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saw with his own eyes the bodies of the nineteen Canadians who had been taken prisoner and then shot it is believed, by the 12th S.S. Division. On the 11th, the 69th Brigade began to take over, rand one battalion helped to repulse, the last serious enemy counter-attack. The 7th Armoured Division also began to make its presence felt, to the west, and we could see their battle going on round Buceels On the 12th, the Dorsets returned to 231st Brigade. Brigadier H.J.B. Cracroft, commanding the 8th Armoured Brigade, sent the Dorsets one of the most complementary messages the writer has seen addressed to any unit.

Meanwhile the whole 50th Division was pushing southwards from Bayeux in an effort to enlarge the bridgehead. 231st Brigade, less the Dorsets, had passed through 56th Brigade and advanced south past St. Andre. The Devons next cleared Trungy and secured the cross-roads at La Belle Epine by the 12th of June, but the enemy at La Senaudiere obviously intended to dispute any farther advance, and the Hampshires were unable to advance south from the high ground at Bernieres-Bocage. It was at this juncture that the Dorsets rejoined the Brigade. On the evening of the 12th, the Germans from the direction of Les Oreilles attacked the Devons with tanks and infantry, initially gaining some ground round La Belle Epine. But, summening all available reserves, and assisted by some of our own shermans and A.V.R.E.s, the Devons recovered all the lost ground and drove the enemy back. On the 14th, a brigade attack took place with the immediate object of capturing the La Senaudiere cross-roads, and clearing the enemy from that area. The Dorsets. on the right, captured the cross-roads after bitter fighting which included encounters with some Mk. V. Panthers. The Hampshires, attacking on the left, came up somewhat later as they had met trouble very near their start line. The Dorsets knocked out two of the Panthers, one with a 6-pdr anti-tank gun man-handled to within close range, which had extra penetrating power. The Brigade now reorganised while the 69th Brigade attempted to push further south towards Les Orailles and Longraye. For the first time we had some troops in front of us and became the Divisional "firm base”; but this state of affairs was not to last for more than a very few days! During this short time in reserve we received some welcome reinforcements. The 69th Brigade were unable to progress very far to the south, and 151st Brigade now began to come up on our left to capture Lingrevres. Farther east still, the 49th Division were entering the battle north of Tilly-sur-Seulles,

On the 19th of June, the Brigade was called upon to carry out another attack, this time with Hottot as the objective, While the Hampshires (right) and the Devons (left) attacked Hottot itself from the north, the Dorsets were given the task of right flank protection with the Chateau-de-Cordillon as their final objective. There is no doubt that by now, both the Brigade, and the division, were becoming exhausted by the repeated attacks and advances since D-day; whereas the enemy, although heavily defeated on the beaches and also farther inland, had had time to bring up his reserves in order to "seal-off” the bridgehead. The weather had also favoured the Germans and delayed, by several days the landing of follow-up troops and stores of all kinds, so that the assault divisions had to continue to bear the heat and burden of the day. The Brigade‘s attack on the 19th was most gallantly carried out in the difficult Normandy bocage, or hege-row country, and much ground was gained; but casualties were heavy and Hottot and the Chateau do Cordillon remained in enemy hands. Some of the

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: The Malta Brigade Strikes Back, 1944 June

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