Juno Beach - Advance Inland - Initial Attacks

Initial Attacks

At 14:35, Keller met with the commanders of the 8th and 9th Infantry Brigades, as well as the newly reconstituted 2nd Armoured Brigade (Fort Garry Horse, Sherbrooke Fusiliers, 1st Hussars). With the first line of objectives (codenamed Yew) secured on the beachhead, Keller ordered the 7th and 8th Brigades to advance with armoured support towards the second line of objectives (Elm), whereupon 9th Brigade would then leapfrog over the 7th and 8th to reach the third objective line (Oak). Facing them were the remains of three battalions of the 736th Grenadier Regiment, and three battalions of the 726th Regiment. "B" Company of the Winnipegs was still facing heavy resistance from snipers and machine guns in Courseulles, while the eastern companies of the North Shore Regiment were fighting for Saint-Aubin. "A" and "C" companies of the Royal Winnipegs moved off the beach, cut through the walls of barbed wire behind the German bunkers, pushed through Vaux and Graye-sur-Mer, and began to advance towards St. Croix and Banville. "C" Company advanced on Banville—the headquarters of II Battalion of the 726th—but was stopped by three machine-gun emplacements just short of the town. Winnipeg "A" Company joined "C" Company of the Canadian Scottish Regiment and a troop of "C" Squadron of the 1st Hussars and advanced on St. Croix, unaware of a large German counterattack massing in St. Croix under the command of 8 Battalion, 726 Regiment. "C" Company of the Canadian Scottish Regiment had deployed to their west, and was able to spot the units of the 8th Battalion, and halt the counterattack before it fully materialized. "D" Company of the Winnipegs joined the advance on Banville with covering fire from the Cameron Highlanders and the 12th and 13th Field Artillery Regiments; Banville was declared captured at 13:10, although small pockets of resistance would survive until nightfall and then retreat. "D" Company of the Canadian Scottish moved to capture two bridges on the Seulles River further inland from the Winnipeg companies. "B" Company joined them, and pushed through the gap between St. Croix and Banville, joining "C" Company as it did so. "C" Squadron of the 1st Hussars provided armoured support. To their east, the Regina Rifles advanced south towards Reviers, engaging troops of the 7th Battalion of the 736th Grenadier Regiment. They reported reaching the town by 12:15 with two companies, and began consolidating their position in preparation for further advance.

In Nan Sector the 8th Brigade's advance started slower than that of the 7th Brigade, because the Chaudieres had lost most of their equipment on the advance over the beaches. The Queen's Own Rifles' "C" Company was pinned down at the edge of Bernières by sniper-fire, and could not cross the open fields behind the town; their armoured support was also stopped by heavy antitank fire coming from Beny-sur-Mer. The Chaudieres "A" and "B" companies were caught in the crossfire; "B" Company lost almost an entire platoon when a German 88 mm scored a direct hit on a Priest self-propelled gun. Chaudiere and QOR progress was slow; all told, it took nearly two hours for artillery and heavy guns to clear the defences at Beny-sur-Mer, allowing the QOR to advance towards the town. Beny-sur-Mer was reported cleared at 14:00, at which point the Chaudieres began to mass in the town for a further advance south towards Carpiquet. The QOR broke off to the left to engage heavy artillery batteries to the west of Beny, and "B" Company was assisted by the guns of HMCS Algonquin, which destroyed a bunker of 105 mm guns. To their east, "C" and "D" Company of the North Shores advanced towards Tailleville—the headquarters of II Battalion of the 736th Grenadiers. Mortar fire north of the headquarters was both concentrated and accurate, slowing the advance of "C" Company. They were supported in their drive south by tanks of the Fort Garry Horse, which caught close to 100 German defenders in open fields. The North Shores and their armour support entered Tailleville at 14:00, at which point the six tanks of "C" Squadron moved through the village, destroying German gun emplacements. However, the defenders of the II Battalion had created a complex underground bunker system in the village, which enabled them to continuously outflank Canadian infantry; it would take another seven hours to clear Tailleville of defenders, which ensured that the North Shores would be unable to capture German radar sites to the south on D-Day.

Meanwhile, "B" Company of the North Shore Regiment and No. 48 Commando of the Royal Marines were engaged in a protracted fight to secure Saint-Aubin and Lagrune-sur-Mer. "B" Company had generally neutralized the strongpoint at WN27 within two hours of landing, which allowed Troops A and B of the Royal Marines to push west. These units had the important objective of bridging the 5-mile (8.0 km) gap between the landing zones at Juno and Sword, which would allow for a continuous Anglo-Canadian front by the end of the first day. The Royal Marines began to advance on Lagrune and strongpoint WN26, while to their east No. 41 Commando Royal Marines advanced from Sword. The strongpoint was defended by "a reinforced platoon from the 736th Grenadiers", and was centred on a group of fortified houses and 50 mm antitank guns. B Troop's first attempt to capture it failed, and the assault was renewed with support from Centaur tanks only to again falter in the face of heavy resistance. No. 48 Commando was forced to call the assault off at nightfall, as reports of massing counterattacks by the 21st Panzer Division against the divide between Sword and Juno began to filter in. The strongpoints at Lagrune and Luc-sur-Mer were finally captured on 8 June.

Read more about this topic:  Juno Beach, Advance Inland

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