249th (Airborne) Field Company RE on D-Day and Battle of Normandy

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by PRADELLES, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Chuck,
    I don't understand how the 12th Parachute Battalion could be in charge of Le Bas de Ranville and send in the same time patrols to X cross roads 122755. It's not in the same area !
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    The 12 Para WD doesn't mention the the crossroads at 122755. Just the following:

    "... link up posn in LE BAS DE RANVILLE and high ground SOUTH. B + C Coys fwd A Coy NORTH covering rear and watching bridges ..."

    I'm not sure if 12 Para sent a battle patrol north to 122755 crossroads, if so it would have come from A Coy.

    In 5th Para Bde HQ WD there are a number of map references for the points of formation between 12 Para Bn and 13 Para Bn. The impression I get is that 12 Para was responsible for the area west of a line along D514 into south Ranville over to the River Orne

    Regards ...
     
  3. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Chuck,
    Have a look here :
    Brigade Headquarters, 3rd Parachute Brigade

    "Bn areas
    12 Para Bn - LE BAS DE RANVILLE to est brhead EAST of R ORNE with battle patrol at X rds 122755."

    For remember, extract of the 5th Para Brigade War Diary :
    "Commando crossing at foot br 113762 is being protected by patrols from post at X rds 122755."

    May be "And watching bridges" refer to :
    Bridges = Pegasus + Horsa ... and TREACLE (footbridge).
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    It could very well be but I can't find any accounts of 12 Para actually sending a patrol down to the area of Treacle. In the book "Para Memories" Major Ritchie, CO of 'A' Coy, says he was headquartered in the quarry until 5 PM when they were move to positions south of Bas de Ranville. He mentions meeting up with the Commandos as they came through. According to Pte Holroyd he was sent up the road from the quarry in a party led by Sgt Warcup to deal with German snipers infiltrating the LZ and using the gliders as cover to fire on the British.

    Regards ...
     
  5. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Chuck.
    Extract of 5th Para HQ war diary :
    "Assistance to 1 SS Bde in crossing CANAL and river about H + 3 to H + 4

    7 Para Bn will give max fire sp during the move of 1 SS Bde to brs 098748 and 104746 and improvised crossing 113762. Routes will be cleared and traffic controlled by Pro during this period. 12 Para Bn will strengthen battle outpost at X rds 122755 as tactical situation permits so as to neutralise with patrols enemy post at 132766 and protect crossing."
     
  6. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    If you remember, General Gale abandon the Parker Force mission because the manpower of the Division is reduced.
    Colonel Reginald Parker
    May be it's the same reason for the mission of the 12th Parachute Battalion.
     
  7. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    The Parker Force mission was abandoned after the various units that composed were on the ground despite all the planning that went into it. As far as I can see 12 Para 'A' Coy did carry out their role as planned to some degree by keeping an eye on the LZ and would have dealt with German patrols coming down from the Sallenelles area if the need arose before the Commandos arrived. No idea if they were actually keeping an eye on the flood plain along the River Orne?

    You may be familiar with this pic of the No. 4 Commando down the hill in La Basse Ecarde. The IWM claims it was taken on June 7th. It was actually shot on June 6th. They were resting there out of way of shelling until moving onto Hauger.

    Commandos-La Basse Ecarde-D-Day.jpg

    Regards ...
     
    PRADELLES likes this.
  8. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Cee,
    The footbridge...
    But...not a reinforced concrete multispan...
     

    Attached Files:

    Cee and DannyM like this.
  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    A great find Xavier ... :)

    It is nothing like what I expected, thought it would be a more solid structure. At least that would allow the passage of smaller boats up and down the river at low tide. It looks a bit too flimsy to cross with horse and cart? Was it built by the Germans?

    Regards ...
     
  10. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    I think exactly like you.
    For me (a specialist confirm it) that could be the footbridge before the germans reinforced it.
    Did you see the house behind the bridge ??
     
  11. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    Yes I noticed the building. No doubt the same one that shows up in the photo of the Bailey Bridge erected down stream (north) of footbridge and in various aerials. It confirms that your footbridge photo was taken from the east bank of Orne.
     
