Page 1, Page 2

 

National Archives catalogue number WO 171/425.

 

Abbreviation

1072

2 i/c

52 Bn

A&SH

AA

AARR

A/B

a/c

Adm

ADMS

Adv

AFV

AGRA

Airfd

Airldg

Airtps

A/L

Amb

Amn

A/P

APIS

Armd

Arr

Arty

Aslt

Ass

A Tk

Attd

Bde

BC

BDS

Bdy

Belg

Bks

BM

Bn

Br

Brhead

Bty

BW

C

Cas

CB

CD

Cdn

Cdo

C-in-C

Civ

CO

Col

Comb

Comd

Comn

Conc

Coy

CRA

CW

Def

Dem

Dep

Det

Dev

DF

Diff

Disp

Div

DLI

DMA

D of W

DR

DZ

E/A or Eac

Ech

Engr

Eqpt

Est

Evac

E Yorks

Fd

FDL

Flt

Fm

Fmn

FOB

FOO

FSO

FSP

FUP

FW

Fwd

G1

Gen

GOC

Gp

GPO

Gren

Grn

GSO

H

HAA

HE

HF

HQRA

Hy

I

Immed

Incl

Indep

Inf

Infm

Instr

Int

IO

ISUM

Junc

K

KO

LAA

LCA

LCI

Ldg

Ldr

LMG

LO

LSI

LST

L of C

Lt

LZ

M

m/c

MDS

Med

MG

MMG

MO

Mor

MT

Mvg

NTR

OC

Offr

OO

Op

Opposn

OR

Pdr

Person

Pet

Pk

Pl

Posn

Pr

Pt

Pty

PW

Pz Gren

Qrs

RA

RALO

RAMC

RAP

RASC

Rd

RE

Rec

Ref

Regt

Rep

Res

Respons

Rly

RM

Rnds

Rt

R/T

RUR

RV

SA

SB

Sec

Sig
Sit

Sitrep

SL

SLO

SP

Sqn

SS

Sta

Str

Sum

Tac

Tk

Tp

Trg

u/c

Veh

W

WD

WEF

X rds

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

2nd Ox and Bucks (52nd Regiment of Foot)

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Anti-Aircraft

Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment

Airborne

Aircraft

Administration

Assistant Director Medical Services

Advance

Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Army Group Royal Artillery

Airfield

Airlanding

Airborne Troops

Airlanding

Ambulance

Ammunition

Anti-Personnel

Army Photographic Interpretation Section

Armoured

Arrived

Artillery

Assault

Assembly

Anti-Tank

Attached

Brigade

Battery Commander

Beach Dressing Station

Boundary / Body

Belgian

Barracks

Brigade Major

Battalion

Bridge / British

Bridgehead

Battery

Black Watch

Car

Casualty

Counter Battery

Coastal Defence

Canadian

Commando

Commander-in-Chief

Civilian

Commanding Officer

Column

Combination

Command

Communication

Concentrate

Company

Commander Royal Artillery

Chemical Weapons

Defence / Defensive

Demolition

Deputy
Detachment

12th Devons

Defensive Fire

Different

Dispersed / Disposition

Division / Divisional

Durham Light Infantry

Divisional Maintenance Area

Died of Wounds

Despatch Rider

Drop Zone

Enemy Aircraft

Echelon

Engineer

Equipment

Establish / Estimate

Evacuated

East Yorkshire

Field

Forward Defended Locality

Flight

Farm

Formation

Forward Observation Bombardment

Forward Observation Officer

Field Security Officer

Field Security Personnel

Forming Up Place

Focke-Wulf

Forward

General Staff Officer 1

General

General Officer Commanding

Group

Gun Position Officer

Grenadier / Grenade

Garrison

General Staff Officer

Hussars / Highland

Heavy Anti-Aircraft

High Explosive

Harassing Fire

Headquarters Royal Artillery

Heavy

Intelligence

Immediate

Including

Independent

Infantry

Information / Informed

Instruction

Intelligence

Intelligence Officer

Intelligence Summary

Junction
Killed

Knocked out

Light Anti-Aircraft

Landing Craft Assault

Landing Craft Infantry

Landing

Leader

Light Machine Gun

Liaison Officer

Landing Ship Infantry
Landing Ship Tank

Line of Communication

Light

Landing Zone

Missing

Motorcycle

Main Dressing Station

Medical / Medium

Machine Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Mortar

Motor Transport

Moving

Nothing to Report

Officer Commanding

Officer

Operation Order

Operation / Observation Post (upper case)

Opposition

Other Ranks

Pounder

Personnel

Petrol

Park

Platoon

Position

Pounder

Point

Party

Prisoner of War

Panzer Grenadier

Quarters

Royal Artillery

Royal Artillery Liaison Officer ?

Royal Army Medical Corps

Regimental Aid Post

Royal Army Service Corps

Road

Royal Engineers

Received

Reference

Regiment

Reported

Reserve

Responsibility

Railway
Royal Marines

Rounds

Right

Radio / Telephony

Royal Ulster Rifles

Rendezvous

Small Arms

Stretcher Bearer

Section

Signal

Situation
Situation Report

Start Line

Senior Liaison Officer

Self-Propelled / Support (lower case) / Special

Squadron

Special Service

Station

Strength

Summary

Tactical

Tank

Troop

Training

Under Command

Vehicle
Wounded

War Diary

With Effect

Crossroads

 

 

NOTES - D-Day

 

6th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

1300 - Strong enemy attempt at infiltration 500 yds South of PONT TOURNANT sp by SP guns caused a critical situation.  Brilliant action by Brig. Poett and most determined fighting by 7 and 12 Para Bns repulsed the attack.  1 Cdo temporarily diverted to assist clear up situation.  By 1400 hrs all ground lost in the br head area had been regained.  1353 - 1 SS Bde crossed the brs - unit of 8 Inf Bde now at brs - situation completely in hand.  1 SS Bde came under comd 6 Airborne Div on crossing.

 

I.Sum.1

GEN.  First opposition after the ldg came from a coy of Pz Grens of 21 Pz Div on anti-parachutist patrol in the RANVILLE area.  These retired SW leaving a number of PW in our hands.  The brs were held by 16 men from MERVILLE belonging to a coy of 716 Div.  During early morning 6 Jun a number of counter attacks were made against the airborne br head on the West bank of the canal; one tk was destroyed.  Other attacks were made in the area of the high ground South of RANVILLE at 1072.  A Coy of Pz Grens of 21 Pz Div sp by four SP guns attacked at approx 1040 hrs.  Two guns were destroyed and one KO.  One tk, reported as a Tiger, was KO in the same area at 1500 hrs.

 

ENEMY TACTICS

7 Coy 125 Pz Gren Regt had been camping in RANVILLE area in a role of anti paratps cdo.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

RANVILLE - Recce party landed 0055 hrs with 12 and 13 Para Bns.  0355 - Main glider party arrives.  11 guns and 2 i/c only.  Guns put into action.  1030 - 4 SP guns KO.  2 guns and 3 K - 2 W.

 

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

A Tp less 2 guns land near RANVILLE.  1300 - Bty commences disembark LION-SUR-MER.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

Only 211/53 Bty landed.  Bty at RANVILLE and placed under comd 6 Airldg Bde.

 

1 Glider Wing

From Op Order No.1 - 1 Coy 2 E Yorks plus 1 Sqn.  13/18 H to move to br area at H+4 hrs.  Landing strips of 6 Airldg Bde were respons of 263 Fd Coy RE (3 Br Div).  Force JOHN was composed of 78 men from A B C D Sqns carrying 6 Airborne Div HQ, 5 Para Bde, 4 Airldg A Tk Bty, and some FOOs.  D Sqn carrying 4 Airldg A Tk Bty fought as gun members but the remainder formed force JOHN in an inf role until released to beaches.  (Also role of helping RE).  Area JOHN was 113735.  Took up posn 113735 with 52 men.  Later increased with 20 men from 2 Wing.  Held posn until 0735 hrs D+1 when relieved by 6 Cdo.  Area IAN 098775 was similar.

Op "TONGA"

Task: To land a special force of 9 Para Bn RE inside the perimeter defs of 4 gun CD bty 155776.  The Bty having been previously bombed by Lancasters with 4000 lb bombs.  Gliders were to be released over the coast at 5000 ft and make crash landing in bty.  Fitted with Rebecca, and arrester parachutes.  Eureka to be set up 500x South of Bty and 3" mor flares fire to illuminate bty.

No.27

Very bad weather.  Difficult to locate target owing to darkness and damage done by bombing.  No Eureka sigs received and no flares seen.  Made six runs over target in spite of intense flak.  At last saw a triangle of lights and a flashing red A.  Pilot released and plane landed 50x to East of Bty.  Arrestor parachute caught and prevented plane actually landing in Bty.  Tps fought until Bty was taken.  Pilots went in with tps to AMFREVILLE, took PWs to Div HQ and moved to beaches at D+1.

No.28

Bad weather.  Cloud.  Circled Bty four times with lights on.  Released and landed 200x away.  Fought German patrol, linked up with 9 Para Bn and got back to beaches D+1.

No.28a

Landed England.  Tow rope broke through bad weather.

"COUP DE MAIN" Force

Task: To land 6 gliders in two fds adjacent to the brs over the R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN secretly to achieve surprise and capture brs intact.

Execution:

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA  Landed at apex of triangular fd (X) close to br.  Ran into mud and barbed wire.

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA  Landed behind No.4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA.  Hit wire and mud.  Pilots fought with party.  Saw Sgt Oxf Bucks KO tk with PIAT.

C in C West  Landed correctly in X but hit bank.  1 passenger killed, MO concussed, some injured.

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA  Tug mistook R DIVES for R ORNE and glider landed on br 218761 on R DIVES.  Got back to own lines via BASSENVILLES - BOIS DE BAVENT - RANVILLE.

2 Wing, Glider Pilot Regt  Landed 500x North of the Br in LZ "Y".  Found br taken when arrived.

CSDIC (UK)  Landed near br in correct LZ "Y" in fd full of cows.

Op "Mallard" was code word for fly in of Airldg Bde evening 6 Jun.

"D" Sqn

In this Sqn glider crews were trained as gun members and joined gun crews.  Nine reports by glider pilots included.  They accounted for 4 tks and one armd car.

 

2 Wing, Glider Pilot Regt

108 crews took part in Op MALLARD.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde

0100 - Bde HQ lands.  Major part dropped off and to the East of DZ 'N'.

0215 - 30% Bde HQ at RV 112745.  HQ opens here.  Clearing of obstructions on DZ 'N' begins.

0300 - 60% Bde HQ at RV.

0330 - 4 A/L A Tk Bty and Bde glider element lands on LZ 'N' A Tk guns move quickly into posn.  9 x 6 pdr and 2 x 17 pdr landed safely.

0230 - 7 Para Bn (approx one coy in strength) move from Bn RV, cross brs and est tight bridgehead on West of Canal.

0400 - LE BAS DE RANVILLE occupied by 12 Para Bn (Str approx about 2 coys) PWs from 736 Gren Regt taken.

0530 - Bde HQ moves to Fm 106741 and is later joined by Comd Post.

1100 - 7 Para Bn extend br head posns on arrival of further tps which had been dropped off DZ.  Series of counter attacks begin against 7 Para Bn from NW and South.  Elements of 736 Gren Regt and 192 Pz Gren Regt identified and supported by light tks and a few SP guns.  All attacks successfully beaten off.

1200 - Patrols and recce elements of 125 Pz Gren Regt attack 12 Para Bn from the south, attacks continuing during the afternoon with considerable losses to enemy.  Some PWs taken.  Tks and SP guns seen.  All attacks repulsed.

1300 - 4 SS Bde, seaborne tps, reach and cross brs BENOUVILLE and PONT TOURNANT.  3 Cdo remains area brs to reinforce 12 Para Bn if necessary.

1330 - Tks of 13/18 Hussars arrive at brs.

2100 - Gliderborne forces land.  RUR on LZ 'N' and move to LONGUEVAL, 2 Oxf Bucks on LZ 'W' and move to HEROUVILLETTE.  Two glider casualties.

2300 - Resupply by air.

 

7 Para Bn

(Action fought at RANVILLE and BENOUVILLE brs on night 5/6 Jun and 6 Jun 44).

Task: (i) Seize and hold brs over R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN

         (ii) Est br on West bank until relieved by seaborne tps.

         (iii) Neutralise and occupy bty posn at 105765 (thought to be abandoned).

Method: Drop 0050 hrs.  DZ "N" 118749 - 113737.  If coup de main force (see other notes) failed bn was to cross water in airborne dinghies and capture brs.  Drop was not accurate and assembly slow:-

Reasons: 1. Sticks scattered (kit bags caused delay at exits).

               2. Aircraft came in at different angles.

               3. MG fire on DZ.

               4. Kit bags containing boating material were hy and slowed men down.

0130 hrs: 50% men arrived at RV.  No wireless sets, mortars or mmgs.  Successful signal of coup de main force heard, bn moved across brs into pre-arranged posns.  Crossed brs at 0140 hrs (of other reports 0300 hrs).

0210 hrs: Ordered coup de main force to withdraw and be responsible for canal br.  From then onwards fighting was confused and continuous.  Conditions were made worse by lack of mortars, mmgs and wireless.  B Coy in LE PORT were troubled with snipers, and were hy attacked in their posn on wooded escarpment at 096750.  A Coy were apparently surrounded.  No news came from them.  B Coy was attacked from the South.  RAP in A Coy area was overrun.  B Coy only held Southern half of LE PORT.  C Coy was split into battle outposts with orders to withdraw only if hy attacked; none did.  Rifle Coys were at 50% strength.  A few mortar and mmg personnel were attached to the counter attack force at BN HQ (C Coy less 2 pls).

Plan: Hold enemy on line running North-South from LE PORT to BENOUVILLE.  B Coy to hold Southern half of LE PORT and small wood on North side of rd junc at 097748.  Bn HQ and counter attack force in centre.  A Coy to South.  Ground between A Coy and br was open and gave good field of fire.  Weak spots were approaches down bank of canals and round SW of LE PORT.  Enemy attack eight times, as well as using small forces and armd cars and snipers.  Enemy organised attacks were about a coy strong, and usually from N and NW.

1200 hrs: Piper of 1 SS Bde heard at ST AUBIN.  6 Cdo found weak spot of posn (which enemy had failed to do) and at 1330 hrs reached Bn HQ.  1 SS Bde cleared LE PORT and passed over the brs at 1400 hrs.  Snipers then returned to LE PORT.  Relief by 8 Inf Bde was not expected until 1215 hrs (H+5) (signal "Defaulters").  Relieving unit was to be 2 E Yorks.  Bn was attacked during afternoon, at one time by two gunboats, one of which was captured.  Bty posn 105765 was found abandoned and occupied by a battle outpost without incident except one X and one W by gunboats.

1900: 2 i/c (Webber) from A Coy reached Bn HQ.  Coy was surrounded.  Coy Comdr wounded.  Counter attack force (17 strong) was sent there, and broke through attackers and reinforced coy.  It was replaced by a pl of coup de main force.  A Coy had been fighting for 17 hrs against inf, tks and sp guns.  GOC 6 Airborne Div contacted GOC 3 Div by LO and asked for relief of Bn.  GOC 3 Div visited area and ordered 2 Warwicks to take over which they did at 2115 hrs after an attack to relieve A Coy.  3 Div had heard enemy had recaptured brs and that a deliberate attack would be required next morning.  7 Para Bn handed over and passed to West of brs at 0100 hrs.  Cas est as: 18 K (incl 3 Officers) 36 W (Seems very low: J.T.B.)

RANVILLE

0100 - Bn completed drop but went into action with Coys at half normal strength due to some plane loads being dropped in wrong places and one load not dropping at all.

LE PORT AND BENOUVILLE

0325 - Bn occupied objective and held it against various counter attacks A and B Coys being heavily engaged.  Cas - killed 3, officers, and 16 ORs.  Wounded 4 officers and 38 ORs.  Missing 170 ORs did not RV after drop.  1325 - Bn of Commandos passed through Bn posns.  2230 - Bn of Royal Warwick arrived and put in an attack on BENOUVILLE.

Appx I ACTION FOUGHT AT RANVILLE AND BENOUVILLE BRS ON NIGHT 5/6 JUNE AND DAY 6 JUNE 1944

The role of the bn was to seize and hold the bridges over the R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN at 103745 and 098748 and to established a bridgehead on the West bank of the CANAL until relieved by sea-borne tps.  The bridges were to be captured intact if possible.  In addition a bty posn at 105765 (thought to be abandoned) was to be neutralised and occupied.  The bn was to drop at 0050 hrs (D Day) on DZ "N" (118749 - 113737) and RV on the North end of WOOD 112745.  A pathfinder force, which included a small detachment from the bn (Lt. Rogers and 4 ORs) dropped 30 mins before the bn.  The dropping was not too accurate and, although the bulk of the battalion were dropped on the DZ, there were many who were put down several miles wide.  Speed in forming up was an essential part of the bn plan; this was difficult for the following reasons:-

(1) The sticks were very scattered (the large number of kit bags undoubtedly slowed up the exits and resulted in some sticks being unduly long) and the aircraft seemed to come in from all angles, which confused those who were using the line of flight to get their bearings.

(2) The enemy had manned positions on the DZ itself and there was a good bit of MG fire across the DZ which resulted in some casualties.

(3) The heavy kit bags containing the boating material slowed the men up a lot.  The normal drill of coming in to the RV at the double was quite impossible.

Despite these difficulties however the men came in pretty well and by 0130 hrs I had about 50% of the riflemen and bren gunners in.  There were no mortars, MMGs or wireless sets in though.  I could hear Howard's success signal and knew that he had captured the bridges and that they were crossable so at 0130 hrs I set off with my initial attack force (A B C Coys and Adv Bn HQ).  The plan was for Rear Bn HQ to follow in its own best time so I left the 2 i/c (Steele-Baume) to collect in all he could and follow us up, choosing his own time for starting.  As the bridges were intact I took my force over them with all speed and ordered them into their pre-arranged bridgehead positions in BENOUVILLE (see OO for details).  I had arranged in ENGLAND with Howard to do this if he should be fighting on the West of the CANAL when I arrived; my positions were outside the area he was likely to be in with his small force, and by working round into them I would not only assist him but would also save time.  It was 0140 hrs when I crossed the CANAL bridge with this force.  When I judged that the positions had been occupied at about 0210 hrs I ordered Howard (who came under my command at this stage) to withdraw his men over the CANAL bridge and made him responsible for the River bridge and the area between the two bridges.  From then on it is not really possible to give a clear story of the fighting which was very confused and fierce and was almost continuous.  The loss of the wireless was particularly handicapping.

 

12 Para Bn.

RANVILLE - 0100 - Bn took up posn in LE BAS DE RANVILLE and high ground SOUTH.  B and C Coys fwd A Coy North carrying rear and watching Bridges.  LE BAS DE RANVILLE - 1200 - Capt. Sim and 7 ORs fought very gallant action area HEDGEROW SW of Bn posn.  Held off attack by enemy Coy supported by 3 SP guns.  4 ORs killed.  Tiger Tank destroyed B Coy area.  2100 - Bn came into reserve under comd 6 Airldg Bde.  A Coy moved fwd area x rds 105727.

