|Title||9th Bn The Parachute Regiment North West Europe 1944 - 45|
|Description||War Office: Staff College Camberley, 1947 Course Notes on D-Day Landings and Ensuing Campaigns. Normandy. 9 Bn. The Parachute Regt.: war diary, 1942 - 1944.|
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home with for more determination than previous enemy attempts and the situation begun to look sticky. Luckily more mortar bombs had arrived from brigade an hour before, and as the enemy came into view in the orchards between B Company's sunken lane and Breville they were engaged by the mortar platoon and by B Company’s Brens.
The commanding officer was also in touch by wireless from battalion headquarters with the F.O.B. or Forward Observer Bombardment at brigade headquarters. This was an Army officer with naval signallers who was in touch with H.M.S. Arethusa off the coast. Both officers knew by experience the accuracy of this ship's gunnery and a call for fire from the ship's guns was sent to her over the air. The safety limit for this type of shooting was 1000 yards between target and own troops, but the target indicated here was enemy infantry 4 - 500 yards away. As the salvos came down Captain Greenway stood on a bank in full view of the enemy, shouting corrections back through the trees to the commanding officer, who in turn passed them by wireless to the F.O.B. 15 minutes after calling for fire H.M.S. Arethusa‘s 6-inch shells were crashing into the middle of the enemy, making the battalion's 3-inch mortar bursts look like toy fireworks. The noise of each shell's approach was like a tube train slowing down and the big black and orange bursts not only destroyed and disheartened the enemy, but put new life into our own men. It was a remarkable display of quick accurate shooting.
In spite of this the leading wave of assaulting infantry reached B Company's positions. Here, after a few minutes of confused shooting and shouting, the few survivors were taken prisoner and the attack was over. Among the prisoners was a badly wounded major, the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 857 Regiment. When interrogated, he told the intelligence officer that his whole battalion had been wiped out in attacks on the Bois de Mont position in the last 12 hours and that the rest of his regiment had met a similar and in their attempts during the day to capture Ranville and Amfreville.
He was soon corroborated, for while he was talking a disorganised rabble of German survivors from the attack on 5th Brigade began to appear in the fields and orchards North and North West of the battalion. Many were shot and others taken prisoner as they tried to get back to Breville or wandered into the West of the Bois de Mont woods, and by the end of the day it was clear that the enemy had taken a very heavy knock.
The sections and platoons of the battalion had fought steadily all day and many men had distinguished themselves. The anti-tank platoon with their high angle PIATS had saved an ugly moment earlier in the afternoon and R.S.M. Cunningham had been noticeable all day as he moved from place to place with reserve ammunition. A lot had been done and many lessons learnt, but by dark most people were tired out and hoping for a quiet night. A and B Companies and headquarters had been either in action or standing to all day and C Company in reserve had had the benefit of many shells and mortar bombs, They were fresher than the rest, however, and Major Dyer was warned of a busy night ahead. By 10 p.m. all was quiet and everybody cooked, ate, washed, replenished ammunition and water, cleaned their weapons and except the sentries, got what sleep they could.
This same day, June 10th, a brigade of 51st Division crossed the Orne bridges and. 5th Battalion The Black Watch came under command of 3rd Parachute Brigade. They were to attack and capture Breville the
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)