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That night the battalion re-organised on Pt 72, and had dress circle seats for as good a firework display as anybody could wish to see. The beaches were subjected to continuous bombing all night long; and the flak that was put up by the shore batteries and by the ships had to be seen to be believed. These night raids became a normal occurrence and they were always directed at the beaches. The raiders were, however, liable to jettison their bombs at random if chased by night fighters. On one occasion, a stick fell in the battalion area but fortunately did no harm,

By this time Bayeux had been captured, so we were able to obtain a certain amount of rest, being no longer in the front line. On the afternoon of the 9th, the battalion moved to Bayeux and took over a sector in the defence of the town from the 2nd Essex. On our right we were in close contact with the Americans who had now linked up and were moving south in line with us, Bayeux was a remarkable sight, not a house had been destroyed, the shops were full of food, and the streets were crammed with every type of military vehicle. What a target it would have made for the Luftwaffe, and what confusion the bombing would have caused, as all roads seemed to lead through the town. Fortunately for us, the Germans did not take advantage of this obvious target,

On the afternoon of the 10th we moved three miles further south, and then bivouacked for the night without encountering any opposition,

At 0600 hrs on the morning of the 11th, the advance continued with the object of seizing Trungy and the crossroads at La Belle Epine, The carrier platoon was used as a reconnaissance unit about three miles ahead, followed by B Coy and the remainder of the battalion, with C Coy acting as flank guard advancing along a parallel road. The village of Trungy was reported clear and by 0800 hrs the carriers were astride our objective at La Belle Epine. At 0832 hrs three enemy tanks were seen on the high ground of La Senadiere; these were promptly engaged by our anti-tank gun mortars which caused them to withdraw. B Coy pushed on south of the cross roads but were held up by an enemy armoured car.

As the battalion was about two miles ahead of the remainder of the Division, it was decided that we should consolidate in the area of the crossroads at La Belle Epine. By 1300 hrs D Coy holding the eastern approach reported that they were being attacked by tanks, It transpired ten minutes later that these tanks were our own; luckily no harm had been done.

At 1500 hrs B Coy, having been in an isolated position, started digging in about 300 yards south of the cross-roads. At 1520 hrs the whole of the battalion area was heavily mortared, the fire obviously being directed from OFs on La Senadiere hill which overlooked us. At 1730 hrs two enemy tanks overran B Coy's position while they were still digging in. An anti tank gun crew was wiped out before it had a chance of opening fire, as the enemy tank employed the ruse of waving as if friendly and then firing three rounds rapid. Another of our guns registered a hit on the turret of this tank, which unfortunately managed to get away, under cover of the fire of another tank, Another three tanks came into the area, and for the moment the position looked serious; the two leading companies became somewhat disorganised and fell back on Battalion HQ. In the meantime A Coy, protecting the eastern rear of the battalion, was being attacked. The orchard in which Battalion HQ was situated was made into a strong point and the German attack was halted,

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

Page: Page 16