 

13 Para Bn.

RANVILLE - 0050 - 13 Bn (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, forming part of 5 Para Bde dropped from DAKOTA and ALBEMARLE a/c on DZ 'N' - North of RANVILLE, near CAEN, Dept of CALVADOS.

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

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

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

1005 - Enemy SP guns reported on 'A' Coy front.

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

1032 - 'A' Coy last LMG wiped out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2330 - Dakota a/c dropped supplies by parachute.

13 Para Bn casualties for 6 Jun 44: Killed - 1 OR, Wounded 25 ORs, Missing 2 Offrs and 56 ORs.

 

Notes on Capture of BENOUVILLE brs D day from Jul 1945 edition of "COVENTANTER" (Cameronians) by 2 i.c. 7 Para Bn.

Plan of Def of brs.

A Coy cover BENOUVILLE.

B Coy    "      LE PORT.

C Coy    "      NE corner of LE PORT.

1 Pl C Coy to disused gun posn.

1 Pl C Coy to send section to main NORTH, WEST and SOUTH approaches of BENOUVILLE to give early warning of counter-attacks.

1 Pl to form close brhead round brs and then go into reserve.

(C Coy was to be lightly equipped Coy)

Glider force to go into res between brs.

 

Rommel's asparagus was not deeply embedded.  Sign that br was taken Victory V's on Bren.  1 Pl of C Coy had reported by 1800 hrs.  Coy Comdrs glider had its nose resting against the br.  A fair number of tps were forming up to attack at 0655 hrs when the bombardment of the sea landing began and they steered off.  There were three counter attacks from the West in the morning.  Cdo's signal of bagpipes were heard accurately at 1215 hrs.  Two more counter-attacks in afternoon.  6 Airldg Bde's arrival dispersed one counter-attack.  All officers in A Coy were wounded.  Relief party could not get back.  They were surrounded in the South of BENOUVILLE.  A bridging train and 300 RE drove through LE PORT.  A fresh bn cleared BENOUVILLE and extricated A Coy by 0130 hrs.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.44

Capture of the br head over the CANAL DE CAEN and the R ORNE.

Task: 5 Para Bde Gp amongst other tasks was given the job of seizing the brs over the CANAL DE CAEN and R ORNE.

Problems:

1.  Brs were guarded.  To prevent blowing speed and surprise were vital.  Speed was best secured by landing a glider force close to brs.

2.  Defs were only strong to West of Canal (trenches, wire, pill boxes, minefd).  For surprise gliders must land between river and canal.  Only room for 6 gliders.  Other tps must be dropped by parachute.

3.  Enemy would counter attack in approx 1 hr from BENOUVILLE area.  Therefore paratps must join up in under 1 hour.

4.  Moonlight essential for gliders.

Plan.

(a) "A" force of six pls + RE to land in six gliders at 0020 hrs.  3 gliders within 50x of East br and 3 of West br - 0020 hrs.

(b) Para bn to land within 1000x of br - 0050 hrs.  (7 Para Bn)

(c) After dropping, Para Bn to consolidate br head area.  One coy lightly equipped to double to br head.

(d) If "A" force failed, Para bn to carry out whole op.

Action of glider force

1.  3 Canal br gliders landed in exact place.  Br was taken with a little opposition and cas from West bank posns.

2.  River br gliders landed further away but br was captured without much opposition.  1 glider landed near mouth of R ORNE (see 6 A Div Diary)

Action of parachute force

1.  Bn dropped away from DZ.

2.  Did not reach br until 0300 hrs.  Coy detailed to double arrived last.  60% arrived.

3.  Para bn took over responsibility for be head and enlarged it to 800x on West bank.

Enemy reaction

1.  During force A was there 3 old French tks appeared.  1 knocked out and two withdrew.  No DF or mortar fire.

2.  Force A.  Enemy attacks sp by tks began at 0500 hrs and continued throughout the day.  Retired 2300 hrs D Day.  No arty sp all day.

5 Para Bde

Coup de Main force and 7 Para Bn: -  5 Para Bde

The weather was bad, the moon being completely overcast and this affected all para landings.

 

Cas of Coup de Main force

 

       of 7 Para Bn

 

Offrs

ORs

Offrs

ORs

K

1

1

3

16

W

2

15

3

38

M

?

?

-

-

Bridges were prepared for demolition but the charges were not in place but stored in a neighbouring hut.

Action of 12 and 13 Para Bns - 5 Para Bde

These two bns were dropped over widely scattered areas and both bns were not more than 60% strong when they moved to their allotted areas.  The 12 Bn seized the BAS de RANVILLE area and the 13 Bn the RANVILLE - LE MARIQUET area.  The German re-action to the division was quick and sure.  125 Pz Gren Regt attacked RANVILLE and were repulsed leaving a number of PW behind, one tk was destroyed.  A further attack at 1045 hrs sp by SP guns penetrated into the village but was beaten off.  In this fighting 12 Para Bn took the brunt of the attack.  The Airldg A Tk Bty accounted for 3 SP guns and 1 tk.  The cas in this area during the day's fighting were 50 killed and 420 wounded, whilst the missing due to scattered dropping were over 600.  At 1300 hrs the position was critical; the first Cdo of 1 SS Bde to cross the brs was diverted to the BAS de RANVILLE.  This Cdo was released in the evening.  This diversion, necessary though it was, curtailed the offensive action of 1 SS Bde and prevented their penetration into FRANCEVILLE PLAGE as had originally been planned.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde

0056 - Bde HQ dropped, sticks scattered widely.  Bde Comd wounded.  0900 - LE MESNIL.  Bde HQ opened area LE MESNIL X rds area 141728 (Sheet 75/2 1/50,000).  1 Cdn Para Bn in same area protecting HQ.  Bde Comd wounded in early morning by bomb fragment.  Capt J.A. Wilks, Sigs Offr 1, and Lt S. Gyton, Provost, missing.  Strength (Bde HQ) 9 Offrs 12 ORs; (Def Pl) 1 Offr 26 ORs.  9 Para Bn under comd 1 SS Bde.  2300 - BM and SLO rejoin having come in with glider force.  0400 - Considerable number of PW taken from BREVILLE area, together with approx 40 rifles of varying types, 1 MG 34 and amn.

 

8 Para Bn

NORMANDY TOUFFREVILLE - 0020 - Pathfinder sticks arrive on DZ.  0045 - Gliders arrive on LZ, but are widely dispersed.  0050 - Bn Main Body - Time of 1st Drop on DZ.  DZ - 0020 - Two Recce parties of 8 Para Bn were dropped on DZ.  Slight opposition was met at RV which was quickly overcome and one German killed.  One German on a bicycle was taken prisoner.  0045 - OC Recce party saw gliders come over very widely dispersed.  He was only able to locate two of them.  0050 - Saw Main Body arrive at different altitudes and all flying well above dropping speed.  0120 - CO arrived at RV and situation was as follows: There were about 30 men present and one RE jeep and trailer.  It was reported by Recce party that Bn appeared to be very widely dispersed and that no container a/c had dropped on DZ.  NOTE: The RV signal was a red and green Verey light put up at frequent intervals which could be seen a considerable distance away.  Actually it was seen on RANVILLE DZ.  0145 - Sgt. Fesq of FSP was sent into TOUFFREVILLE to get information from the local inhabitants.  He reported that TROARN was held and also ESCOVILLE and SANNERVILLE.  The prisoner was also interrogated and he confirmed that statements of the local inhabitants.  He reported that the fmn in TROARN was a mobile coy with half-tracks - strength of about 200 and that all main rds were covered by MG fire.  During this period elements of the Bn were arriving slowly at the RV and there was considerable MG fire on the DZ.  Everybody reported that they had been fired on on the way to the RV.  0330 - Situation was as follows:-

Bn Strength. 11 officers and about 130 ORs.  1 Officer and 2 ORs were wounded and 6 ORs had DZ injuries and were not in a condition to fight.  The CO was wounded in the hand.

0300 - CO appreciated situation as follows:-

1.  From reports from Recce party it appeared that remainder of Bn had dropped to the North of the DZ in area RANVILLE and LE MESNIL.

2.  That Bn was not strong enough to capture TROARN and that we had no RE assistance to destroy the bridge.

3.  That we had sufficient strength and explosives to destroy the bridge at BURES which was of single span type and could be destroyed without much technical assistance.

4.  That if position was taken up in area X rds 146695 and track running East to BURES sufficient force could be collected to attack TROARN later in the day from the North.

Therefore the plan was as follows:-

1.  Strong fighting patrol of 1 pl from 'C' Coy would move to TROARN to make a Recce and report on defences at West end of town.

2.  Remainder of Bn would move to area X rds 153700 leaving two dets PIATs and covering force in area X rds 146695 to cover any movement of enemy north and to guide any stragglers to Bn posn.

3.  1 offr and 2 ORs to remain at RV till first light to guide any stragglers who may have arrived at RV after Bn had left.

0400 - Bn moved off.  0430 - Bn arrived at posn x tracks 153700.  Recce patrol sent off at once to recce BURES and another with IO and Major Wilson to recce Northern approaches to TROARN for the purpose of attacking it.  0500 - Capt Shoppee who had been detailed as TROWBRIDGE party arrived at BURES.  He had landed at BRIQUEVILLE 173722 and moved straight to BURES which he found unoccupied and recce'ed bridges.  At 0545 hrs he met RE party and reported.  He also met recce patrol from Bn and a runner was dispatched to bring up pl for protection of RE party and jeeps landed with RE stores.  0530 - Lt. Thompson reported to Bn HQ.  He stated that he had landed on the RANVILLE DZ with the mortars and mmgs.  He landed at 0100 hrs and collected 3 mmg dets and 3 with 2 mortars and 3 mmgs and some 50 ORs mainly from 'A' Coy.  At 0200 hrs he left DZ with the object of making for TROARN.  In RANVILLE he met a Frenchman who said he would act as a guide as he moved via RANVILLE - LE MESNIL X rds to rd junc 140704 where he met at 0450 Major Roseveare RE and 1 offr and 20 ORs of the Bn and a party of REs.  Lt. Thompson had 1 offr casualty with him.  Major Roseveare took command of the party and ordered them to hold a firm base on the rd junc as he had no idea where the Bn was.  He with a party of REs was going to try to blow the bridge at TROARN.  Lt. Thompson organised the defence of the rd junc.  Then moved down the rd to make a recce, when he met the force at X rds 147695 who directed him to Bn HQ.  The CO directed him to bring his force to the Bn area and it arrived at 0615 hrs.  0630 - PIAT det at X rds 147695 reported six half-track vehs moving on Rd TROARN - LE MESNIL and approaching their posn.  They opened fire and scored hits on all six vehs causing their crews to dismount and take up posn on the far side of the rd.  A fire fight then ensued and after a spirited action the enemy withdrew with their casualties leaving 3 dead who were identified as 21 Pz Div and six half-tracks, four of which were inadequately destroyed as they were recovered by the enemy that night.  0900 - Patrol arrived back from TROARN.  Patrol comd stated that he had moved to TROARN Sta and was fired on from the high ground to the South of the Sta.  Patrol could not get on and lay up and observed half-track vehs moving North on TROARN - LE MESNIL Rd and TROARN - BANNEVILLE Rd.  CO then appreciated that most of mobile coy had presumably left TROARN and that as soon as RE party were finished with BURES bridges TROARN bridge could be dealt with.  1000 - Capt. Jukes RE reported to Bn HQ that bridges had been blown at 0915 and that he thought that TROARN br had also been blown.  He also stated that there was an A Tk gun and jeep and a glider and 3 casualties in the River.  CO went to BURES.  An attempt was made to extract the A Tk gun but this was found to be impossible.  1200 - REs returned from BURES and it was decided to send RE party with jeep and explosives and one strong pl into TROARN to blow bridge or, if already blown, to widen gap.  Remainder of Bn would move to Rd junc. 140704.  No word had been received of patrol that had gone to recce Northern approaches to TROARN.  Force to blow bridge at TROARN was to move via BURES and then down axis of road south to TROARN.  1230 - OC 'A' Coy and sigs offr reported to Bn HQ.  They had been dropped some 5 miles South of the DZ.  They brought one man with them.  Major Wilson's patrol arrived back at the same time.  Major Wilson stated that he had met no opposition to the North of TROARN, but on moving further west down Rly line they ran into a strong German posn at 159678 which pinned them down by fire.  When they started to withdraw the IO moved by a different route from the remainder of the party and has not been seen since.  1300 - Bn moved to new posn and force moved to TROARN.  1330 - OC 'C' Coy arrived with 4 offrs and 51 ORs.  He met Bn at 143702.  He stated that he had been landed on RANVILLE DZ and gathered together 51 members of the Bn.  He saw in the distance the green and white Verey lights being fired at the Bn RV and decided to make straight for them.  His route took him through HEROUVILLETTE where they ran into the enemy and had to fight their way through the village.  Force suffered 6 casualties.  140704 - 1400 - Bn in area Rd junc 140704 and Bn disposed in following areas:-

'A' Coy    - Area 140707 (Reserve Coy)

'B' Coy    - Area 139703

'C' Coy    - Area 142705

Bn HQ     - Area 140706

Mortar Pl - 'C' Coy Area

MMG Pl  - In posns by day in 'B' Coy area firing to west over DZ.  By night pl withdrawn to Bn HQ Area.

A Tk Pl    - Secs under command of coys.

1700 - Lt. Brown returned from TROARN.  He stated that they had met a little opposition in TROARN which had been dealt with and the REs had increased the gap in the bridge to 40 feet.  7 prisoners were brought back from an mg post which was attacked.  They were identified as 21 Pz Div.  1740 - Attack made on 'B' Coy posn by 5 AFVs.  Attack beaten off and one enemy 6 ton truck full of stores captured.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.51

Operations of 9 Para Bn 6 - 12 Jun.

Tasks:

1.  Primary task; destruction of a coastal bty (v notes).

2.  Next task; Hold LE PLEIN feature until relieved by a SS Bde.

Strength for task 2.  80 all ranks.  1 MG.  Increased to 100 by arrival of a glider party.  22 PW were left in a chateau.  Move to LE PLEIN feature.  0900 - The eastern outskirts of HAUGER captured by frontal attack: some opposition.  Enemy counter attacked but bn held some houses and the Vickers broke up attack at 20x range.  Enemy main posn was in a fortified house.  A party of 30 failed to take this posn because it had been properly prepared for def.  X para bn consolidated in chateau to East of HAUGER; enemy did not counter attack again but sent snipers fwd.  These were countered by large scale use of our own snipers.  SS Bde relieved Para Bn of HAUGER and LE PLEIN feature afternoon 7 Jun.  Bn moved to ST COME.  1800 - Strength of Bn approx 17 offrs 300 ORs.  Weapons: Bn very short of LMGs, 2 x 3" mortars and one captured German, 3 MMGs, 6 PIATs.  Sigs: 2 x 68 sets, 4 x 18 sets which allowed comn with coys.  By 2000 hrs line was laid to all Coys.  During the night D/D+1 local patrols were sent out.  No contact made with enemy except for snipers and small patrols.  Night 6/7 extensive patrolling.

 

9 Para Bn.

HARWELL - 2310 - Pathfinder a/c took off.  2310 - Adm and A/Tk gun gliders took off.  2312 - Main body took off.  (BROADWELL).  NORMANDY - 0020 - TROWBRIDGE (Recce) party dropped on DZ accurately and proceeded to carry out appointed tasks.  There were no losses from this a/c.  0050 - Main body of the Bn dropped over a wide area.  0235 - 110 All ranks had reported at the RV by this time.  0930 - Bn arrived at LE PLEIN, took up positions in the area CHATEAU D'AMFREVILLE and engaged the enemy.  Heavy mortaring throughout the day.  At 0900 hrs the column was fired on from the front and left flank as it approached 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 yards range, the attack immediately dissolved, leaving a further dozen dead behind.  It became apparent that the strength of the enemy's position 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 loopholes all round.  Furthermore it was surrounded by a 6 ft wall with MGs firing on fixed lines along the edge of the force, leaving one section at the rd junc.

 

1 Cdn Para Bn.

Remainder of the Bn proceed to Down Ampney Airport where each stick reported to its respective Aircraft.  Parachutes were put on and a short prayer was offered for the success of the mission.  Bn emplaned at 2245 hours and were airborne at 2300 hrs in C-47 aircraft.  C Coy had emplaned at 2230 hrs in Albemarles.  CARTER BKS BULFORD - The initial stages of operation OVERLORD in so far as the 1st Cdn Para Bn was concerned, were divided into three tasks.  The blowing of two bridges over the RIVER DIVES at 1872 and 1972 and the holding of feature ROBEHOMME 1873 was assigned to B Coy with under command one section of 3 Para Sqn Engineers.  The destruction of a German Signal Exchange 1675 and the destruction of bridge 186759 plus neutralisation of enemy positions at VARRAVILLE 1875 was assigned to C Coy.  The Bn was to drop on a DZ 1775 in the early hours of D Day, C Coy dropping thirty minutes before the remainder of the Bn to neutralise any opposition on the DZ.  The Bn emplaned at Down Ampney Airfield at 2250 hrs on 5th June, 1944.  C Coy travelled in Albemarles and the remainder of the Bn in Dakotas (C-47).  The flight was uneventful until reaching the French coast when a certain amount of AA fire was encountered.  Upon crossing the coast-line numerous fires could be seen which had been started by the RAF bombers.  Unfortunately the Bn was dropped over a wide area, some sticks landing several miles from their appointed RV.  This factor complicated matters but did not deter the Bn from securing its first objectives.

Protection of Left Flank of 9 Para Bn - A Coy

A Coy was dropped at approximately 0100 hrs on the morning of 6 Jun 1944.  Lt. Clancy, upon reaching the Coy HQ found only two or three men of the Coy present.  After waiting for further members, unsuccessfully, of the Coy to appear, he decided to recce the village of GONNEVILLE-SUR-MERVILLE 1676.  Taking two men he proceeded and penetrated the village but could find no sign of the enemy.  He then returned to the Coy RV which he reached at approximately 0660 hrs and found one other officer and twenty ORs of the Bn and several men from other Bde Units waiting.  The entire body then moved off along the pre-arranged route to the MERVILLE bty.  Encountering no other opposition en route other than heavy RAF bombardment at GONNEVILLE-SUR-MERVILLE.  Upon completion of the 9th Bn task the Cdn party acted first as a recce patrol to clear a chateau 1576 from which a German MG had been firing and then a rear guard for the 9th Bn withdrawal toward LE PLEIN 1375.  The party left the bn area (9th bn) at LE PLEIN at 0900 hrs and reached the 1st Cdn Para Bn position at LE MESNIL BAVENT cross roads 139829 at 1530 hrs on 6 Jun 1944.

