Juno Beach

juno-beach-todayIt is the central beach of the British-Canadian zone, from Graye-sur-mer to Saint-Aubin-sur-mer. It is also, with Omaha, the best defended one. It is devolved to the Canadian troops, in this particular case the 3rd Infantry division, commanded by Major-General Rodney Keller ; consisting in 7th and 8th brigades, which are the first wave (on the west of the zone for the 7th, east of Courseulles for the 8th); the 9th brigade composing the second wave, supported also by British commando squads (the commando squad 48 of Royal Navy, which compose, with the 41st, which lands to Sword, the 4th special Brigade).

churchill-tank-grayeHere also, the bad weather and the swell play against the assaultings: the sea has already covered the first lines of obstacles when the 7th brigade, at about 7:45 am, and the 8th, a few minutes later, get a foothold on beaches. Worse, considering the state of the sea, the tanks which had to support the infantry cannot be unloaded: those of the 8th brigade will be by barges, after the infantry, those of the 7th, unloaded in more than 3 kilometers of the shore, get lost or sink (all in all, on 40 tanks Centaur of Royal Navy, 6 only will arrive without incident).

Here also, air bombardment and naval artillery turned out to be ineffective, and the German defenses are almost fully  intact. Here also, like at Omaha, important losses : two regiments : Royal Winnipeg Rifle, and the Regina Rifle, have half of their staff put out of action. But, asset for the Allies, they are well informed, and German defenses are well identified. If we add that men of the Regiment de La Chaudière, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Mathieu – only French-speaking unit except the Free French people to participate in the landing, in the great surprise of the inhabitants of the freed villages – knew how to take advantage of the capture of some German soldiers, we understand how, after relentless fights, the men of the 7th brigade (General Foster), finally knew how to infiltrate inward, even if at 5 pm, we still fight at Courseulles and at Vaux.

In the East also, the 8th brigade (General Blackader) comes up against a relentless resistance: The Queen’s Own Rifle loses 150 men to discharge Bernières.

juno-beachAt 11:40 am, when the 9th brigade lands up in its turn, the first units already moved forward of 8 kilometers inside lands. At Creully will be made the junction with elements of the 50th British Infantry division, landed at Gold, but the progress will stop to 5 km of Carpiquet : the Germans are resisting. Much more, if the coastal defenders of the 716th German Infantry division gave up for the greater part their position (commanded by General Wilhelm Richter, this division has no experience of the fight, and contains numerous foreigners whose offensive vague desires are not obvious), the men of the 21th Panzerdivision are not of the same calibre: their counterattack of the evening prevents the connection with the troops landed at Sword, and forces the Canadians to withdraw to 7 km of Juno, at 5 km of the planned place.

According to sources, we estimate generally a total of losses (dead, wounded, disappeared) varying between 800 and a little more than thousand soldiers, on 21 500 men landed.

Lorraine-crossFor French people, Juno is also the beach on which General de Gaulle will take back) contact for the first time since 1940 with the ground of the old country. It is indeed there, at Courseulles, that is going to bring him the destroyer La Combattante, with also, among others, Generals Koenig and Béthouard, Admiral d’Argenlieu. Today, on the West of the city, in the border of Graye, a Cross of Lorraine of more than 18 meters in height (set up in 1990) commemorates this event. Less moving maybe than the famous one at Colombey, it benefits from the charm of the marine setting which surrounds it.

The webmaster could have voted.
[Total: 1 Average: 5]