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Canadians took over the farm.

On one occasion Private Dodds dashed out across the road from the left flank platoon and destroyed with a grenade a small group of enemy causing trouble from a near-by hedge. By dark the pressure had eased, and the Le Mesnil area was quiet.

At first light on June 9th the enemy put down a heavy mortar concentration on the battalion. Soon afterwards a determined infantry attack developed against the North East corner of the perimeter. A and part of B Company allowed the enemy to get within 50 yards of them before opening fire and both 2-inch and 3-inch mortars ignored all safety limits in bringing down their defensive fire. Appalling casualties were caused among the enemy and they broke in confusion to the woods to the East. Some of our own men were hit, one or two by the battalion mortars.

An hour later a repeat performance produced similar results. A Company under Captain Robinson fought off these attacks with great coolness and Serjeant McGewer's jeep-borne machine-gun had a field day, driving up and down the road and engaging odd parties of Huns. After the second attack a German captain was found with eight bullet holes in him and in his pocket a letter to his wife, describing in full the rout of the British parachute troops back across the Orne river.

The men were by now used to mortar fire and there was no longer any need to check anybody for the inadequate depth of his slit trench. The repulse of these attacks and the visible effectiveness of their own small arms fire had raised the morale of A and B Companies to a high pitch and everybody was confident of the battalion's ability to destroy Germans.

Later in the morning a report reached battalion headquarters describing a serious situation near Le Mesnil, where a German attack round the North flank of the cross-roads position was threatening brigade headquarters. The commanding officer at once organised a force of about 30 men from C Company and headquarters led by Lieutenant Christie with a fire group of two German M.G.42. under Major Smith, and led them Southwards to attack the enemy in flank. Contact was made with enemy in the houses North of Le Mesnil cross-roads. These were cleared and the enemy driven into a thick stretch of wood parallel to the road. Two Brens were put down to seal off both sides of this wood and the remainder of the force beat through the wood. A shower of grenades was followed by short rushes using Stens and the process repeated until the wood was clear. 19 Germans were killed and one captured.

Meanwhile Major Smith's group of four men had become separated from the commanding officer's force. On meeting a number of Germans in the woods South of Bois de Mont both German machine-guns with Major Smith's group had jammed. The five men at once rushed the enemy using Stens and grenades, yelling like maniacs to give the impression of numbers, and by good luck and bold action succeeded in driving the best part of an enemy platoon onto the guns of the commanding officer‘s force, Major Smith and his men then chased another small party of enemy, cornered them in a gully and destroyed them with grenades. They proved to he a company headquarters group with two

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 9th Bn The Parachute Regiment North West Europe 1944 - 45

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