ROBEHOMME - B Coy

Two platoons of B Coy were dropped in the marshy ground south and west of ROBEHOMME.  Elements of these platoons under Sgt OUTHWAITE then proceeded toward the Coy objective.  En route they encountered Lt. TOSELAND with other members of B Coy making a total of thirty All Ranks.  They were guided through the marshes and enemy minefields to the ROBEHOMME bridge by a Frenchwoman.  On arriving at the bridge they met Capt D. Griffin and a further thirty men from various sub-units of the Bn, including mortars and vickers platoons.  Major Fuller who had been there for some time had left in an attempt to locate Bn HQ.  Capt. Griffin waited until 0630 hrs for the REs who were to blow the bridge.  As they failed to arrive explosives were collected from the men and the bridge successfully demolished.  A guard was left on the bridge and the main body withdrawn to the ROBEHOMME hill.  Although there were no enemy in the village there were several skirmishes with enemy patrols who were attempting to infiltrate through the village and some casualties were suffered by the Coy.  An OP was set up in the church spire.  An excellent view was obtained of the road from PONT DE VACAVILLE 2176 to VARRAVILLE.  Artillery and infantry could be seen moving for many hours along this road to the East.  It was particularly unfortunate that wireless communications could not be made with Bn HQ as the subsequent fighting of the Bn was carried out in such close country that observation of enemy movements was almost impossible.  At 1200 hours on the 7th June, 1944, it was decided to recce the route to Bn HQ.  Upon the route being reported clear orders were issued for the party to prepare to join Bn HQ.  Lt. I. Wilson, Bn IO came from LE MESNIL to guide the party back.  The move was made at 2330 hrs, the strength of the party by this time being 150 All Ranks, the addition having been made by stragglers of various units who had reported in.  The wounded were carried in a civilian car given by the cure, and a horse and cart given by a farmer.  The route was BRIQUEVILLE 1872 to BAVENT road 169729, through the BOIS DE BAVENT and on to LE MESNIL cross roads.  Near BRIQUEVILLE the lead platoon was challenged by enemy sentries.  The Platoon opened fire killing seven and taking one prisoner.  Shortly afterwards this same platoon was fortunate enough to ambush a German car which was proceeding along the road from BAVENT.  Four German officers were killed.  Bn HQ was reached at 0330 hrs on the 8th Jun, 1944.

VARRAVILLE - C Coy

The majority of C Coy was dropped west of the RIVER DIVES, although some sticks were dropped a considerable distance away including one which landed west of the RIVER ORNE.  Due to this confusion the Coy did not meet at the RV as pre-arranged but went into the assault on the Chateau and VARRAVILLE in separate parties.  Major McLeod collected a sgt and seven ORs and proceeded towards VARRAVILLE.  En route they were joined by a party under Lt. Walker.  One of the Sgts was ordered to take his platoon to take up defensive positions around the bridge that the RE sections were preparing to blow.  This was done and the bridge was successfully demolished.  Major McLeod and Lt. Walker with the balance of the party then cleared the chateau and at this time other personnel of C Coy arrived from the DZ and cleared the gatehouse of the chateau.  The gatehouse then came under enemy MG and mortar fire from the pill-box situated in the grounds of the chateau.  The pill-box also had a 75mm A/Tk gun.  The whole position was surrounded by wire, mines and weapon pits.  Major McLeod, Lt. Walker and five ORs went to the top floor of the gatehouse to fire on the pill-box with a PIAT; the enemy 75mm A/Tk gun returned the fire and the shot detonated the PIAT ammunition.  Lt. Walker, Cpl. Oikle, Ptes. Jewitt and Nufield were killed and Major McLeod and Pte Bismuk fatally wounded.  Ptes. Docker and Sylvester evacuated these casualties under heavy fire.  Capt. Hanson, 2 i/c of C Coy was slightly wounded and his batman killed while proceeding to report to the Bde Commander who had arrived in the village from the area in which he dropped.  C Coy, together with elements of Bde HQ and the REs took up defensive positions around the village and a further party encircled the pill-box in order to contain the enemy.  A further party of C Coy under Lt. McGowan who had been dropped some distance from the DZ arrived in VARAVILLE in time to catch two German infantry sections who were attempting to enter the town.  Lt. McGowan's platoon opened fire causing casualties and the remainder of the enemy surrendered.  This platoon took up firing positions firing on the enemy pill-box.  C Coy HQ which was located in the church yard pinned an enemy section attempting to advance in a bomb crater killing at least three.  The chateau was evacuated by our troops and left as a dressing station.  An enemy patrol re-entered the chateau and captured the wounded including Capt. Brebner, the Unit MO, and CSM Blair of B Coy.  This patrol although attacked by our own troops managed to escape with their prisoners.  Heavy enemy mortar fire and sniping was brought to bear on our positions from the woods surrounding VARRAVILLE.  During this time the local inhabitants were of great assistance, the women dressing wounds and the men offering assistance in any way.  One Frenchman in particular distinguished himself.  Upon being given a rifle and a red beret he killed three German snipers.  This man subsequently guided the Bde Commander and his party towards LE MESNIL.  Although it is believed that he was a casualty of the bombing attack that caught this party en route to LE MESNIL.  At approximately 1030 hrs the enemy pill-box surrendered.  Forty-two (42) prisoners were taken and four of our own men who had been captured were released.  From 1230 hrs on artillery fire was brought to bear on VARRAVILLE from the high ground east of the R DIVES.  At 1500 hrs cycle troops of the 6th Commando arrived and at 1730 hrs on 6 Jun 1944 C Coy proceeded to the Bn area at LE MESNIL.  The German prisoners giving evident satisfaction to the French population en route.

Bn HQ - Initial Stages

The CO, 2 i/c, Signals Officer and the Intelligence Officer and a small portion of Bn HQ together with elements of 224 Para Fd Ambulance and other Bde Units met at the Bn RV in the early hours of the morning of 6 Jun 1944.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.49

Capture of a coastal bty - (MERVILLE).

X Para Bn. - 9 Para Bn

Task:  Capture 4 x 150 mm guns (Near MERVILLE) in concrete emplacements.  Prevent their interference with seaborne landing.

Details of Bty:  180-200 all ranks.  Guns in concrete emplacements 12 ft high and 5 ft deep.  Concrete 2 metres thick.  Steel doors.  Covered by 4 metres earth.

Ground defs:  2 x 20 mm dual purpose MGs.  (WD Jun 44 HQ 6 Airborne Div 1 x 20).  Surrounded by cattle fence enclosing a minefd 100x wide.  On inner side of minefd a wire fence 15 ft thick and 5 ft high, doubled in places.  One side an A Tk ditch 15 ft wide x 10 deep was sited.  Bty site was intercepted by wire.

Outside the posn:  Minefds were laid across open posns.

Organisation for Aslt

Bn was organised into ten parties, each detailed to carry out diff tasks.  Also five gliders were attd carrying special equipment such as 6 pdrs, jeeps, duraluminium foot brs and so on.

Plan

Hy bombardment by Lancasters with 4000 bombs from 0030-0040.  An extremely complicated plan was laid on and rehearsed.  Details are not given because in fact very little of it was carried out.  (There is a strong contrast between the simple plan carried out with gallantry and determination which actually captured the bty and the involved and unworkable method which was rehearsed.  JTB)

Events

Landing and Reorganisation

Moderate flak encountered.  RV organisation party and recce party were correctly dropped.  Bombing missed the target and nearly hit the recce party.  Bn was dropped over a very wide area.  1 stick 30 miles from Bty.  CO was dropped on a German HQ and escaped.  By 0235 110 all ranks had collected, with 10 lengths of Bangalore torpedo and no scaling ladders.  There was no sign of the glider element.  0250 - Strength 150 + more 10 lengths of Bangalore.  Coys were strength 30.  One coy comdr was missing.  One MG - some sigs stores.  No 3" mortars, a tk guns, jeeps, trailers, mine detectors, sappers or det of fd amb.  (There were 6 Med Orderlies).  CO decided to carry on with this force.  Cmdr of recce party (later joined by taping party) met CO: with his party he had cut cattle fences, penetrated minefd to inner fence, pin-pointed enemy posts by their conversation.  The minefds had been breached without mine detectors and without a cas.  CO decided to blow two gaps (by two parties of 15 from Breaching Coy) and aslt with the remainder of the bn split into four parties, two per gap.  During approach bn evaded an enemy patrol of 20 and was hy shelled.  On reaching the firm base posn short of the bty it was fired on by six MGs outside the perimeter and 4 inside.

Aslt.

Vickers MG silenced three MGs on left flank.  Diversionary party moved round right flank, silenced 3 mgs and carried out their task (1 Sgt and 6 ORs).  Two gliders whose task was to crash land on the bty were now seen.  They were hit by flak.  1 landed 4 or 5 miles away and the other in an orchard near the bty where for four hours though outnumbered they protected the rear of the bn from a pl sent to reinforce the bty.  The breaching parties went for the guns and the diversionary party broke in also.  Area was mopped up.  Guns were found to be 105mm: were destroyed by 82 gren 22 PW taken: remainder killed.  Bty was booby trapped: cas caused.  Bty was shelled from FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.  0445 - Success signal and carrier pigeon to England.

 

3 Para Sqn RE (Major J.C.S. ROSEVEARE)

Under comd 3 Para Bde.

Tasks: Destruction of brs by H+2 at

           TROARN - 5 span masonry

           BURES

           BURES - rly

           ROBEHOMME - 195726

           ROBEHOMME - 198743

           VARAVILLE

Mine rds at 140702   III Route recce   IV Jettison recce.

P Hr 0520 hrs

H Hr 0715

3 Para Bde D2 - V - 1775   Bde Gp less 8 Bn gp

                        - K - 1289   8 Para Bn Gp

Para Coy lts - 124737.

TROARN - party landed amongst mixture of Para tps, inf and RE.  Moved off under RE officers, met inf officers and told them to hold rd junction - 140703 - moved off and blew TROARN br.  D + 1   All tasks carried out.

 

6 Air Landing Bde - BAS DE RANVILLE -

2215 - Bde HQ est 107734.

1 RUR - 1500 - All personnel taking part provided with a fatless meal to prevent or reduce air sickness.  Tea and water provided in Gliders and all ranks instructed to drink as much as possible before landing.  RANVILLE - 2100 - Glider No.1 (Major G. Rickcord, B Coy HQ) touched down six mins before time scheduled.  LZN 1/25000 sheet CAEN 116749.  Slight enemy opposition on LZ from mortars and MGs, and difficulty in removing tails of vehicle carrying gliders was reported.  Bn check point x rds 111739.  RANVILLE - 2330 - Bn HQ established LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  Farm buildings 105734 and Bn reported complete less one Rfn missing from the glider which caught fire on LZ.  Bn suffered one cas on landing.  Fewer than it usually did in trg in England.

 

6 Airborne Div.  Current Reports from Overseas No.49

Ops of an Air-Landing Bde.  6 Jun - 12 Jun.

Initial Landings

Account is given by Bde Comdr.

0300 - Glider landed in exact posn - near RANVILLE.  Party composed of one LO, half div def pl and Chester Wilmot moved to chateau at LE BAS DE RANVILLE where HQ was est and several Germans captured.  0600 - Posn on BENOUVILLE br head was sticky.  Enemy were attacking from West and NW with mortars, SP guns, snipers and tks.  However, they did not launch an attack but stood off and shot.  3 boats armed with 20 mm moved up Canal bank: one KO remainder fled to sea.  H+12 - 52 Bn and 1 RUR Bn glided into prearranged zones.  Mortar fire on LZs: few cas.  1 RUR Bn landed on Eastern zone: (in open space between AMFREVILLE-RANVILLE: cleared by Para Bde).  2200 - Bn conc in wood to South of LE BAS DE RANVILLE (105732).  52 Bn landed in Western zone: (between ST AUBIN D'ARQUENAY and the CANAL: cleared by Inf Div (3rd)) moved through br head and conc in orchard 112746.  Dev Bn was due to land by sea on third tide.

Task of Bde:  Capture LONGUEVAL and HEROUVILLETTE with exploitation towards STE HONORINE and ESCONVILLE.  Decided that it was too late to attack that night.  Bde HQ was est at LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  52 Bn was ordered to capture HEROUVILLETTE at first light: night 6/7 it pushed fwd strong patrols.  One coy took up posn on feature 103723.  1 RUR Bn captured LONGUEVAL with few cas.  HEROUVILLETTE was also taken.  1 RUR Bn sent a coy to STE HONORINE but found village strongly held by inf backed with SP guns and a few tks.  52 Bn found the same sit in ESCOVILLE.  Both therefore withdrew.  A Para Bn was put under comd of the Bde which was now disp as follows:-

52 Bn - HEROUVILLETTE (one coy on high ground North of ESCOVILLE).

RUR Bn - LONGUEVAL.

Para Bn - LE BAS DE RANVILLE.

Bde HQ - LE BAS DE RANVILLE.

 

6 Airborne Div.  Current Reports from Overseas No.56

36.  "At 2030 hrs we saw a most magnificent sight - and air-landing brigade flying in.  The whole sky seemed to be completely obscured by an enormous swarm of aircraft towing gliders.  They came in perfect formation, and, as they were released, the gliders turned through 180 degrees and glided in to land away to the Eastwards.  Following them a few minutes later, came the heavy bombers to drop the containers of equipment.  That also was a very spectacular sight, especially since the various containers were attached to parachutes of different colours.

37.  "The whole of the air-landing operation appeared to go absolutely smoothly, and apparently without any vestige of opposition.  It was a great sight for the troops, and acted as an enormous fillip.  It equally impressed the German prisoners, but in a different way.  They did not seem to think it was quite fair."

 

2 Oxf Bucks.

Regt less Br aslt party of D Coy and two pls of B Coy took off from HARWELL and KEEVIL airfds at 1840 hrs and 1910 hrs.  2055 - Over French coast.  All gliders except 4 landed near LZ.  Some flak and some firing on LZ, and snipers at BENOUVILLE.  Regt formed up rd junc 098754.  Contacted Major Howard of aslt gp and moved to ass area 108744.  HQ at 109744.  CO received orders to move fwd to 13 Para Bn area at RANVILLE with the intention of occupying HEROUVILLETTE as soon as possible and then moving fwd to occupy ESCOVILLE as was originally intended.

From Account of Coup de Main Force

Para Bn arrived two hrs late.  Op completed within 15 mins of landing.  Missing glider landed near a br on R DIVES and crew fought way back to rejoin bn at 0230 hrs on 8 Jun.

 

12 Devon.

1 coy landed area 1273 and moved to HEROUVILLETTE.  1 glider crashed in sea.

 

1 SS Bde.

4 Cdo with Adv Bde HQ landed at LA BRECHE at H+30.  They were 500 strong and their objective was the coastal bty at OUISTREHAM.  4 Cdo had suffered 40 casualties while landing including the CO.  C Tp of the Cdo engaged the defences and gained the main coast rd, followed by the rest of the Cdo.  Fighting French Tps led the Cdo towards OUISTREHAM, coming under hy fire.  They overran the casino area and the assault on the bty commenced.  After severe fighting the posn was taken.  Casualties on both sides were heavy.  Meanwhile Adv Bde HQ contacted the CO 2 Bn E. Yorks.  R/T contact by Bde HQ was made with 6 Airborne Div and it was learnt that the brs which the Bde intended to use were intact.  Bde HQ and 6 Cdo landed at 0840 hrs under hy gun and mortar fire.  6 Cdo took the lead when the rd was gained and the adv to the brs commenced.  Progress was slow because of the marshy ground and enemy mortar fire.  The forming up pt was reached in 1 hr, by which time 3 and 45 RM Cdos had landed and they caught up with 6 Cdo.  They had suffered few casualties.  The brs were reached at 1230 hrs and contact made with 6 Airborne Div.  6 Cdo crossed the brs and sent their cycle Tp fwd to capture LE PLEIN.  Bde HQ halted E of the river br.  45 RM Cdo passed over the brs towards their objectives at MERVILLE and FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.  3 Cdo, who had been held up, crossed the brs at 1530 and were diverted to protect Div HQ.  Thus the original plan was abandoned and the Bde Comd decided to hold the high ground from MERVILLE for the night.  Bde HQ moved to ECARDE and 6 Cdo consolidated in LE PLEIN.  4 Cdo rejoined the Bde at 2000 hrs, and dug in at HAUGER they had suffered hy casualties in fighting during the day.  At the end of the day, 3 Cdo were still detached.

 

3 Cdo

0830 hours Convoy hove to off beach.  0905 hrs Touch down.  LCsI under shell fire during last half of run-in.  Two LCsI hit.  Beach under fire and casualties suffered.  Cdo formed up under CO and moved to FUP.  1000 hrs Arrived at FUP.  Mortar and rocket fire in area.  1110 hrs 6 Cdo, which was formerly held up North of COLLEVILLE now advancing supported by 13/18 H.  1230 hrs ORNE Brs reached by fwd elements of Cdo.  Some troops held up behind by snipers.  Cdo given role by HQ 6 Airborne Div to defend BAS DE RANVILLE.  1530 hrs Troops previously held up by snipers take up position in LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  1715 hrs 4 enemy tanks reported on contour South of X rds 104772.  1800 hrs 3 Tp in LE PLEIN with 9 Para Bn.  20 rnds of 4.7 in from SERAPHIS on enemy inf at 092721.

D day Cas:

 

Officers

ORs

K

-

3

W

3

27

M

1

20

Total

4

60

All ranks 64

 

45 RM Cdo.

Landed LA BRECHE 0910 hrs.  1415 - 1 SS Bde contacts 6 Airborne on R ORNE brs.  Task of Cdo was to clear FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.  Cdo entered SALLENELLES and was hy fired on from enemy posn on Spit 135773.  CO decided to by pass and push on but was told to go no further than MERVILLE that night.

 

No.4 Cdo.

