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This tank was engaged by our anti-tank gun in B Company area and although hit was not knocked out. The gun was fired on in turn by another tank and both gun and crew were knocked out, one officer and four other ranks being wounded. Tanks could now be heard forming up in an orchard 600 yards south of B Company and an artillery concentration was put down, directed by Major R.G. Atkinson, MC and Lieut Scott. Later examination of the ground confirmed the report made at the time by Major Atkinson of the accuracy of the shooting. The tanks continued to engage B Company with SA and HE, and some overs from 75 mm guns landed in Battalion Headquarters area. 6 Tanks were taking part in this attack but the Arty fire brought down broke up the attack when only 300 yards from our forward positions.

The Commanding Officer thickened up our anti-tank defence by moving guns from other Company areas to concentrate on B Company front. These guns were sited under fire and an urgent request was also made for M.10s and tanks. The defence was complete by 2000 hours, but one M.10 which had gone across the front to A Company area was hit and the suspension damage. A second M.10 immediately engaged the enemy tank and knocked it out completely. The enemy tanks withdrew at about 2015 hours and were sent on their way by a final artillery concentration. The Battalion front was stabilised and the M.10s and a squadron of tanks remained with us all night to ward off any further attack.

Total damage to the enemy was 3 Mk IV Specials - one knocked out by our anti-tank gun in the morning, one by M.10 in the evening, and a third destroyed by Artillery fire. The enemy had certainly carried out his first probing attack and had found out both our line and our strength in no uncertain fashion. Total casualties to the Battalion were one officer and five other ranks wounded and one anti-tank gun knocked out.

The successes of the last two days were reflected in the magni´Čücent spirit at the men. Some were under fire for the first time and had certainly been shaken by the appearance of at least a troop of tanks on our front, but the first class shooting of artillery and anti-tank guns soon restored confidence.

A final word must be said about the fine co-operation between Major Atkinson, observing and directing the Artillery shoot and Major Cummings, Battery Commander of 90 Field Regiment, who directed the guns from Battalion Headquarters. It really was fine to see the calm and unhurried way in which the Battery, and at times the whole Regiment, was used and there is no doubt that the main attack by tanks and infantry was broken up by our artillery.

After this hectic day on the Battalion front we had a period of four days without any particular incidents. The Joint Post was re-occupied on June 10 by Captain Rome and one platoon of B Company and a section of carriers, and met up with a similar force from 7 Green Howards. The next day a party of Germans were taken prisoners in the Joint Post. They were from a Pioneer Battalion who had been working on coastal defences until the time of the invasion. Mostly men of 40 - 45 and with little desire to fight, they had judged discretion the better part of valour and had left their coastal area shortly after our landing. A party of 40 under an officer had started to march back on June 6 and had had a very rough time until picked up at the Joint Post on June 11. They had had little food, were ragged and unshaven and some men had been lost on the way from the coast. The Joint Post sent in fourteen prisoners and reported having killed two of the party by grenades as they thought the approach of this party indicated an attack. The irony of the case is that the party had taken five days to reached Conde and on being captured were immediately packed off back to the beaches.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944

Page: Page 6