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At dawn we anchored 7 1/2 miles from the coast, and there passed us a never-ending procession of LCTs, LCT(R),LCT(H),and all types of naval craft, whose job it was to prepare the way for the landing of the infantry. At 0545 hrs we started embarking in LCAs and by 0600 hrs we had taken up our allotted positions in the procession to the shore. The sea was definitely rough and in the LCAs the troops were very sick, in spite of pills which were supposed to be infallible, We could just distinguish ahead the LCAs of the 1st Hampshires making their way past the stationary cruisers and destroyers who were bombarding the shore batteries and defended posts.

Overhead we could see the three layers of fighter cover provided by our Air Forces. It was obvious that no German machine could enter the area and expect to survive. We were, however, listening and watching out for the expected assault by bomber command on the enemy coast positions. Although the clouds were high over the sea, the sky was very dark above the beaches, and we began to wonder whether this part of the programme could be carried out.

The excitement grew, and as we were passing the line of bombardment ships, our rocket landing craft let loose their rockets. The noise of their explosions rolled across the water like thunder. The Field Regiments were firing from their landing craft, and by 0730 hrs the leading battalions together with their DD tanks were approaching the beaches, We were in touch with Bde HQ by wireless, but, like them, could get no information on what was going on ahead.

In our ‘run in' all eyes were glued on the spire of Asnelles church, which made an excellent direction mark. When we got to within 300 yards of the shore, we suddenly realised that the beach obstacles had not been destroyed. We could see quite plainly the unpleasant looking mines on top of each post, By this time the tide was so far up that there was no question of grounding below the obstacles. As our speed was reduced to avoid them, so we were driven eastwards by a swiftly flowing tide.

The Landing craft grounded amid a certain amount of mortar and rifle fire. The ramps were let down, and we jumped into 4 ½ feet of water, It was very wet, very cold. However, it had its funny side. The bed of the beach was very uneven, presumably as a result of shelling. Wading through the deep and rough water became a task of the first magnitude, and curiously enough led to a good deal of laughter. Then we were ashore, directly in front of a German pill-box: the gun had fortunately been knocked out, and a number of German soldiers lay dead beside it. We found that we had landed near Les Rocquettes,

We expected to see a nice clear beach complete with all the correct signs neatly arrayed pointing the way to our assembly area, A very different picture greeted us. The beach was covered by a swarm of troops lying flat on their faces, ostrich-like, trying to make as small a target of themselves as possible. All was not well,

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: Story of 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment, 1944 Mar - June

Page: Page 11