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120 lengths of lightweight Bangalore torpedo and 48 lengths of scaling ladder were to be dropped with the Battalion.

All timings were dependent on the hour by which the battery had to be silenced, which was 30 minutes before the first waves of assault craft were due on the beaches. For the purposes of planning this was assumed to be 7.15 am on 5th June. In order to disorganise the defences, damage the wire obstacles and possibly clear a route through the minefield a hundred Lancaster aircraft of Bomber Command were to attack the battery with 4,000 lb bombs between 12.30 am and 12.40 am. If this succeeded there would be little left for the Battalion to do, since the battery could never survive a greater tonnage of bombs in ten minutes than was dropped on London in any one night. .At 12.20 am one aircraft was to drop the battery reconnaissance party, the RV organisation party and path-finders of 22 Independent Parachute Company with their radar navigational aids. During the bombing the five gliders carrying guns and vehicles were to land near the RV and at 12.50 am the main body of the Battalion would jump. Reorganisation had to be completed and the Battalion clear of the RV in about 1 1/2 hours and the time for moving off was set at 2.35 am.

In the meantime the taping party was to move off straight away after the battery reconnaissance party and begin laying its tapes. Major Smith was to meet the battalion during the approach march at a cross-roads North East of the village of Gonnoville sur Merville, report on the enemy defences and lead the battalion to the chosen firm base about 300 yards from the South East corner of the battery perimeter. The taping party would by now have laid its tapes from the firm base to the sites chosen for the three gaps in the wire and have cleared and marked 4 foot lanes through the minefield to each gap site.

The commanding officer estimated that the battalion would reach the firm base somewhere between 4.10 am and 4.20 am. Here the breaching company would divide into three platoons, each platoon moving forward to the wire and laying their Bangalores. The assault and reserve companies would form up ready to dash through the gaps, and the two fire groups were to take up positions 150 yards to either flank. Two anti-tank guns had the dual role of firing into the casemates from the left flank and covering the approaches to the battery from the West while the diversion party moved round the East and North of the battery, ready to attack the main gate. If possible all these moves were to be done in silence but if surprise was lost, a bugler was to sound “The Charge" and on this call all available weapons would open fire.

As an extra surprise packet for the enemy the plan provided for three gliders of the special assault party landing within the battery. At 4.24 am the three gliders were to be released by their tug aircraft of 38 Group RAF at 6,000 feet, each flashing an M on an Aldis lamp down to battalion headquarters. One and a half minutes later the bugler was to sound "Reveille" , where-upon one mortar from their positions behind the firm base was to fire star- bombs to light up the ground within the battery. After another two and a half minutes, on the sounding of the bugle-call "Fall In", all fire would stop except for the diversion party at the main gate. Two minutes later at 4.30 am the first glider was due to land, and on the bugler sounding "Lights Out" the firing of star-bombs would cease.

(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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