Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Day of Days

I stood on the deck of the transport ship reading for the third time the copy of general Ike's transcript about our place in history and freeing Europe. All I could think of was the mission and if I had forgotten anything. As well as all the what ifs. We had trained extensively for months but there was still a lot of unknown factors that could jeopardize the whole invasion.

I looked towards the coast for the hundredth time realizing for the first I could make out the shore. The new day was allowing me to just glimpse the out line of buildings on the dark horizon. BUILDINGS, some thing was not right already. The ships intercom screeched at that same moment calling the company commander to the ward room immediately.Once there I and the rest of the command team found out there had been a foul up in navigation or some thing of that order as we were in the wrong place. We found our self at the wrong beach. There was no time to relocate to the right beach as the preliminary bombardment could be heard starting around Omaha and Utah beaches. I told the Captain we might as well start here and any naval gun support he could supply would be hugely appreciated as limited as it would be, we only had a couple of destroyers as immediate escorts.

I thought I recognized the immediate area from the intelligence and scores of aerial photos we had studied back in England. The only trouble was this beach was backed by an extensive resort town. Thoughts of Dieppe came rapidly to mind. I guessed that even if we could act as a diversion or draw reserves to the wrong beaches we could still be useful on the day of days.


  After Action Report June 28-06-1944 

     After arriving at the wrong location for amphibious operation code named Overlord elements of the 1st Div. decided to risk a unplanned landing operation to help relieve pressure on the main landing sites.First wave landed around 06:25 after a quick preliminary bombardment. As luck would have it we landed on the northern side of the beach which was lightly defended.One recon platoon and two boat sections were in the first wave and rapidly silenced the only oposition on the beach. They then came under very accurate artillery fire causing light casualties at first. This fire caused a slowing of exiting the beach.Not sure how, but shortly after the first wave landed a group of Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft arrieved over head and began attacking positions behind the beach.We can report at least one shot down by heavy AA fire.The air support did manage to silence a 88 FLAK battery located behind the beach.

   The main issue that slowed the advance was the accurate artillery fire directed by FO's located in a large water front hotel majorly slowing any forward movement. Finaly managed to get a boat section in place to assault and clear the building, but they had caused many casualties.

  Then the armour started to arrieve and make its way off the beach. The sea wall slowed up operation greatly and vehicles getting bogged at the one exit was no help.
   At this point the enemy started to try and fall back to cover the fuel and ammo dumps located at the southern part of the beach. My only hope was that there was enough time to now roll up the town and capture both objectives.The DD tanks were in the streets when they spotted a platoon of grenadiers falling back to the fuel dump, the gunned their engines and raced after them mowing down many and causing the rest to break and run for the rear, their day was over.

      The armoured platoon then went on to capture the fuel dump and race on and threaten the ammo dump. Unfortunately the enemy had managed to get up major reserves and protect the ammo dump and cover the artillery position nearby.My infantry were still tring to catch up with the armour when the enemy counter attacked with more grenadiers and marder AT guns. The armoured platoon tried to counter agresively but the enemy fire was both accurate and telling. The DD tanks were either destroyed or driven off.
  Unfortunately we held neither objective but were well and truely inland and in a good position to continue the advance the next day

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