LA BRECHE - 0750 - A fiercely opposed beach landing during which No.4 took over the role previously allotted to an earlier wave of infantry which had been pinned down by enemy fire; the storming of heavy fortifications at OUISTREHAM; street fighting through areas infested with snipers; a forced fighting march with men carrying up to one hundred and forty pounds and finally, after a further eight hours the taking over of a defensive position which was to withstand heavy mortaring, repeated enemy attacks, shelling and dive bombing - these were the highlights of the first days of No.4 Cdo after their D Day landing in FRANCE.  The Cdo, five hundred strong, landed in two waves from HMS PRINCESS ASTRID and the SS MAID OF ORLEANS and touched down on RED QUEEN Beach, a mile to the West of OUISTREHAM, at LA BRECHE.  The original intention of the British landings had been for 8 Bde, which consisted of the Suffolks, East Yorks and South Lancs to take the beach and form a beach head through which No.4 Cdo was to pass and take the Gun Batteries at OUISTREHAM.  The County Regiments, landing at 0750 hrs, found intense opposition from the strongpoint on RED QUEEN Beach and were pinned down by concentrated machine gun and mortar fire at the water's edge, some being in 2 ft of water when No.4 Cdo's first wave of LCAs went in at 0820 hrs.  Mortar bombs were falling in and around the LCAs and as the Cdo landed there were 40 casualties, including the CO, Lt. Col. R.W.P. Dawson, who was wounded in the leg.  Rapidly forming up under concentrated fire, No.4 Cdo fought their way from the beach to the forming up area, putting out of action several of the enemy strong positions and enabling Units of 8 Bde to pass through.  C Tp, under command of Capt. D.C.W. Style, MC, (later seriously wounded) pushed past the East Yorks, who were lying at the water's edge, and successfully engaged about a dozen of the enemy in slit trenches and a few more in pillboxes, afterwards moving up in orderly fashion to the Assembly area.  Lt. Col. R.W.P. Dawson moved forward to contact 2 East Yorks Regt and was wounded in the head.  He was, however, sufficiently able to order the Cdo to move off from the Assembly Area, relinquishing command of the Cdo when 2 i/c passed him, saying that he intended, if it was possible, to follow on behind.  The 2 i/c ordered the medical orderlies to give him some morphine.  Col Dawson was again seen on the road after the Battery had been taken, he was then sent by the Medical Officer to the BDS.  On the evening of D+1 (7 Jun 44) Col. Dawson arrived in a Jeep at Cdo defence positions at HAUGER, and stayed there until D+3 when he was ordered to be evacuated by the ADMS.  C Tp waited for the remainder of the Cdo to position itself, and then moved on behind 1 and 8 (Fighting French) Tps along the OUISTREHAM rd to Check Pt, being harassed by snipers and machine gunners in houses.  Tanks greatly helped in clearing this opposition.  From the Check Pt, C Tp again took the lead and established a route to the Battery - the Cdos main task.  Invaluable assistance was given to the leading Tp by a French Gendarme member of the Underground Movement, who helped the Cdo to by-pass other enemy strongpoints and reach their objective without unnecessary delay.  Great help was also afforded the Unit by 4 Centaurs which gave cover from snipers.  On arrival at major tank obstacles covering the inland side of the Battery strongpoint, and still under enemy fire, a search was made and two suitable bridges made.  Here, a machine gun post and mortar position were silenced by PIAT fire.  Together with A Tp, under command of Capt. A.M. Thorburn, C Tp then gave covering fire to enable D Tp, (commanded by Major P.A. Porteous VC) to pass through E Tp, (commanded by Capt. H. Burt) and F Tp (commanded by Capt. L.N. Coulson), were then covered across.  Continued sniping and mortar fire inflicted further casualties.  The heavy ruck-sacks carried by this Cdo had been dumped under HQ and the Mortar Section.  Under orders by Unit wireless, mortar fire was brought to bear on the Flak Tower at the East of the Gun Battery and covering the whole area.  The French detachment, commanded by Capt. P. Kieffer, who was later evacuated severely wounded, over-ran the Casino area on the West of the strongpoint.  Then the assault went in on the Battery, all Tps moving according to plan.  Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy who put up a very stiff resistance from their strong fortifications and cunningly camouflaged block houses commanding excellent field's of fire.  The concrete emplacements had withstood severe Naval bombardment exceedingly well, and although outnumbered, the Germans were in excellent defensive positions and had advantages of emplacements which had successfully withstood a terrific pounding from the sea and air.  Several prisoners were taken when the Germans surrendered after their position had become untenable.  Casualties on both sides had been high and after the engagement medical orderlies from both sides worked side by side succouring the wounded.  One of the outstanding features of the defence of the Battery by the enemy was the careful sighting of their positions, and from the Cdo's view point, the difficulty of finding points of enemy fire power during the mopping up stages, so well had the emplacements been prepared.  But at least one point of Hitler's Western Wall had proved vulnerable under determined enough attack.  No.4 Cdo then withdrew to the area where the ruck-sacks had been left and prepared for a strenuous and back breaking 9 miles march under constant sniping and mortar fire to HAUGER across the CAEN Canal and River ORNE.  A stick of bombs dropped by a German plane caused no casualties, but mortar fire and sniping occurred at the bridges after the majority of the Unit had safely crossed them.  It was here that Lieut. P.M. Mercer Wilson - the only casualty of the crossing of the bridges - was killed during a minor action against the enemy.  Continuing unmolested the Unit reached the cross roads (121755) on the RANVILLE - SALLENELLES Rd, where Brig The Lord Lovat DSO, MC, Commanding No.1 Special Service Bde was contacted.  The Brig ordered the Unit to move forward and take up defensive positions in and around the village of HAUGER on the extreme left flank of the Allied landings and in direct contact with the enemy.  Headquarters was established at a small farm in the village at 2130 hrs and troops were allotted their defensive areas and carried out digging slit trenches and weapon pits, a task which took until the early hours of D+1 (7 Jun 44), the area having been reconnoitred by Major P.A. Porteous VC.

 

6 Commando

Cdo lands on QUEEN RED at 0840 hrs and marches to the positions at LE PLEIN taking en route one German battery, 16 prisoners and killing 24.  Total casualties first day 3 and 32.  Landed 0845 hrs and moved to RV in woods 086797 without much opposition.  The going was difficult owing to marshy grounds and full ditches.  The Cdo crossed several minefields signed "MINEN" but suffered no cas which indicates that they were dummy fields.  Cdo had fighting in BREVILLE where it discovered 4x10.5 cm and a 20 mm (manned).

 

NOTES - D-Day + 1

 

7th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

0001 - Sitrep.  Continual attacks from South all held - now known that brs at TROARN and VARAVILLE were successfully blown.  Owing to strong resistance 1 SS Bde were unable to adv beyond line BREVILLE - LE PLEIN except for isolated patrols.  0030 - Br at BENOUVILLE taken over by 3 Br Inf Div.  0200 - Coy of 12 Devon which arrived by air ordered to come under comd 13 Para Bn from 0500 hrs for purpose of holding area HEROUVILLETTE after airldg bn had pushed on to ESCOVILLE.  1030 - 1 SS Bde began to adv through SALLENELLES with a view to mopping up the coastal area.  1030 - Sitrep.  BREVILLE in enemy hands - LONGUEVAL captured by 1 RUR.  1120 - 1 SS Bde ordered to attack and capture FRANCEVILLE PLAGE forthwith.  Two cruisers allotted in sp subsequently to capture and hold LE HOMME SUR MER.  1415 - 1 RUR consolidation complete in LONGUEVAL.  1 SS Bde reported that at 1350 hrs they had cleared FRANCEVILLE PLAGE and taken 4 fd guns - attack was being mounted on LE HOMME SUR MER.  1 RUR attempted to occupy ST HONORINE but were driven off by armour.  They thereupon fell back to consolidate in their old posns at LONGUEVAL.  1500 - Enemy developed a strong inf and armd attack on 1 RUR posn area LONGUEVAL.  This attack was repulsed after stiff fighting.  The enemy falling back on ST HONORINE.  By 2030 hrs 6 Airldg Bde was firmly est on line LONGUEVAL - HEROUVILLETTE.  In the course of this fighting 1 RUR destroyed 2 tks and one SP gun and one unidentified gun.  1815 - 12 Devon (seaborne) entered Div area, and were ordered to take over from 12 Para Bn.  12 Para Bn into div res area 110745 on relief.

 

6 Airborne Div.  I. Sum. 2.

Toward midday came the first reports of a conc of enemy to the South of the Div area - seven hundred lorried inf arriving in SANNERVILLE 1368 from West and thirty tks from TROARN.  The inf appeared to be 192 Pz Gren Regt identified on the previous day West of the R ORNE.  This force halted on adv South by our tps and counter-attacked fiercely during the afternoon in the area South of RANVILLE.  These attacks were fought to a standstill by 1700 hrs and were NOT resumed during daylight.  In the meantime to the North our tps had been clearing FRANCEVILLE PLAGE and had taken the bty posn at 155776 a second time.  They were, however, forced to withdraw from the latter posn by previously registered enemy fire.  The appearance of PW from 12 SS Pz Div HITLERJUGEND in the RANVILLE area was explained during interrogation as follows - The whole of the Div Armd Recce Unit left the LAIGLE area by 0500 hrs on D day after receipt of the alarm and travelled via LISIEUX to the BANNEVILLE area 1367.  On D+1 the Recce Unit moved West through CAEN.  Our PW were stragglers who took the wrong turning in CAEN and found themselves on the wrong side of the ORNE.  In the light of this it appears that elements of 21 Pz Div have been given the role of containing the Airborne Forces East of the ORNE whilst 12 SS Pz Div HITLERJUGEND passes through CAEN or South of CAEN to attack the Allied beachheads.  On D+2 a continuancy of these attacks must be expected coupled with threats from 711 Div Area whilst 12 SS Pz Div moves West of CAEN.

 

Enemy Sit.  I. Sum. 3.

A message received too late for inclusion in Int. Summary No.2 reported 1,000 enemy inf moving West through VARAVILLE 1875 during the afternoon of 7 Jun.  These tps were later identified as II Bn and III Bn of 857 Gren Regt of 346 Inf Div.  These Bns left LE HAVRE area at 2100 hrs on D day travelling on bicycles.  After this epic ride II Bn recce'd the area GONNEVILLE-SUR-MERVILLE 1676 LONGUEMARE 1475 and throughout the day (8 Jun) attacked our posns at HAUGER 1276 - AMERVILLE 1374.  These attacks were held and were still in progress at 2100 hrs.  40 PWs were taken.  3 Bn throughout the morning of 8 Jun attacked our posns at LE MESNIL 1372 and ST COME 1473 but suddenly withdrew East at 1325 hrs when VARAVILLE was bombed.  At 2210 hrs however, a hy attack was resumed on ST COME.

 

HQ 6 Airborne Div

At 1120 hrs Comd 6 Airborne Div ordered 1 SS Bde to attack and capture FRANCEVILLE PLAGE forthwith - two cruisers allotted in support - subsequently 1 SS Bde to capture and hold LE HOMME SUR MER.  At 1415 hrs 1 SS Bde reported FRANCEVILLE PLAGE clear - four enemy field guns captured - attack being mounted on LE HOMME SUR MER.

Div HQ

At the same time 1 RUR attempted to occupy ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE, but were driven off by armour.  They fell back and consolidated in their old positions at LONGUEVAL.  At 1500 hrs the enemy developed a determined infantry and armoured attack on 1 RUR positions at LONGUEVAL.  This attack was repulsed after heavy fighting in the course of which 1 RUR destroyed two enemy tks, one SP gun and one unidentified gun.  At 1815 hrs 12 Devon (seaborne) entered the div area, and immediately took over 12 Para Bn positions in the BOIS de RANVILLE area.  The Div was by nightfall firmly established on the Eastern bank of the R ORNE as follows:- 6 Airldg Bde with 1 RUR forward holding the area LONGUEVAL - 12 Devon holding LE BAS de RANVILLE and the spur to the South, with 12 Para Bn in reserve.  5 Para Bde consisting of 7 and 13 Para Bns and 2 Oxf Bucks in the area RANVILLE - LE MARIQUET - HEROUVILLETTE with a small detachment in ESCOVILLE.  A minefield had been laid through LE MARIQUET and the A Tk defence to the South included approximately 50 well placed A Tk guns in depth between LONGUEVAL and HEROUVILLETTE.  1 SS Bde held the LE PLEIN - AMFREVILLE feature and the 3 Para Bde the ridge from South of BREVILLE to the Southern edge of the BOIS de BAVENT.  In the two days fighting the division had gained all its objectives and held all the ground it had planned to take with the exception of the small coastal strip from FRANCEVILLE PLAGE to CABOURG which was beyond its resources to occupy.  The fighting had been severe and cost the division over 800 casualties in battle.  In addition to which the missing from the drop still numbered approx 1000.

 

Report on the Operations of 6 Airborne Division on D Day and D+1

1.  Tasks.

The primary tasks allotted to the 6 Airborne Div were:-

        (a) To seize, intact if possible, and hold until relieved by seaborne troops, the bridges over the CANAL DE CAEN and R ORNE immediately East of BENOUVILLE.

        (b) The silence by 0500 hrs on D Day the enemy coastal battery at 155775 (MERVILLE).

        (c) The destroy by 0915 hrs the bridges of the R DIVES at VARAVILLE, ROBEHOMME, BURES (two bridges) and TROARN.

Subsequently the Div was required to establish a firm base East of the BENOUVILLE crossings, the retention of which were considered of vital importance to the course of subsequent operations, and without prejudice to these tasks to infest the area between the Rs ORNE and DIVES as far South as TROARN with a view to interfering and if possible prevent the reinforcement of CAEN from the East and SE.

2.  Allotment of Troops

Availability of aircraft limited the initial drop to Div HQ and two para bde gps; Airldg Bde (less one bn) and Armd Recce Regt arriving at 2100 hrs D Day.  To 5 Para Bde was allotted the tasks of seizing and holding the crossings, and the establishment of a bridgehead to the East of them.  To 3 Para Bde Gp was allotted the tasks of silencing of the coastal battery at 155775 and of the bridges over the R DIVES.  On completion of these primary tasks the brigade to establish part of the bridgehead by occupying the LE PLEIN feature and the BOIS DE BAVENT.  No.1 SS Bde which was to land over the beaches at H plus 1 hrs was to come under comd 6 Airborne Div on crossing the rd OUISTREHAM - CRESSERONS.  This brigade's task was to clear the coastal strip about FRANCEVILLE PLAGE and LE HOMME SUR MER - working from a firm base which it was to take over from 3 Para Bde on the LE PLEIN feature.  6 Airldg Bde (less one bn seaborne due to arrive D plus 1) to establish the Southern portion of the bridgehead by seizing and holding the areas LONGUEVAL - ESCOVILLE - HEROUVILLETTE.  It was hoped that 5 Para Bde could then be brought into div reserve in the RANVILLE area.  The Airborne Armd Recce Regt with a company of infantry in jeeps and a battery of the Lt Regt RA was, if the situation permitted, to operate Southwards from the BOIS de BAVENT area.  Artillery support was to be provided by 3 Brit Inf Div and two cruisers allotted specifically to support 6 Airborne Div.  An elaborate and detailed system of FOOs and FOBs was organised for the provision of this support.

3.  Timings.

0020 hrs - Landing of 'coup de main' party to seize crossings.

0020 hrs - Drop of Recce Party for destruction of coastal battery.

0050 hrs - Drop of 3 and 5 Para Bde Gps.

0335 hrs - Landing of Div HQ and one A Tk bty - 6-prs and 4 17-prs.

2100 hrs - Landing of 6 Airldg Bde and Armd Recce Regt.

13.  Situation as known at Div HQ

By 1230 hrs the enemy had begun to show signs of activity - a small counter attack in area SE of RANVILLE - this was repulsed and three enemy 77 mm SP guns destroyed.  At 1300 hrs a determined enemy attempt at infiltration 500 yds South of PONT TOURNANT supported by SP guns caused a critical situation.  Brilliant action by Comd 5 Para Bde and most determined fighting by 7 and 12 Para Bns repulsed the attack.  By 1353 hrs 1 SS Bde had crossed the bridges and come under command 6 Airborne Div and the situation was completely in hand.  At 1610 hrs touch down had been established with 3 Para Bde who reported 1 Cdn Para Bn in position in area LE MESNIL.  At 2100 hrs the glider landing of 6 Airldg Bde (less one bn), Armd Recce Regt and 211 Lt Bty RA took place.  During the night 6/7 Jun continuous enemy attacks from the South were all held.  Up to 0001 hrs 1 SS Bde had been unable to advance beyond the BREVILLE - LE PLEIN line owing to stiff enemy resistance.  At 0030 hrs 3 Brit Inf Div relieved 6 Airborne Div on the bridges East of BENOUVILLE.  The situation at 1030 hrs was that BREVILLE was in enemy hands - 1 RUR had captured and occupied LONGUEVAL.

 

HQ RA

(b) Lt Arty - 211 Airldg Lt Bty.  One tp 17-pr 3 Airldg A Tk Bty (4 x 17-pr).  4 Airldg A Tk Bty (16 x 6-pr).

Tasks in General

(a) Under comd 3 Para Bde for assault on coastal Bty - one sec 4 A Tk Bty.

(b) In sp 5 Para Bde - one tp 17-pr 3 Airldg A Tk Bty (17-pr) 4 Airldg A Tk Bty (less one sec)

(c) In sp 6 Airborne Div - RA 3 Div in varying measure      )

                                              4 AGRA in varying measure ) Controlled by FOOs Airborne Sp Net

                                              HMS ARETHUSA  )

                                              HMS MAURITIUS )

                                              Two destroyers        ) Controlled by FOsB

                                              3 Airldg A Tk Bty complete (on arrival by sea D Day).

(d) Under comd Armd Recce Regt - 211 Airldg Lt Bty.

(e) Det 2 Airldg LAA Bty trained in use of enemy eqpts.

Hy cas in FOOs and FOsB and anti-tk guns were suffered in the landings.

Tasks as carried out - D-1/D

(a) FOOs and FOsB - Adjustments were made and sets re-allotted.  Control was est at HQ 5 Para Bde.  Sp was provided from guns of 3 Br Inf Div.  The sp afforded was extremely generous considering that this arty was also in sp of assaulting bdes of 3 Inf Div.  RM ships were in continuous sp.

(b) A Tk  By 1000 hrs D Day all A Tk guns were in previously recced posns.  The firm base of 5 Para Bde was est.

(c) Lt Arty  By 2200 hrs 211 Lt Bty which landed at 2100 hrs was in action in sp of 5 Para Bde, and subsequently 6 Airldg Bde.

Tasks as carried out

During the day there were several enemy attacks from the South and SE.  FOOs and FOsB continued to give sp.  The sp given by RA 3 Brit Inf Div was very quick and generous and was instrumental in turning back at least one attack sp by tks.  A number of U Tgts were put down the response being very quick and accurate.  211 Lt Bty did not come under comd Armd Recce Regt as planned.  The Bty came into action near Div Adm Area on the evening of D Day and throughout D+1 was in continuous sp of both 5 Para and 6 Airldg Bdes.  3 and 4 Airldg A Tk Btys were successful in destroying three tks, one of which was a Panther and three SP guns.  The Panther was killed with one round by a 17 pr gun.  There was some cas to guns and to dets.  Scratch gun dets were made up and with some help from the men of 2 Airldg LAA Bty det all remaining guns were kept manned.  On the evening of D plus 1 one tp 45 A Tk Bty 3 Brit Inf Div came under comd 6 Airborne Div.  These additional guns were deployed by 1700 hrs.  At about 1800 hrs the situation became quieter, the enemy did not press home his attack.  Arty sp on evening of D plus 1 was as follows:-

        RA 3 Brit Inf Div  )

        53 Med Regt        ) Controlled by FOOs Airborne Sp Net.

        HMS ARETHUSA and MAURITIUS controlled by FOsB.

        211 Airldg Lt Bty.

        3 and 4 Airldg A Tk Btys.

        One tp 45 A Tk Bty.

        Det 2 Airldg LAA Bty (manning 2 captured 2 cm guns and assisting to man arty 6 prs).

 

6 Airborne Armd Recce Regt D - D+1

Landed on LZ between 2100 and 2130 hrs.  Cas 2 tks lost through glider collision on LZ and 1 jeep and 5 m/cs force landed in England.

Tasks:  Form firm base in 8 Para Bn area BOIS de BAVENT 1470 and carry out recce as far as rd TROARN - CAEN.  No sp arms.  Protection at night by 8 Para Bn.  Regt moved to contact 8 Para Bn - at ESCOVILLE.  Enemy guns and small arms fire reported in ESCOVILLE.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

Gun from 3 Bty KOs one SP.  One gun KO - 4 K.

 

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

COLVILLE 0700.  Bty completely assembled.  0600 - Move to RANVILLE.  Several cas.  Hy mortaring.  1400 - Tk and inf attack on Bty posn South of RANVILLE.  1 tk KO.  1630 - Attack beaten off.  1700 - Tps in sp bns -

        A Tp - 2 x 17 pdr South of RANVILLE

        B Tp - and 2 guns D Tp at LONGUEVAL

        C Tp - HEROUVILLETTE.

