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squadron of tanks was placed in support of each company from the morning of the 10th. The enemy followed up the withdrawal of part of the 8th D.L.I. by a counter-attack on Point 103 by fire. This was directed mainly against the "D" Company position, and several casualties were suffered; these included the Company Commander, Major W.N.Hayes, who was wounded. Captain R. E. Harris was sent to take command of "D" Company. It was quite obvious by now that our penetration into hostile territory was not at all popular with the Germans, and they favoured us with ever-increasing attention. This came largely from the 12th S.S. Panzer Division, which was equipped with Mark VI Tiger tanks. A second counter-attack by some infantry and tanks materialized later in the morning from the wooded area between Point 103 and Cristot, and affected chiefly "B" Company, who beat it off with the assistance of a squadron of the 4/7th Dragoon Guards. During the day the 8th D.L.I. with armoured support, managed to re-establish themselves in the northern part of St Pierre, but the enemy remained in close proximity. The 7th Armoured Division had now begun to appear, advancing along the axis Bayeux - Buceels - Tilly-sur-Seulles, but they were meeting with strenuous opposition in the neighbourhood of Buceels. In fact, we could see a good deal of their battle going on. Shortly before midnight enemy infantry again formed up in the woods on "B" Company's front, and artillery and mortar defensive fire tasks were called for by the Company Commander. This fire evidently broke up the intended attack, as our patrols later found several dead Panzer Grenadiers in the enemy forming-up place.

The 11th saw us with our hold on Point 103 unshaken, but with 7th Armoured Division making little progress on our right and the enemy still in great force to our front and on our eastern flank. A determined counterattack with the obvious intention of evicting us from Point 103 was made later in the afternoon of this day. The divisional plan for the day had included the move forward of the 69th Brigade to relieve us on Point 103 and to clear the enemy out of the Cristot area. The 6th Green Howards were to clear Cristot, and the 5th East Yorkshires were to relieve us. After certain armoured patrols had been sent in the direction of Cristot the Green Howards advanced, but were forced to withdraw after some difficult fighting. They appeared to run up against the infantry part of the enemy counter-attack, which had formed up near Cristot. The armoured part of the enemy counter-attack came in from the south and south-east, and was made principally by Tiger tanks of the 12th SS Panzer Division, so much so, that Point 103 became known to all those who fought there as "Tiger Hill." The enemy tanks advanced and brought heavy fire to bear on the "C" Company positions and on Battalion Headquarters and elements of Support Company, which were immediately in rear of "C" Company. "D" Company also came under a good deal of fire. Most of our own tanks were forced to withdraw to reverse slope positions, but some of the "Fireflies" (17-pdr Shermans) made good shooting. Casualties were heavy in "C" Company and Battalion Headquarters. Nearly the whole of the Orderly Room staff were killed or wounded, and L/Cpl Swan took over the duties of Orderly Room Serjeant. Serjt Parker, the Intelligence Serjeant, was killed. The enemy 88 mm. shells were bursting in the tree tops, and this had a shrapnel-like effect on those in trenches or ditches immediately below - we were to learn more of this during the course of apprenticeship in the Bocage country. The Battalion was sorely tested, but it hold firm and a somewhat critical situation was averted. In their steadiness, "C" Company were greatly encouraged by the example of the Commanding Officer and Major Nicoll - the former remaining with the Company throughout the ordeal. The Second-in-Command acted as a sort of liaison officer between the Commanding Officer, Brigadier H.J.Cracroft (commander of the 8th Armoured Brigade),the commanding officer of the armoured regiments in support (the 4/7th Dragoon Guards and the 24th Lancers) and the Gunners - so he found his time fully occupied! L/Cpl Hockley, of the Regimental Provost, greatly distinguished

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: NORMANDY 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment (an extract from "Three Assault Landings")

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