Bn HQ and counter attack force in centre.
A Coy to South
Ground between A Coy and br was open and gave good field of fire.
Weak spots were approaches down bank of canals and round SW of LE PORT.
Enemy attack eight times, as well as using small forces and armd cars and snipers.
Enemy organised attacks were about a coy strong, and usually from North and NW.

1200 hrs: Piper of 1 ss Bde heard at ST AUBIN.
6 Cdo found weak spot of posn (which enemy had failed to do) and at 1330 hrs reached Bn HQ. 1 SS Bde cleared LE PORT and passed over the brs at 1400 hrs. Snipers then returned to LE PORT.

Relief by 8 Inf Bde was not expected until 1215 hrs (H+5) (signal "Defaulters"). Relieving unit was to be 2 E Yorks. Bn was attacked during afternoon, at one time by two gunboats, one of which was captured. Bty posn 105765 was found abandoned and occupied by a battle out- post without incident except one K and one W by gunboats.

1900: 2 i/c (Webber) from A Coy reached Bn HQ. Coy was surrounded. Coy comdr wounded. Counter attack force (17 strong) was sent there, and broke through attackers and reinforced coy. It was replaced by 0 pl of coup de main force. A Coy had been fighting for 17 hrs against inf, tks and sp guns.

GOC 6 Airborne contacted GOC 3 Div by LO and asked for relief of BN. GOC 3 Div visited area and ordered 2 Warwicks to take over which they did at 2115 hrs after an attack to relieve A Coy. 3 Div had heard enemy had recaptured brs and that a deliberate attack would be required next morning. 7 Para Bn handed over and passed to West of brs at 0100 hrs.

Cas est as:18 K (incl 3 officers)
36 W
(Seems very low: J.T.B.)

RANVILLE - 0100 - Bn completed drop but went into action with Coys at half normal strength due to some plane loads being dropped in wrong places and one load not dropping at all.

LE PORT AND BENOUVILLE - 0325 - Bn occupied objective and held it against various counter attacks A and B Coys being heavily engaged. Cas - killed 3, officers, and 16 ORs. Wounded 4 officers and 38 ORs. Missing 170 ORs did not RV after drop. 1325 - Bn of Commandos passed through Bn posns. 2230 - Bn of Royal Warwicks arrived and put in an attack on BENOUVILLE.

Appx I

ACTION FOUGHT AT RANVILLE AND BENOUVILLE BRS ON NIGHT 5/6 JUNE AND DAY 6 JUNE 1944 The role or the bn was to seize and hold the bridges over the R ORNE and CANAL DE CAEN at 103745 and 098748 and to establish a bridgehead on the West bank of the CANAL until relieved by sea- borne tps. The bridges were to be captured intact if possible. In addition a bty posn at 105765 (thought to be abandoned) was to be neutralised and occupied.
The bn was to drop at 0050 hrs (D Day) on DZ "N" (118749 - 113737) and RV on the North end of WOOD 112745. A pathfinder force, which included a small detachment from the bn (Lt. Rogers and 4 ORs dropped 30 mins before the bn.
The dropping was not too accurate and, although the bulk of the battalion were dropped on the DZ, there were many who were put down several miles wide. Speed in forming up was an essential part of the bn plan; this was difficult for the following reasons:-

(1) The sticks were very scattered (the large number of kit bags undoubtedly slowed up the exits and resulted in some sticks being unduly long) and the aircraft seemed to come in from all angles, which confused those who were using the line of flight to get their bearings.

(2) The enemy had manned positions on the DZ itself and there was a good bit of MG fire across the DZ which resulted in some casualties.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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