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August 6 2007 at 5:09 AM
jeffrey pigden  (no login)
from IP address

I came across this group by accident, now I'm hooked!!!

I'm working on a diorama of the Juno/Nan/White landing on D-Day.
The two AVRE's in the pic have id's of IF & IE on the wading stacks.
What does this mean? I expected a name or T#, any ideas?

Don't bother with the IWM. According to them, the AA tank next to the AVRE doesn't exist!

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ossie Orsbourn
(Login ossie)

Call signs

August 11 2007, 6:10 PM 

hi ya

1F = One foxtrot

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jeffrey pigden
(Login j_pigden)

Re: Call signs

August 12 2007, 11:53 PM 

Not exactly the info I was looking for.
The two tanks are IE & IF or 1E & 1F but I what or 1 what? I know that they are from the 79th because they are AVREs, but I think they were assigned to an assault group. The pic is from Juno/Nan/White on the afternoon of the 6th. I think that IF was an onion carrier & IE was an SBG carrier but I can't find any info.

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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)


August 13 2007, 6:00 AM 

ON Juno there were only four types of devices used, SBG, FASCINE carpet layer and a LOG Carrier used by 26 Assault Squadron.

when the LST opened its doors the Rolly Polly a another type of mat was pushed out from the bow doors , then a log carrier would push it till it ran out then he would lay the logs followed by a carpet layer .

The log carrier is a simple design; it had timber rails attached to the infantry rides and a tubular frame right in front of the driver to support the weight. Logs were just piled up on the infantry rides with the turret turned side ways. One such vehicle was driven by a friend of mine.

I found the plan with a friend of mine in the PRO but more over if you have D DAY vol 2 then and now there is a picture of one front on nest to a water fountain in a town complete with wading trunking.

Hope this helps, the picture is so small to actually ID the vehicle.
Some where I do have the loading lists for the LST on Juno.
Hope this helps

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Mark Giroux
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Juno pics

December 16 2009, 12:02 AM 

These pics were taken by a Canadian Photographer ,they were serving in a unit formed to just to film and photograph. try the National Archves of Canada, or goggle Film and Photo unit . The Film and Photo unit site is run by the son of one of the men in this unit.

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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)

loading table

August 13 2007, 6:08 AM 

hi ya

Wo 171/100 June 44 appendix 3
5th Assault Regiment RE
D Day loading tables of LCT.
Colours refer to Gap Colours of the respective Beaches.

1st Assault Brigade Commander (Watkinson) on LCT 1413A

26 Assault Squadron RE & B Squadron 22 Dragoons.
1 Troop Green LCT 1018 2 Flails, Bobbin, D7, ARV (Beach recovery section)
1019 Flail, Fascine, SBG
1019A 3 x AVRE, ARV
2 Troop Yellow 1020 Flail; Plough with Sledge (1/2 squadron Commander),D7,SBG
1021 Flail, AVRE, Fascine, SBG
3 Troop Blue 1022 Flail, Fascine, Log Carpet, SBG
1023 Flail, Bobbin, Bobbin, AVRE with Sledge, (1/2 squadron Commander),D7
1023A Flail, Fascine, 2 x AVRE,
4 Troop Red 1024 Flail, Fascine, Log Carpet, SBG
1025 Flail, D7 with Porpoise, Fascine, SBG

80 Assault Squadron RE & B Squadron 22Dragoons
1 Troop Green 1408 Flail, Log Carpet, Fascine, SBG
1409 Flail, AVRE, Fascine, D7
1 troop or 2 troop? 1409A Plough,ARV,D7
2 Troop Yellow 1410 2 x Flail, AVRE, Fascine
1411 Flail, AVRE, Fascine, SBG
3 Troop Blue 1412 Flail, AVRE, Fascine, SBG
1413 Flail, AVRE, Bobbin, D7
3 Troop or 4 Troop 1413A 2 x ARV, Flail, D7
4 Troop Red 1414 2 x Flail, 2 x AVRE
1415 Flail, Bobbin, Fascine, SBG

