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Although the Brigade plan was naturally dependent on the success of all three battalions on the 47 RM Commando, a clearer picture will be obtained if each story is given separately. First are accounts of the battles by the two assault battalions, the First Battalion The HAMPSHIRES Regiment, and the First Battalion the DORSETSHIRE regiment. Next the story of the reserve battalion, The Second Battalion of the DEVONSHIRE Regiment. And lately that of the Fortyseventh ROYAL MARINE commando.

1 HAMPS

The two assault coys “A” and “B”, landed at LE HAMEL at 0730 hrs 6tyh June 1944. The aerial bombardment and artillery had not proved as effective as had been hoped,and both coys were held up at the head of the beach, instead of being able to penetrate swiftly into the heart of the defences. The two reserve coys “C” and “D” landed at 0740 hours, and also came under withering MG fire from pillboxes, which the tanks landed at H hour, were ineffectively trying to neutralize. 88 mm fire from guns sited well inland, which had followed the invasion craft inland, now concentrated on the troops collecting on the beach. LE HAMEL was too strongly held for it to be possible to carve a way through the minefields in that area, and it was not until a gap had eventually been made by about 0900 hrs to the EAST of LE HAMEL that “C” and “D” coys were able to get through and approach their objective, ASNELLES, from the rear. “C” Coy once through the gap, found itself in swampy ground and under fire, but managed to press on, clearing up odd opposition in pillboxes and woods. In this last task two AVREs were able to play an invaluable part. On arrival at ASNELLES at about 1200 hours “C” Coy came into reserve in the neighbourhood of Bn HQ, which had established itself at the school. “D” Coy which had sustained less casualties than the other companies, cleared to SOUTH of ASNELLES and continued to ARROMANCHES, arriving there at about 1830 hours. While the battle was raging in ASNELLES, the civilian population continued to walk up and down the street, with as little concern as if an exercise was taking place.

The bn had not suffered lightly in the opening stages of the battle. The CO has been wounded and the 2nd i/c killed on the beaches. All companies had received heavy casualties. “A” Coy which had advanced WESTWARDS along the beach hard fared the worst. The Company Commander had been killed, and the other officers either killed or wounded.

After the capture of ARROMANCHES and LE HAMEL, the bn, which was now commanded by Major D.W. WARREN reorganize itself for the night in the area of these villages. The remnants of “A” Coy took up positions on the high ground WEST of ARROMANCHES. “B” Coy took over the village, “C” Coy held the ground to the SOUTH, and “D” Coy with Bn HQ established itself in the area of ST COME DE FRESNE. This reorganisation was completed at 2200 hours.

The following morning a composite force of “B” and “C” Coys, strengthened by a section of carriers and a section of mortars, mopped up resistance as far WEST as MANVIEUX, passing through TRACY SUR MER on route. The latter village was occupied without opposition. While the two Coys were consolidating at the cross roads, Lieut KING took out a patrol and mopped up four snipers, whose whereabouts had been revealed by civilians. By midday. By midday the area was clear of the enemy and the coys had reorganised once more, this time MANVIEUX and TRACY SUR MER being included within the bn area. During the morning Lt.Col. C.H.R. HOWIE arrived and took over command of the Bn.


(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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