Current Reports from Overseas No. 44

Capture of the br head over the CANAL DE CAEN and the R ORNE. Task: 5 Para Bde Gp amongst other tasks was given the job of seizing the brs over the CANAL DE CAEN and R ORNE


1. Brs were guarded. To prevent blowing speed and surprise were vital. Speed was best secured by landing a glider force close to brs.

2. Defs were only strong to West of Canal (trenches, wire, pill boxes, minefd). For surprise gliders must land between river and canal. Only room for 6 gliders. Other tps must be dropped by parachute.

3. Enemy would counter attack in approx 1 hr from BENOUVILLE area. Therefore para tps must join up in under 1 hour.

4. Moonlight essential for gliders.


(a) "A" force of six pls + RE to land in six gliders at 0020 hrs. 3 gliders within 50x of East hr and 3 of West br - 0020 hrs.

(b) Para bn to land within 1000x of br - 0050 hrs. (7 Para Bn)

(c) After dropping, Para Bn to consolidate br head area. One coy lightly equipped to double to br head.

(d) If "A" force failed, Para bn to carry out whole op.

Action of glider force

1. 3 Canal br gliders landed in exact place. Br was taken with a little opposition and one from West bank posns.

2. River br gliders landed further away but br was captured with- out much opposition. 1 glider landed near mouth of R ORNE (see 6 A Div Diary)

Action of parachute force

1. Bn dropped away from DZ.

2. Did not reach or until 0300 hrs. Coy detailed to double arrived last. 60% arrived.

3. Para bn took over responsibility for br head and enlarged it to 800x on West bank.

Energy reaction

1. During force A was there 3 old French tks appeared. 1 knocked out and two withdrew. No DF or mortar fire.

2. Force A. Enemy attacks sp by tks began at 0500 hrs and continued throughout the day. Retired 2300 hrs D Day. No arty sp all day.

5 Para Bde

Coup de Main force and 7 Para Bn: - 5 Para Bde The weather was bad, the moon being completely overcast and this affected all para landings.

K W M Cas of Coup de Main force Offrs 1 2 ? ORs 1 15 ? of 7 Para Bn offrs 3 3 - ORs 16 38 -

Bridges were prepared for demolition but the charges were not in place but stored in a neighbouring hut.

Action of 12 and 13 Para Bns - 5 Para Bde

These two bns were dropped over widely scattered areas and both bns were not more than 60% strong when they moved to their allotted areas. The 12 Bn seized the BAS de RANVILLE area and the 13 Bn the RANVILLE - LE MARIQUET area. The German re-ac[tion to the division was quick and sure. 125 Pz


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

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