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land in two waves. "A" and "B" Coys with the Commanding Officer's recce gp followed by "C" and "D" Coys with Bn HO. The bn would then RV in an assembly area in ASNELLES SUR MER due SOUTH of LE HAMEL and push on to the first objective which was RYES. The situation for a short while after landing was rather obscure but it soon became apparent that "A" "B" Coys had landed about 800 yards too far to the EAST and "C" and "D' Coys landed on their right almost on the correct beach. LE HAMEL was still strongly held and enfiladed the whole bde on the beach. The bn was thus unable to reach its assembly area as planned. "C" Coy attempted to push through to LE HAMEL which was then being attacked by the 1 HAMPS. They, however, came under heavy fire and were unable either to advance or to withdraw. "D" Coy immediately behind them was not committed. A gap had now been cleared in the minefield in front of the rest of the Bde and "A" and "B" moved inland from the beach on which they had been held up for 2 1/2 hours. Casualties on landing had on the whole been fairly slight. They included however one coy comd and two CSMs. At 0955 the CO decided to by-pass LE HAMEL which was then being tackled by 1 HAMPS with "A" and "B" Coys with the object of pushing inland from LES ROQUETTES to RYES. Communications with the coys was extremely bad, owing to the damage caused to wireless sets by sea water, and the CO had great difficulty in getting the orders of the change of plan to the coys concerned. It was not until about 11 a.m. that the new plan was successfully under way. "D" Coy was withdrawn from LE HAMEL area but "C" Coy reported that they were unable to extricate themselves. Their Company Commander in his efforts to improve the situation had been killed by a sniper.

The advance on RYES started when "A" Coy took the lead and advanced along the GRAND RIVIERE, followed by "D" Coy. This was the stage two of the original plan. The GRANDE RIVIERE did not live up to its name, but was in fact an imperceptible trickle. However, the trees skirting it provided some cover from the flanks.

The dominating feature to the WEST which overlooked the advance had happily by this time been taken by 69 Inf Bde. The adv progressed well although casualties were caused by Mortar fire including "D" Company Commander. About 1000 yards from RYES the advance was held up by well concealed MGs and snipers who held their fire to short range. The country was extremely close which made it impossible to locate the enemy. "A" and "D" Coys suffered heavy casualties including five officers in trying to push forward. The FOB was also wounded. No arty or mortar sp was available owing to lack of communications. The CO therefore left "A" Coy to contain the opposition while "B" and "D" Coys by-passed the enemy and pushed into RYES. By 1625 hrs "B" Coy had occupied RYES with only slight opposition. The CO with two sections of "D" Coy pushed onto the high ground NW of RYES which was found to be unoccupied. Bn HQ, "C" and remainder of "D" Coy later joined them in this area. "A" Coy having held a small counter attack later joined the bn on the high ground, "B" Coy remaining in possession of RYES.

It was now decided that no further advance to LONGUES which was our next objective, strong point along the coast, could be made that day. "C" Coy, however, was sent on to make good a dominating feature the MASSE DE CRADALLE. They met opposition at LE ROSIERE a mile from their objective and were held up.

Casualties killed and wounded at the end of the day came to 8 officers including 3 company commanders and 80 Other Ranks. Much equipment had been lost during the landing and a good deal of what little transport the bn was allowed to land on "D" day. Many prisoners were taken by the bn and valuable information obtained, in particular, some maps with the Enemy's dispositions marked on them, which were the subject of a special para in the first Div 'I' Summary.


(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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