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Pegasus Bridge is a legendary part of the D-Day story but myths and misunderstandings abound. The 6th Airborne Division was to begin landing in this area during the early hours of D-Day with a mission to protect the eastern flank of the seaborne landings, commencing a few hours later. For the British and Canadians, this was just beyond Ouistreham, on the beaches codenamed SWORD, JUNO and GOLD. The very first operation of D-Day was to be the capture of the Caen Canal Bridge (Pegasus Bridge) and the River Orne Bridge (Horsa Bridge) a little further up the road. These were the only two bridges between the sea and Caen and so were vital for the linking of the seaborne and airborne forces and also the resupply of the Airborne Division and evacuation of its wounded. For the Germans, possession of the bridges was equally vital, as it would provide them with the opportunity to attack the seaborne forces in their most vulnerable area; the flank This comprehensive pocket guide is designed for anyone visiting the site but is equally useful for anyone wanting an accurate understanding of exactly what went on and where. Neil Barber has written a number of comprehensive guides to the Normandy Campaign including an in-depth look at Pegasus Bridge. Here he uses photographs and first-hand accounts to simply explain what happened in those first few vital hours of D-Day.
Fighting Hitler From Dunkirk to D-Day is the compelling story of a man belonging to a group of which there are now very few survivors. Jeff Haward MM is a pre-war Territorial Army soldier who enlisted merely for something to do in the evenings. Consequently, he fought throughout the entirety of the Second World War. Jeff is a 'Die Hard', the historic name given to men of the famous Middlesex Regiment. He joined the 1/7th Battalion, a machine-gun battalion, equipped with the British Army's iconic Vickers medium machine gun. Following evacuation from Dunkirk, the 1/7th, while refitting and re-equipping, carried out coastal defence duties in preparation for the German invasion. So desperate was the situation that on sentry duty, the one rifle per section had to be handed to the next sentry, along with the only ammunition available - three rounds! In 1941, they were attached to the famous 51st Highland Division. The less than enthusiastic welcome from the Jocks gradually evolved into respect following the Middlesex's performance at El Alamein and the subsequent campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and North West Europe. Following the Reichswald battle, in March 1945, Jeff was surprised to hear that he had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery and was subsequently awarded the ribbon by none other than Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery. Jeff Haward's experiences, those of a normal soldier, make fascinating reading and throw new light on the use of such Vickers gun battalions during the war.
The glider-borne operation to capture Pegasus Bridge has an established place in the annals of warfare. Conducted by Major John Howard and his company of Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry it was a superbly daring, brilliantly executed 'coup de main' assault. Equally brave was the seizure of the Orne bridges by airborne forces and the defence against ferocious German counter attacks over a prolonged period. The author who has a deep specialised knowledge of the area and period uses extensive personal accounts to tell this thrilling and inspiring story. He covers events and operations from Ranville in the East to Benouville in the West and this embraces the fierce fighting by 7th, 12th and 13th Parachute Battalions and reinforcements such as the Commandos, seaborne engineers and the Warwicks. This splendid book will be enjoyed by those at home and those who are lucky enough to visit these historic sites.
Examines the pivotal role of the 9th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment over the first week of the landings. Tasked with neutralizing the mighty Merville Battery, capturing Le Plein and the Ch'teau St C'me, failure by the Paras to achieve any of these key objectives could well have unravelled the whole OVERLORD operation with catastrophic consequences. Neil Barber has successfully tracked down surviving participants in the operation and as a result he is able to tell the full story of the fierce fighting that characterised the early days of the landings.