  12. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi,
    About the cross roads 122755 :
    "ATTACK ON LE PLEIN
    At approximately 1400 hours on D day, 3 Troop mounted on bicycles reached the cross roads below LE PLEIN at 122756. The 9 Para Bn (what there were left of them) were holding this position..."
    Extract from here : No.3 Commando
     
  13. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Not sure there is a link with the cross roads 122755...
    "June 6th
    0945 hrs. - Contacted 13 Para Bn., who requested "Force John" to defend WEST and SOUTH-WEST area of X Roads [Crossroads]. Intermittent sniping."
    Extract from No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  14. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Finally, 13th, 12th and 9th Para held the cross roads on Dday :
    "3 Cdo held up by heavy shelling at COLLEVILLE and continuous sniping, sent forward their 3 Troop on cycles which crossed the bridges at 1400 and was ordered to go to the assistance of 12 Para Bn who were holding positions outside the village of LE PLEIN where the enemy were putting up stiff resistance."
    Extract from : An Account of the Part taken by No.1 Special Service Brigade
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  15. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    As for the "Attack on Le Plein" the only 9 Para man who turned up at the Ecarde crossroad was Col. Otway who went down the hill to confer with Lord Lovat. From Neil Barber's book, "The Day the Devils Dropped In":

    Shortly after 2pm gunfire suddenly erupted from Le Plein. It was not being directed towards the Paras, but to the west. It could only be the Commandos. Colonel Otway made his way down the hill to find them. Reaching the Ecarde crossroads at the bottom of the slope, he met Lord Lovat. Then the leading party of No 3 Commando, the bicycle-mounted 3 Troop under the command of Captain Roy Westley arrived. Lovat stopped him and the second in command, Lieutenant Keith Ponsford:

    "Otway explained his position. He was trying to do the impossible task of capturing the village with a handful of men. Lovat told us to attack Amfreville and asked Otway to conduct Roy and me on a recce of the area that he and his men were now holding close to the Ch√Ęteau d'Amfreville. This we did and Otway agreed to give us covering fire from this position when we attacked."


    After the attack went in Col. Otway later went down the hill from Amfreville to meet Lord Lovat again in the sidecar of a motorbike.

    With regard the crossroad mentioned in the "Force John" post it was most likely one of the crossroads in the Village of Ranville. Your final post on 3 Cdo 3 Troop is the same event as mentioned above. I'm inclined to think they made a mistake of calling the troops holding on to Le Plein 12 Para when it should have been 9 Para.

    Regards ..
     
  16. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Ok for the 9th.
    For the moment, there was no troop on the cross road 122755.
    I found that in the war diary of the 6 Commando :
    "Advance continues down road 093767 to road junction 098753, where cycle troop was contacted, tp bridge - to Le Plein."
    No.6 Commando 'A'

    I don't understand the link between 098753 and Le Plein !!
     
  17. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    That sentence is a bit confusing as it covers the movements of 2 Troop, 6 Commando on both sides of the waterways. Basically 2 Troop moves from St Aubin d'Arquenay along road D35 to the junction with D514 in Le Port where they meet up with the Cycle Troop. Presumably this is 1 Troop, 6 Commando's bicycle Troop. Afterwards they cross the bridges and continue on to Le Plein/Amfreville.

    As a side note the 6 Commando Cycle Troop rode all the way to Varaville where they relieved the Canadian Paras at 15:00 hours which is a pretty amazing feat. Not a lot known about their route and what occurred with them on the way to and in Varaville. They left Varaville the next day at 14:00 and were ordered to take up positions near Sallenelles.

    Regards ...
     
  18. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Cee,
    In conclusion, there wasn't airborne at the cross road 122755 when commandos arrived ! The 9th was the only unit on the north of the 6th Airborne Division.
    Regards,
    Xavier
     
  19. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Xavier,

    For now that appears to be the case but who knows what you will find next Xavier ... :)

    12 Para Major G. Ritchie's account from the book "Para Memories" doesn't go into great detail but as far as I can tell his 'A' Coy were operating out of the quarry until 5 P.M. on D-Day. Here are the relevant passages with Pte. Tom Holroyd's account on third page.

    Ritchie D-Day - Para Memories-1.jpg Ritchie D-Day - Para Memories-2.jpg Ritchie D-Day - Para Memories-3.jpg

    The 3rd Para Brigade were southwest along the ridge in Le Mesnils crossroads area. There were 6th Airborne stragglers who were dropped astray coming in from all directions on D-Day and after. There would have been men trying to retrieve materials and vehicles from the gliders on LZ N. Troops would be busy preparing landing strips for the Op Mallards gliders to arrive later in the evening.

    Regards ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  20. PRADELLES

    PRADELLES Well-Known Member

    Hi Cee,
    I think the outpost at X rds 122755 was just to protect the crossing of the commandos. The crossing was canceled (I have an idea why...) and one of the result was 122755 becoming useless.
    Regards,
    Xavier P

    "12 Para Bn - LE BAS DE RANVILLE to est brhead EAST of R ORNE with battle patrol at X rds 122755."

    "Routes are being kept clear for this move. Commando crossing at foot br 113762 is being protected by patrols from post at X rds 122755."

    "12 Para Bn will strengthen battle outpost at X rds 122755 as tactical situation permits so as to neutralise with patrols enemy post at 132766 and protect crossing."
     

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