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There was a tense moment at the Divisional Commanders' Conference when General Graham asked Colonel Philips whether in addition to his other tasks, he could mop up the odd platoon post which was known to exist between Port-en-Bessin and Longues. Col Philips replied that General Dempsey had personally instructed him to capture the Port; that he would then be relieved by 50 Division, thus enabling him and his unit to return to England (Laughter). He respectfully regretted therefore that he would be unable to assist in this small matter (loud laughter).

Our plan was to land behind the Hampshires in two waves each of twelve LCAS (Landing Craft Assault); A Coy, under Major Frank Sadleir, in the six craft on the right; B Coy under Major Mike Howard, in the six on the left. The second wave was to consist of C Coy, under Major Bubbles Duke, behind A Coy; and of D Coy, under Major John Parlby, behind B Coy, with Bn HQ in two LCAs with the second wave. The CO and advanced HQ in an LCM were to land with or just in front of the second wave. A diagram of 231 Bde in the assault is given in Appendix D.

The attack was to be carried out in five stages. (From a staff duties point of view the word ‘stage' was used so as to avoid confusion with the 'phases’ in the Brigade orders).

STAGE I Land and assemble in the village of Asnelles,

STAGE II Capture and hold Ryes.

This role was assigned to A Coy, who would move along La Grande Riviere, the only covered line of approach from Asnelles to Ryes. A point to note was that La Grande Riviere was in fact a stream barely six feet wide, D Coy was to follow behind A Coy mopping up any enemy encountered on the way. Their task was to hold the high ground just north of Ryes, and to cover the move of the remainder of the battalion along the disused railway which runs north of Ryes towards Longues.

Our chief worry at this stage was the fact that on each side of La Grande Riviere there was high ground in which air photographs showed a number of enemy heavy machine gun posts, We were not unduly perturbed by the high ground to the west, because the Dorsets were due to capture it at about the same time as our advance. The high ground NE of Meuvaines was, however, an objective of a neighbouring brigade, and a comparatively late objective at that. We felt with some justification that, although there was a certain amount of cover, the enemy with his MGs could seriously impede our advance.

STAGE III B Coy to seize the large feature on the way to Longues, known as the Masse de Credailles.

We did not anticipate much trouble in this stage, except possibly from enemy escaping south from Arromanches.

STAGE IV C Coy to capture Longues battery, supported by all the artillery and tanks that could be made available at the time. The maximum help we could expect was:- one squadron of the Sherwood Rangers, one battery of 143 Fd Regt, and one Machine Gun platoon of the Cheshires.

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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

Page: Page 6