TitleA short account of the operations of 6th Bn GREEN HOWARDS 6 - 27 Jun 44
Description6 Bn. Green Howards: account of operations, 1944 June
SourceUK_National_ArchiveReferenceWO 223/31


The Bn came home in November 1943. In March 1944 we were told that 50 Division were to be an assault division. As we were not at that time at full strength in officers men and equipment a lot had to be done in a short time. The technical training for combined operations and the large-scale marshalling exercises took up a great deal of time, which might well have been devoted to basic training, particularly company and platoon training in use of ground and minor tactics. The Bn was, therefore, lucky in having experienced company command and N.C.Os., but unlucky in its opportunities for training

All company commands and C.S.Ms were Yorkshiremen and a reasonable proportion of the men came from the North of England. The remains of a draft of 200 Camerons posted to the Bn after Dunkirk were a very useful "out-cross" and occupied many key positions in the Bn. But it was very definitely a handicap from the point of view of teamwork and morale that reinforcements of officers and men came from any regiment except the Green Howards.

Details of landing tables and the combined operations side of preparations for the assault can be found in all war Diaries. I will, therefore , only mention certain features of the Bn's preparations which seemed to cause particular difficulty. The actual complication of the landing tables was complicated by the fact that all sorts of people besides the fighting troops wished to go in the assault wave, from press photographers to Beach Group signallers. It was difficult to find room for the companies among attached troops.

Waterproofing of all vehicles was an irritating necessity. Though the actual process was not complicated it required very careful checking and supervision to see that it was done properly. The only vehicles lost by the Bn in the landing were in the very early stages and were not due to inefficient waterproofing.

Vehicle load were not difficult to arrange 2 i/c gave CL lot of thought to this and up to 27 June there was no sign that anything had been left behind! Man loads were more difficult. Men must have everything for a battle, for a nine-mile advance and food for two days. It was not certain when transport would reach us. But if men were overloaded, they would tire rapidly. This problem was not left to company commanders. It was of the greatest interest to all generals, who were apt at inconvenient moments to turn out the contents of any private soldier's pack with some remarkable results.

The troops under command of the Bn for the assault were :— Squadron 4/7 Dragoon Guards (amphibious Sherman tanks),two teams of combined A.V.R.E. and flails one platoon M.M.Gs. (2 Cheshires) and a detachment of R.Es. One battery of Herfordshire Yeomanry, S.P. 25 pdrs was in support. The chief problem raised by these extra troops was that of communications. But wireless sets were issued on a lavish scale and all communications were double-banked. The wireless diagrams attached to the operation order shows a very big forward control net. In the operation this was no disadvantage and all wireless communications worked excellently. The success of the 46 set and the 38 set was outstanding.

The plan, detailed in the Operation Order, was a simple one. The enemy defences, shown in detail on a trace consisted roughly of a strongpoint of 5 - 7 pillboxes with M.Gs and one with a 105 mm gun on the right of the Bn front, a. coastal battery of 4 x 150 mms, and its own local defences on the left, with, about 600 yards inland, a line of shelters and fire trenches from which M.Gs could fire. The beach could be covered by fire from M.Gs. in the 5 East Yorks area on the left; but some of those on our front fired North West at beaches where 231 Brigade were to land. Up to two months before the landing a marsh behind the beach had appeared to be an anti-tank obstacle, but as the dry weather continued, the Germans laid considerable fields of mines along our

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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