Run-In Shoot by RA in Overlord Assault

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by CommanderChuff, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    On D-Day, 7 FR took "V" formation in the run in to Sword Beach, each of their 72 guns firing salvos of 90 rounds over the assaulting infantry in a 30-minute period.

    In the obit for John Talbot is this reference to the Run-In Shoot and as there does not appear to be any info on this interesting action on the forum I have penned a few words to describe it more fully. From the battlefields of terrafirma Field Gunners of the RA performed a difficult action on the open seas of the English Channel in a heaving sea with little visibility. The Run-In Shoot was a unique action for the field gunners of the Royal Artillery

    The three SP regiments in their LCT's followed the infantry assault onto the beaches whilst firing their guns at specific hard-point targets. The landing craft with the guns then turned away and rejoined the third wave of assault craft to land the guns.

    The Fire Plan for the Overlord operation was a comprehensive one which involved bombing from the air, naval bombardment from the warships and the shoot by the army. The fireplan started at midnight as RAF Bombers concentrated on the coastal batteries, followed at first light by the USAAF. The RN provided a bombardment group for each beach of 5 battleships, 2 monitors, 20 cruisers, and 2 gunboats, supported by 10-14 destroyers. Additionally the navy had specialised landing craft with guns and rockets. The army soon realised that, even with the weight of bombs and shells, there could be no direct fire support for the infantry during the landings. The Field Gunners of the RA were called upon to perform this unique, and probably never to be repeated, shoot.

    The RA units in the Run-In Shoot were:
    Gold: 86 FR, 90 FR, 147 FR: all with SP Sexton 25pdrs and SP Bofors
    Juno: 12 and 13 FR RCA for Mike, and 14 + 19 FR RAC for Nan; SP Sexton and SP Bofors:
    Sword: 7 Fr, 33 FR, 76 FR: with SP Priest 105mm and SP Bofors

    The targets for the guns were:
    86FR: WN33 La Riviere
    90FR: WN36 Le Roquette
    147FR: WN37 Le Hamel
    12+13FR: WN29+31 Courselles
    14+19FR: WN27 St Aubin, WN28 Bernieres
    7FR+33FR+76: WN20 COD

    As measure of the effectiveness of the shoot it is recorded that the OP for the 147FR was unable to pass target data for WN37 to the guns, and instead the unit received the 90FR target data. The result was that the target of the 90FR, WN36, was 'thoroughly plastered' whilst WN37 was left untouched. Although the 1st Hampshire who landed opposite WN37 were able to get off the beaches fairly quickly there was a long and costly battle to subdue this strongpoint and to capture Le Hamel. The bunker was eventually put out of action by an AVRE at the back door and a Sexton of 511 Battery at the front. Sgt Palmer in the Sexton was awarded the MC for this action.

    The management system of Observation Posts and Battery Commander was complex one, and become more fluid as the units in the initial assault landed and consolidated their ground. The follow-up units pushed through these lines and as they did so the artillery were re-assigned to the active front-line units. Generally, a OP officer and BC were assigned to each of the assault infantry, and during the Run-In Shoot were able to pass target data to the landing craft through RN Liaision Officers. The CO's of the FR and the infantry units were part of the same command group in close proximity to each other and this arrangement meant that the fire of one or two FR's could be called down on a single target, if needed. The RN bombarding force was controlled by Forward Observers Bombardment which were artillery observers specially trained to observe the fall of naval gunfire. The FOB talked with a Bombardment Liaision Officer on the ship who passed on target data to the captain. The weight of the broadside of a destroyer was equivalent to a Field Regiment whilst a cruiser equalled the otuput of a medium regiment. For ranges of upto 16,000 yards the warships were controlled by observers in Seafires from HMS Lee-on-Solent.

    The Centaur Close Support tanks of the Royal Marines, with their distinive bearing markings on the turrets, were controlled by Forward Observation Officers. The tanks were carried in armoured plated LCT's and were less successfull as many capsized in waves.

    Following the Run-In Shoot the guns were landed and the SP's were used to suppress the enemy infantry so to allow the assaulting units to progress inland. The threat of counter-attack was always a problem and post-landing the one of the key roles of the SP's was to protect the infantry from counter attack.

    The action of the gunners on the day has been described by Brigadier GG Mears; ' was about as stern a test of men's moral fibre as war has to offer'. German accounts of the battle speak of the paralyzing effect of overwhelming bombardments that shattered the offensive spirit of the infantry and destroyed their armour: The awards of medals reflects this view of their commitment of the RA to the task:

    Captain Patrick Featherstone: Sword: wounded and with broken collarbone; remained with the East Yorks until ordered to a first aid station;
    Captain Tom Bond: FOO 19FR RCA; Juno; was shelled out of his OP but moved another to continue giving valuable support to the infantry; Military Cross;
    Gunner Jack Holtzman: 13 FR RCA, Juno: continued to direct fire when his FOO was killed and OP destroyed: Military Medal;
    Captains Taylor and Munro: Gold; kept up with the advancing 1st Hampshires and showed complete disregard for personal safety from sniper fire to bring down fire in support of the infantry in the attack on Le Hamel: Military Cross.

    This information was published in the magazine of the Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich, in an article by Lt Col Will Townend, and is the secretary of the Royal Artillery Historical Society. Lt Col Townend commented on the significant contribution that the Divisional artilleries made to the suppression of the German beach defences and one of which the Regiment can be justifiably proud on the morning of D-Day in June 1944
    Juha, CL1, mark abbott and 3 others like this.
  2. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Little bit confused by this, and not heard of it before. Field guns firing from the sea, Wow! thats somthing. Then it turns out there SP's firing while following the troops ashore at marked targets,and some of the units are RCA and not RA so it dos'nt seem so Wow anymore, but still an interesting action.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I know that some of 3rd Div's RA units had Priests & they fired from the Landing Craft on their way to SWORD later in the campaign they got their 25 Pdrs back.
  4. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Still seems a bit iffey firing Priests + Sextons fom LTC's while bobbing up and down in the run in, especialy if you were the troops infront of them, but it seems to have worked out ok, got the impression from the title they were firing Field 25Pdrs at sea.
  5. WotNoChad?