        D Tp - remaining two guns in sp 1 SS Bde in area LE PLEIN.

Cas 1 K and 3 W.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

In action RANVILLE.  Moved to LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  Return to RANVILLE; one tp engage enemy inf over open sights.

 

HQ 6 Airborne Div

0830 - 8 Para Bn contacted.  0930 - HQ est at 137707.  B Sqn sent south and A Sqn to ESCOVILLE area.  B Sqn report enemy tks, SP guns and inf in villages of TOUFFREVILLE, SANNERVILLE and BANNERVILLE.  Identification from D.R. killed 192 Pz Gren Regt.  1200 - 1430 - B Sqn reports tks and inf in triangle of rds adjoining SANNERVILLE and CUVERVILLE.  A Sqn reports 3 Armd Cars moving North from Cuverville.  SP guns rep at BUTTE DE LA HOGUE and at 115693.  1500 - Patrol of B Sqn crossed TROARN - CAEN rd but saw nothing.  30/50 tks later seen moving North from TROARN.  These and 700 Inf were located at 1745 in woods and village of BANNERVILLE.  2230 - Regt harboured in area 140708.

 

591 Para Sqn RE

Dropping by Stirlings of 38 Gp is rep as "quite good on the whole."  All the same, sticks were widely dispersed and many key personnel incl OC were lost.  Task of Sqn was to clear Westerly landing strips for gliders.  This was performed.  Contact was made with coup de main force on RANVILLE br.  After initial tasks were done, Sqn recced rds, laid mines, collected dropped equipment.  Some elements fought with 1 Cdn Para Bn until D+2.

 

2 Pl 249 Fd Coy RE (part of coup de main party)

Capt. Neilson's party of 5 sappers in each of 3 gliders landed within 100x of BENOUVILLE br.  Landing was rough owing to marshy ground.  RE were on br searching for charges in two mins and br was reported clear in 5 mins.  38 set message reported that only one glider had landed at RANVILLE br.  Capt. Neilson therefore took a party and declared it free just as Lt. Bence arrived.  His glider had landed in marshes 500x away.  3 glider landed in marshes near the coast to East of R ORNE.  Party did not arrive till evening of D+1.  Intended posn of charges was marked with paint.  3 out of 4 gliders with br equipment came in at 0325 hrs.  This was placed to East of R ORNE in case of need.  RE then acted as part of grn.

 

HQ RE

1 of 2 para adv parties was lost.  1 of 2 gliders of HQ RE was lost hit by flak.  HQ RE est next to Div HQ at 0600 hrs.  Det 286 Fd Pk Coy RE landed in gliders on LZ at 0325 hrs with 2 Airborne bulldozers, American tipper, and jeep compressor and did excellent work in clearing LZ for 2100 hrs disp.

 

3 Para Sqn RE

Sqn HQ and 2 tps should have dropped between ESCOVILLE and TOUFFREVILLE but were dropped East of rd LE MARIQUET - ESCOVILLE.  However, RE personnel and stores at RV were sufficient to make some sort of dem at the 3 brs at TROARN and BURES.  Party moved off and met med jeep and trailer en route.  One party under Major Roseveare with jeep went to TROARN.  The grn was roused, but jeep run the gauntlet through the town and a 15-20 ft gap was blown in the br.  Party then retired North along track to BURES, ditched jeep at dawn and reached LE MESNIL at 1300 hrs.  The other party under Capt. Juckes with most of sappers and stores on trolleys reached two BURES brs unopposed at 0630 hrs.  Both brs were blown.  Contact was made with elements of 8 Para Bn and two RE jeeps and trailers loaded with additional explosives.  Lt. Wade made an unsuccessful attempt to reach TROARN br to increase gap.  Later with inf sp of 1 pl from 8 Para Bn, another attempt was made.  The enemy were driven from the br and the gap increased to 35-40 ft.  Other parties were much dispersed; one stick falling between VARAVILLE - ROBEHOMME over a distance of 3500x.  These parties joined up, humped their explosives and destroyed VARAVILLE br. and cratered the approaches.  On completion of these tasks jettisoned A Tk mines were collected on rd junc 140703 mined.

 

HQ RA

Allotment for OP 'OVERLORD'

(a) HQ RA and FOOs Airborne Support Net -

        (i) FOOs - Four para FOOs each 3 and 5 Para Bdes.

        (ii) FOsB - Three para FOsB each 3 and 5 Para Bdes.

        (iii) Eight airldg FOOs.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde

0100 - 7 Para Bn relieved on brs by Warwicks and move into Bde reserve.  0300 - 12 Bn comes under comd 6 Airldg Bde.  1100 - Bde HQ moves to new location 113732.  1600 - 12 Para Bn attacked from South by inf and small number of tks - attack repulsed.  Intermittent shelling of RANVILLE, DZ and Bde HQ.  1900 - Movement of enemy tps, guns and small amount of armour in ST HONORINE and South of ESCOVILLE.  2200 - Brs shelled by guns firing from East.  2300 - ST HONORINE and wood 082311 shelled by own tps.  Enemy withdrew in some confusion Southwards.

 

7 Para Bn - 5 Para Bde

0015 - Bn relieved by Royal Warwicks.  0045 - Bn arrived in Bde res and rest area at 105734.  Odd ptys of men rejoined the bn at various times during the day.  LE HOM - 1330 - Bn moved out and took up a defensive posn in area 112735 (Div res).

 

12 Para Bn - 5 Para Bde

LE BAS DE RANVILLE - 1300 - Bn attacked by 8 Mk IV Tanks and 50 lorried inf.  3 tanks destroyed and attack driven off.  2100 - Bn relieved by 12 Devons, came into Div reserve and rest area in village under comd 5 Para Bde.

 

13 Para Bn - 5 Para Bde

1400 - A Coy holding enemy attack on left flank.  1550 - Reported 2 Oxf Bucks driven out of ESCOVILLE and holding posns in HEROUVILLETTE.  1640 - A Coy attacked, losing one A Tk gun, but counter-attacked and regained gun and all ground lost.  1750 - 2 enemy ORs of 716 Arty Regt surrendered to B Coy.  1821 - Reported enemy in ESCOVILLE now withdrawing Southwards.  1 RUR have captured LONGUEVAL.  1940 - 4 PW from 12 SS Pz Div captured.

 

6 Air Landing Bde

0135 - Have received report enemy captured 1 Sub unit of 12 Para and are wearing their uniforms (from 1 RUR).  0800 - 2 Oxf Bucks occupied HEROUVILLETTE and trying to push fwd to ESCOVILLE.  1000 - 1 RUR occupied LONGUEVAL.  1005 - 2 Oxf Bucks occupied ESCOVILLE.  1115 - Col. R.G. Parker called at Bde HQ for infm regarding own tps for GOC:- 1 RUR in LONGUEVAL and moving on to ST HONORINE.  2 Oxf Bucks occupy HEROUVILLETTE 0800 hrs and ESCOVILLE 1005 hrs.  Col. Parker reports 1 SS Bde putting in attack Northwards.  1130 - 2 Oxf Bucks report trouble with AFV in ESCOVILLE.  1130 - 2 Oxf Bucks in ESCOVILLE on objective.  1145 - 5 Para Bde report HQ est 1173.  1310 - 6 enemy tks and armd cars reported in wood East of TOUFFREVILLE at 1050 hrs.  Enemy armd car reported South of ESCOVILLE same time.  1330 - RUR withdrawn from ST HONORINE attacked by tks, trying to reform at old location LONGUEVILLE.  1411 - 6 Tiger tks, 2 SP guns and ONE Coy area LONGUEVILLE.  1425 - RUR report enemy inf infiltrating in woods South LONGUEVILLE.  1330 - Bde HQ subjected to heavy attack sustaining light casualties.  1555 - Oxf Bucks withdrawing 1 Coy from ESCOVILLE and making front line with main Bn, including 13 Para Bn.  1825 - RUR have formed up in area LONGUEVAL.  Reported from RUR's one Mk V knocked out, 1 SP gun and two other tks, the enemy were surprised by a 17 pr, the inf following the tks fled.  2050 - 700 Lorried Inf 192 Pz Gren Regt moving to SANNERVILLE 1368 1210 hrs.  2250 - Heavy shelling from Naval ships on enemy posns.  2330 - Inter Bde bdys Ring Contour - Corner of Wood 100733 excl Church 111736 Rd Junc 107744, 2 Oxf Bucks under comd 5 Para Bde, 12 Para Bn under comd 6 Airldg Bde.

 

1 RUR

0200 - C Coy report in position on Ring Contour 30.  No opposition encountered.  One pl MMG in support.  Bn task of seizing STE HONORINE and LONGUEVAL confirmed.  Orders issued by CO: C Coy to remain on "Hill 30" as fire support.  A and B Coys Assaulting Coys.  A rt.  B left.  D Coy in reserve.  FUP Copse 095727.  Route: RANVILLE - track Junc. 104734 - track junc. 102734 - FUP.  0600 - Bn moves from LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  0900 - A and B Coys enter LONGUEVAL without opposition.  C Coy subjected to heavy shelling and mortar fire.  A and B Coys move to positions at 093718 and 088715 for attack on STE HONORINE.  D Coy move forward to Rd junc. 085715.  1215 - A and B Coys enter STE HONORINE, but forced to withdraw owing to immediate enemy counter attack supported by SP guns.  Very heavy shelling and mortaring of C Coy area continues and CO orders evacuation of Ring Contour 30 and concentration of Bn in LONGUEVAL.  1600 - Bn concentrated in LONGUEVAL.  Bn HQ established in HOUSE No. 157.  1615 - Area subjected to heavy and continuous enemy mortar fire; digging in proceeded in dispositions shown on attached trace.  Casualties during the day had been heavy, but Medical Services had been very satisfactory and all wounded personnel had been evacuated to MDS in RANVILLE.  Fire support in the attacks on LONGUEVAL and STE HONORINE was not satisfactory.  In the attack on LONGUEVAL, the FOB could not contact HMS ARETHUSA, the FOO could not range in time and the FOO of the lt bty could not reach contour 30 owing to shell fire.  When STE HONORINE was attacked, owing to the need for speed, the bn gave as H hr a time which it could not keep.  H hr was put back but the 3" mortars and MMGs were not informed and expended most of their amn, leaving very little for when the attack did in fact go in.

 

Cas:  Offrs:

         ORs

K

1

4

W

5

64

M

1

67

Total all ranks: 142

 

2 Oxf and Bucks

6/7 - 0130 - Bn moved into area of RANVILLE Chateau.  Br aslt party joined Bn.  0830 - Acting on infm from patrols bn moved fwd in two coy bounds and occupied HEROUVILLETTE without opposn.  ESCOVILLE (original bn task) was reported clear except for snipers.  A and B Coys moved fwd and occupied it.  D Coy moved fwd.  All coys suffered from enemy SP and armd car fire.  They could not get far enough fwd to obtain a good fd of fire.  Bn HQ could not get in Chateau 124714 owing to an SP gun 250x away and was mortared.  Enemy fire intensified and sp by fire inf worked fwd.  As ESCOVILLE had never been captured, the def posn was not organised.  CO was given permission to withdraw to higher ground at HEROUVILLETTE.  1600 - Parts of the fwd coys could only by extricated after a successful counter attack.  1700 - Bn dug in at HEROUVILLETTE.  CO (wounded on landing) was evacuated.  2 i/c took over.  About 60 cas.

 

12 Devons

Landed OUISTREHAM.  1700 - Conc area LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  1800 - Took over 12 Para Bn posns.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde

0900 - Total PWs number 152, chiefly Poles and Russians; sent to Div.  1400 - Commandos withdraw from VARAVILLE forcing us to withdraw Cdn Coy under cover of darkness from ROBEHOMME.  1700 - Div Comd arrives, orders patrols to TROARN on infm of CSM 13 Bn.

 

Action of 8 Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

This bn dropped at 0050 hrs on 6 Jun and was allotted the primary task of destroying the bridge over the R DIVES East of TROARN, and the two bridges at BURES.  Subsequently, to assist in forming the bridgehead by occupying the area about x-rds 140703.  Again the bn was widely scattered in their drop.  The DZ being West of TOUFFREVILLE, while a large proportion of the bn was dropped at the Northern end of BOIS de BAVENT.  Two and a half hrs after the drop the CO had only collected 120 all ranks at the bn RV - no RE and no MGs.  He considered that he had only sufficient explosives to blow the two bridges at BURES.  He had despatched recce parties to TROARN immediately after the drop.  He decided to deal with the BURES bridges first, hoping to deal with TROARN later when his RE detachments had joined up.  The approach march began at 0345 hrs, and in passing TOUFFREVILLE the Maire of that place informed the CO that the strength of the enemy garrison of TROARN was approx one company.  On reaching area x-rds 147615 the CO decided to make a firm base for the bn there, and despatched two pls to recce forward to TROARN and BURES respectively.  Meanwhile the RE detachments had landed in the Northern limits of the BOIS de BAVENT and realising they could not reach the bn RV in time, immediately set out for TROARN and BURES respectively.  The detachment for TROARN in a jeep, that for BURES dragging its stores of trolleys.  The pl despatched to BURES met the OC Recce Party returning and was informed that BURES was clear of enemy - also that the RE detachment had already arrived with trolleys.  The pl proceeded into BURES where they acted as covering party to the RE detachment who blew the bridges according to plan by 0715 hrs.  The pl sent to TROARN encountered an enemy force on the NW outskirts and a pitched battle ensued.  The RE detachment detailed for the TROARN bridge consisted of one offr and 6 ORs and as they approached the town firing could heard on the outskirts.  The OC decided to try to rush through the town in the jeep.  This manoeuvre succeeded, and although fired on at many points the party succeeded in breaking through, and they reached the bridge.  They had insufficient explosive for a complete demolition, but they did succeed in blowing one area by 0530 hrs - then realising they had no hope of passing back through the town they immobilised the jeep and set out on foot to rejoin the force.  The CO 8 Para Bn knew how affairs were progressing at BURES but he was not aware of the action of the detachment RE at TROARN.  He did know that his pl was fighting on the outskirts of that place - and at about 0900 hrs six half tracked armoured vehicles attacked him on his firm base position - the ensuing action lasted about two hrs, and ended in the destruction of all six AFVs.  The CO then appreciated that the enemy fighting his pl plus the six AFVs must account for practically the whole enemy garrison of TROARN.  He therefore decided to advance with his force round the Northern outskirts of TROARN to destroy the bridge East of the town - he had heard rumours that the bridge was already blown but they were unconfirmed.  He moved at 1200 hrs and on arrival further demolition of the bridge was carried out, increasing the gap to 40 ft long by 1400 hrs.  The bn then returned and occupied its position in the bridgehead in the area x-rds 140703.

 

8 Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

0830 - Elements of armoured Recce Regt began to arrive in the Bn area.  Lt. Col. Stewart liaised with CO and arranged that 8th Bn would provide protection for them at night.  1600 - Armoured Recce reported that an SP gun at      was giving them trouble, and would we deal with it.  OC A Coy was detailed for the task with 1 pl.  By the time he reached the posn of SP gun it had withdrawn so he pushed on to recce ESCOVILLE which he found to be clear of enemy.  Patrol returned about 2100 hrs with an enemy 6 ton truck filled with petrol and oil.  Patrolling.

 

9 Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

Destruction of CD Bty 153775

Bn were also allotted secondary task of seizing and holding LE PLEIN feature until relieved by 1 SS Bde.  Nearest DZ was 2400x from the Bty.  Gliders carried scaling ladders, additional Bangalore torpedoes, bridging equipment and amn.  Dets of RE and Fd Amb were put under comd.  Plan included:-

(a) Dropping from a single aircraft of a recce party at 0020 hrs.

(b) Dropping of an OBOE of 4000 lb bombs from 100 Lancasters on Bty posn between 0030 hrs and 0040 hrs.

(c) Landing of gliders as close to bn RV as possible.

(d) Drop of 9 Para Bn on DZ at 0050 hrs.

Taping party dropped in a marsh and lost their tape.  Bn strength at finish was: 80.

Cas:

Offrs:

ORs

K

1

-

W

4

-

M

-

-

 

5

total - 65?

Secondary Task:

As soon as Bty was captured enemy began to shell it fast and heavily, so bn reorganised and moved fast.  Wounded were left with German MO and SBs who were among PWs.  When attacked enemy fell back to rd junc in centre of village (HAUGER).

 

9 Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

LE PLEIN - 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 Bde control and were given orders to control the high ground South of ST COME.  The bn now reverted to bde control, and during the night 7/8 Jun moved to the woods south of 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.

 

Action of 1 Cdn Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

This Bn dropped at 0050 hrs on 6 Jun, and was allotted a primary task of destroying the bridges over the R DIVES at VARAVILLE and ROBEHOMME.  Thereafter to assist in forming the bridgehead in the area BOIS de BAVENT.  In this case, also, the bn was dropped over a very wide area.  Little opposition from the enemy however in carrying out their primary tasks.  The bridges at VARAVILLE and ROBEHOMME were duly blown, and the bn reverted to brigade control.  They were ordered to occupy and hold a position in the area LE MESNIL 1372.

 

1 Cdn Para Bn - 3 Para Bde

In the early hours of the morning German infantry of the 857 and 858 Grenadier Regiments supported by SP guns and a number of Mark IV Tanks attacked B and C Coy's positions.  Our mortars in the brickworks were given an ideal target as the German infantry formed up in close groups along a road in the apparent belief that we possessed no mortars.  Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and the main force of the attack broken, however casualties were inflicted on our own Bn by the SP guns and tanks.  One tank penetrated to within one hundred yards of the C Coy position but withdrew before the PIATs could fire effectively on it.  Some of the enemy infantry also attempted to assault our forward positions but were driven off.  It was learned later from PWs that the object of the German attack was to secure the brickworks and cross roads at LE MESNIL.  The rest of the day was quiet save for activity by enemy snipers.

 

3 Cdo

0005 hrs  Hand over position to 1 RUR and move to area South of Bde HQ.  Bn HQ at 114746 in sp of 2 i.c. with two troops in sp of 45 RM Cdo attacks FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.  Attack on battery 155775 at MERVILLE.  2000 hrs  Cdo takes over CHATEAU D'AMFREVILLE from 9 Para Bn.

 

1 SS Bde

At 0300 hrs 3 Cdo rejoined the Bde.  At 1200 hrs Major Gen Gale Comd 6 Airborne Div visited Bde HQ and ordered 45 RM Cdo to take FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.  This Cdo suffered hy casualties in the assault, and after bitter fighting withdrew to MERVILLE.  Two Tps of 3 Cdo on loan to 45 RM Cdo joined them, after suffering casualties while silencing a gun bty.  45 RM Cdo were out of touch with Bde.  The enemy attempted to penetrate the Div area but was repelled.  6 Cdo were being mortared and a patrol was sent to clear BREVILLE.  This was done, prisoners and weapons being captured.  At 1900 hrs 3 Cdo moved to LE PLEIN to join up 4 and 6 Cdos.  Enemy attempts to infiltrate were reported at 2130 hrs.  This was prevented.

