And the booby-trapping in which the enemy was now indulging. The importance of the beach-head which we were holding also became apparent when 2nd Army launched a break-out to the south-east of Caen.

On the 1st August 1944, First Commando Brigade took over a new sector from 3 Para Brigade. The commando was on the left of the Brigade in the area east of the Le Mesnil Cross Roads. The position was held with two Troops forward, and two in reserve. The country was very close and no-mans-land varied between 50 and 150 yards. During the time that the unit was here the enemy, and in particular the enemy mortars, were extremely active. Shelling and mortaring reached such a degree that all movement had to be strictly limited, and all the routes plentifully bestrewn with slit trenches. The reserve and forward troops changed their respective positions every 72hours. Considerable work was necessary in the area; slit trenches were opened and improved, communication trenches were dug, while wiring, mining and booby-trapping also took place.

Towards the end of the first week in August enemy patrol activity showed a considerable increase, and on the 6th August a listening post in front of ‘A’ Troop (Capt B.G. White RM) was attacked, one man being killed and another wounded. Command HQ was situated in a Brickworks, to which the enemy had taken particular dislike, but the use of brick ovens and the lavish expenditure of sand-bags prevented many casualties. However, casualties were slowing mounting up during this period, chiefly sustained by ration parties on the way to forward troops. The enemy was careless in his movement, and our snipers had frequent success. No-mans-land however, was too restricted, and the enemy’s positions too carefully wired, mined and booby-trapped for any extensive patrolling to be carried out. Towards the end of the second week in August, in view of the British successes in the South, the possibility of the enemy pulling back from this sector became apparent. Plans were therefore made to enable the Brigade to follow up the withdrawing enemy with the minimum delay should he pull out. On the night of 16th August, in spite of every endeavour to raise their anger, enemy positions remained suspiciously quiet.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

Found an error?

Found an error with this archive item? report it here!

Archive: 45 (R.M.) Commando - Extracts from Unit History covering campaign Normandy to the Baltic

Page: Page 10