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The defences of the W is in the form of a strong crust along the coastline. There is no developed def in depth to landward, though to seaward the effect of depth is gained to some extent by means of long range coastal arty, re-inforced, when the time comes, by such strength as the Luftwaffe can put into the air. Behind the 'Crust’ there are only scattered def posns at tactically important pts, but nothing in the nature of a prepared. line. The GERMAN theory is that any penetration through the 'Crust' will be smashed by armd counter-attack: before there is time for its consolidation and Reinforcement.

The Coast, therefore, is defended by strong pts at intervals of 1000 to 2000 yds. These strong pts are equipped with underground concrete shelters, concrete weapon emplacements and pillboxes, generally surrounded by thick belts of wire, with anti-personnel mines, and to a greater depth with A tk mines. Fd arty is deployed some distance back from the coast for firing into and immediately behind the beaches when a ldg has taken place. A variety of artificial obstacles have been constructed to cover exits and likely ldg places, also routes inland. Thorough preparation has been made for demolitions.

To man these defences the Coast has been divided into sectors and sub-sectors. Each sub-sector being manned by a Coastal Div. A Div front varies from 25 miles to 80 miles according to its importance. The enemy cannot spare Fd Force Divs for this task, and is relying on the strength of the fortifications to make up for what is lacking in the Tps in them.

In this description of the enemy Defences on the Bde front, detail of exact arc of fire and exact locn of each weapon will be omitted. This information can be gained more quickly from a study of the 1/12,500 def over print maps than from reading several pages of summary. Thus the description will be confined to dealing with each strong pt as a whole. It must be remembered that each weapon posn shown on the defence over print does not necessarily contain a weapon.
The strong pts on the Bde sector running E to W are as follows:

LES ROCQUETTES. This posn held by something less than PL in strength consists of 5 or 6 concrete pillboxes fwd on the Beach with possibly 1 or 2 more 150 yds inland together with concrete personnel shelters. The posn is surrounded by three belts of wire to the landward sides, these belts being 6 to 8 feet in width and 30 yds apart.
The coastal mine belt swings around the landward side of this locality. There is NO wire or Mines to the seaward front of the posn. In the Cops to the rear, personnel shelters are being constructed - there are also posns for two A tk Guns.

LE HAMEL. The defence of LE HAMEL consists of three strong pts, each of under a PL in strength. The Eastern posn i.e., one covering the BN Landing Beach and the main exit. It consists of 4 MG emplacements and an emplacement for an A tk or Inf Gun, all sited to cover the beach and exit. Another MG posn in rear and firing S gives the posn all-round protection. The emplacements are all connected by a trench system.
The posn is strongly wired and there are Rd blocks where the wire belts cross the main Rd. The coastal mine belt is to the landward of the locality.
The second posn at 874866 covers the ramps and the exit inland. It is a smaller posn and little, if any, wiring to the landward side. All the weapons are again sited with arcs of fire seawards. From this posn W to 876866 many houses have been demolished and those left standing, fortified.


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

Page: Page 23