 

45 RM Cdo

 

Cas: Offrs

        ORs

K

-

1

W

1

16

M

4

28

Fired on in morning by mortars from spit.  4 x MMG and 1 x 6 pdr a tk covered Cdo through SALLENELLES.  Shelled on moving off at 1300 hrs.  New bde sit brought back from Bde that night and orders to hold MERVILLE at all costs.

 

No.4 Cdo

HAUGER - It was to be four days and nights before the Unit had opportunity to rest.  Proved to be fairly quiet, but the Unit continued digging in and the camouflage of weapon pits.  Two sections of D Tp, under Lieut J.S. Hunter Gray, moved off to patrol in the SALLENELLES direction and made contact with a cycle patrol of No.6 Cdo.  The patrol met with intermittent sniping during the afternoon, further patrols went out at night, but no contact was made with the enemy.  At 2130 hrs A Tp reported enemy moving in the fields about 300 yds from their position and trying to infiltrate through the open fields into the woods in their rear.  The enemy were engaged until darkness and after dark, a very thick hedge where the enemy was thought to be digging in for a mortar or infantry gun position, was sprayed with K gun fire.  MG and mortar fire was directed at A Tp from behind a strip of woodland in front of their positions for an hour.

 

6 Commando

In the Field.  Commando is mortared.

 

45 RM Cdo

ordered to withdraw and dig in south of SALLENELLES.  Mortared from strong point.  1300 - Ordered to capture FRANCEVILLE.  On adv came under hy fire.  Passed SALLENELLES.  1705 - Began attack on FRANCEVILLE.  Two Cdo's reached North end of village.  2100 - Enemy counterattacked with Mortars and MG.  Bde set was gone and Cdo could get no sp.  3" mortars out of action thro' cas.  Withdrew to MERVILLE.  In the morning on instrs from Bde the Cdo withdrew from MERVILLE and dug in South of SALLENELLES.  Casualties to date were one other rank killed, Lt. Col. Ries and 16 other ranks wounded, and Lt. Nelson Sigs Offr, Lt. Kennedy Int Offr and Lt. Winston and 28 other ranks missing.  During the morning the Cdo came under fire from mortars in the area SPIT 135773.  At 1300 hrs the Cdo was warned to move again to its objective FRANCEVILLE and when it moved at 1300 hrs came under heavy shell fire.  A 6 pdr gun and 4 MMGs gave us covering fire while passing SALLENELLES.  At 1705 hrs the attack on FRANCEVILLE commenced and two troops managed to get to the Northern end of the village.  The enemy counter attacked with mortars and MMGs at 2100 and as the Cdo had lost its 3" mortars through casualties and also its Bde set it was impossible to get any support so it was driven back to MERVILLE.  That night three men were sent back to Bde to report the situation.  They returned in the morning with another Bde set and orders that MERVILLE must be held at all costs.

 

NOTES - D-Day + 2

 

8th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

1130 - 1 SS Bde reported hy attack developing against 4 Cdo area HAUGER - SALLENELLES from East - confident HAUGER sector can be held.  1 Corps infm that 1 SS Bde likely to be involved in hy fighting today - would be grateful for one additional Cdo to be placed under comd if available.  1330 - Sitrep.  1 SS Bde hold FRANCEVILLE PLAGE - SALLENELLES to LE PLEIN - 3 Bde area X-rds 140728 - rd junc 140743.  5 Para and 6 Airldg Bdes from HEROUVILLETTE to RANVILLE to LONGUEVAL.  1900 - Attacks had all been held - disposns remain the same except that 45 Cdo now in MERVILLE.  2130 - Hy enemy attacks developed along the front of 1 SS Bde - these attacks were all successfully held and cas inflicted - infiltration attempts continue - 45 Cdo brought back into bde area.

 

6 Airborne Div.

I. Sum attributes the intense activity in the COLOMBELLES, ST HONORINE, CUVERVILLE SANNERVILLE BANNERVILLE (tks, arty, inf and half-tracks) to 21 Pz Conc. (cf. 6 Airborne Recces reports).  The enemy have appreciated the importance of the BENOUVILLE brs.  A bombing attack registered a direct hit on the East br with a dud bomb at about 1800 hrs.  The enemy arty is endeavouring with repeated shelling to cap this achievement.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div.

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

BC and Tp Comdr join after being dropped East of R DIVES.

 

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

RANVILLE - 2 D Tp guns moved from LONGUEVAL to HEROUVILLETTE.  1 K and 3 W.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

Sp 1 SS Bde and shelled BREVILLE and SALLENELLES until late at night.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde.

0520 - Enemy reoccupied ST HONORINE and ring contour 1072.  1100 - 12 Para Bn move towards LONGUEVAL to take over posn of RUR which is to attack ST HONORINE, but later is withdrawn to original posn on discovering that ST HONORINE is too strongly held for attack to be successful.  2 Oxf Bucks come under comd 5 Para Bde and patrols fwd to ESCOVILLE.  Intermittent shelling and mortaring of Bde area throughout the day.

 

7 Para Bn.

LE HOM - Bn posns shelled and mortared at various times during the day, some times heavily.

 

12 Para Bn.

1130 - Moved into rest area 1 mile N of RANVILLE still in 5 Para Bde reserve.

 

13 Para Bn.

Bn spasmodically shelled and mortared.

 

6 Air Landing Bde.

BAS DE RANVILLE - 0510 - 1 RUR report enemy tks using exit from wood at 095715 with tk harbour from 095715 to 094713.  Gun posns checked by patrols at 105694.  1100 - 12 Para Bn revert under comd 5 Para Bde, move area 113746 Role Div Reserve def area posn North.  1550 - 857 319 Inf Div put in attack from the East but were withdrawn after having their rear line bombed; this Regt had been fetched from LE HAVRE.  2010 - Following units and original STAS located on Div front.  All infm taken from PW.  11 Coy 744 Gren Regt inf div from DOZULE captured in MERVILLE, 2nd Bn 857 Regt 346 Div and 3 Bn same unit, from LE HAVRE captured area HAUGER - ST COME.  Inf reported adv NE from CUVERVILLE are suspected of laying mines in area 112690.  26 half track vehs entering CUVERVILLE from SE.  32 half track vehs, 5 towing guns, and one tk reported in sq 1166 moving NW, towards DEMOUVILLE across country.

 

1 RUR

0900 - LONGUEVAL.  Further digging and improvement of positions continued during the morning, frequently interrupted by enemy snipers in small groups penetrating woods behind the Bn position.  Shelling and mortaring continued particularly in area of Bn HQ, but owing to the position of LONGUEVAL on the side of a hill dropping away to the River ORNE, a considerable number of shells and mortar bombs fell in or on the far side of the river.  1515 - Hy shelled by Br gun.  Nosecap found.  Enemy pl infiltrated into A and B Coy posns and behind Bn HQ, but was eventually driven out.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.49

6 Airborne Div

There were 40 A Tk guns in Bde area: accordingly a counter attack sp by tks on 8 Jun was decisively defeated.  Line of attack from ST HONORINE to LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  52 Dev + 8 A Tk guns arr by sea.  They relieved para bn in area LE BAS de RANVILLE.  Para Bn went into bde res north of village.  52 Bn at HEROUVILLETTE passed under comd of a para bde.  Dev 1 RUR Bn that evening beat off another attack.

 

2 Oxf Bucks

Quiet day.

 

12 Devon.

7/8.  Bombing and shelling.  Spasmodic shelling.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde.

0200 - 9 Para Bn return to comd of this Bde.  0900 - Enemy resumed sniping and minor attacks on 9 Para Bn and 1 Cdn Para Bn.  1315 - VARAVILLE bombed and shelled by cruisers.

 

8 Para Bn.

Patrolling.

 

9 Para Bn.

The Bn now reverted to bde control, and during the night 7/8 Jun was moved to the woods south of 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 was mobile on a jeep.  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.

 

1st Cdn Para Bn.

B Coy party returned from ROBEHOMME at 0230 hrs and were a welcome addition to the Bn strength.  It was decided to clear the enemy from buildings at 144730 to neutralise the harassing fire which was coming from that position.  Recce patrols went out from C Coy early in the morning and confirmed the presence of the enemy in the buildings.  At 0900 hrs Capt P. Griffin with Coy HQ and 2 platoons from B Coy, strength of seventy-five (75), went into the assault on the position with the support of a naval bombardment.  Total enemy casualties for this engagement were reckoned as approximately fifty dead and an unknown number wounded.  B Coy then withdrew to a hedgerow 141726 that continued to form a forward line of their position.  Later in the afternoon an enemy attack was launched against our left but was driven off by mortar and small arms fire.  However they left snipers in the trees and hedgerows who were a nuisance factor until winkled out in the course of the next few days.

 

1 SS Bde

In the early hours, runners arrived at Bde HQ from 45 RM Cdo, who were still cut off.  Before assistance could be sent to 45 RM Cdo, an enemy attack in force developed during which a Tp of 4 Cdo was forced to withdraw.  Eventually a counter attack by 3 Cdo restored the posn.  A patrol from 6 Cdo broke up an attack, and attempts to infiltrate were prevented.  45 RM Cdo had suffered heavily during the day and they were withdrawn inside the Bde posns.  It was decided to hold the ridge of ground from HAUGER to BREVILLE at all costs.  A large scale attack was expected.  Bde HQ moved from ECARDE to LE PLEIN.

 

45 RM Cdo

During the morning the position became worse.  Two heavy attacks had been driven off.  The enemy had also brought up an anti-tank gun and was shelling and mortaring our positions.  At 1700 hrs orders came from Bde to withdraw through enemy lines and join up with Bde at AMFREVILLE.  By 2000 hrs the Cdo had successfully broken through silencing two MMG posts on the way and capturing one 81mm mortar whilst suffering only two casualties.  The Cdo rested in a church in AMFREVILLE for the night.

 

No.4 Cdo

A Tp in an isolated posn withdrew under enemy pressure to main Cdo posn.  The position from then onwards resolved itself into continuous enemy attempts at penetration and infiltration of all Cdo defence areas.  At 1100 hrs B Tps forward MMG positions were attacked with elements of one or two coys.  One enemy section was incautious enough to move across in view of the MMGs and sustained heavy casualties.  The attack was finally smashed by a counter attack by No.3 Cdo who were on the Cdo's right.  This attack and counter attack had occupied until the early evening and B Tps mortar section later ranged on likely forming up places in woodlands in enemy territory.  The enemy had continued probing during the day and E and F Tps and a section of A Tp were again attacked in the early evening.  Several prisoners were rounded up after the engagements - most of them young troops, including a few Poles and White Russians.

 

6 Commando.

LE PLEIN - a.m. - A noisy night.  Noon - The commando is attacked - request artillery fire and our own 3" mortars repulse attack.  No casualties suffered by us.  p.m. - Another noisy night.

 

45 RM Cdo.

Three men fetch new set from Bde and receive orders to hold MERVILLE at all costs.  Enemy attack, mortar and shell MERVILLE.  1700 - Ordered to withdraw to AMFREVILLE.

 

3 Cdo

Morning Cdo repulsed a heavy attack by troops of 346 Inf Div.

 

NOTES - D-Day + 3

 

9th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

1200 - 1 SS Bde holding from AMFREVILLE - SALLENELLES beat off repeated attacks during night.  3 Para Bde beat off attack from East and have est battle outpost at BAVENT.  5 and 6 Airldg Bde no change - enemy conc COLOMBELLES to CUVERVILLE mostly inf and some SP guns - total cas to date 900 killed and wounded.  1800 - 1 RUR attacked in LONGUEVAL tks and inf penetrated the village but were held.  1900 - Enemy pressure maint on 1 SS Bde area, particularly in neighbourhood BREVILLE and SALLENELLES.  Some infiltration but posn satisfactory.  2000 - Shelling began off RANVILLE and posns held by 12 Devon South of the town.  Also mortar fire and shelling on HEROUVILLETTE - enemy attack began almost immediately directed on 12 Devon coy posn at the x rds 140728 and 52nd posns in HEROUVILLETTE.  Enemy penetrated 12 Devon front line and were driven out by immediate local counter attack.  Enemy attack on HEROUVILLETTE failed but four tks penetrated the village where they were knocked out.  Situation reverted to normal by 2130 hrs.  2030 - Report from 6 Airldg Bde that enemy SP guns had penetrated LONGUEVAL.  2 SP guns sent to LONGUEVAL which engaged enemy guns in dusk.  Enemy immediately withdrew.  2330 - Bombing of RANVILLE area one hit on 6 Airldg Bde HQ - one man severely wounded - one SP gun KO.

 

6 Airborne Div. I. Sum. 4.

The expected attack from the South did not materialise until evening; at 2030 hrs the enemy launched what appears to have been a set-piece attack.  Preceded by 30 mins fairly hy shelling the attack went in simultaneously on HEROUVILLETTE 1272 and on area in Square 1072 and was generously sp by aerial strafing.  By 2200 hrs the situation was well in hand and the line restored at all pts.

 

Enemy Intentions.

It appears probable that 346 Div will launch a dawn attack from BREVILLE at first light tomorrow possibly synchronised with general attacks from the South if the enemy there has had time to lick his wounds after today's beating.  It is regretable that in the absence of recent identifications in the Southern sector we have no clear idea of the composition of this force.  It certainly comprises elements of 21 Pz Div and in view of reports that 12 SS Pz Div is being committed piecemeal as it arrives from the East it would not be surprising to find the odd "Hitler Youth".

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div.

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA.

Para resupply - 4 guns to Bty (6 pdr).  2 dets under comd 1 SS Bde.  14 guns in action.  Intense shelling of Bty HQ area.

 

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA.

Arrival of B tp 17 pdrs by sea.  B tp person. [posn?] in LONGUEVAL relieved by 2 Airldg LAA Bty.  B tp in posn in HEROUVILLETTE.  1800 - Hy shell fire and inf aslt from South.  2100 - Enemy withdraw.  Cas: 5 ORs W.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA.

In sp 1 SS Bde - hy concs.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde.

1630 - Arrival of sea-borne party, less tpt.  1725 - Large force of FWs flying over area.  1930 - Attack on HEROUVILLETTE and RANVILLE by two Bns repulsed.

 

8 Para Bn.

140703 - Patrolling and shelling.  1530 - Seaborne party arrived on foot under Lt. Miller.

 

9 Para Bn.

ST COME - During the night 8/9 Jun 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.  During the night 8/9, Bde sent up 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 was 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 at the risk of causing casualties amongst our own tps and they did cause a few.  The defensive fire inflicted appalling casualties on 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 rd; 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.  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 platoon 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.

 

1st Cdn Para Bn.

Weather was fine.  Enemy patrols were active along the Bn front.

 

6 Airlanding Bde.

0555 - Report from 12 Devon - MG post 099722.  Enemy met moving uphill on rds ST HONORINE towards orchard on ring contour.  0600 - RA fired on Ring Contour.  Awaiting results.  0650 - RA Lt Bty fired 500 yds up on previous night.  0655 - Four half track vehs on Ring Contour.  0825 - ESCOVILLE clear of enemy.  Report by 5 Bde.  1000 - Bde comd returned with news that RUR are putting strong coy into ST HONORINE as enemy appears to have withdrawn from ST HONORINE after stonk of last night.  RUR patrols found ST HONORINE occupied by 0900 hrs but at 0430 found it being evacuated.  1010 - RUR occupied ringed contour.  1222 - RUR are entering ST HONORINE.  1420 - Pl 2 Oxf Bucks reports 1 Pl in edge of ESCOVILLE has contacted 1 pl, 1 armd car which it proposes to destroy with mortar support.  1700 - RUR being attacked in LONGUEVAL.  Pz tks being used.  1820 - 12 Para Bn went to assistance of 1 RUR.  Found RUR could not take ST HONORINE so retired to quarry 114749.  2055 - Enemy attacking the village of LE BAS DE RANVILLE.  'A' Coy had slight penetration but eliminated it.  Enemy shelling.  Very heavy attack put in on right of Devons.  2100 - 3 SP Guns have penetrated right corner of 1 RUR RV.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.49

6 Airborne Div.

Para Bn formed up south of LONGUEVAL to attack ST HONORINE.  Lack of arty sp and evidence of increased enemy strength in ST HONORINE led to calling off of the attack.  During the withdrawal of para bn, enemy infiltrated into LONGUEVAL and were not cleared out until midnight.  9/10 - 100 enemy killed by arty fire in wood 081711.

 

1 RUR.

LONGUEVAL - 0600 - Enemy snipers return to woods behind Bn HQ.  0700 - Information received 12 Para Bn to move to LONGUEVAL this morning.  Bn would put in attack on ST HONORINE and 12 Para Bn would secure FUP for Bn attack.  1100 - 12 Para Bn arrive in LONGUEVAL and prepare to move forward to secure FUP on line of woods 092719 - 088716.  1130 - CO gives out orders to O Group, meanwhile sniping continues with increasing violence and reports received that 12 Para Bn being heavily mortared on FUP.  1210 - Information received that Arty fire plan would not be possible owing to more important engagements; attack on ST HONORINE was therefore cancelled by Bde Comdr.  1410 - Information received that RAP was being attacked and that casualties on Medical Jeep were being sniped by Germans at 20 yds range.  From subsequent reports this early information was confirmed, and it was also verified that Lt. Col. Anderson Comdg 195 Field Ambulance, who had been working in the RAP, had been shot.  Major J. Drummond and Major F.R.A. Hynds both witnessed the occurrence, and both waved Red Cross flags so as to be fully visible to the German snipers.  Major Hynds subsequently reported that one German had waved the ambulance train on after he had shouted to him and waved the Red Cross flag.  Several casualties were shot and further wounds caused during this incident and one RAMC nursing orderly was shot dead whilst assisting personnel on stretchers.

 

2 Oxf Bucks.

1345 - ESCOVILLE area was reported clear by patrols.  C Coy occupied area of chateau.  They came under fire from armd cars and at 1645 in face of increasing enemy threats, withdrew.  1730 - Enemy in some strength seen in ESCOVILLE.  1900 - Hy enemy fire and attack by inf, tks and armd cars.  DF came down and enemy withdrew.  2 Mk IVs KO (on fire) and 2 armd cars.  40 cas.

 

12 Devon.

OP on ring contour (1170 - overlooking STE HON LA CHARD).  Bn mortars blew up enemy amn dump in contour area.  Mortaring, shelling and strafing by enemy planes.  1930 - Hy enemy arty and mor fire.  2030 - Enemy attack under smoke and are beaten back.  Cas 3 K - 11 W - 1 M.

 

7 Para Bn.

 

12 Para Bn.

LONGUEVAL - 1130 - Moved to LONGUEVAL under command 6 Airldg Bde to take over village whilst RUR attacked ST HONORINE.  Bn was ordered to work forward into fire posn and support RUR by fire.  B Coy eased forward but came under heavy MG and Mortar fire suffering many casualties.  A and C Coys also reached their posns.  Owing to continued Hy mortar it was decided to withdraw the Bn and try to retrieve the casualties.  The stretcher bearers were magnificent and worked with complete disregard to their personal safety.  The Bn then withdrew to original area N of RANVILLE.

