(3) The heavy kit bags containing the boating material slowed the men up a lot. The nornml drill of coming in to the RV at the double was quite impossible.

Despite these difficulties however the men come in pretty well and by 0130 hrs I had about 50% of the riflemen and bren gunners in. There were no mortars, MMGs or wireless sets in though. I could hear Howard's success signal and knew that he had captured the bridges and that they were crossable so at 0130 hrs I set off with my initial attack force (A B C Coys and Adv Bn HQ). The plan was for Rear Bn HQ to follow in its own best time so I left the 2 i/c (Steele-Baume) to collect in all he could and follow us up, choosing his own time for starting. As the bridges were intact I took my force over them with all speed and ordered them into their pre-arranged bridgehead positions in BENOUVILLE (see OO for details). I had arranged in ENGLAND with Howard to do this if he should be fighting on the West of the CANAL when I arrived; my positions were outside the area he was likely to be in with his small force, and by working round into them I would not only assist him but would also save time. It was 0140 hr when I crossed the CANAL bridge with this force. When I judged that the positions had been occupied at about 0210 hrs I ordered Howard (who came under my command at this stage) to withdraw his men over the CANAL bridge and made him responsible for the River bridge and the area between the two bridges. From then on it is not really possible to give a clear story of the fighting which was very confused and fierce and was almost continuous. The loss of the wireless was particularly handi- capping.

WD Jun 44 6 Jun

12 Para Bn. - RANVILLE - 0100 - Bn took up posn in LE BAS DE RANVILLE and high ground SOUTH. B and C Coys fwd A Coy North carrying rear and watching Bridges. LE BAS DE RANVILLE - 1200 - Capt. Sim and 7 ORs fought very gallant action area HEDGEROW SW of Bn posn. Held off attack by enemy Coy supported by 3 SP guns. 4 ORs killed. Tiger Tun}: destroyed B Coy area. 2100 - Bn came into reserve under comd 6 Airldg Bn. fwd area x rds 105727. A Coy moved

WD Jun 44 6 Jun

13 Para Bn. - RANVILLE - 0050 - 13 Bn (Lancashire) The Parachute Regiment, forming part of 5 Para Bde dropped from DAKOTA and ALBEMARLE a/C on DZ 'N' - North of RANVILLE, near CAEN, Dept of CALVADOS.
0230 - Bn moved off from RV, having rallied on the Bn hunting horn call (L for Lancaster),and formed in companies.
0300 - Village of RANVILLE now cleared of enemy. Very few enemy were found, as from infm received from inhabitants, it appears that the main body of the enemy were away, and that the majority of those left behind departed with all speed when they saw parachutists.. Those PW taken were wounded and seemed very young. Identification from PW, dead and documents, was 7/II Pz Gren Regt 125.
0320 - Glider party arrived on LZ'N', now cleared of poles by 'A' Coy. Party consisted mainly of A/Tk guns, which moved rapidly into posn.
1005 - Enemy SP guns reported on 'A' Coy front.
1020 - 'A' Coy attacked by about 40 men and 3 SP guns.
1032 - 'A' Coy's last LMG wiped out.
1033 - 'A' Coy reported attack repulsed. A/Tk guns knocked out 3 SP guns incl 2 destroyed. PW identified as 125 Pz Gren Regt (21 Pz Div).
1210 - 'A' Coy reported one more SP gun knocked out.
1212 - 'C' Coy put in limited counter-attack to assist 'A' Coy, Enemy cas reported as 1 offr and 42 ORs killed and 6 ORs captured
1230 - 7 Para Bn report one pl of enemy wearing Brit airborne smocks and red berets penetrated part of our line.
1330 - 1 SS Bde Commando tps passed over BENOUVILLE brs and through Bde posns towards FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.
1710 - 'A' Coy again attacked by approx 50 of 3/I/Pz Gren Regt 125. Attack again repulsed.


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

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