    WotNoChad? Senior Member

    There's a brief mention of this run-in firing on p520, 2nd & 3rd para, of Ambrose's "D-Day";

    ... Blamey commanded a Sherman tank with a twenty-five-pounder cannon mounted on it; behind him in the LCT were four twenty-five-pounder field-artillery pieces that he would be towing ashore. The battery commenced firing when it was twelve kilometres from shore, and continued to fire a steady three rounds per minute until down to three kilometres.

  6. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    Firing timings for the run in shoot were controlled by the "Coventry Clock". This was only ever used on this occassion as far as I am aware. There is a description of one in my book, if anyone is interested.

    Rob, it was definately a WOW, I have met some of the gunners who were involved.

    Juha likes this.
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    I dodn't know about he Priests/Sextons...but there were quite a number of British LCs altered to allow "tanks" to fire over the top of the ramp on the Run-In. CMV did an article on these the month before last. They simply had ramps built on the deck to raise the whole vehicle and the line of the barrel high enough!!!
  8. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    86th Field Regt RA also fired from LCTs on the run-in to Gold Beach. They were equipped with Sextons.
  9. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    The origin of the Fire Plan was in the lessons learnt from the Dieppe raid, the key recommendation being that in the absence of tactical surprise, then overwhelming firepower should be used. The text of that recommendation is in the Canadian army report No 128, and states:

    The necessity for fire support in any operation where it has not been possible to rely on the element of surprise. This fire support must be provided by heavy and medium Naval bombardment, by air action, by special vessels or craft working close inshore, and by using the fire power of the assaulting troops while still sea-borne.

    Apart from the raid on DIEPPE (19 Aug 42) (cf. Reports Nos. 100 + 101- Op Jubliee Raid on Dieppe, 108 - Dieppe Casualties, 109 - Dieppe First analysis, 116 - Dieppe Info from German Sources, 128 - Dieppe and Overlord, and 130 - Dieppe Maps and Materials) and report 147 Neptune and Overlord. The Canadian army history reports cover Dieppe and Overlord and can be found here: where the numerics denote the report name: -

    Report 128: Dieppe and Overlord;
    The Times, 5 Aug 44
    From Our Military Correspondent
    While the profits of the Dieppe raid are at first sight debatable the losses are only too manifest. The Canadian casualties alone numbered 3,371, and this without any of the demolitions projected having been carried out. Yet when the asset side is examined it will be found to amount to an
    invaluable total. Dieppe proved to be the source from which almost every lesson affecting future operations, and especially the landing in Lower
    Normandy, was derived. None of the varied information and background acquired in the Mediterranean conflicted with it, or for that matter appreciably added to it. The first and most important lesson was the need for overwhelming fire support, including close support during the initial stages. This would have to comprise support from the air, heavy and medium naval support, and support by special vessels working close inshore. The types of support craft available in 1942 were neither adequately armed nor adequately armoured for continued action against strong coast defences. It was the experience of Dieppe which led to the creation of the support craft now in use, just as it was that experience which brought battleships and cruisers into the bay of the Seine in June, 1944. A corollary to this lesson was that it might be necessary to abandon the
    ideal of complete tactical surprise. A preliminary bombardment does not do away with tactical surprise in the broad sense, but it does abandon such
    opportunity as may exist of actually putting troops ashore before the enemy is aware of their approach to the beaches. Against defences organized as were those of the west coast of France it was seen to be more important to pulverize the resistance in advance than to catch sections of the garrison asleep, specially since there existed no certainty that this could be accomplished in any case.
    The need for a combined headquarters was no less clearly indicated. The outline plan of every form of combined operation must be prepared by an
    experienced inter-service staff. This has now become a commonplace, but it was not so then. Again, while a combined operation needs even more meticulous planning than any other, in none is flexibility more necessary. The wellknown military axiom, that the place to which it pays least well to send reinforcements is the place where there has been a failure, applies even more strongly to an opposed landing than to normal warfare. This points to the widest possible front and to a number of landing places, because with a cramped front and few landing places the commander can do little, to impart flexibility. It points also to the necessity for retaining a substantial reserve, since forces once committed lose their flexibility; in fact the initial landing force must be the minimum which can do the job. The coast in the region of Dieppe is marked by high, steep cliffs, with
    few openings, and with fishing ports or holiday resorts in the mouths of what openings there are. This fact must provide at least a partial answer to the strong criticism which has been launched in instructed circles against the plan on the ground that it involved a frontal attack on a densely built town. It is also to be noted that the flank attacks at Puits and Pourville were not successful, and that though there were some elements of success at Pourville there were none at Puits. It may therefore be conceded that there could not have been a successful envelopment of the town from these two landings. nevertheless, Dieppe furnishes one more argument against the frontal attack when avoidable. When the Canadians set out to take Dieppe in 1942 they landed at Dieppe. When General Montgomery's army group set out to take Cherbourg in 1944 it landed some 15 miles away. It was shown that the most advanced of the enemy's anti-tank defences must be destroyed before tanks were landed; otherwise it was probable that they would either be stuck on the beaches under fire or stopped by obstacles soon after leaving them, as happened at Dieppe. It was at first thought that tanks must be held back till the defences were captured, but this view was modified, and in the Cherbourg landing tanks early on the scene greatly contributed to the capture of these defences. But discussion on the problem set in train a series of experiments in special equipment and method which have since borne abundant fruit. One of the most significant of all the pointer was in the direction of
    airborne troops. As a fact, the conditions suitable both for landing craft and airborne troops did not occur throughout the whole period within which the operation was scheduled to take place; the conditions as regards light and tide were favourable for ships and landing craft, but they would not have permitted the employment of airborne troops at the required time. But technique and equipment were improving, and before two years had passed methods which were then considered hazardous had become readily practicable. That being so, the use of airborne troops prior to the landing and even to the preliminary bombardment would restore the element of surprise to a large extent. Their immense value in "jumping" obstacles was too patent for further emphasis upon the subject to be needed.
    The use of smoke at Dieppe brought up a number of topics for discussion. In general it was considered that the smoke made by ships, aircraft, and
    forces was extremely useful but inadequate in quantity. When employed to cover the withdrawal it was not developed quickly enough. At Dieppe the approach of the landing craft could not be screened by smoke because the cannon-fighters were required to go in and attack just before the craft touched down, and if smoke had been laid by aircraft at this stage the bombarding ships would have lost sight of their targets. Here the deduction was that action by fighter aircraft, if considered necessary, must precede the use of smoke to cover craft approaching landing places. It was also decided that for a daylight assault full use must be made of smoke when occasions demanded it, particularly to cover ships or craft required to remain comparatively close to the shore, and that specially fitted craft should be provided for this purpose. Among other lessons learnt was the need for a great improvement in aircraft recognition by naval and land forces, this having been far from good at Dieppe. Many useful hints as to the means for providing for security emerged from the discussions. Attention was concentrated upon combining this vital necessity with the no less urgent need for preliminary "briefing" of the forces engaged. without the latter officers and men could not be expected to know enough of the intentions of their superiors to enable them to take advantage of a favourable situation or minimize the effects of a setback. Through there had been two rehearsals for the Dieppe raid, fresh emphasis was put upon their necessity. It was considered that special training would be required for all engaged in tasks such as night operations, street fighting, attacks upon concrete casemates. The raid exercised a profound influence upon the Admiralty as regards both production and tactics in combined operations; upon the War Office with special reference to engineering; upon the Air Ministry with special reference to close support. It brought about a new realism in the attitude to all such projects, and paradoxically, though the difficulty of the raid had if anything been underrated, and it had nevertheless failed to reach its material objectives, yet study of it led to greater confidence in the success of combined operations on a much larger scale. Where the first footing in Lower Normandy was concerned, this confidence was absolute when the invasion plans were finally passed.
    The heavy sacrifices of the Canadians were not made in vain. The gallant lives lost were not thrown away. In the months that followed, the study of the experiences at Dieppe made more and more discoveries and confirmed more and more conclusions till a technique was developed which was first demonstrated by the 3rd Canadian Division in the exercise last October. In the personal message from Lieutenant-General H.D.G. Crerer to his troops on the eve of the invasion there occurs this passage: "The plans, the preparations, the methods, and the technique which will be employed are based on knowledge and experience bought and paid for by the 2nd Canadian Division at Dieppe. The contribution of that hazardous operation cannot be over estimated. It will prove to have been the essential prelude to our forthcoming and final success." These words were fully warranted and provide the most complete justification for the raid on Dieppe.

