The 6th British Airborne Division was commanded by Major General Richard Gale and composed of parachutists and glider borne troops in Horsa or Hamilcar gliders.
The division’s primary objective during the Battle of Normandy was to hold the eastern flank of the invasion forces and to stop German counter attacks.
The division took a three-pronged approach:
– The bridges across the River Orne and the Caen canal had to be captured and held to enable the safe crossing of seaborne reinforcements.
– The Merville gun battery had to be put out of action because the 100mm calibre guns could fire down on to Sword Beach and the Allied fleet off the coast.
– The bridges across the River Dives had to be destroyed to prevent German reinforcements from the east.
These missions were successfully accomplished before dawn on D-Day but the division suffered heavy losses. More than 2000 soldiers lie in peace at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in Ranville.
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