On D-Day, British XXX Corps was ordered to break open the German defences on Gold Beach and advance to capture Bayeux. Its commander, Lieutenant-General G.C. Bucknall, chose the 50th (Northumbrian) Division, a veteran formation blooded in North Africa, to spearhead the landing, supported by 47 Royal Marine Commando. Despite poor weather conditions hampering the planned armoured support, the assaulting infantry overcame stiff resistance and heavy casualties to storm the beach. By noon Gold Beach was in full use as a reception and dispersal site, with all four brigades of 50th Division ashore and pressing inland. Although Bayeux was not taken, the defences towards Arromanches were quickly cleared, securing the site of the first artificial harbours so vital to the Normandy campaign. The arrival of 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats), also North Africa veterans, in the days following D-Day consolidated the beachhead in the face of mounting German resistance, setting the scene for further penetration inland.
|Publication date:||13th May 2004|
|Publisher:||Sutton Publishing Ltd an imprint of The History Press Ltd|
|Categories:||Battles & campaigns, Second World War, Land forces & warfare,|
Simon Trew is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Simon is the series editor of Sutton Publishing's Battle Zone Normandy tour guides project, also contributing Battle for Caen.More About Simon Trew