    Report No 147: Royal Canadian Army: Page 184-196

    The Fire Plan
    136. Discussion of the fire plan has been reserved until the last, because of its peculiar importance in the assault. Before embarking, however, on the exposition of this topic, it is appropriate to turn back briefly to that operation which had also involved an assault landing on the French channel coast. The costly but invaluable experience gained at DIEPPE almost two years prior to "OVERLORD" was closely studied and the lessons learned from that experience carefully formulated. (Cf. The DIEPPE Raid, Combined Report, C.B. 04244, October 1942, copy in custody of Historical Section, C.M.H.Q.).
    137. Not the least of these lessons, although it is not included in the Combined Report, must have been the knowledge that much time elapsed before the invasion could take place. "I believe", said Lieut.-General Crerar with reference to DIEPPE, "that when this war is examined in proper perspective it will be seen that the sobering influence of that operation on existing Allied strategical conceptions, with the enforced realization by the Allied Governments of the lengthy and tremendous preparations necessary before invasion could be attempted, as a Canadian contribution of the greatest significance to final victory". (Introduction to Briefing of Officers, H.Q. First Cdn Army, 7 Jun 44, copy appended to Report No. 128). General Crerar's remarks on that same occasion shed light on another aspect of the assault -- the relative value of tactical surprise:
    Until the evidence of DIEPPE proved otherwise, it had been the opinion in highest command and staff circles in this country that an assault against a heavily defended coast could be carried out on the basis of securing tactical surprise, and without dependance on overwhelming fire support, in the critical phases of closing the beaches and overrunning the beach defences. (Ibid).
    138. If tactical surprise were not to be the basis of the plan, it followed that a daylight assault, supported by heavy and accurate observed bombardment, was preferable to one made under cover of darkness. The first lesson of DIEPPE, therefore, was the need for "overwhelming fire support ... during the initial stages of the attack". The report defined the methods by which this must be provided: heavy and medium Naval bombardment, by air action, by special vessels or craft working close inshore, and by using the fire power of the assaulting troops while still sea-borne. (C.B. 04244).
    139. The immediate source of the "OVERLORD" fire plan is the Graham Report, "Fire Support of Seaborne Landings Against a Heavily Defended
    Coast" (C.O.S. (43) 770 (O)), which had considered the problem of distributing a sufficient weight of high explosive over the area to be assaulted. (Cf. C.B. 04385A, Report by A.N.C.X.F.). Our concern here is not so much with that principle as with the means employed to produce an adequate volume of fire. Examination of the fire plan conceived for "OVERLORD" reveals close parallels with the DIEPPE recommendations. The huge scale of support to be furnished by heavy and medium naval bombardment has already been outlined (para 22 above); at DIEPPE naval fire had been limited to "a short bombardment carried out by destroyers". (C.B. 04244). Air support, which at DIEPPE had proved "adequate to cover the operation" and had included no preliminary bombing, was expanded for "OVERLORD" to comprehend attacks by heavy and medium bombers as well as by fighter bombers, so that the total effect of the air assault should extend far beyond the target area proper.
    140. The numerous strange craft marking up the Naval Assault Forces may be said to have had their genesis in the recommendation for support delivered by "special vessels ro craft working close inshore". this support was to be given during the "vital minutes while troops are disembarking, cutting or blasting their way through wire, clearing beach mines and finding routes over obstacles", for at that very time they would be least able to support themselves. (Ibid).
    141. We come finally to the suggested use of "the fire power of the assaulting troops while still sea-borne". This, the DIEPPE report goes on to say, might be further developed by the employment of "selfpropelled mobile artillery provided that it is put ashore immediately". (Ibid). But it does not seem to envisage that such artillery might be fired even while still at sea. This was a later development, growing out of the original recommendation for sea-borne military fire-power. Assault divisions in Operation "OVERLORD" were accordingly equipped with "Priests" - U.S. 105-millimetre self-propelled guns (M.7). Owing to the fact that 3 Cdn Inf Div was to make its attack on a two-brigade front, it was deemed advisable to strengthen its artillery component by the addition of a fourth field regiment, thus giving each assaulting brigade the support of two regiments. The additional unit first selected was 8 Cdn Fd Regt, but on its departure to the Mediterranean with 1 Cdn Corps it was replaced, in October 1943, by 19 Cdn Fd Regt. (W.D., G.S., H.Q. First Cdn Army, October 1943: Appx 20, Message 067, G First Cdn Army to 2 Cdn Corps, 18 Oct 43).
    142. Turning now to the divisional fire plan, it may be observed first that its most remarkable feature was the very high degree of co-ordination it achieved by combining the efforts of Navy, Army and Air Force. The importance of such exercises as "PIRATE" in arriving at this co-ordination has been mentioned above (para 62). The intention of the fire plan, broadly, was threefold: (a) to provide "drenching" fire against beach defences from all weapons: (b) to destroy enemy batteries by naval fire and air bombing; (c) to attack inland targets by air action. The schedule which this programme was to follow is tabled at Appx "O" of R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1. This document is in fact invaluable to an appreciation of the divisional fire plan.
    143. (i) Navy. The bombarding ships of Eastern Task Force associated with Force "J" are listed above (para 22). In addition, Fleet Class destroyers were to bombard the flanking beaches commencing at H minus 40 minutes, while at the same time Hunt Class destroyers engaged MIKE and NAN Sectors. Cruisers, direct day air spotting sorties, were to engage the VER-SUR-MER. and BENY-SUR-MER. batteries. After H Hour certain of these ships would become available on call to the Forward Officers Bombardment accompanying the assaulting troops. (ON EAST 8; R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div .O. No. 1).
    144. The tasks of the naval support craft require only to be summarized. Descriptions of each type are included in the table, Ships and Craft of Force "J", at Appendix "B". L.C.G. (L), disposed on the flanks of assaulting battalions, were required to close to 1000 yards and open fire with their 4.7-inch guns on targets of opportunity. L.C.T. (R.), approaching the beach in two waves, were to fire their patterns of rockets just prior to touchdown on the strong points at COURSEULLES, BERNIERES and ST. AUBIN. (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O.No. 1). The A.V.R.E. teams, touching down at H Hour, were to be accompanied on the run-in by L.C.A. (H.R.), which would fire when within range so as to create blast lanes through the mines and wire at the right points where it was intended that exits should be constructed (cf. para 129). (Ibid).
