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Lt Col P.J. LUARD, Commanding 13 Parachute Battalion, himself supervised the mopping up of RANVILLE. The normal enemy garrison of the village had been approx one company from 21 Panzer Division, chiefly billetted round the Chateau at 113733. During the night 5/6 June, the bulk of this company were away from their billets, but a number of defensive posts on the North side of the town, overlooking the DZ, were held and miscellaneous parties of the enemy were in various houses in the village. The area was finally mopped up by about 0400 hours at small cost to the 13 Battalion.

12 Parachute Battalion had a greater distance to go to their RV than the other battalions and by 0230 hours barely 50% of the men had reported. Lt Col A.P. JOHNSTON, DSO, however, decided to move off without further delay. Accordingly 'A' Company under command Major G. RITCHIE advanced South and secured the high ground about road junction 113745. 'B' and 'C' companies then passed through 'A' company; 'B' company occupying the Le Bas DE RANVILLE and ‘C' company the spur SW of the village. These moves were made without enemy interference and the battalion was in position by 0400 hours.

At 0330 hours the landing of the Brigade glider element and Divisional HQ started. Again the flak opposition was only moderate and the landings were completed with comparatively few casualties. The off loading of the gliders took some time, particularly as many had been damaged in landing and it was not until about 0430 hours that any appreciable stream of vehicles began to arrive in the RANVILLE area.

By 0500 hours the Brigade Commander, Brigadier J.H.N. POETT, had completed a tour of his battalions and was able to intercept Major General R.N. GALE, DSO, OBE, MC., en route to Divisional HQ and to report that all objectives allotted to 5 Parachute Brigade had been captured and that the bridges were intact. By 0600 hours the Divisional HQ had been established in the Chateau at Le Bas De RANVILLE with 5 Parachute Brigade HQ in the farm close by. The situation at this time is shown on Sketch VI.

By 0930 hours only 10 out of the allotted 18 anti-tank guns had reached their positions. The remainder had either landed astray or could not be extracted from their crashed gliders. Major DIXON, MC. , the Battery commander had landed East of the R DIVES. The guns had been sited by the study of maps, photographs and models, and the result was extremely successful; only minor adjustments had to be made during the co-ordinating tour.

The medical arrangements made by Lt Col E.I.B. HARVEY, DSO., comnanding 225 Parachute Field Ambulance, had been excellent. Casualties from the DZ were collected at an aid post manned by Captain D.F. TIBBS near the RANVILLE Church and a Medical Dressing station was opened soon after 0500 hours in a house at 106734. Later an ADS was established on the West bank of the canal under Captain D.R. URQUART to deal with casualties from 7 Parachute Battalion. The fine work and efficiency of the doctors and stretcher bearers under difficult conditions was a feature of the first few days and gave a feeling of confidence to all ranks. By the evening of 7 June 225 Field Ambulance had admitted 380 casualties and their surgical team had performed 43 major operations.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 5 Parachute Brigade: operations in Normandy 1944 June - Sept

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