SECRET

REPORT TO. 139
HISTORICAL OFFICER
CANADIAIT MILITARY HEADQUARTERS

The 1st Canadian parachute battalion in France
(6 June - September 1944)

1.  This report is the story in outline of the participation of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in the Allied Invasion of France. The period covered is from D-day, 6 Jun 44, to the unit's return to England on 6 Sep 44. The formation of this unit, and the problems arising out of its early training in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have been briefly discussed in an earlier report (N. 138).

2.   After its arrival in the United Kingdom on 28 Jul 43, under the command of Lt. Col. G.F.P. Eradbrooke, the Battalion had ten months' extensive training in preparation for the airborne phase of the Allied assault. During this period of training, and subsequently. During action in France, the unit formed part of the 3rd Parachute Brigade or the British 6th Airborne Division. The latter formation was included in 21 Army Group which, under the command of General Sir Bernard Montgomery, comprised the British and Canadian component of the Allied forces that invaded France. The following brief account will inevitably make frequent reference to the activities of the British formations under whose command 1 Cdn Para Bn served, in order that the relationship of the unit to the operation as a whole may be clearly established.

3.   Material for this report has been drawn from the unit War Diary, substantially supplemented by the war Diary of 3 Para Bde (Brit),and from sitreps and the statements of officers who participated in the airborne assault. Map references throughout this report refer to: FPANCE, 1:100,000, CAEN-FALAISE, Sheet 7F; LE HAVRE - PONT-AUDEMER, Sheet 8E; and LISIEUX - BERNAY, Sheet 8F.

GENERAL PLAN OF THE INVASION

4.   The general plan of the Allied invasion of France in Operation "OVERLORD” is described in the report, -- "Canadian Participation in the Operations in North West Europe, 1944. Part 1: The Assault and Subsequent Operations of 3 Can Div and 2 Cdn Armd Bde". In very condensed form the initial Joint Plan visualized a night attack by bombers, in very great strength, followed by a large-scale attack by airborne troops. The latter would precede and prepare for the main seaborne invasion, which would take place under the cover of further air support and a tremendous naval bombardment. The general area of the attack was that portion of the north-eastern coast of NORMANDY in the vicinity of CARENTAN, BAYEUX and CAEN.

FORMATION AID UNIT OBJECTIVES

5.   The airborne attack comprised two major operations. in the western sector, on the right of the Allied landing, near CARENTAN and VARREVILLE beaches, two American divisions, 82 and 101 Airborne Dibs, were to make a descent in preparation for the seaborne landings in that area. In the eastern sector, allotted

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