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Enemy counter action began to develop at 0500 hrs and increased in intensity throughout the day. Many strong counter attacks supported by armoured fighting vehicles on the bridgehead over the R ORNE were successfully beaten off. By midday the situation at RANVILLE 1173 was confused and the lending commando of 1 SS Brigade to cross the bridges was diverted to reinforce this area. This diversion, necessary though it was, curtailed the offensive action of 1 SS Brigade and delayed their penetration into FRANCEVILLE PLAGE 1578.

The main body of 6 Airlanding Brigade landed in gliders at 2100 hrs on 6 Jun, and all gliders found the right landing zone. It is of interest to note that, out of 85 gliders which landed during the darkness, 52 found the correct landing zone.

6 Airborne Division, with 1 SS Brigade now under command, continued to beat off strong enemy reaction throughout the night 6/7 Jun. At 0300 hrs on 7 Jun, 3 British Division relieved 6 Airborne Division on the bridges and on the line of the canal and river.

The main enemy coastal batteries had by now each received some 400 tons of bombs from the Allied Air Forces, also a large number of Naval artillery reconnaissance shoots had been directed against enemy batteries. The latter were carried out by tactical reconnaissance pilots, who directed the fire of cruisers, monitors and battleships.

The maximum effort of the three Services hnd therefore been directed against the defences on the assault front. Some notes on the Joint Fire Plan evolved as a result of the conferences presided over by the Brigadier, Royal Artillery, Second Army, and referred to in Chapter I, appear at Appendix "D", "Artillery in the Assault".


First communication between Main Army Headquarters at PORTSMOUTH and the Headquarters ships was established at 0710 hrs on 6 Jun. Reports of "touch down" began to come in at 0742 hrs. HMS SCYLLA reported that 3 British Division had made a landing; 30 minutes later a report from HMS HILARY stated that 7 Canadian Brigade Headquarters had touched down. This was followed quickly by a. second report that 8 Canadian Brigade was also ashore.

From 30 Corps also come good news; at 0830 hrs reports stated that both brigades of 50 (N) Division had landed.

Between 0900 and 0930 hrs, heavy day bombers were over many targets in the landing area; FALAISE, FORET DE CERISY, CAEN, VILLERS BOCAGE, ST LO, COUTANCES, THURY HARCOURT, and LISIEUX also received their due share.

Messages at frequent intervals then began telling the story of the progress of operations. The situation generally appeared satisfactory. The bridges at BENOUVIILE 098748 and RANVILLE 104746 had been captured intact by airborne troops. Other troops were landing, and assembling, but beach obstacles in some cases were troublesome.

By the first full tide, two 200-yard lanes were only partially cleared on 50 (N) Division benches, while on the 3 British Division and 3 Canadian Division fronts no complete lanes had been opened up, except for a small gap on NAN bench. The obstacles were not, however, so densely sited that individual craft could not touch down between them, although casualties to craft were heavy, and as the tide fell the obstacles were quickly cleared. Details of work by Engineers in the assault are given at Appendix "E".

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr

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