    145. (ii) Army. The expanded divisional artillery was divided into two groups for the assault phase: 12 Cdn Fd Regt Artillery Group, supporting 7 Cdn Inf bde, and composed of 12 and 13 Cdn Fd Regts and one battery of 2 R.M.A.S. Regt (Centaurs); and 14 Cdn Fd Regt Artillery Group, in support of 8 Cdn Inf Bde, and comprising 14 and 19 Cdn Fd Regts and the second R.M.A.S. battery. (Ibid). 146. Two batteries of 2 Royal Marine Armoured Support Regiment, equipped with Centaur tanks mounting 95-millimetre guns, were to be borne in L.C.T. (A.) and L.C.T. (H.E.). Beaching at H Hour, they were to deploy on land in order to support troops coming ashore. (Ibid). The role of L.C.T. (C.B.) has been described previously (para 122).
    147. The "drill" evolved for the employment of seaborne artillery is fully described as to its technical detail in a memorandum issued by H.Q. R.C.A.: The Use of SP Artillery in Support of a Beach Assault. (Hist Sec file AEF/3 Cdn Inf Div/RcA/B/F). But a clearer conception of the procedure can perhaps be gained from the following excerpt from an account given to the Historical Officer, 3 Cdn Inf Div: There were several curious difficulties attaches to the use of the artillery at sea. The craft had to be under way at the time of firing, since they were not sufficiently steady while merely
    standing off. No switches could be put on the guns. The only way therefore that they could be kept on line was to direct the craft on the target and maintain them on their course. Thus, from the time that the guns came within range and opened fire they were closing on the beach at 5 knots per hour. This made necessary a steadily decreasing elevation on the guns. The rate of close on the beach had to be calculated constantly in order to keep the fire where it was wanted, "just where the grass starts to grow on the beach". This was done by the regimental Fire Control Officers
    operating radar apparatus in navigational motor launches. For the SP artillery the schedule of fire support was as follows. Range clocks were started at 15,000 yards; ranging with smoke began at 10,000 yards and fire for effect at 9000 yards. This latter had to be timed so as to commence at H minus 30 minutes. From then until H plus 5 minutes (i.e., at a range of 2000 yards, having covered 1000 yards per 5 minutes) each gun fired 3 rounds in ever 200 yards. The total HE expenditure at H plus 5 minutes was thus 105 rounds per gun.
    At this point, the LCTs, now 2000 yards offshore, did not continue on their course in order to touch down and offload the guns, for the beach was not yet ready to receive them. Instead they turned off to a flank to a waiting position.... On landing they deployed and went into action as quickly as possible. (Hist Sec File AEF/3 Cdn Inf Div/RCA/C/D: Artillery Communication in Operation "OVERLORD", account give by Maj. H.S. Patterson, R.C. Sigs, to Hist Off, 3 Cdn Inf Div). To complete this picture it is necessary to envisage 24 L.C.T. approaching shore, each craft carrying four guns one troop). The total volume of fire from these 96 guns would equal 10,080 rounds. To fall of shot was to be observed and controlled by Forward Observation Officers travelling in L.C.S.(M) far in advance of the assault waves. (Ibid). Artillery reconnaissance parties accompanied infantry battalion headquarters, so as to select suitable gun positions ashore.
    148. Each regiment was to bring down a concentration on one of the four principal strong points in "Juno" sector, i.e., those at COURSEULLES (on
    either side of the breakwater) at BERNIERES and at ST. AUBIN, ending just as the leading infantry touched down. (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). These four regimental concentrations were thus designed to complement the fire delivered against the same targets by L.C.T. (R.). But it must be emphasized that their effect was to be neutralizing, not destructive. Neither sufficient weight nor accuracy to achieve penetration of concrete defence could be expected of field artillery afloat.
    149. Although Exercise "PIRATE" (cf. para 62) had demonstrated the feasibility of firing S.P. artillery from sea, subsequently a series of unexpected difficulties in the actual mechanics of the problem was found to be critical. One of the many collective exercises of the final stage of training was, therefore, made to serve as a final test of its practicability. All references to Exercise "SAVVY" (12 Feb) made it clear that the whole case for seaborne artillery would stand or fall on its merits. (W.Ds., H.Q., R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div, and H.Q. 8 Cdn Inf Bde, February 1944). As carried out, "SAVVY" consisted of an assault by 8 Cdn Inf Bde with fire support. It was attended by many high-ranking officers, including General Montgomery himself. The divisional artillery staff, which has suspended detailed planning until it conclusion, noted with relief that the exercise was considered "a
    great success". (W.D., H.Q., R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div, 14 Feb). S.P. artillery would continue to be included in the assault phase.
    150. (iii) Air Force. the targets allotted to the Air Forces fitted perfectly into this programme. Prior to D-Day heavy bombing of beach defences was to be carried out, first priority being given to the strong points of COURSEULLES and BERNIERES, those at ST. AUBIN and LANGRUNE receiving second priority. On D-Day itself the following attacks were to be made:
    H minus 30 to H minus 15 minutes, light bombing on beaches of MIKE and NAN Sectors.
    H minus 15 to H Hour, heavy bombing on beaches of LVOE and OBOE Sectors.
    (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1).
    The counter-battery role consisted of medium or fighter-bomber attacks against the BENY-SUR-MER., VER-SUR-MER. and MONT FLEURY batteries, timed so as to follow on the naval bombardment of these positions. (Ibid). Attacks on inland targets -- the special province of the air arm -- were
    to include the bombing of H.Q. 716 Div in CAEN, the city itself, TAILLEVILLE and the CARPIQUET airfield defences. These were to be carried out during D-Day. (Ibid).
    151. (iv) Anti-Aircraft. Anti-aircraft protection for ships and craft was to be given by L.C.F. and L.B.F. Two anti-aircraft assault groups
    ("O" and "P"), comprising several British anti-aircraft batteries, a searchlight troop, a smoke company and four L.B.F., were entrusted with the protection of the beachhead area. the divisional light antiaircraft regiment was to supply one battery to cover the crossings of the River SEULLES. (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). Very careful instructions were issued concerning anti-aircraft fire, the engagement of friendly aircraft by our own troops having been an unfortunate feature of the DIEPPE raid. (C.B. 04244, The DIEPPE Raid; 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). As an extra precaution a special system of distinctive markings on certain types of Allied aircraft was devised to come into force on D-Day, these markings consisting of black and while stripes painted on wing surfaces and fuselages. (ON 11).
    152. (v) Anti-Tank. The advance to the final objective was to be supported by two anti-tank sub-units: a battery of 62 A. Tk Regt, R.A., in support of 7 Cdn Inf Bde, and 105 Cdn (Composite) A. Tk Bty of 3 Cdn A. Tk Regt, in support of 9 Cdn Inf Bde. At the conclusion of Phase III they were to be withdrawn to the divisional mobile reserve. During the consolidation phase, anti-tank weapons were to be deployed so as to guard against enemy armoured thrusts against the flanks of the division. (R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div O.O. No. 1). . . . . . . . . . . .
    153. In summing up, it may be found useful to examine diagrammatically the order in which the leading assault groups of 3 Cdn Inf Div were to
    approach the beach.
    H minus 5 D.D. Tanks
    H Hour Centaurs, A.V.R.E. and R.E. bulldozers
    H plus 5 Infantry Assault Coys
    H plus 20 Infantry Reserve Coys
    H plus 45 Reserve Battalions

