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In addition to the troops in static defences in the vicinity of the bridges and in RANVILLE it was thought that counter attack would first develop from the reserve battalion of 736 Regiment located as shown on sketch III. Counter-attacks were to be expected on the scale of battle groups consisting of one company of infantry with perhaps a few tanks and SP guns. It was thought that 736 Regiment was too much committed to its coast defence role to counter-attack on a larger scale. Strong fighting patrols were all that the CAEN garrison were thought likely to send North.

It was estimated that no appreciable force would be committed from 21 Panzer Division until reconnaissance had taken place and the general situation in the CAEN sector clarified. An armoured attack was, therefore, not expected until 3 hours after first light at the earliest

If the bridges already prepared for demolition were to be secured intact, speed in the assault must obviously be a vital feature of the plan. This could best be achieved by landing glider borne troops close beside the bridges and to rush the bridges in the form of a Coup de Main. The force considered necessary to secure the bridges in this manner was two platoons for each bridge. A further two platoons would provide insurance against non-arrival or other mishap to any of the gliders. It was agreed by the A.O.C. 38 Group RAF that this number of gliders could safely be landed in the space available and without previously placed ground navigational aids.

Although six platoons referred to above would be sufficient to secure bridges, it was clear that they would not be able to hold their own against determined counter attack. It was important, therefore, to land the main force as soon as possible afterwards. This force had to be a parachute force because of the anti-airlanding poles.

Navigational aids would be required to bring them in. These aids would take a minimum of half an hour for the Independant Parachute Coy to set up so that if their detachments came down at the same time as the coup do main party the main force could be brought in half an hour later.

As has been stated, armoured counter-attack was expected 3 hours after first light. It was essential therefore that a glider element carrying the anti-tank guns should arrive before first light. To allow safe landing of these gliders, strips would have to be cleared of poles by the parachute troops. The glider element thought necessary consisted of 72 gliders which carried in addition to the anti tank guns, wireless sets and jeeps for the Brigade, Advanced Divisional HQ was also included. It was estimated that two hours would be needed for clearing of these landing strips.

It was on the above appreciation that the plan of 5 Parachute Brigade was drawn up.

The following additional troops were placed under command of the Brigade:-

4 Airlanding Anti Tank Bty RA (Glider borne).
591 Parachute Squadron RE (less one troop . Detachment 249 Field Coy RE (Glider borne).
Six platoons 2 Oxf & Bucks LI (Glider borne).
Detachment 22 Independent Parachute Company.
225 Parachute Field Ambulance.
One platoon 6 Airborne Div RASC (Parachute).

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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