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Another week company attack came in at 11 a.m. against A Company from the wood South of the Chateau, this time with no fire support of any kind. It was easily driven off. Half an hour later the defences were reorganised slightly. Two Vickers guns were sited in the road ditches in front of B Company's right platoon, covering the main read to the North as far as Breville. A platoon of A Company was also pushed out about 50 yards into a deep winding ditch North East of the drive gates. The sequel was almost too good to be true. About 50 Germans filed out of the orchards between St. Come and Breville and after spacing themselves out along the ditch beside the Breville road, began to dig in. Presumably they were preparing positions to cover the open fields South West of the village. They were in full view of the two Vickers machine-guns, in perfect enfilade and about 500 yards distant. Two Brens were rushed up from B Company to join the medium machine-guns, whose gunners could hardly contain themselves. After a few minutes pause to allow the Hun to settle to his work all four guns opened rapid fire and the German party was practically wiped out.

This was at noon and 15 minutes later a German fighting patrol of 15 to 20 men was spotted approaching A. Company's new outpost position. Well hidden in the deep, overgrown ditch the platoon let them come to within 10 yards before suddenly opening fire. Taken by surprise the patrol disintegrated, only half a dozen getting away and some of the dead falling into the ditch on top of the platoon. There was by now considerable enemy activity to East and North. Mortar and small arms fire from the North and rear showed that the Commandos and 5th Parachute Brigade were in action. The thump and rattle went on most of the day, as 5th Brigade finally smashed an attempt to drive westwards from Breville to the Orne bridges.

During the morning the enemy had reoccupied the Chateau and by 2 p.m. the buildings and woods were full of Germans. About a company of infantry were then seen to be working forward down the line of the Chateau drive and two self-propelled. guns opened fire from the Chateau area on A and B Companies. The battalion 3-inch mortars were running short of bombs and the enemy gun fire was beginning to be unpleasant. Several PIATS of the anti-tank platoon were now concentrated into a battery and using high angle fire , a flurry of bombs were put down onto the enemy. A Company's Brens were also in action and after a few minutes rapid fire the German infantry begun to break back towards the Chateau. At the same moment a self-propelled gun ambled into view about 100 yards to the North of the Chateau and was promptly engaged by the jeep mounted Vickers gun from the entrance gate to Bois de Mont. To everybody's surprised delight it straightway blew up and stopped. Presumably a lucky burst must have touched off some mines or ammunition.

While this attack was going on, Lance Corporal Phelps, A Company clerk, crossed and re-crossed the main road several times in full View of the enemy. He carried ammunition for the forward platoons and on one even more popular journey he took a bucket full of tea round the sections. Bullets and shells were flying in every direction and Phelps himself Wes suffering severe headaches and had a large swelling on one side of his face. These were the results of a close mortar bomb burst two days before. Undaunted he continued his work disregarding the enemy's fire, until finally he collapsed, exhausted by pain and fatigue. He refused to be evacuated and was back at duty a few hours later,

Only a short lull followed the break-up of this attack on A Company and at 5 p.m. about two companies attacked B Company from the North. Supported by intense mortar fire this attack was pressed

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

Page: Page 25