    The Fire Plan
    In endeavouring to estimate the seccess of the combined fire plan, it must be realized that the moral factor played almost as great a role as the actual destruction caused. This being so, it is more difficult to arrive at a true evaluation. But it is safe to assume that the massed invasion force, moving in relentlessly on the beaches and loosing so great a volume of fire-power, must have seemed irresistible to the little groups of defenders huddled in their concrete enclosures, waiting until the nearest troops should be within range of their puny mortars and guns. With the din of the bombardment ringing in their ears, the confident advice of their superiors - "Keep them at bay until our Panzers break through to relieve you" - must have appeared a vain hope indeed. Interrogation of prisoners produced adequate testimony of the power of the fire plan, as the following passage shows: The results of our preliminary aerial and naval bombardment were most impressive. PW were unanimous in describing its overwhelming and demoralizing effects. In several strongpoints comns were completely severed and the occupants, who had gone to ground, were totally unaware of what was happening until they emerged to find themselves prisoners. PW used such phrases as "it was absolute hell" and "we had no chance"...The naval bombardment seems to have been especially terrifying. (Second Army Int Summary No. 7, quoted in First Cdn Army Int Summary No. 7.)
    In the Canadian sector, there are isolated incidents which show that enemy morale was seriously affected. A company commander of Q.O.R. of C told how a German machine-gun crew ran away when our troops began to scale the sea-wall before their position. Such enemy soldiers he described as "mere boys" and "very frightened" (Major J.N. Gordon, as cited above.) Others, locked in concrete emplacements, had no such opportunity for flight and in most cases fought it out till the end. It seems probable, however, that the intense initial bombardment momentarily stunned them, for the battle generally took shape when these positions were closely invested and our leading troops had crossed the intervening open stretch of beach. This conclusion is borne out by the experience of 48 R.M. Commando, which was fired on even before landing by the defenders of the ST. AUBIN strongpoint, who had previously allowed N. Shore R. to approach with much less show of resistance (para
    191 above). With respect to the performance of seaborne weapons (naval bombardment ships, close support craft and S.P. artillery) there are three principal sources of information: the naval reports on "NEPTUNE" (C.B. 04385A, B and C); C.B. 3148, Gunnery Review, Normandy Bombardment Exercise: and Army Operational Research Group Report No. 264, Opposition Encountered on the British Beaches in Normandy on D-Day.
    (i) Navy Inasmuch as no very formidable enemy batteries lay within 3 Cdn Inf Div's area, the bombarding force provided was accordingly small. (On the Eastern flank, Bombarding Force "D", in order to deal with coastal batteries on either side of the SEINE estuary, comprised two battleships, five cruisers and one monitor. (C.B. 3148).) In "Juno" area, the achievement of "Diadem" in silencing the battery at BENY-SUR-MER is adequate evidence of the efficiency of naval bombardment (para 174). The crew manning one such gun position retired in great disillusionment to a cave in the vicinity of FONTAINEHENRY, where their depression was such that they later permitted a few Canadians whom they had captured to take their whole number (109) into custody. This incident has been described above (para 263). But the final proof of the results of naval counter-battery fire is seen in the failure of the coastal defence guns to cause any damage whatsoever to the closely packed shipping. The beach drenching fire undoubtedly achieved its object of neutralizing interference on the run-in, and was said to have been delivered "with clock-like precision". (C.B. 04385B.) The preparatory bombardment was so much admired by one assaulting company that the soldiers stood up in their L.C.A. to watch it. (W.D., 1 C. Scot R., June 1944: Appx 2, "C" Coy Diary.) While its effect was never intended to be totally destructive yet the actual damage caused by this very heavy volume of fire was found to be somewhat disappointing. Poor visibility was undoubtedly a contributing factor. Not one major strongpoint was put out of action despite direct hits. (C.B. 04385B.)
    In this connection a significant point was brought to light: the emplacements housing infantry guns had been defiladed from direct fire from sea; by a heavy concrete wall running almost parallel to the shoreline. This, while it denied shelling to seaward, meant that the
    beaches could be swept by enfilade fire. An exactly similiar principle of construction was observed on the U.S. sector. (First U.S. Army Report of Operations, as cited above.) The Naval Gunnery Review points out that had Intelligence been aware of this peculiarity, destroyers and support craft might have been stationed farther to the flanks of the assault so as to bring cross-fire against the vulnerable embrasures of these bunkers. (C.B. 3148.)
    It was not supposed, however, that every enemy position withstood this saturation with complete immunity. Examination of the area showed that 7 Cdn Inf Bde's sector contained six guns (15), two mortars, and 19 machine guns, of which preparatory bombardment. In 8 [FONT=&quot]187 Report No. 147[/FONT]
    Cdn Inf Bde's sector there were three guns, three mortars and 13-15 machine guns; of these a smaller percentage was destroyed by drenching
    fire. (A.O.R.G. Report No. 264, Part VI.) By way of comparison, it may be noted that of a total of about 106 such positions in the whole
    British assault area not more than 14 per cent were estimated to have been put out of action by naval gunfire. (C.B. 3148.)
    307. On the whole, the lethal effect of this massed fire power appears to have been slight. despite considerable damage in BERNIERES and COURSEULLES, it was believed that "less than a dozen" civilians were killed by the bombardment although neither town had been evacuated.
    (C.B. 04385 B.) The War Diary of R. Wpg Rif observes somewhat bitterly that the drenching fire "failed to kill a single German or silence one
    weapon". (W.D., R. Wpg Rif, 6 Jun.) While acknowledging that there was good reason for this statement (sub-units of this battalion suffered
    very severe casualties), it is only fair to note that the assault company of 1 C. Scot R. which landed under orders of R. Wpg Rif found that its beach objective had been demolished by naval gunfire (para 177 above).
    308. It is impossible to present accurate evidence of the performance of each class of weapon, there being no sure method of differentiating the effects on the target. Results must therefore be discussed in the broadest of terms.
    309. Neutralizing fire by destroyers was described by the G.O.C., 3 Cdn Inf Div, as "accurate and sustained". (Maj.-Gen Keller, as cited
    above.) The observed shoots carried out by H.M.C. Ships "Algonquin" and "Sioux" are typical. "Algonquin" silenced a battery of two 75- millimetre guns situated between houses on the sea-front just West of ST.AUBIN. Thereafter she proceeded to demolish other buildings in the same area. "Sioux", in support of 48 R.M. Commando, opened fire at 10,000 yards on a gun position near LANGRUNE.
    (15) Guns in each sector were as follows: 7 Cdn Inf Bde - one 88 mm, two 75 mm, three 5 cm A. Tk. 8 Cdn Inf Bde - three 5 cm A tk. (A.O.R.G. Report No. 264, Part VI.)

