- 15 -

The remainder of the Sqn was to support the attack from the left of the start line and also protect the left flank. The attack had to be laid on quickly as it was essential that the Germans should not be given time to consolidate the position at BREVILLE. The battalion reached its forming up positions at 2130 hours. Company commanders had gone ahead for their recce, but little time had been available for the detailed issue of orders down to platoons and sections. To the great credit of all however, all was ready when the artillery concentration began at 2145 hours.

One of the Field Regts taking part opened very short, the bulk of their shells falling in the AMFREVILLE - LE PLEIN area. This caused considerable casualties and some disorganisation to the troops preparing to attack. The commanding officer, Lt Col Johnston, was killed and Brigadier Lord Lovat, Commanding 1 SS Brigade, and Brigadier The Hon H.K.M. KINDERSLEY were severely wounded.

In spite of this incident, 'C' company under Major C.W. STEPHENS, the leading company of the assault, crossed the start line punctually at 2200 hours. They suffered heavy casualties from enemy defensive fire which came down between the start line and the outskirts of BREVILLE and as result approx 15 men only managed to get into the village where confused fighting then took place. The second company, 'B‘ Company 12 DEVONS, whose task was to swing left after ranching the village, suffered heavy casualties on the start line and only isolated parties reached BREVILLE. 'A‘ Company, which was the third company, also suffered very heavy casualties and only isolated parties reached their objective.

By this time the right hand troop of tanks reached the strong point on the BREVILLE road and the remaining troops were also in position on the start line. These tanks brought heavy fire to bear on the enemy positions in the outskirts of the village. This enabled ‘B' Company, 12 Parachute Battalion, under Major H.D. ROGERS to advance without serious opposition and establish themselves North of BREVILLE Church. Colonel R.G. PARKER, DSO., Deputy Commander 6 Airlanding Brigade, and late Commanding Officer of the 12 Battalion, had been present when Lt Col Johnston was killed and although himself wounded in the hand assumed command of the Battalion and came forward with 'B' Company. His leader- ship and example at this stage was a big factor in the success of 'B' Company.

The troop of tanks on the right now worked their way forward to the BREVILLE cross roads and the tanks on the left moved to the NE outskirts of the village. Colonel Parker then went forward to the cross roads to recce. While he was there heavy defensive fire came down on the Village causing heavy casualties to ourselves as well as the enemy. As result of this artillery fire, enemy resistance in the village suddenly ceased and those who remained gave themselves up as prisoners. Colonel Parker then consolidated in a. close locality round the cross roads, One troop of tanks remained in the village to assist consolidation.

When Colonel Parker realised that no counter-attack was going to develop he returned to Divisional HQ to report. The Divisional Commander, who had witnessed the attack and saw the troops enter BREVILLE, sent up Major N.G. STOCKWELL, RWF, with the Independent Parachute Company to assist Colonel Parker,

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

Found an error?

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

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

Page: Page 16