The 3” mortars were at once ordered to put down heavy concentration on this wood, after which a second patrol under Capt. E. Grewcock RM went out and reported that a large number of dead and wounded Germans lay in the wood, and that one half-tracked vehicle was out of action. At 1745 hours the mortars again put down a heavy concentration on the houses in Amfreville, from which enemy were seen to be moving towards our lines. This appears to be their last attempt for the day, apart from normal infiltration at night by snipers.

June 11th D plus 5.

At 0415 and 0435 hours our positions were heavily mortared. Forty minutes later the enemy again attacked ‘E’ Troop from Amfreville. Supported by SP guns which were shelling the area with little effect. The attack was not pushed home, although spasmodic small arms fire and heavy mortaring continued until until about 1030 hours. At 1045 we heard that one battalion of the 51st Highland Division was held up outside Breville, which was only a little distance away. Another Fighting Patrol was sent out to Breville at 2330 hours. They again succeeded in penetrating, and another shooting match in the dark. Our casualties this time were three wounded, all of whom were brought back. The enemy’s casualties we were unable to assess with any accuracy. A patrol consisting of Lt. J.E. Day RM, Sgt. Wilson, Mne Irvine, Mne Bailey and Pte Hepworth went to Amfreville to see what they could find. They identified a German soldier belonging to the Recce Regt, 21st Panzer Division SS Troops, and also found two 81 mm mortars with trailers full of ammunition and two half tracked vehicles, each mounting a 2 cm Flak Gun. This was reported to Command and later Brigade HQ. Lt. Day then went out as guide to Capt. Colquhoun’s Troop (96 Commando) and brought in the mortars and one half-tracked vehicle.

June 12th D plus 6

Considerable enemy activity was reported during the day and shelling and mortaring continued. A recce patrol sent out from ‘E’ Troop to Amfreville reported only one German seen. At 0800 hours a Warning Order was received to provide a patrol to assist 12 Para Battalion’s attack on Breville, which eventually took place at 2200 hours. The task of this patrol was to clear a house from the outskirts of Breville which might interfere with the main attack. Shortly before the attack was launched our Sherman tanks came up to support the Para Battalion, and there noise brought down on our positions heavy and accurate enemy shelling. This, combined with the noise of the Five Field Regiments which supporting the attack, created something approaching an inferno. The attack went forward under very heavy smoke and dust which made it impossible to see what progress was being made. Eventually it turned out that the attack was successful, although very costly, there being some 160 casualties evacuated through our position. The patrol from 45 Commando had a rough time, and out of the one and twenty that set out, only 10 came back unscathed. Capt. Grewcock and three OR’s were killed and seven others wounded. Thirty-three shells fell in the immediate area of Commando HQ and these caused another five casualties, two of which were fatal.


Period 13th to 30th July

Patrolling on the whole was uneventful, as the enemy was normally content to remain behind his well-dug and well-covered positions. These raids were however, carried out on portions of his FUL’s with considerable success. The raids were normally of about Troop strength supported by artillery, mortars and MMGs and not only had the effect of inflicting considerable casualties on the enemy as a small cost to ourselves, but also served to give the unit complete moral superiority over the enemy in this sector. Towards the end of July it nevertheless became necessary to discontinue them owing to the extensive mining

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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