    Both ships ceased fire about 0745 hours, as the first assault wave was approaching shore. (R.C.N's. Part in the Invasion.) Farther West, "Kempenfelt" engaged a three-gun battery near COURSEULLES, but this fire could not be observed. (C.B. 04385B.) The general deployment of destroyers was as follows: on the right, "Venus", "Faultnor", "Fury", "Stevenstone" and "La Combattante", engaging beach sector targets; and
    similarly, on the left, "Vigilant", "Algonquin", "Sioux", "Bleasdale" and "Glaisdale". (Ibid.)
    310. L.C.G.(L) working on the flanks of the assaulting battalions, opened fire at ranges between 9,000 and 6,000 yards and thereafter continued to engage concrete defences from 1,000 yards until the landing craft had touched down. (C.B. 04385 B.) Their position close inshore gave them better opportunities than destroyers for observed shooting. (C.B. 3148.)
    311. L.C.T. (R) were said to have fired their salvoes of rockets "accurately and a little early". (C.B. 04385B.) Short rounds were observed by R. Wpg Rif. (W.D., R. Wpg Rif, 6 Jun.) An unfortunate, though spectacular, incident occurred when a Typhoon fighter, swooping in low over BENIERES, flew into a pattern of rockets and was instantly destroyed. (C.B. 04385 B.)
    312. Since enemy aircraft discreetly absented themselves from the assault area, the L.C.F. of Force "J" were not exercised in an antiaircraft role, and were therefore used to supplement close support fire. (C.B. 04385 B.) One of these craft was observed close inshore firing tracer at the beach. (W.D., Q.O.R. of C., 6 Jun.) This method of adding to drenching fire by L.C.F. was also practised by Force "G". (C.B. 3148.)
    313. The diaries of the armoured regiment make no mention of the performance of L.C.T. (C.B.) One instance is recorded of a concretebuster
    engaging a casemate. (Lt.-Col Matheson, as above.) The commander of Force "J" further reported their fire to be very destructive when used against buildings. (C.B. 04385 B.)
    314. The little naval "hedgerows", towed to the beaches in L.C.A. (H.R.), while not properly contributing to drenching fire, may be mentioned here. They too seem to have run foul of heavy seas for it was reported that of nine craft of the first division (G.J.1) only one appeared; the second division arrived intact. (C.B. 04385 B.) This may help to explain the difficulty experienced in opening exits on the right sector.
    315. (II) Army In the weather conditions which prevailed, the Royal Marine Centaurs were hampered by the unseaworthiness of the L.C.T. (A.) and
    L.C.T. (H.E.). There were some craft casualties (para 288 above) and others arrived late, but the batteries performed their tasks ashore to good effect. (Ibid.) An artillery signaller called for fire from a troop of Centaurs against a block-house on the beach which was holding up Regina Rif. The Royal Marines quickly "elimated this nuisance". (W.D., 13 Cdn Fd Regt, 6 Jun.) 2 R.M.A.S. Regiment continued to act as field artillery until 20 Jun, by which date 25 of the original 32 Centaur tanks were still in action. (W.D., H.Q. R.C.A., 3 Cdn Inf Div, 20 Jun.)
    316. The success of the seaborne S.P. artillery in the assault is beyond doubt, and all observers, both naval and military, acknowledged its value. General Keller's comment was:
    The SP arty put on the best shoot that they ever did on the four areas pre-selected for them .... (Maj.-Gen Keller, as above.)
    more specific was the statement of the commander of 7 Cdn Inf Bde that "The only damage visible from sea was that effected by our SP arty fire...." (Brig. Foster, as above.)
    317. Curiously enough, the gunners themselves are non-committal in their remarks on the run-in shoot (probably because it had become a drill) and provide almost no detialed information about it. It can be gathered however that no disappointment was felt over the performance, which several diarists perfunctorily described as "very effective" or "most effective". (W.Ds., H.Q. R.C.A., 13 and 19 Cdn Fd Regts, 6 Jun.) Only one diary notes, what was probably common to all, that "the concentration was NOT as tight as had been attained in some training exercises due to the running sea." (W.D., 14 Cdn Fd Regt, 6 Jun.) The infantry unit which this regiment's concentration was designed to support makes particular mention of shells falling in the town of BERNIERES and of the beach being obscured by their smoke. (W.D., Q.O.R. of C., 6 Jun.) The statement in the diary of H.Q. 8 Cdn Inf Bde that at 0800 hours "for some unknown reason SP arty had switched all fire to ST. AUBIN" is not easily explained; according to 14 Cdn Fd Regt, the BERNIERES strongpoint was under fire from H minus 20 to H plus 5, as planned. (W.Ds., H.Q. 8 Cdn Inf Bde and 14 Cdn Fd Regt, 6 Jun.) The unavoidable dispersion of shot doubtless gave the impression to some observers that fire was being largely wasted: one diarist speaks of "SP guns afloat firing short as usual." (W.D., R. Wpg Rig, 6 Jun.) Here again it is pertinent to recall that fire for effect was both observed and corrected by Forward Observation Officers in L.C.S. (M.), whose advanced station gave them better opportunity to judge its results.
    318. External evidence may be adduced to support the conclusion that S.P. artillery made an important contribution to the fire preparation. In "Gold" are the strongpoint at LE HAMEL offered unexpectedly fierce resistance; this has been attributed not only to the failure of the bombing program in this area, but also to the fact that the artillery concentration designed to cover it failed altogether to materialize, owning to navigational difficulties. (C.B. 3148.)
    319. Finally it should not be forgotten that these same regiments, in addition to performing the astonishing feat of firing from sea, were able to disembark at an early hour with relatively few casualties and thus afford the infantry normal field artillery support during the initial stages of the land battle. The dual role assigned to field guns stands out as one of the most arresting features of the operation.
