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The air lift precluded the carriage of the whole div in one wave and the decision has to be taken as to which tps were to be carried by air in each of the two lifts and which by sea.

Initially the task of seizing the brs which required a rapid cone of effort if they were to be seized intact, was allotted to 6 Airldg Bde: moreover the def nature of the task of holding the brhead would be better carried out by airldg bns with their heavier armament; whilst the more dispersed tasks towards the EAST were allotted to 3 Para Bde. 5 Para Bde was to be brought in on a second lift. Air phs received in mid Apr, however, disclosed that the Germans were obstructing all avail- able glider ldg areas with poles. The plan had thereto be adjusted and para tps landed before the main glider force in order to remove sufficient of the obstructions to make the ldg of gliders a reasonably safe proposition. The asslt on the brs was allotted to 5 Para Bde under whose comd a small glider "coup de main" force was placed.

One airldg bn, the lt regt less one bty, and various divtps together with a “sea tail" were to come by sea.

On 18 Mar the GOC held a conference in the planning HQ and gave comds their tasks in the form of a planning instr. The composition of bde gps and the tasks allotted were as follows.


Planning was carried out with the following infm about the enemy available 28 Apr.

(a) Enemy str in the area concerned amounted to two inf divs, 716 and 711 and possibly two armd sqns, plus an unknown number of inf and arty units which could be produced from trg schools and areas,

(b) 711 InfDiv was on the enemy right, EAST of the R ORNE With HQ at PONT L‘EVEQU‘E (5204). Appx B1 shows disposns. Its ESTIMATED str was 13,000 men, 20 A tk guns and 60 inf, fd or med guns. Ten FRENCH R35 tks had been reported harbouring in the area BONNEVILLE-SUR-TOUQUES (4710) at the end of Dec 43. Hence it was expected that 711 InfDiv would. have a small force of tks and SP guns under comd.

(c) Geographically 711 InfDiv was well situated to contain invading forces if initial counter-attacks failed to throw them back into the sea. It held one of the shortest sectors on‘ this coast and the large amount of arty at LE HARVE would be able to assist. The efficiency of 711 InfDiv compared with a. first class line div was assessed at 40% in a static and 15% in a counter-attack role.

(d) 716 InfDiv WEST of the R ORNE with HQ at CAEN (0369) was expected to have eight bns (incl two RUSSIAN bns each 1,000 strong),24 gun-hows, 12 med hows (mostly fixed posns) and 20/25 A tk guns. A tk sqn equipped with FRENCH or obselescent GERMAN tks was believed allotted to the div.

(e) Like 711 Inf Div, 716 was believed to be a low category div of similar fighting value.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Airborne Div: report on operations, 1944 June

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