entering buildings, particularly isolated ones, and we were initially handicapped as a result of this misguided training. Buildings can be of great value to a determined defence and instruction is required in the best way of fighting from houses and putting them in a state of defence.
In spite of considerable efforts in the maintenance of discipline whilst the Bn was fighting a prolonged defensive battle, it was most noticeable that NCOs in a number of cases failed in their duty when the move forward began. There were many instances of such breaches as smoking on the march and falling out to drink by the wayside. Such conduct would never be tolerated in this country: i.e. is evident that NCOs need continual instruction in their responsibilities in the field.
27 Sept 44
A Coy, 9 Para Bn.