 

13 Para Bn.

1910 - Very heavy shelling of bn area by guns and heavy mortars.  HEROUVILLETTE heavily attacked by enemy infantry and tanks, but all attacks repulsed.  Some tks approached our posns but were driven off.  2055 - Enemy forming-up in Woods North of DZ.  2100 - Bn area attacked by low flying fighters.  2110 - B Coy attacked from North.  Attack repulsed.  2120 to 2130 - Enemy fighters ground-strafed and bombed area.  Intermittent shelling and bombing at irregular intervals throughout night.

 

1 SS Bde.

Infiltration attempts were made throughout the day.  45 RM Cdo moved into posns in AMFREVILLE to complete a defensive ring round the high ground.  The Bde was still isolated from 6 Airborne Div.  GONNERVILLE and LE BAS DE BREVILLE were heavily shelled during the day, being likely enemy forming up points.  FRANCEVILLE PLAGE was bombarded by rocket ships.  Further infiltration attempts by the enemy were sealed off.  Enemy mortars were active during the night.

 

45 RM Cdo

The Cdo moved into a defensive posn in area AMFREVILLE with 6 Cdo on left and Bde HQ on our right.  Slight enemy activity was encountered in the morning but the rest of the day passed quietly with the Cdo digging in.  Snipers still proved themselves a nuisance, especially in the village.

 

No.4 Cdo.

HAUGER - In morning, shelling and patrolling.  1700 hrs due to an FOO task, which was supposed to be carried out at 1900 hrs, No.45 (RM) Cdo moved out at 1845 hrs.  This task was delayed for some time and No.45 (RM) Cdo were also late in moving back to their positions.  In the meantime the enemy had taken over the house and also made a surprise attack on the Cycle Tp of No.6 Cdo, inflicting a number of casualties on them, including the Tp Ldr and one other officer.  On hearing the sound of small arms fire, Major P.A. Porteous VC went forward to investigate, to find No.45 (RM) Cdo making no attempt to regain the lost ground and that the Cycle Tp of No.6 Cdo was pinned down further down the valley.

 

6 Commando.

a.m. - Brig Durnford-Slater and Brig Lord Lovat visit the positions.  It rains like hell.  Awful.  0748 - Enemy fire develops from BREVILLE.  0803 - Enemy infiltrates into houses overlooking position.  They are mortared by us.  0850 - The Commando stands-to.  'K' guns come up and are issued immediately.  Enemy mortars 3 Troop.  We counter mortar.  45 Cdo takes up position on our right.  p.m. - We shell BREVILLE wood.

 

3 Cdo

Normal day.

 

NOTES - D-Day + 4

 

10th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

0530 - 0630 - Gen spasmodic bombing, shelling and mortaring of div posns - attacks developed as follows.

(a) One weak bn attack from SALLENELLES on HAUGER (about 400 strong) of these 40 succeeded in penetrating HAUGER.  This party was promptly eliminated by 1 SS Bde.

(b) An attack NW from BREVILLE area towards AMFREVILLE on 1 SS Bde.  Attack repulsed with hy loss to the enemy.

(c) An attack SW from BREVILLE towards LE MARIQUET which was held by 13 Para Bn.  One pl succeeded in reaching X rds 123735.

1220 - Further attack by one coy sp by 3 tks developed on 13 Para Bn front from BREVILLE area.  1400 - One Sqn 13/18 H (Sherman tks) crossed the ORNE and came under comd 6 Airborne Div.  12 Para Bn sent to relieve No.4 Cdo who withdrew into res in the evening.  1600 - Vide Serial 44 - this attack was made by two coys 7 Para Bn attacking eastwards from LE MARIQUET, sp by one sqn 13/18 H (Shermans) operating wide on the left flank to cut off the enemy from BREVILLE.  The inf attack met an utterly disorg enemy.  200 of whom were killed and 100 taken prisoner.  7 Para Bn losses negligible.  The tk attack ran into hy A Tk gun fire SW of BREVILLE and five tks were lost.

 

6 Airborne Div.  Int. Sum. 5.

Enemy Sit.

It was the Southern sector that produced the big surprise of the day, for it was definitely est that 21 Pz Recce Unit sp by 30 tks had been in the area East of CAEN since D Day while 3 Bn 736 Gren Regt was identified at LONGUEVAL 0972.  The day's build up was somewhat slower starting than had been expected.  From the experience of the previous evening the enemy was obviously quite satisfied that it was useless attempting to reach the brs from the South; this part of the front was therefore left severely alone and having decided to make BREVILLE his jumping off place the enemy launched an attack from that locality in a SW direction.  Throughout the morning the area of the DZ, the scene of so much activity in the last week, witnessed yet another battle in which the enemy put in mixed forces of inf, str approx two coys, some tks and armd Cs.  By 1300 hrs, the rd by the church of RANVILLE, presumably one of the enemy's objectives, had not been reached and the one o'clock ISUM could justly claim that all attacks had been beaten off.  At SALLENELLES 1376 and HAUGER the attacks, began at 0900 hrs, took the form of a three pronged drive Westwards with infiltration from the North.  These attacks, too, were successfully held and the early afternoon ramp appeared to damp all further enemy activity as well as his spirits to judge from the line of bedraggled PW who found their way to the div compound during the late afternoon and evening.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div.

4 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

Seaborne forces.

 

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

1000 - Enemy attack from East beaten off.  1200 - Total cas to date: 3 K, 2 D of W; 19 W; 16 M; battle accidents 7.  1700 - Arrival of missing 17 pdr det - did not take off.  Plan for 3 and 4 Btys to put 5 new guns north of RANVILLE against possible attack from BREVILLE.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

HF fire from BREVILLE.  0800 - C Tp hy shelled.  GPO and Tp leader K.  Held up attack on HAUGER for 10 hrs.  (2000 rnds fired).  13/18 H pass through bty posn to attack immed. front.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde.

1100 - Enemy est one bn in strength attacks towards RANVILLE from direction of BREVILLE.  Attack not supported by arty or tks.  13 and 7 Para Bns inflict hy casualties on enemy as they cross open ground.  Some enemy penetrates RANVILLE but later mopped up.  Isolated Pocket of enemy remain in orchard LE MARIQUET and other areas on DZ.  Many PWs taken.  1600 - 2 Coys 7 Para Bn supported by sqn Sherman tks and covering fire of 13 Para Bn attack LE MARIQUET and mop up enemy on DZ.  Est total enemy cas for day 300 dead 70 PW.  153 Bde 51 Div passes through Bde area and occupied area TOUFFREVILLE.  BREVILLE heavily shelled during night.

 

7 Para Bn.

LE MESNIL - 1535 to 1809 - Bn completed successful attack on enemy in woods between bn posn and LE MESNIL taking up final posn in LE MESNIL.

 

12 Para Bn.

LE BAS DE RANVILLE - 2100 - Remained resting until 2100 hrs when Bn was put under command 155 Bde and sent to take HAUGER - 2230 - Bn less B Coy in posn.

 

13 Para Bn.

RANVILLE - 0300 - Capt. Kerr, commanding 2 pls of B Coy, covering northern approaches, reported enemy MG fire on his posns from woods near BREVILLE.  Bde HQ confirmed presence of enemy bn in BREVILLE and arrangements were made for reception of possible attacks.  Intermittent shelling, resembling ranging continued until dawn.  0725 - Enemy debouched from woods about 129736 - 2 Coys infantry.  0730 - Arty engaged enemy (about 50) 124744.  0745 - Approx one bn enemy spread out between 117740 - 122925.  0825 - Enemy now at 118734 - 30 yards from posns.  Heavily engaged by LMGs.  0845 - C Coy pl moved to orchard 115735.  0920 - Some enemy remnants conc in wood 121734 and mortar fire falling on x rds 114735.  0935 - Wood 121734 being heavily shelled by our arty.  1010 - 18 PW brought in.  Identified as II/858 Inf Regt 346 Div.  1155 - B Coy report further enemy attacks.  1230 - 1 Pl enemy moved into East end of RV.  1330 - Enemy reinforcing RV by infiltration.  1355 - Enemy smoke area 117738.  1455 - HEROUVILLETTE shelled by enemy.  1530 - Several pls enemy moved astride rd 129741.  1630 - RV attacked by Sherman tks, 2 Coys 7 Para Bn and C Coy 13 Para Bn.  Cleared of enemy.  73 prisoners taken.  2315 - 249 Sqn RE under comd for def.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.44

Action at RANVILLE 10 Jun.  Sit in Northern Sector of 6 Airborne Div.

(a) 1 SS Bde was holding LE PLEIN feature incl HAUGER.

(b) In 3 Para Bde area

        (i) A Bn (strength approx 190) was holding the woods North of LE MESNIL.  9 Para Bn.

        (ii) Cdn B and 8 Para bns (approx 300-400 each) extending southwards beyond the X rds.

(c) 5 Para Bde area:

             (C Bn in HEROUVILLETTE - 2 Oxf Buck

All para (D Bn in RANVILLE and LE MARIQUET

             (E Bn in LE HOM

             (F Bn    div res across two rds running SW from SALLENELLES.

Enemy Attack

0800 - Hy mortaring of SS Bde, also arty fire and bombing on RANVILLE and LE HOM.  Enemy worked into gap between SS Bde and X Para Bde at BREVILLE.  1030 - Enemy attacked NW from BREVILLE against right Cdo at LE PLEIN and SW against D Para Bn's posn at LE MARIQUET.  Attack against LE PLEIN was repulsed with hy losses.  The other attack came in against the para bn across the landing zone; the enemy used the gliders as cover.  A party which left the cover of the gliders was shot up at short range with 46 killed.  However, the enemy continued to infiltrate throughout the afternoon until they were numerous to the East and North East of LE MARIQUET.  1115 - On SS front the enemy switched their attack to the North and attacked the left hand Cdo with the SALLENELLES - RANVILLE road as the axis.  The Cdo counter attacked and drove the enemy off, but in the course of the action lost hy from mortar fire.  1400 - Sit restores.  Enemy was now useless as a fighting force but to clear up sit action was taken as follows:- 5 Para Bde + 1 Sqn Shermans attacked enemy to SW of BREVILLE.  Two coys of 7 Para Bn attacked from LE HOM.  Tks acted as cut off wide on left flank.  Enemy were surprised; for loss of 1 K and 1 W cas of 100 PW and 200 PW were inflicted.  Sqn lost 5 tks from a tk gun in BREVILLE.  1800 - Sit restored.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde.

0730 - 2 Bn attack on 9 Para Bn and 1 Cdn Para Bn posns.  Enemy infiltrated between Cdns and 9 Bn with Inf guns and armour.  Driven out by fire.  1330 - Situation in hand.  1830 - 7 Para Bn arrives at Bde posn.  2230 - 5 Black Watch arrive and move to 9 Para Bn posn prior to attack on BREVILLE.  9 Bn captured Chateau to give BW start line.  5/7 Gordons and 1 Gordons proceed to 8 Para Bn area.

 

8 Para Bn.

Patrolling and shelling.  1510 - Highland troops moving into area during afternoon 10 Jun, 44 and night 10/11 Jun and morning of 11 Jun.

 

9 Para Bn.

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.  1900 - An attack by one and a half enemy Coys launched and again repulsed with heavy losses.  CO 21st Bn 857 Regt captured.  Reported that his Unit had been wiped out.  2300 - C Coy detailed to seize and hold Chateau at ST COME.  It did so and was attacked all through the night.  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.  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 enabled 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.  Those dispositions paid a very early dividend.  At about noon half a Coy of enemy debouched from the woods and began to dig 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 1900 hrs a very determined attack by one and a half Coys developed from the North on the left flank of the bn position.  The bn mortars (for whom amn had now arrived) fired with great effect, and the attack was repelled.  In the course of it the acting CO of the 21 Bn 857 Regt was taken prisoner.  This officer stated that the whole of his bn had been wiped out and he thought most of the Regt had.  Between 1900 and 2300 hrs numbers of enemy were seen streaming across open ground SW 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 on 5 Bde positions at RANVILLE.  At 2000 hrs an enemy attempt was made to influence the battle by cutting in on 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 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.

 

1 Cdn Para Bn.

Weather continued to be fine and constant patrolling was maintained by the Bn.  During the day the enemy formed up on the glider field for an attack against the Bde area but this attack was broken up by our artillery and MMGs before it got under way.  Bn position was shelled and machine gunned by the enemy at intervals during the day.

 

6 Air Landing Bde.

British A/c - Halifaxes with Spitfire escort over head - supplies dropped (0615).  0735 - Bn attack by enemy reported front 128736.  0700 - DF fire called for.  0856 - Enemy approx 1 pl have reached X rds 121732.  OP in LE HOM Church tower being machine gunned.  Enemy too close for arty fire.  0845 - Med Regt shot, by FOO with 3 Para Bde is engaging two coys of enemy inf 144731.  0937 - All quiet on Devon sector.  1008 - LONGUEVILLE being attacked by 100 inf supported by arty and tks.  The attack is from direction BREVILLE and is being dealt with.  1210 - 3 Para report SP guns attacking them.  Ask 12 Para for A Tk guns.  1200 - 12 Bn report engaged on both flanks.  No AFV.  Enemy being well attended to in dead ground.  1340 - Enemy attack at 129741 with three tks and inf beaten off.  Elements dispersed.  1345 - (From G1 Div at 1345) SHERMAN tks will be wandering around today's battlefds.  Warn all ranks.  1415 - Visit by LO from Div.  7 Para Bn to assist 13 Para Bn temporarily.  12 Devon to cover front so exposed until tonight.  1530 - South of rd from RANVILLE to BREVILLE enemy laying smoke to get away and may lay mines.  1723 - Our tks ran into A Tk screen at BREVILLE.  Two knocked out.  1736 - 12 Para Bn ordered to relieve 4 SS Bde and come under comd 1 Inf Div (1 SS Bde?).  1900 - Report from RUR at COLOMBELLES at 1130 hrs.  Cas enemy, 11 killed ? wounded; RUR 2 killed, 1 wounded.  Enemy took a poor view of this and gave civs a pretty rough cross examination but they lied their way out.  Are now scared.  They report there are 200 enemy in LE BAS DE COLOMBELLES described as a mixed lot.  At LONGUEVILLE 1500 and 2300 hrs, cas enemy - 4 killed 3 probables.  7 others known to be hit.  RUR - 1 killed, 5 wounded.  Captured one MG 34, 1 MG 42, 5 rifles, 2 MP 40s, 2 Lugar pistols.  2009 - Stonk going on in area BREVILLE where enemy are forming up to attack.  2155 - One SP guns knocked out 2 Mk IV tks, one 7.5 mm SP gun, one MC comb and one MC.  Cas - 2 tk crews, 12 SS, 3 per tk.  One SP crew, 2 inf.  Only 50% area searched accomplished by 5 Para Bde.

 

1 RUR

LONGUEVAL - 0600 - Quiet night, slight enemy mortaring but to no effect.  1530 - Information received that enemy reinforcements approx 300 strong had arrived in area COLOMBELLES.  This information was received from a civilian source.  (M. Daviosne in whose house Bn HQ was situated, had by this time become invaluable for confirming the reliability or otherwise of civilians arriving with information.  Lt. Fogt acting as Bn interpreter and invaluable as such).  Supplies were very well maintained notwithstanding the enemy's efforts to shell the RANVILLE - LONGUEVAL Rd, which achieved success to the extent that only the tow path beside the river was in any way safe for vehicles.  Great difficulty was experienced in maintaining line communication with Bde owing to "cutting" by enemy patrols or shell fire.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.49

6 Airborne Div.

Enemy attempts sp by mortars to infiltrate from ST HONORINE towards LONGUEVAL and LE BAS DE RANVILLE.

 

2 Oxf Bucks.

At HEROUVILLETTE 0700 hrs.  Enemy coy attacked from BREVILLE area and wood 125731, but were driven off by arty and Sa fire by 1300 hrs.  Another attack was driven off at 1800 hrs by arty and Covenanter(?) tks.  6 tks were lost.

Cas up to 10:

        Offrs:

        ORs:

K

2

15

W

14

97

M

-

87 (53 on first day

Total 215.

 

12 Devon

Shelling and a/c attacks.  Patrols.

 

45 RM Cdo

There was slight enemy air activity over our positions in the morning but no bombs were dropped.  Between 0800 and 1100 hrs the enemy began an attack on our lines but was driven off.  45 RM Cdo suffered no casualties but helped to inflict severe casualties on the enemy.  Prisoners were identified as of the 3 Bn 858 Regt.  A vehicle believed to be a mobile mortar was spotted about 1515 and after F Tp had put down a 10 minutes shoot one patrol of A Tp went out and found it was only an ordinary truck.

 

1 SS Bde.

6 Cdo were heavily mortared at 0800 hrs, and the whole Bde front was ranged.  4 Cdo suffered hy cas.  An enemy attack was launched at 0815 against 6 Cdo, probing of 3 and 4 Cdos posn also occurred.  The enemy was driven back with hy losses.  Minor thrusts supported by an SP gun against 3 and 4 Cdos were repulsed, but a further attack, of 2 Bn strength developed on 4 Cdo.  Some infiltration occurred, and by 1145 hrs 4 Cdo HQ was in danger, being shelled and mortared.  Bitter fighting resulted in hy cas to both sides.  At 1400 hrs, the enemy withdrew, badly mauled.  A further attack was made in the afternoon, against 4 Cdo, and though infiltration occurred, the posns were not over run.  45 RM Cdos posns were mortared, but the lines every where held firm, although seriously depleted in strength.  Prisoners taken were eager to talk, and it was clear that the battle was won.   346 Div (consisting of 875 and 858 Inf Regts) and 857 Inf Regt were identified.  4 Cdo who had suffered heavily were withdrawn.  Their place was taken by 12 Para Bn.  Two SP guns arrived in the Bde area and were used by 3 Cdo for offensive patrols towards SALLENELLES and BREVILLE.

 

45 RM Cdo.

0800 - 1100 - Enemy attacked and were driven off.  PW identification 3 Bn 858 Regt.

 

No.4 Cdo.

Hy shelling of HQ area.  HQ moved to CHATEAU DE HAUGER.  E Tp were so depleted that they were comd by a Sgt, and were relieved by a tp of 3 Cdo and pulled out of line to rest.  HAUGER - D Tp had reoccupied their positions at a Farmhouse (131763) on the HAUGER - SALLENELLES Rd and alongside a hedge leading to the woods in front of the Chateau.  They came under mortar fire and Major P.A. Porteous VC decided to withdraw to a position affording a better field of fire and linking up with No.45 (RM) Cdo.  Meanwhile F Tp 2" mortar and MG fire routed the enemy troops opposing them on the start line, and despite 8 hours mortar and shell fire the Tp had only one casualty - a mortarman in action being hit by shrapnel.  Further shelling broke out during the afternoon and was followed by a heavy attack on C Tp, who were defending the road leading to the Cdo's new HQ.  This attack was held and heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy.  After all enemy attacks had been neutralised, reinforcements from rested Airborne Tps took over No.4 Cdo's positions and the Cdo, less D and E Tps went down the line to rest.  D and E Tps were able to hand over their positions in the early morning.

 

6 Commando.

0800 - Enemy attacks - all troops engaged.  By 1700 hrs all attacks definitely repelled.  Suspect enemy got it in the neck.  Our own casualties total 16.

 

3 Cdo

Shelling and mortaring.  No enemy at SALLENELLES.

