|Title||Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr|
|Description||Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr.|
- 7 -
The whole operation began to take good shape in the afternoon. On the RIGHT, PORT EN BESSIN was reported captured and Headquarters 7 Armoured Division was ashore. On the LEFT 1 Corps was in touch with 6 Airborne Division.
Throughout the day close air support continued. Armed reconnaissance accounted for 200 motor transport and ten tanks, while forty enemy air- craft were destroyed for the loss of twenty-eight of our own fighters.
The airfield construction groups Royal Engineers had completed an emergency landing strip for damaged aircraft at ASNELLES, and had started work on two refuelling and reaming strips at BAZENVILLE and ST CROIX- SUR-MER
The enemy had not yet put in any counter-attack in force. 12 SS Panzer Division had been moving and had been identiﬁed both East of the R ORNE in the LISIEUX - ORBEC Q.67 area and to the West between the river and BAYEUX. The division appeared to be moving to the BAYEUX - CAEN area, both via LISIEUX and also much farther South-West by way of MORTAIN T.51 to VIRE. So far the only conclusion was that the reconnaissance unit was out on a very wide front well in advance.
21 Panzer Division had so far not attacked and Panzer Lehr Division from the CHARTRES area was moving up. To control the armour in the CAEN area 1 SS Panzer Corps had arrived, but only 21 Panzer Division was known to be under its command.
An interesting captured document come to light describing the role ,of 192 Panzer Grenadier Regiment of 21 Panzer Division. In the event of assault landings in the area OUISTREHAM and PORT EN BESSIN this regiment was to form a battle group with the task of counter-attacking immediately, or assembling in the area VILLON LES BUISSONS 9775 - LANTHEUIL 9278 - ST GABRIEL 8879.
The document was of interest in showing the task of this regiment in early May, when it was stationed North of THURY HARCOURT. At the time of the landings, however, 192 Panzer Grenadier Regiment was already almost in its allotted area and so presumably no further action was required of it. It seemed clear that the division as a whole did not intend to counter-attack immediately, having commitments less local than the CAEN area, and needed time to make up its mind where the main assaulting forces were.
Despite the bad weather and disappointing rate of discharge, instructions were issued early in the day by Tactical Headquarters Second Army to the effect that on no account were sailings to be delayed. Sailing schedules had been maintained by D plus 2 only because a considerable amount of extra shipping became available on D-day, enabling several hundred vehicles of 7 Armoured Division to sail a day earlier than anticipated. A very reduced turn-round, the first on the South coast, had already brought the balance on to a level keel by D plus 2.
50 (II) Division was reported completely ashore by 2300 hrs 7 Jun; stores, however, had proved difficult.
It had been found necessary after all to beach LSTs despite a strong desire not to do so on the part of the Navy. This, of course, had a detrimental effect on the turn-round. More-over, LCT expected from the United States sector for use as ferry craft had not arrived,
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