    320. The ultimate proof of the validity of the DIEPPE lessons is established by the following conclusion: "All reports confirm that the British principle of employing special support craft in the assault is sound." There is moreover a striking reminder of the recommendation for "overwhelming fire support" in the finding of the (Gunnery Review that there was "no evidence to show that the fire support provided was excessive". (C.B. 3148.)
    321. (iii) Air Force: Only meagre reports are available regarding the outcome of the close support air effort. This much is certain - that the major beach strongpoints were no more harmed by bombing than by fire from sea. Poor visibility, made worse by smoke and dust, was believed by some to have cancelled entirely the projected bombing attacks on the beach defences. The diarist of H.Q. R.C.A., observed that the naval and artillery bombardment had commenced, added, "We are all wondering what became of the Air Force". (W.D., R.C.A., 6 Jun.) Senior officers, acknowledging that the attacks were delivered, commented on their want of accuracy, which they ascribed to low cloud base. Birgadier Foster stated that "the terrific devastation which was to have been caused by hy bombing of the coast defs on either side of the R Seulles did not materialize." (Brig. Foster, as above. Similarly, Brig. Blackader: "on the left bn front (ST AUBIN) neither the RAF hy oboes, the rockets, nor the SP arty actually covered the main strong pt ....")
    322. Before H hour, two bombing attacks were made against the beaches. The first of these coincided roughly with the opening naval bombardment at 0530 hours. This is not to be confused with Bomber Command's counter-battery effort, the effects of which were still visible from sea about an hour earlier (cf. paras 172 and 271). It thus appears that the first heavy day bombing of beach defences, originally scheduled to take place "prior to D Day", was made, in the actual event, on D Day itself, simultaneously with the initial naval bombardment. The second attack was launched as part of the conbined fire plan covering the approach; it is probable that in case the bombs were dropped somewhat inland to avoid endangering our own troops, since visual aiming was impossible.
    323. That both air attacks were made is attested by several observers. The diary of Group Captain Cleland, Air Representative aboard "Hilery", contains this entry: ...At approximately 0530 hrs ... bombing was seen to be taking place on the beaches. Naval gunfire from Cruisers and destroyers had by now opened up, and kept up continuous fire until the commencement of bombing by U.S. heavy day bombers at approximately "H" - 30 .... (Form 540, Air Representative, Force "J", copy in custody of R.C.A.F. Operations Record Officer, A.E.A.F.) Canadian naval reports confirm this statement. (R.C.N's Part in the Invasion.) The experience of "Algonquin" shows that some bombs found their target area, despite poor visibility; the ship's log complains: "...Air Force is messing up our target again". (Ibid.)
    324. There is little information regarding attacks on pre-selected targets by fighter-bombers. H.M.S. "Hilary" received a brief R/T report telling of a successful attack on a three-gun battery near VAUX (942857), and the C.R.A. later confirmed that no future fire was experienced from this position. (C.B. 04385B.) The attack was delivered by 439 Squadron, R.C.A.F. No subsequent requests for air support were made by the G.O.C., 3 Cdn Inf Div, while on board ship, following the initial pre-arranged attack. (Form 540, Air Representative, as above.)
    325. In summary, then, the combined fire plan suffered from two disadvantages, neither one inherent in it. the first was that it was impaired by adverse weather. Secondly, it did not equal the destructiveness that had been predicted for it. In order to impart confidence, it is likely that a somewhat exaggerated conception of its power was fostered among the troops; this inevitably produced a sense of disappointment at finding opposition still alive, when from all expectations it ought certainly to have been annihilated.
    326. (iv) Anti Aircraft. The single battery (32 Cdn L.A.A. Battery) of the divisional anti-aircraft regiment which landed on D Day evidently found little opportunity to open fire, for the regiment's War Diary contains no record of engagements during the period 6-11 Jun. At first, the enemy largely confined his air effort to attacks against the beaches and anchorages, only shifting the weight of his bombing inland towards the middle of June. The remainder of the regiment landed on 12 Jun, and was deployed to protect gun areas. (W.D., 4 Cdn L.A.A. Regt, June 1944.)
    327. (v) Anti-Tank. 105 (Composite) Cdn A. Tk Bty landed with 9 Cdn Inf Bde Group on D Day and a troop of M.10s accompanied the advanced guard on its march through VILLONS-LES-BUISSONS on 6 and 7 Jun. The balance of the regiment sailed in convoy from the THAMES estuary on 6
    Jun, and came under heavy cross-channel shelling in the Straits of DOVER. By 8 Jun, the batteries were ashore and deployed with their respective brigades; 94 Cdn A. Tk Bty suffered numerous casualties in PUTOT-EN-BESSIN and BRETTEVILLE on the same day; 52 Bty was placed in support of 9 Cdn Inf Bde at VILLONS-LES-BUISSONS; and 105 Bty was deployed with 8 Cdn Inf Bde at COLOMBY-SUR-THOAN and ANGUERNY. Up to 9Jun the regiment had had six 6-pounder guns knocked out and three M.10's put out of action. (W.D., 3 Cdn A. Tk Regt, 6-9 Jun.) As is invariably the case when sub-units are dispersed throughout the division, the regiment's War Diary has little to say of the activities of its troops and batteries. For a somewhat lurid account of 6-pounder anti-tank guns in action against Panthers at BRETTEVILLE, reference should be made to the Memorandum of Interview with Sgt. H. Dumas. (Hist Sec file AEF/3 Cdn Inf Div/RCA/C/F.)
  10. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    There's an article on this in the current issue of Britain At War by the way.
  11. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    86th Field Regt RA also fired from LCTs on the run-in to Gold Beach. They were equipped with Sextons.

