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By nightfall on D-day, the Brigade had good reason to be proud of its achievements. The Hampshires had completed a large part of their task, the Dorsets had completed the whole of theirs, and the Devons were ready to go for Longues and the link-up with the Americans. The 47th Royal Marine Commando were able to occupy some high ground north of Port-on-Bossin, after a fight at La Rosiere.

So ended a most memorable day. The German defences on the coast had been broken into and through, and very severe casualties had been inflicted on them in men and material. The German armour had not yet appeared on the scene, and the bridgehead was in the process of being expanded and strengthened as more troops and material landed. (56th Brigade passed through 231st Brigade, 151st Brigade passed through 69th Brigade and the remainder of 8th Armoured Brigade were being landed.) In short, 50th Division, under their gallant commander Major- General D.A.H. Graham, had done a really fine day's work. Unfortunately the cost had been heavy., The loss in leaders at all levels was particularly serious, and this was to be felt increasingly in the days to come.

3. From the Beach-head to the end of the first phase (7th - 19th June).

During the 7th of June, the Brigade continued to clear up the bridgehead and mop up generally while the follow-up brigades continued their advance southwards. The Hampshires mopped up the remaining resistance in Tracy-sur-Mer and Manvieux without much difficulty and then re-organised for the next move. During the morning Lt Col C.H.R. Howie arrived to take command of the battalion. The Dorsets sent a company group, which included carriers and mortars, with a squadron of the Sherwood Rangers in support, to mop up enemy pockets in the area Bazenville - La Croix. This they did most effectively, killing about 40 Germans and taking over 70 prisoners. The Devons continued with their original task and captured the Longues Battery, with little opposition, taking 90 prisoners. The next day, the 8th of June, they linked up with the 47th Royal Marine Commando at Port-en-Bessin mopping up some enemy positions on the way. Late in the day, the Devons attacked a chateau to the south of Port-en-Bessin, and captured it with 40 prisoners.

The Dorsets now temporarily left the Brigade and came under command of 8th Armoured Brigade, which was still without its motor battalion. This force moved through the 50th Division bridge- head just north of Loucelles on the 8th of June, with the object of seizing the important feature known as Pt.103, northeast of Tilly-sur-Seulles, on the road to Villers Bocage. Now began an exciting four-day operation during which time the force was well in advance of the remaining troops of the Normandy bridgehead, drawing upon itself immediate hostile attention. The Dorsets, supported by the 4/7th Dragoon Guards, fought their way south of Loucelles, and continued somewhat precarious mopping up operations in Audrieu throughout the night. As a result of these efforts we were able to seize Pt.103, on the 9th, and the whole Armoured Brigade, with the Essex Yeomanry (147th Field Regiment) occupied this commanding position. The enemy, with the 12th S.S. Panzer Division with their Mark VI. Tigers in the forefront, made repeated counter-attacks from the south, south-east and east during the next three days, but we stood firm and the Germans were "seen off". "Tiger Hill”, as it become known, was a hot spot in those days! Incidentally it was at La Pavie, between Audrieu and Pt.103, that the writer

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: The Malta Brigade Strikes Back, 1944 June

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