Title1 SS Brigade in Operation "OVERLORD"
Description1 S.S. Bde, in operation "Overlord", 1944 June
SourceUK_National_ArchiveReferenceWO 223/22

1 SS Brigade in Operation "OVERLORD"

1. 1 SS Brigade consisting of 3, 4, 6 and 45 RM Commandos, was organised into two forces for the Normandy invasion. One force, consisting of 4 Commando, was to land soon after the loading companion of infantry and then attack and destroy the coastal battery at OUISTREHAM. The remainder of the Brigade was to land A little time later and march as quickly as possible to join up with 6 Airborne Division on the East side of the River ORNE. The Brigade was subsequently to operate on the left flank of the Airborne troops in attempting to clear the ground between the ORNE and the River DIVES. 4 Commando was to rejoin the Brigade as soon as possible.

2. 4 Conmando came ashore at about H + 30 to the West of OUISTREHAM. They came under heavy fire on landing. This inflicted about 40 casual- ties including the CO. The main coast road was soon reached, however, and the Commando fought its way towards the battery. Severe fighting took place and casualties were heavy on both sides before the position fell.

3. The rest of the Brigade landed at about H + 60 and immediately began the cross country march towards the ORNE bridges which the Airborne Division has captured intact.

4. When the bridges were reached at about 1230 a troop of 6 Commando went forward to capture LE PLEIN and 45 RM Commando advanced towards MERVILLE and FRANCEVILLE PLAGE which were their objectives. Meanwhile the Airborne Division were being hard pressed by numerous enemy attacks and 3 Commando, on arrival at the bridges at about 1530, was detached to protect Divisional HQ. It then became necessary to modify the original plan and to concentrate for the moment on holding the high ground from MERVILLE to BREVILLE. 45 RM Commando were ordered to remain in MERVILLE and 6 Commando to consolidate in LE PLEIN. 4 Commando rejoined the Brigade at 2000 and occupied positions in HAUGER. Brigade HQ was established it ECARDE.

5. 3 Commando came under command at 0300 on the morning of D + 1. Later that morning the GOC 6 Airborne Division ordered that 45 RM Commando should, after all, carry out the attack on FRANCEVILLE PLACE. This attack met with fierce opposition and the Commando had to withdraw to MERVILLE. Thereafter, contact between the unit and Brigade HQ was lost. In the evening, 3 Commando occupied positions between 4 and 6 Commandos. The enemy made frequent attempts to infiltrate into the Diviosional area but was prevented.

6. In the early hours of D + 2 a runner arrived at Brigade HQ from 45 RM Commando, who were still out off in MERVILLE. Before any help could be sent a strong enemy attack developed on 4 Commando's positions. Some initial penetration was gained and one troop forced to withdraw before a counter attack by 3 Commando restored the situation.

7. 45 RM Commando were withdrawn inside the perimeter during the day. It was clear that the ridge of ground between HAUGER and BREVILLE was the enemy's objective and units were disposed to meet this threat. Brigade HQ moved up to LE PLEIN.

8. On D + 3 45 RM Commando occupied positions around AMFREVILLE in order to extend the defensive ring around the high ground. At the same time, possible enemy forming up positions at GONNEVILLE and LES BAS DE BREVILLE were heavily shelled.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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