- 9 -

At first light on the following day elements of the commando infiltrated into the town, and occupied the church without much difficulty. Soon the whole commando, less fifteen who were left at ESCURES, were fighting in the streets. By last light on 'D' plus one the town was held by the commando, but the cliffs on either side were still in the hands of the enemy. During the night the commando attacked these positions and by 0400 hrs on the following day had captured them. The commando suffered a slight reverse when the fifteen men left at ESCURES were counter attacked and dislodged during the night of 'D' plus one. The position here was finally restored with the assistance of 2 DEVON in the early hours of 'D' plus 2.

During this operation the 47 Royal Marine Commando suffered approx 200 casualties.

CONCLUSION

The following side lights on 231 Inf Bde's assault may be of interest. From all accounts given by prisoners of war and civilians the invasion took everyone by surprise. The first warning of the coming of the operation was the intensive bombing of coastal batteries by the RAF during the night of 5th and 6th June. The Regimental HQ established in the Chateau at MANVIEUX appears to have packed up hastily during the early hours of the morning of 6th June. The confusion that reigned there - equipment strewn all over the place - certified to its hurried departure. There were indications, however, that some senior officers and a few civilians had an inkling that the invasion would take place on their part of the coast. Up to the start of 1944 the Germans were so obsessed by the idea of an attack on the PAS DE CALAIS that they had neglected almost entirely the defence of CALVADOS. In the early days of February this area became the scene of feverish activity. The Mayor of LONGUES declared that ROMMEL himself took a very special interest in the positions of 105 mm guns in the process of construction on the coast. Our arrival interrupted the work although the guns were active on 'D' day. In spite of all their efforts the local commanders could not satisfy ROMMEL'S impatience. On one of his last visits fences were hastily erected and danger signs posted in areas where minefields should have been laid. ROMMMEL expressed himself well pleased.

The welcome our troops received in MANVIEUX on 'D' day was genuinely enthusiastic. Four years of German occupation has sobered the staunchest admirers of the Wehrmacht. Hatred of the Germans was deep rooted and expressed itself actively on the enemy's departure. On the other hand there were few complaints from the coastal districts of the behaviour of the Gerians, who appear to have received strict orders as to their conduct to the civilian population, although further inland the Boche acted with characteristic brutality.

A number of Russians manning coastal defences were taken prisoner. When asked why they were German uniform and fought in the German Army they almost uniformly replied that they had been taken prisoner previously in the EAST, and, confronted with the choice of service in the German army or death, with reprisals against their families, they had taken the obvious course. Their eagerness to integrate themselves with us considerably reduced the value of their statements, since they would sooner invent than be found wanting in information. Most of the Germans too, were so afraid of being shot by us, having been warned by their leaders that this would undoubtedly be their fate on capture, that they told us what they knew without being asked. In several cases they corrected possible mistakes we might have made on the map by pin-pointing Headquarters company positions, etc. Very few of them appeared to have


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

Share this

Found an error?

Found an error with this archive item? report it here!

Archive: Normandy notes on operation 231 INF BDE 6&7 June 44

Page: Page 10