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The following day the bn moved off to take the MASSE DE CRADALLE and LONGUES Bty. "B" Coy leading, followed by "A" and "D" Coys. No opposition was encountered and the feature was occupied by "B" Coy by approx 0700 hours. "A" and "D" Coys were left to consolidate with "D" Coy while "C" Coy went to capture LONGUES Bty. The attack was supported by aircraft, arty and MG fire. By 1053 hours "C" Coy reported the bty in our hands. Very little opposition was met and some 90 prisoners were taken. The position was then consolidated on the line MASSE DE CRADALLE - FONTENAILLES - LONGUES and the rest of the day was spent quietly.

On 8th June ('D' plus 2) the bn received orders to attack WESTWARDS to PORT EN BESSIN clearing up enemy strong points on the coast NORTH of LE MESNIL and BOUFRAY. The situation in and around PORT EN BESSIN was rather obscure. 47 Marine Commando had attacked it on the day before. Our carrier platoon had gone out just NORTH of the port to link up with the Americans and were involved in a counter attack which cut them off. Those that rejoined the bn brought rather exaggerated reports of the predicament of the 47 Marine Commando.

The position NORTH of LE MESNIL surrendered to "B" Coy after a short arty and MG concentration two Officers and 32 ORs being taken prisoner. "C" Coy was then pushed straight on to PORT EN BESSIN riding on tanks. On arrival it found the port held by 47 Marine Commando and also the high ground at Pt 72 overlooking it to the SOUTH. The woods there contained odd enemy snipers which "C" Coy proceeded to mop up. "A" and "D" Coys arrived later, "B" Coy having returned to secure the MASSE DE CRADAILLE.

At 1800 hours the CO decided to attack a Chateau due SOUTH of Pt 72 which contained a large number of enemy in well fortified positions. "A" and "D" Coys did tho attack supported by arty, MG and tanks. The attack was made difficult by a river which ran round the Chateau but by 1930 hours it was captured with approx 20 prisoners. At this time a counter attack from the SOUTH appeared imminent, and so the bn took up a three coy position on Pt 72. No counter attack however materialized and the bn remained there undisturbed for the night.

THE STORY OF THE 47th ROYAL MARINE COMMANDO

The task of the 47 Royal Marine Commando, it will be remembered, was to capture PORT EN BESSIN, Tho Commando landed on its appointed beach at H plus two hours. Unfortunately three of its lancing craft were sunk on the journey in, and seventy men were missing before the advance to PORT EN BESSIN, started. Because the enemy were still holding out at LE HAMEL there was some delay in collecting the commando together, but eventually it was able to fight its way through to LA ROSIERE, which was the prearranged assembly area. There was a company of German infantry firmly dug in in this area, and the commando had to put in an attack against this position before being able to break out to the WEST. After this engagement, in which they suffered a further forty casualties and captured 60 prisoners, they advanced swiftly to ESCURES, a piece of high ground to the NORTH of PORT EN BESSIN, which they were able to occupy without opposition by last light.

Because the wireless link with Bde failed to work it was not possible for the prearranged smoke screen to be laid by the RAF. It was therefore decided that a direct assault on the high ground on either side of PORT EN BESSIN was not practicable, and an alternative plan was put into operation.


(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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