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B Company continued to advance and reached a position 200 yards from the main road where they were shot up by Machine Guns and the Machine gun from the tank. The left Platoon of B Company went forward under cover of the hedgerows and one section reached the line the road. This Platoon was fired on from the left and the leading section was cut off, four men being killed and two wounded. This section lay doggo in a ditch for 2 days and four survivors were picked up by B Company when the Battalion reached the main road on June 16. Major Atkinson decided to withdraw his Company and the whole Battalion re-organised in the area of Verrieres, C and A Companies combined the left, B Company in ditch and D Company forward just North of stream.

Casualties had again been heavy during this action: three officers, including Officers Commanding A and D Companies, were wounded, twenty five Other Ranks had been killed, sixty-two wounded and fifteen were missing. The Battalion can give itself credit for a well fought action in that we had broken this line and the amount of equipment left indicated that the enemy had left in a hurry. In addition to the Machine Guns and many thousand rounds of ammunition the enemy had left, 1 half tracked vehicle in perfect condition, 2 half track vehicles, armoured and with short 75 mm guns, and a 75 mm Anti-Tank gun. 14 prisoners taken from Pz Lehr Div gave information that they had been in this part of the line for 6 or 7 days and had spent the time in preparing this defensive line. The enemy has brought to a fine art the digging of defensive positions which are immune from small arms fire. Tanks gave what support they could to this attack, but the effect of their fire counteracted by this first class digging in.

On June 16 the Battalion moved forward again and occupied positions astride the road at Les le Gallois cross roads without enemy opposition. Major Atkinson went forward with Lieut Kirk to a Chateau across the main road to recce areas so that Sappere and Carriers could be brought up into the line to thicken up B Company. An enemy fighting patrol worked its way into the Chateau grounds and both officers were fires at as looked out of a window of the chateau. A runner was sent back immediately to Coy HQ. As Major Atkinson came out of the front door a hand grenade was thrown and a gun opened fire on to the front door and down the drive. A fighting patrol from B Company was organised and acting upon information given by the runner, attacked the enemy post the chateau grounds under cover of smoke. The enemy withdrew and Major Atkinson and Lieut Kirk able to join their respective Companies.

The Commanding Officer rejoined the Battalion on June 16 and after doing a first class job as Battalion Commander during these hectic days Major Wood again took up his appointment as second in command.

After the heavy casualties suffered during the past days the Battalion was re-organised on a three company basis, the three platoons of A Company being attached to B, C and D Companies.

Second attack at Pont de la Guillette : June 17

The Battalion was relieved in the afternoon of June 17 in the Les le Gallois area by 9 Durham LI, and went back once again to Folliot. 2 Essex were to attack Tilly starting at 1600 hours and the Battalion was to follow on a similar axis as before to secure 2 Essex right flank by capturing positions on the main road Tilly - Lingevres.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Durham Light Infantry Report, June 1944

Page: Page 9