I was not afraid. My only worry was that I might look stupid, shouting out or fleeing. That would have been worse than being killed. I did not want to let myself down, nor my family, nor my Regiment, nor my Battalion. I wanted to do my job properly.
Gordon Newton Private of 9th Battalion
A few officers and men had landed early to take the heavily-crated ground around the Merville Battery, discover paths through 200 metres of mines and mark German sentries and machine-guns.
100 RAF Lancaster bombers dropped nearly 1,000 tons of high-explosive to daze the defenders before D-Day.
Lt-Colonel Otway and his 150 men arrived east of Le Home at 0430 hrs and deployed into four assault groups. Four gaps were already cut in the first barbed wire barrier and 10 Bangalore torpedoes (instead of the expected 60) blew holes in the second.
The four groups then charged through the gaps, running for their target casemates across the minefield and were met by rifle, machine gun and anti-aircraft cannon fire.
Those unhurt shot their way into the casemates, throwing grenades into the concrete rooms, killing about 50 enemy soldiers, wounding another 60 and capturing another 22. When the fighting ceased only 69 paratroopers of the original 150 were unwounded.
Their mission was accomplished and the landings at Sword Beach could begin.
More to follow…
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