    I found a reference to this on one of the various RA sites.

    RA 1939-45 86 Fld Rgt
  12. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Interesting stuff, I was already aware of the artillery shoot on the run-in – these landing craft were then withdrawn to land later in the morning and I have read that some units after landing fired from the beach whilst still partially in the sea.
    As to the type of vehicle used (Sexton or Priest) I had interpreted what I have read to inply the following
    1) Towed artillery units who were to land on D Day were issued with sextons for the immediate assault phase, reverting to towed artillery as the situation permitted.
    2) SP Artillery units landed on D Day were all Priest equipped.

    What has been said above now changes my understanding – the split seems to have been by Assault Area [makes sense from a supply point of view] with all the Priests going to Sword Beaches.

  13. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    To my knowledge no RA Field Regiments were given Sextons or Priests and then reverted to towed artillery. The 86th, for example, went right through with Sextons.
  14. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    I'm sure I've read of towed artilery convertng to SP for the landing in one of my books but can't find it right now. I have found this on the Trux website:
    There were a number of Field Regiments RA which had batteries equipped with self propelled guns for the D Day landings. Field Regiments of 3rd and 50th Divisions, which were assault divisions, had one or more towed batteries equipped with Priest 105mm self propelled guns. This was because, in order to keep the landing beaches clear, only tracked vehicles were allowed to land in the first eight hours of D Day. Also towed artillery would have been very vulnerable on the beaches. The self propelled guns remained in service until a lull in the fighting allowed them to be replaced by towed 25pdr guns.

    This is the oposite way round than I had "remembered" and I would have thought that it would be easier for towed gunners to convert to Sexton thus retaining the 25Lb gun.
  15. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    The attached diagram, shows how the Assualt run in took place at king

    Attached Files:

    mark abbott likes this.
  16. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    I'm sure I've read of towed artilery convertng to SP for the landing in one of my books but can't find it right now. I have found this on the Trux website:

    This is the oposite way round than I had "remembered" and I would have thought that it would be easier for towed gunners to convert to Sexton thus retaining the 25Lb gun.

    The book 'Assualt Division' written by a RA Vet (Cant think of his name off hand), states that the 76th Field Regt reverted back to 25 Pounders as a result of a shortage of 105mm shells, stating that the Americans could not continue to supply them.

    Its states that the change was made grudingly

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  17. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    I copied a File at Kew last week relating to the activities of 3 British Division between 6 - 30 June 1944.

    This was the first page concerning the bombardment of Sword Beach and mentions the run in shoot by the Royal Artillery using self propelled 105mm.

    Thought it might be of interest.

    Juha and mark abbott like this.
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The Royal Marines also had their Armoured Support Group in CS Centaurs doing a run-in shoot.
    Edit: not quite, only the regiment on SWORD fired on the run-in. Only 3 out of 16 LCT(A) arrived off GOLD on time and provided limited support after beaching. The regiment at JUNO was in better shape but late so were ordered not to do the run-in shoot.

    As for 86 Fd Regt (Herts Yeo), they claimed to have developed the techniques of the run-in shoot and you can get their history from here.

    I presume that the Priests were used because they were expendable, and that they were the ones that were later defrocked by the Canadians.
  19. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    I remember having a fascinating chat at the D-Day Museum with a Gunner veteran who landed on Sword on D-Day. He could remember firing from a Landing Craft, and being very anxious about what fire they might expect from Merville Battery.
  20. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    I have read about the 'run-in' shoot before but cannot understand how any accurate range could be achieved from any artillery piece/SPG from the deck of a LCT on what was a 'choppy' day (to say the least!) running in to a beach.
    If I was a member of the 1st wave PBI and knew that following waves of LCTs were doing a run-in shoot I would have got off the beach ASAP!

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