 

NOTES - D-Day + 5

 

11th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

Night 10/11.  153 Inf Bde crossed R ORNE during the night and entered the Div area - units being directed as under.  BW to attack and capture BREVILLE on morning 11 Jun.  Thereby filling the gap between 1 SS Bde and 3 Para Bde.  1 Gordons to pass through 8 Para Bn and occupy a covering posn immediately South of that unit's area.  This op being carried out during the hrs of darkness.  5/7 Gordons to pass through 1 Gordons on morning 11 Jun to attack TOUFFREVILLE.  0930 - BW held up on outskirts of BREVILLE.  1915 - 5/7 Gordons entered TOUFFREVILLE unopposed and consolidated.  1915 - 4 SS Bde entered the div area and came under comd 6 Airborne Div.  Took over North of area previously occupied by 1 SS Bde.

 

6 Airborne Div.  I. Sum. 6.
Enemy Sit.

(a) The last 24 hrs have been disappointing from the pt of view of contact with the enemy.  A dawn attack on BREVILLE 1374 by a newly arrived bn proved unsuccessful and earned us a retaliatory shelling on the RANVILLE area as well as on posns South of SALLENELLES 1276.  There were a few more PW as well as some deserters from 858 Gren Regt; one of them came from No.15 - an AA - Coy and all continued the tale of woe which their comrades captured from the same unit the previous evening had already told........ Whichever is the case, the fact remains that civ sources reported later in the day CUVERVILLE 1069 clear of enemy, while our attack on TOUFFREVILLE 1368 was somewhat unnecessary as it was found unoccupied.  Lack of activity in the Southern sector arouse the suspicion that 21 Pz Recce may have moved away to new posns without giving battle.

(c) Enemy Intentions:  The enemy appears to have given up any hopes he may have entertained of driving through to the BENOUVILLE brs.  This view is supported by the fact that 346 Div had remained strictly on the def all day whilst the 21 Pz Div elements have been markedly inactive in the area North and NW of TROARN and may even have started thinning out.  In the absence both of new identifications in the area between the ORNE and the DIVES and of Tac R reports of moves towards the VARAVILLE br, it looks as though 346 Div is not going to be reinforced and its role will be to delay our adv to the DIVES.  711 Div may in the meantime dispose itself along the high ground East of the DIVES to contain the left flank of the br head on this line.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div.

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

New guns in posn.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

HF.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde.

0740 - Attack by 5 Black Watch of BREVILLE fails.  BREVILLE becoming enemy strong point.  Day quiet except for spasmodic mortaring from area BREVILLE.  12 Para Bn relieve 4 Cdo during night in area HAUGER and come under comd 1 SS Bde.  Chester Wilmott and Leonard Mosely, war correspondents with 6 Airborne Div leave for England.

 

7 Para Bn.

LE MESNIL - 1535 to 1809 - Bn completed successful attack on enemy in woods between bn posn and LE MESNIL taking up final posn in LE MESNIL.

 

12 Para Bn.

Quiet night.

 

13 Para Bn.

0825 to 0830 - Bn area mortared.  1030 - Bn area shelled.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde.

0400 - Shelling of BREVILLE by 65 Med Regt.  0430 - 5 Black Watch attack BREVILLE.  Attack did NOT succeed.  1100 - 5 Black Watch reform in area of 9 Para Bn: Chateau area.

 

8 Para Bn.

140703 - 2115 - A Coy take TOUFFREVILLE and 5/7th consolidate area.

 

9 Para Bn.

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 CHATEAU by one Coy 5 Black Watch.  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.

 

1 Cdn Para Bn.

Weather continued fine.  Enemy made probing attacks along the Bn front but were driven back and suffered casualties.

 

6 Air Landing Bde.

1940 - No.4 SS Bde will take over area occupied by 12 Para Bn.  12 Para Bn on relief will occupy area 118756 and come under comd 6 Airldg Bde.  No.4 Commando reverts comd 1 SS Bde forthwith.  2240 - 4 Commando revert to comd of parent fmn.

 

1 RUR

LONGUEVAL - Day was quiet except for slight enemy mortaring and sniping.

 

2 Oxf and Bucks.

Rumour of tk threat from CAEN did not materialise.

 

12 Devon.

Mortar fire.

 

HQ 153 Inf Bde.

By first light 5/7 Gordons and 1 Gordons had occupied the wood and the brick works respectively without opposition.  The Bde HQ was est in the area of the farm at 138707.  The attack by 5 BW on BREVILLE reached its objective (the X rds) with hy cas but was counter attacked by SP guns.  The posn was untenable and the bn withdrew 400x and reorganised on the flank of 9 Para Bn.  (Cas. approx 200).  On his return to Bde HQ the Bde Comd was informed that a patrol from 8 Para Bn had been into TOUFFREVILLE and found it unoccupied except for a few snipers.  The bde comd thereupon decided that the arty bombardment should be abandoned.  At 1900 hrs 5/7 Gordons moved fwd from their selected start line and by 2000 hrs with practically no opposition they had occupied the village.  The essential tpt moved down the rd after the bn and by 2100 hrs the A Tk guns were in posn and the inf in the process of digging in.  Armd Cars in the evening launched a counter attack by fire on TOUFFREVILLE shooting at it from 400-500x.  As regards 1 Gordons they were safely installed in the BRICK WORKS area, had made no contact with the enemy and were now firmly dug in.  5 Seaforth in the meantime had arrived and had occupied the wood at 1370 so that now the bde was disposed in a "V" facing south with Bde HQ in the farm at 138707.

 

5 Black Watch.

0430 - Attacked BREVILLE.  Met hy mortar and mg fire: suffered hy cas and withdrew to former posns.  Reorganised into 3 Coys.  4 officers K: 5 officers W.

 

1 Gordons.

0230 - Main bdy spent night in rd triangular1370.  0600 - Coy Comdrs and CO recced fwd.  2 i/c moved main body to brick works, where it relieved a strong patrol of paratps.  From brick works OP a long column of enemy tpt incl SP guns, tks, and tracks was seen moving from TROARN to CAEN.  1900 - 5/7 Gordons took TOUFFREVILLE, and were counter attacked by tks and SP guns later.

 

5/7 Gordons.

Plan for attack on TOUFFREVILLE in conjunction with 8 Para Bn cancelled, as patrol reported village not occupied.  2000 - Bn in village.  Rear very close country.  Night: Enemy hy infiltration.

 

1 SS Bde.

After a quiet night, shelling began at first light, units and Bde HQ suffered casualties.  A fighting patrol from 45 RM Cdo entered SALLENELLES and found it clear.  3 Cdo supported an attack by the Black Watch on BREVILLE.  A further patrol by 45 RM Cdo entered AMFREVILLE and found it empty; evidence was discovered of 21 Pz Recce Regt in the area.  Brig Durnford Slater Dep Comd SS Gp visited Bde HQ.  4 SS Bde took over 12 Para Bn posns.  Shelling recommenced at 2200 hrs, 3 and 6 Cdos suffering more casualties.  After dark patrols were sent to BREVILLE and SALLENELLES.  The Bde Major was injured and evacuated.  First line reinforcements arrived and carried out a successful raid without loss.

 

45 RM Cdo.

Hy mortaring and shelling.  Enemy attack E tp 0515 hrs.  RM patrol of 3 offrs and 100 ORs move to BREVILLE and kill many enemy.

 

No.4 Cdo.

The Cdo, although having arrived at the rest area on the East side of the famous HEROUVILLE Bridges crossing the River ORNE and the CAEN Canal, were subjected the heavy shelling throughout the day.

 

6 Commando.

LE PLEIN - a.m. - We shell BREVILLE.  We are shelled heavily.  We capture a track 20 mm gun.  p.m. - Continued to be shelled.  They shell us.

 

48 RM Cdo.

Op Est 022804.  Crossed R ORNE to HAUGER.  Took over from 12 Para Bn.  HQ 129759.  47 RM Cdo on left.  3 Cdo on right.  Move to East of R. ORNE.  RV at 105745 at 2000 hrs.  Take over from 12 Para Bn.  47 RM Cdo on left; 3 Cdo on right.  Cdo forms left hand troops of 1 SS Bde.  HQ 129759.

 

4 SS Bde.

Tac HQ arrives in 6 Airborne Div area with under comd 47 and 48 RM Cdos.  Tasks to occupy def posn, assist 1 SS Bde, and maintain patrols as required.  41 RM Cdo to remain in DOUVRES area to contain Radar Sta, under comd 1 Corps.  46 RM Cdo to remain present posn under comd 3 Cdn Inf Div.

General

For this period the Bde remained occupying a static posn, maintaining patrols of various kinds.  Cdos posns were changed at intervals (see Bde OO No.3) so that one could occupy the Bde Rest Area, and another would be available for sp and as a means of deepening the Bde posn.

 

45 RM Cdo.

At 0415 hrs the enemy shelled and mortared our positions heavily, causing some casualties.  At 0515 hrs an attack was opened on E Tp but was driven back.  Until about 1030 the enemy kept up a continuous barrage of mortar and shelling.  A Tp was detached to No.3 Cdo as fighting patrol.  In the afternoon and evening the enemy kept sending out patrols to probe our positions but were all driven back with heavy casualties.  A large patrol of 3 Offrs and 100 other ranks commanded by Maj. I.N.N. Beadle went on to BREVILLE.  Patrol successfully killing a great number of Germans.

 

3 Cdo.

4 SS Bde enter Div area.  12 Para Bn relieved 2100 hrs and pass through Cdo lines.

 

NOTES - D-Day + 6

 

12th June 1944

6 Airborne Div.

0630 - Enemy attacked BW in BREVILLE area.  1500 - Very hy enemy mortar concs opened on BW and 9 Para Bn areas and attacks developed.  DF tasks fired on areas concerned.  1700 - Enemy attack on 9 Para Bn area being pressed.  Mortar fire on BW posns continuing and enemy pressing.  The BW were pressed back from their fwd posns and Comd 3 Para Bde counter attacked with one coy 1 Cdn Para Bn - posn partially restored.  2200 - 12 Para Bn with under comd one coy 12 Devon launched a counter attack on the BREVILLE area sp by div arty, and five regts of arty 51 Div.  12 Para Bn captured BREVILLE.  They were heavily shelled by own guns in BREVILLE half an hour later and suffered hy cas.  2315 - 3 Para Bdes posns completely restored.  Indep Para Coy ordered to BREVILLE area to reinforce 12 Para Bn.  2330 - Infm received that Comds 6 Airldg Bde and 1 SS Bde had been wounded by own shell fire falling short.

 

6 Airborne Div.  I. Sum. 7.

The enemy launched no attacks during the night, but he shelled the gen area of LE PLEIN 1275 before midnight and again later shelled and mortared our posns South of BREVILLE 1374.  Tps under our comd entered BREVILLE, overran a post and killed eleven.  At 0500 hrs, enemy inf and tks attacked TOUFFREVILLE from the South but a counter attack at 0615 hrs restored the sit.  Soon afterwards an enemy counter attack was repulsed South of BREVILLE.  At the same time enemy vehs and AFVs were seen in the area SANNERVILLE 1368 - BANNERVILLE 1367.  One of our neighbours found a clue to its composition when they identified 5 Coy of our old friends the 125 Pz Grens.  We reported this Coy in TROARN on D Day (Int. Summary No.1).  The main attack of the day came in at 1500 hrs at BREVILLE.  After hy mortar concs, some of our fwd posns of a unit under comd were overrun, but the position was partially restored by the prompt action of one of our Brigs who collected a coy from one of his bns and counter attacked.  At 2200 hrs after 15 mins arty preparations BREVILLE is being attacked by us.

 

HQ RA 6 Airborne Div

3 Airldg A Tk Bty RA

NIL.

 

53 Airldg Lt Regt RA

HF on SALLENELLES and BREVILLE.  FOO K.

 

HQ 3 Para Bde.

Up to 1500 hrs an exceptionally quiet day.  1500 - Hy bombardment heard from BW area.  Kept up for 1 hrs with strong mortar and SA fire.  Message from Black Watch said they had drawn in one coy but had left A Tk gunners and PsIAT at CHATEAU.  LO from 9 Para Bde said that though situation was severe posn could and was being held.  Bde Comd ordered up "C" Coy 1 Cdn Para Bn and he with Bde IO went up to put them in posn.  FOO and FOB fired on wood near BREVILLE.  Numbers of Black Watch found in Bde HQ area.  1700 - Cruiser fire by FOB of 64 shells.  1915 - Two tps Sherman tks 13/18 Hussars and 2 Secs 3 Para Sqn RE left Bde HQ for chateau area.  4 Shermans KO.  2145 - Attack on BREVILLE by 12 Para Bn, 1 Coy Devons and 1 Sqn 13/18 Hussars; this completely stabilised the front.  2245 - Bde Comd's party returned, Bde Comd to Div.

 

8 Para Bn.

Patrols.

 

9 Para Bn.

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 Bn 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.  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 roads 136737.  At 1500 hrs an intense arty and mortar bombardment on the two bn positions began and lasted for three quarters of an hour.  9 Para Bn were 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 tanks 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 yards the 9 Para Bn's posn and infantry to within 20 yards.  Both were repelled.  The tk was hit twice on the nose by PIATs without any effect, a third PIAT bomb then hit 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 120 mm) came down on the bn posn - it lasted for ten minutes, but no infantry attack developed.

 

1 Cdn Para Bn.

Weather continued fine.  Bn HQ moved position to the brickworks across the road.  Shelling and mortaring continued.

 

HQ 5 Para Bde.

Morning quiet.  Enemy attack South from BREVILLE and punch in left flank of 5 Black Watch.  Counter attack by 1 Cdn Para Bn partially restores situation.  2300 - 12 Para Bn and 1 coy 12 Devons with two sqn tks u/c attack BREVILLE after 15 mins arty conc from five arty regts.  BREVILLE captured but casualties heavy due to inaccuracy of Arty support.  Col. Johnson, CO, 12 Para Bn, killed.

 

7 Para Bn.

1502 - Shelling and fire from North.  Bn stands to for an hour and A Coy moves to 138726 to support 1 Cdn Bn.

 

12 Para Bn.

2200 - Rested until 2030 hrs then marched to LE PLEIN to form up for attack on BREVILLE.  2215 - Attack went in and Bn occupied BREVILLE.  Casualties: Killed Lt. Col. A.P. Johnson, Major H.D. Rogers, Lt. B.M. Brewer and 28 ORs.  Wounded Major C.W. Stephens, Capt. P.C. Bernhard, Capt. W.G. Meda, Capt. J.H. Sim, Lt. Campbell and about 100 ORs.

 

13 Para Bn.

1145 to 1200 - Area shelled intermittently.

 

6 Air Landing Bde.

1045 - Report by Capt Hardy 4 Commando made recce on BREVILLE on night 11/12 16 prisoners captured.  Report village is lightly held but numerous gun posns.  Navy bombarded coast East of R ORNE on night 11/12.  Gordons at TOUFFREVILLE had 7 counter attacks during the same night.  Posns held.  1900 - Enemy attacking from BREVILLE.  Str, 1 Bn supported by SP guns.  2130 - 12 Para Bn with under comd one Coy 12 Devon contemplating attack on BREVILLE.  0100 - Succeeded in attack on BREVILLE.  0220 - Reinforcements being rushed to 12 Para Bn by 22 Indep Para Bde.

 

1 RUR.

LONGUEVAL - 1200 - R Group 5 Camerons arrived.  Sniping and shelling continued throughout day, but otherwise situation normal.

 

Current Reports from Overseas No.49

6 Airborne Div.

Para Bn + 1 coy of DEV Bn sp by div arty (3 Div) and a sqn of tks successfully captured BREVILLE.

 

2 Oxf and Bucks.

Spectators to closing of the BREVILLE gap battle.  Bath for men.

 

12 Devon.

D Coy help 12 Para Bn in attack on BREVILLE.  Attack successful.  Coy caught in conc on SL.

Cas:

        Offrs

        ORs

K

1

5

W

2

18

M

-

5

          Total:      31.

 

1 SS Bde.

Patrols during the night made contact with the enemy.  6 Cdo were shelled before dawn, and an attack was expected.  Arty and counter bty fire were directed against the bty believed responsible for the shelling.  No attack developed.  4 Cdo returned to their posns at midday.  A strong patrol to the area of LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON to support movements of 4 SS Bde, by 3 Cdo was unopposed.  More heavy shelling of 6 and 45 RM Cdos occurred from 1400 to 1800.  Several casualties resulted.  At 2100, 12 Para Bn supported by tanks formed up in the Bde area for an attack on BREVILLE.  A hy artillery barrage was laid down at 2145, shells falling short in 6 Cdo area and causing casualties to 12 Para Bn and 6 Cdo.  Enemy fire was also falling in the same area.  During this melee, the Bde Comd was severely wounded.  BREVILLE was in the hands of 12 Para Bn by midnight.  No opposition was encountered by a patrol probing towards GONNERVILLE.  A sleeping prisoner was taken with his weapon.  Lt. Col. D. Mills Roberts DSO MC assumed comd of 1 SS Bde.

 

45 RM Cdo.

Attack on BREVILLE.  1 offr and 20 ORs supplied.  Enemy shelling.  BREVILLE taken.

 

No.4 Cdo.

After nearly 36 hrs rest the Cdo moved back to the Chateau at HAUGER and again resumed a defensive role, being heavily shelled in the evening, the Chateau receiving a direct hit above a shelter in which civilians from the village were taking cover.  Despite the severity of this shelling which followed shortly after the British barrage on BREVILLE, there were no casualties.

 

6 Commando.

LE PLEIN - a.m. - We shell enemy all day.  They shell us.  p.m. - 2200 hrs Brigade order 2 and 6 Troop to withdraw from trenches to permit 12 Para Bn to pass through and attack BREVILLE.  This attack is preceded by a very heavy barrage which is answered by enemy counter barrage.  12 Para Bn suffer heavy casualties forming up.  We suffer 1 officer and 15 ORs casualties.  12 Para Bn take BREVILLE.  Brig Lord Lovat wounded.  CO takes over Bde.  Major Lewis takes over Commando.

 

48 RM Cdo.

With 47 Cdo moved nearer to SALLENELLES.  48 on right and 47 on left of road.  Patrol est in SALLENELLES.  Rep clear by inhabitants.  Moved with 47 RM Cdo on the right to occupy the strongpoint between the two roads leading to SALLENELLES.  HQ set up 131763: comd Post 130766: Standing patrol 133769.

 

4 SS Bde.

p.m. - Tac Bde HQ moved into house at 131763.  Rear HQ arrives.  To remain in quarry 1175.  All units B Echs were eventually to be brigaded in these quarries.

 

45 RM Cdo.

Enemy activity was again reported early this morning between 0200 - 0430 hrs.  It was believed the enemy was trying to infiltrate our line but met with little success.  At 1055 he began lobbing more shells into the area of Cdo HQ but there was no damage or casualties.  A Tp was asked to supply 1 Offr and 20 other ranks to aid infantry attack on BREVILLE.  At 2145 an arty barrage on BREVILLE commenced and between 2200 - 0030 the enemy began a counter barrage causing casualties and damage in the Cdo area.  At least 33 shells fell in the area.  The attack on BREVILLE was successful.  The village being pounded to dust.

 

3 Cdo.

Assist 13/18 H to recce posns from which to sp attack on BREVILLE.