|Title||NORMANDY 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment (an extract from "Three Assault Landings")|
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bombing programme some of the bombs were to be 100 per cent cratering, while for the neutralization of defences close to the beach, 100 lb. instantaneous bombs were to be used.
The Brigade plan, briefly, was as follows: The 1st Hampshires, on the right, were to land at Lo Hamel, overcome the defences there and work westwards along the coast, seizing in turn Asnelles-sur-Mer, Arromanches, Tracey-sur-lior and Manvioux. The 1st Dorsets, on the left, were to land slightly to the east of Lo Hamel and, after dealing with a strong point on the beach and another at Los Roquettes, were to seize the high ground at Point 54. This high ground overlooked the beaches and contained two strong points (one was Point 54 itself, the other was known as Puits d'Herode) and a battery position. The reserve battalion, the 2nd Devons, were to make straight for Ryes, hand it over to a company of the Dorsets, and then make for La Rosiere, Fontenailles and the Longues battery. As their last task they were to exploit westwards to link up with the Americans. The 47th Royal Marine Commando, landing somewhat later, were to follow the route taken by the Devons and secure Port-en-Bessin. Finally, the 56th Brigade (under command of our Division) were to pass through us to capture Bayeux. On our left the 69th Brigade were also in the assault with the dominating Mauvaines Ridge as their chief objective, while 151st Brigade were to pass through them to secure a stretch of the main road from Bayeux to Caen end some ground overlooking the Soulles (the St. Leger feature).
As is generally known, the weather played a vital part in the operation. Its immediate effect was to rule out the use of the "D.D." tanks (one squadron of the Sherwood Rangers had been so equipped),and its longer-term effect was to delay by several days the arrival of the follow-up forces and the build-up of the bridgehead generally. The result of all this was to impose a continuous strain on the assault formations, especially the 50th Division, who had to go on attacking to enlarge the bridgehead and to contain the enemy themselves without waiting for the follow-up divisions. Still a little suspicious as to whether or not it was merely another exercise, we set sail on the evening of the 5th June (at about 1900 hours). Only a day or two previously the Prime Minister, Mr Winston Churchill, had paid a visit (in a launch) to the vast concourse of shipping in Southampton Water. This, and other indications, made it reasonably certain that we were at last bound for Operation "Overlord" as opposed to. Exercise "Overlord."
As mentioned earlier in this story, the writer found himself in the leading ship of our assault group and had visions of the L.C.H. being "pranged" during the night by some adventurous E-boat or other hostile light craft. As it turned out, nothing untoward occurred except a near-collision with the next convoy to the west of us - that of the nearest "combat team" of our American friends. The mine-sweepers had prepared swept channels which were marked by lighted buoys, and the Americans, who had managed to ease a considerable number of points off their course in our direction, threatened to jockey us out of our swept channel. But Commander Wheeler refused to be "bounced" in this manner and, after a brisk nautical exchange, our gallant allies were made to "sheer off" and we enjoyed undisputed possession of our swept channel.
The calmness of the sea left a lot to be desired - in fact it was not really much better than the weather for the Sicily landings in July, 1943. The effect of the weather generally on the operations has already been mentioned. The S.P. guns were to carry out a run-in shoot from 11,000 to 4,000 yards, and the "D.D." tanks were to be launched some way out. Under cover of this and the tail-end of the naval and air bombardment, the assault landing craft were to get away from the L.S.Is. and make for the shore,
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)