8 Jun

area GONNEVILLE-SUR-MERVILLE 1676 LONGUEMARE 1475 and throughout the day (8 Jun) attacked our posns at HAUGER 1276 - AMERVILLE 1374. These attacks were held and were still in progress at 2100 hrs. 40 PW were taken. 3 Bn throughout the morning of 8 Jun attacked our posns at LE MESNIL 1372 and ST COME 1473 but suddenly withdrew East at 1325 hrs when VAEAVILLE was bombed. At 2210 hrs however, a hy attack was resumed on ST COME.

WD Jun 44 7 Jun

HQ 6 Airborne Div At 1120 hrs Comd 6 Airborne Div ordered 1 SS Bde to attack and capture FRANCEVILLE PLAGE forthwith - two cruisers allotted in support - subsequently 1 SS Bde to capture and hold LE HOMME SUR MER.
At 1415 hrs 1 SS Bde reported FRANCEVILLE PLAGE clear - four enemy field guns captured - attack being mounted on LE HOMME SUR MER.

7 Jun

Div HQ At the same time 1 RUR attempted to occupy ST HONORINE LA CHARDONERETTE, but were driven off by armour. They fell back and consolidated in their old positions at LONGUEVAL.
At 1500 hrs the enemy developed a determined infantry and armoured attack on 1 RUR positions at LONGUEVAL. This attack was repulsed after heavy fighting in the course of which 1 RUR destroyed two enemy tks, one SP gun and one unidentified gun.
At 1815 hrs 12 Devon (seaborne) entered the div area, and immediately took over 12 Para Bn positions in the BOIS de RANVILLE area.
The Div was by nightfall firmly established on the Eastern bank of the R ORNE as follows:-
6 Airldg Bde with 1 RUR forward holding the area LOUGUEVAL - 12 Devon holding LE BAS de RANVILLE and the spur to the South, with 12 Para Bn in reserve.
5 Para Bde consisting of 7 and 13 Para Bns and 2 Oxf and Bucks in the area RANVILLE - LE MARIQUET - HEROUVILLETTE with a small detachment in ESCOVILLE. A minefield had been laid through LE MARIQUET and the A Tk defence to the South included approximate- ly 50 well placed A Tk guns in depth between LONGUEVAL and HEROUVILLETTE.
1 SS Bde held the LE PLEIN - AMFREVILLE feature and the 3 Para Bde the ridge from South of BREVILLE to the Southern edge of the BOIS de BAVENT. In the two days fighting the division had gained all its objectives and hold all the ground it had planned to take with the exception of the small coastal strip from FRANCEVILLE PLAGE to CABOURG which was beyond its resources to occupy. The fighting had been severe and cost the division over 800 casualties in battle, In addition to which the missing from the drop still numbered approx 1000.

WD Jun 44 6/7 Jun

Report on the Operations of 6 Airborne Division on D Day and D+1
1. Tasks. The primary tasks allotted to 6 Airborne Div were:-
(a) To seize, intact if possible, and hold until relieved by seaborne troops, the bridges over the CANAL DE CAEN and R ORNE immediately East of BENOUVILLE.
(b) To silence by 0500 hrs on D Day the enemy coastal battery at 155775 (MERVILLE).
(c) To destroy by 0915 hrs the bridges of the R DIVES at VARAVILLE ROBEHOMME, BURES (two bridges) and TROARN. Subsequently, the div was required to establish a firm base East of the BENOUVILLE crossings, the retention of which were consider- ed of vital importance to the course of subsequent operations, and without prejudice to these tasks to infest the area between the Rs ORNE and DIVES as far South as TROARN with a view to interfering and if possible preventing the reinforcement of CAEN from the East and SE.
2. Allotment of Troops Availability of aircraft limited the initial drop to Div HQ and two para bde gps; Airldge Bde (less one bn) and Armd Recce Regt arriving at 2100 hrs D Day.
To 5 Para Bde was allotted the tasks of seizing and holding the crossings, and the establishment of a bridgehead to the East of them.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Airborne Div.: H.Q. War Diary, 1944 June

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