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A and B Companies had suffered heavy losses in this action. Five officers, including the second in commands of both companies, were wounded, seven other ranks killed and fourty-two wounded. There is no doubt that the line from Tilly to Lingevres was the enemy's first defensive line, strongly held by determined troops. Both Units attacking on our flanks reported very stiff opposition and had been unable to break through. The enemy had built a formidable defensive line and it was evident that a big attack would be necessary to break through.

Attack on Verrieres : June 14.

The Battalion withdrew to Folliot from Pont de la Guillette and Major Wood received orders from Brigade for the attack on June 14. Verrieres was given as the first objective and if possible the Battalion would push on further South towards Hottot. The attack was supported by RAF strafing of the woods near Verrieres and the main road Lingevres - Tilly and by a Div Artillery concentration.

Companies crossed the start line at 1015 hours and worked across open country well extended, C and D Companies forward on the left and right of the road from Folliot to Verrieres; A and B Companies in reserve on both sides of track. The attack was also supported by a squadron of tanks of 4/7 DG.

The advance went well for a mile, when the forward Companies were heavily engaged by Machine Guns in a cornfield just North of Verrieres The enemy was well dug in on the forward edges of a wood and held his fire until our leading troops were 150 yards away. Then the whole enemy line opened up with Machine Guns (estimated at least twelve in number). The advance was held up, artillery engaged the whole front of the wood but did not knock out the enemy completely. The reserve Companies were pushed in to the attack and the advance continued slowly, again with fairly heavy casualties. The edge of the wood was secured by 1600 hours after five hours of very heavy fighting.

The enemy positions were found to be in a ditch and a large amount of enemy equipment was taken in the ditch. Some Machine Guns had been set up on tripods and they had been fired by men who were well dug in to the side of the ditch and protected against anything but a direct hit by a shell or mortar bomb. The quantity of ammunition left behind indicated that the enemy had every intention of holding this line in strength.

Companies paused and re-organised on the ditch, enemy guns were tuned round to be used against the Boche. A and C Companies remained on the line of the ditch, and B and D Companies went forward to clear the village of Verrieres and attempt to reach the main road at Los le Gallois. B Company went through Verrieres without opposition, crossed the stream and paused on the left of the track to allow D Company to come up level with them, on the right. The one tank supporting this move forward spotted an enemy tank Mk V at Los le Gallois cross-roads, covering the track. D Company were heavily engaged from front and right and were unable to get on.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944

Page: Page 8