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He further arranged for the relief of the Battalion the following day. The casualties to the 12 Battalion during this action were 8 Officers and 133 ORs. Enemy equipment captured included 3 SP guns, 2 75 mm guns, 2 20 mm guns and a large number of miscellaneous weapons. Some 50 Germans were buried. But more important than anything else, the BREVILLE gap was once and for all closed. It was from here that Field Marshal MONTGOMERY viewed the battle field for the famous armoured attack in July and it was from here that the Armoured Divisional Commanders too carried out their reconnaissances. It was an epic battle having results of the greatest importance to the whole Battle of Normandy.

At this time the 51 (Highland) Division commenced taking over the Southern sector of the RANVILLE Bridgehead. Consequently at 0100 hours 12/13 June the Divisional Commander was able to issue orders for regrouping of the Division and the following readjustments took place.

2 Oxf & Bucks were to move from HEROUVILLETTE to Le MESNIL. 1 RUR were to move to BREVILLE and relieve 12 Parachute Battalion which would then revert to command 5 Parachute Brigade and reorganise in area of quarry 113750. 7 Parachute Battalion were to take over the HEROUVILLETTE position from 2 Oxf & Bucks. Later in the day 6 Airborne Division Armoured Recce Regt were placed under command 5 Parachute Brigade and were allotted the task of closing the gap between 13 Parachute Battalion and 12 Devon who were now holding the Le Bas de RANVILLE Spur. In addition to this, counter-attack tasks were allotted to them and positions recced at Le MESNIL and West of HEROUVILLETTE to deal with any enemy penetrations on either of these sedtors.

On 16 June a second determined enemy attack was put in on HEROUVILLETTE from the direction of ESCOVILLE. Like the first attack against 2 Oxf & Bucks on 8 June; this attack was supported by heavy artillery fire. By this date, however the HEROUVILLETTE position had been very well organised and Defensive Fire tasks registered. Thus after 1 1/2 hours of costly effort, the action was broken off by the enemy. Lt Col Pine-Coffin quickly followed up their withdrawal by a fighting patrol under Lt W.F. PARISH which went through the wood marked 'A' on Sketch IV and brought in 12 prisoners.

On the evening of 16 June 5 Parachute Brigade received orders to relieve 3 Parachute Brigade at Le MESNIL. This ended the first phase of the operation.

The total casualties incurred by the three battalions of the Brigade were 140 killed, 402 wounded and 211 missing.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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