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The arrival of the Commandos did not, however, and the troubles of the 7 Battalion. The enemy counter-attacks continued until 2000 hours. During the later part of the afternoon ‘A‘ Company in the Southern part of BENOUVILLE bore the brunt of the fighting and at one stage the Battilion counter-attack force had to be put in to relieve the pressure on them.

The progress made by the 3rd Division who were to take over the bridgehead West of the canal was slow. They had had hard fighting and heavy casualties during their advance from the beaches; and the Brigade, which had been intended to provide the relief, was already fully committed. The Royal Warwicks from 185 Infantry Brigade were there- fore ordered up and reached the 7 Battalion locality at 2115 hours. The take over, however, involved an attack to relieve ‘A' Company and allow evacuation of their casualties. As result the position was not finally handed over until after midnight.

This ended a great day for the 7 Parachute Battalion. They had fulfilled their task. They had held their bridgehead for more than 21 hours continuous and hard fighting. The men were tired but well satisfied and proud of their achievements. Casualties had amounted to 60 killed and wounded.

While these events had false been taking place on the West bank, the 12 Battalion on the Le Bas de RANVILLE Spur had repelled a number of strong attacks by 125 Panzer Grenadier Regiment from the direction of LONGUEVAL 0871, and St HONORINE 0971. These attacks began with enemy patrolling in strength at approx 0800 hours, These patrols were easily repulsed the enemy leaving behind a number of prisoners and a tank destroyed. This was followed by a determined attack at 1045 hours supported by SP guns. The first brunt of the attack was borne by a small outpost of twelve men under Lt J.A.N. SIMS, M.C., in the hedge about 100727. The SP guns came up to within 100 yds of Lt Sims' position. Although his small force had only gammon bombs with which to reply to the armour, they held up the advance for close on one and a half hours by which time all but four of his men had been killed or wounded. The time thus provided was of the greatest value to Lt Col A.P. JOHNSTON, DSO, in organising his defence. Although this counter-attack by the enemy did succeed in forcing in the outposts, and some tanks and a few infantry infiltrated between the company localities, the main positions were held intact and the enemy withdrew at about 1300 hours having lost 3 SP guns and one Mk IV tank on the front of the 12 Battalion and 3 tanks between the 12 and 13 Battalions. Throughout the morning, excellent work had been done by the anti-tank guns of 4 Airlanding Anti-Tank Bty.

The breaking up of the attack of the 12 Battalion coincided with the approach of 1 SS Brigade to the bridges and Major General R.N. GALE, DSO, OBE, MC., decided to divert one of the Commandos to strengthen the position until 7 Parachute Battalion could be released from the West bank. No 3 Commando was accordingly placed under command of 5 Parachute Brigade.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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