Friday, 5 November 2010

10th-17th July 1944 - Preparation for Troarn

On July 10th we were relieved by a Battalion of the 3rd Canadian Division in Caen, which it had entered some two days before. We moved to the outskirts of La Deliverande and having been in the line with a break of but a single day since D Day, we made the most of a few days rest. Here it became known that we were to take part in a full scale offensive which was to be launched East of the River Orne.

We moved by night in transport to the Orne, crossed the river on foot and arrived in Amfreville in the early hours of the morning of 16th July. The weather was fine and the Battalion, dug in by first light, had two days rest in the new position.

In that time the plan for the attack became known. Three British Armoured Divisions were involved in a thrust which was to constitute the first powerful attempt to break out of the bridgehead. Their objective was Bretteville and finally Falaise and our Division had the task of covering the left flank of this advance by dominating the ground as far East as Troarn.

8th Brigade were to capture three villages - Trouffreville, Sanneville, and Banneville, and 9th Brigade were then to pass through, swing East and capture Troarn.

2 RUR were ordered, as part of 9th Brigade, to move on Troarn from the North East while 1st KOSB attacked from the East.

On the evening of July 17th, the Commanding Officer gave out his orders. Much valuable information was given by the officers of the 8th Parachute Battalion who had reached Troarn in the early stages of the campaign and patrolled the area constantly for three weeks after D Day. They had much to say about the nature of the country and gave detailed description of such features as the Brickworks, and the approaches to them. Air photographs had already revealed the close character of the country with its high banks and thick, almost impenetrable hedges, but this account of the battleground at first hand was most helpful and the Battalion was grateful to these officers for their assistance.

The plan itself was dictated by the nature of the ground. With tanks of the East Riding Yeomanry in close support the Battalion was confined to the roads and tracks since the hedges were thick enough to be impenetrable by Shermans. The thrust forward was then to be on a one company front, and led by an advance guard of B Company, and supporting arms under Major Hyde.

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