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716 Infantry Division held this portion of the coast, and troops from 726 Grenadier Regt manned the actual beach defences Further inland was 352 Infantry Division, whose role was that of immediate counter attack to prevent any Allied penetration before the Panzer Divisions had had time to concentrate. The troops of 726 Regt were wrongly assumed, before the invasion, to be low category. The troops, in fact proved to be determined fighters, although many of them were foreigners coming from Poland, Russia and Czechoslovakia.

Supporting 213 Inf Bde’s assault were two self propelled artillery regiments, a regiment of self amphibious tanks, a squadron of Centuar tanks mounting 95mm guns and manned by Royal Marines, a squadron of assault vehicles Royal Engineers, which were tanks with various devices attached for removing or overcoming obstacles, and a squadron of Flails, from the Westminster Dragoons.

The Navy’s contribution was fire from five destroyers, three landing craft mounting two 95 mm guns each, four rocket craft which in one minute could project one thousand fifty pound rockets from a range of three thousand yards and various other small supporting craft. The Navy’s assistance did not end when the landing was made. Forward observation bombardment officers accompanied each battalion and had call for immediate support until the troops were out of range of the naval guns, on three LCGs, five Fleet and two Hunt destroyers.

The airforce was given the task of softening up the beach defences immediately before the infantry assault. Four squadrons of fighter bombers were on call after the landing.

231 Inf Bde’s plan was to land on a nine hundred yard beach immediately EAST of LE HAMEL and to establish itself on the high ground in the area of Pt 54. The Bde was then to capture RYES, ARROMANCHES and LONGUES and 47 RM Commando which was under command for the operation, was to capture PORT EN BESSIN.

The plan on more detail was as follows:- 1 HAMPS were to land on the WESTERN half of the beach, and having overcome defences of LE HAMEL, were to work along the coast, seizing in turn ASNELLES SUR MER, ARROMANCHES, and strong points at TRACY SUR MER and MANVIEUX. 1 DORSET who were to land on the EASTERN half of the beach, were to seize the two strong points of LES ROQUETTES, and then, after advancing SOUTH WEST to Pt 54 to attack the strong points five hundred yards to the NORTH and WEST. In the following phase they were to take over the defences of RYES, a village two and a half mile inland which the DEVONS had been given as their first objective. Finally, the DORSETS were to hold a company in readiness for exploitation SOUTHWARDS, The DEVONS who were landing on the WEST beach behind the HAMPS were to make straight for RYES. They were next to swing right to LA ROSIERE, seize the high ground to the WEST, and then push straight on to FONTENAILLES. Afterwards the DEVONS were to attack LONGUES village and LONGUES battery on the coast to the NORTH of the village. As their last task they were to exploit WESTWARDS to link up with 1 US Division. 47 RM Commando were to land two hours after the first troops had touched down. They were to assemble in the LA ROSIERE area and then proceed by the shortest route to PORT EN BESSIN, which they were to capture. This attack was not expected to take place before H plus 5 ½ hours.

The weather played a vital part in the actual operation. The sea was too rough for the amphibious tanks to be launched as originally intended 500 yards from the shore. They, therefore were landed dryshod with the result they were unable to support the first wave of troops ashore.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

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