77Assault Squadron & A Squadron 22 Dragoons
1 Troop Green 112 3 x Flails & 3 x AVRE
2 Troop Yellow 111 2 x Flails & 4 x AVRE
110A 2 x Flails & 2 x AVRE, 2 x D7
3 Troop Blue 110 3 x Flails & 3 x AVRE
4 Troop Red 109 2 x Flails & 4 x AVRE
Each troop had 3 x AVRE, one fitted with twin Bangalore, & log carpet, & towing Porpoise. One fitted with MK 2 SBG. One with Bobbin & twin Bangalore.
LCT (A) 533 2 x D7 LCT (A) 535 1x Flail
79 Assault Squadron RE. & A Squadron 22 Dragoons
1 Troop Green 113 2 x Flails & 4 x AVRE
2 Troop Yellow 114 3 x Flails & 3 x AVRE
114A 2 x Flails & 2 x AVRE, 2 x D7
3 Troop Blue 115 2 x Flails & 4 x AVRE
4 Troop Red 116 3 x Flails & 3 x AVRE
Each troop had 3 x AVRE, one fitted with twin Bangalore, & log carpet, & towing Porpoise. One fitted with MK 2 SBG. One with Bobbin & twin Bangalore.
LCT (A) 545 2x D7 LCT(A) 547 1x AVRE
LCT(CB) 548 1x Flail, 1x AVRE

hope this helps Ossie

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ossie orsbourn
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Juno and gold beahes,

August 13 2007, 6:11 AM 

Richard A Rinaldi
This lists all forces landing on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches and with 6th Airborne Division on 6 June
[Gold was divided from right to left into Item, Jig and King beaches, with assault brigades landing over Jig
and King]
50th Division Troops: Maj-Gen D. A. H. Graham
HQ 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division
two squadrons 61st Recce Regt RAC
90th Field Regt RA [SP]: in support of 231st Inf Bde
102nd AT Regt RA [99th and 288th AT Btys RA only]
82nd LAA Bty RA of 25th LAA Regt RA
2nd Bn Cheshire Regt (MG)
233rd, 295th, 505th Field Coys RE
235th Field Park Coy RE
50th Divisional Signals
149th, 186th and 200th Field Ambulances
22nd Field Hygiene Section
50th Division Provost Coy
231st Infantry Brigade: Brig Sir A. G. B. Stanier, Bart. assault brigade, Jig Beach
2nd Bn Devonshire Regt reserve battalion
1st Bn Hampshire Regt assault battalion (right)
1st Bn Dorset Regt assault battalion (left)
battery 1st RM Armd Spt Regt Centaur tanks (from RM Armd Spt Gp)
sqn 6th Assault Regt RE AVRE's (from 1st Asslt Bde RE)
sqn Westminster Dragoons flail tanks (from 30th Armd Bde)
No. 47 (RM) Cdo (from 4th S.S. Bde) landed Jig Beach behind 2nd Devons and moved west
69th Infantry Brigade: Brig F. Y. C. Knox assault brigade King Beach
5th Bn East Yorkshire Regt assault battalion (left)
6th Bn Green Howards assault battalion (right)
7th Bn Green Howards reserve battalion
battery 1st RM Armd Spt Regt Centaur tanks (from RM Armd Spt Gp)
sqn 6th Assault Regt RE AVRE's (from 1st Asslt Bde RE)
sqn Westminster Dragoons flail tanks (from 30th Armd Bde)
1 The other two field regiments of the division did not land on D-Day; this was also true of the other two batteries of 102nd AT Regt
RA and the bulk of 25th LAA Regt RA.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 2
[Gold Beach]
151st Infantry Brigade: Brig R. H. Senior follow-up behind 69th Infantry Brigade
6th Bn Durham Light Infantry
8th Bn Durham Light Infantry
9th Bn Durham Light Infantry
56th Infantry Brigade: Brig E. C. Pepper follow-up behind 231st Infantry Brigade
2nd Bn South Wales Borderers
2nd Bn Gloucestershire Regt
2nd Bn Essex Regt
8th Armoured Brigade:2 Brig H. F. S. Cracroft
4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards DD tanks: in support of 69th Infantry Brigade
Nottinghamshire Yeomanry DD tanks: in support of 231st Infantry Brigade
Units under command 50th Division
Westminster Dragoons: two sqns in support of assault brigades
two troops 141st Regt RAC [flamethrower tanks]
RHQ 1st RM Armoured Support Regt
86th Field Regt RA [SP]: in support of 69th Infantry Brigade
147th Field Regt RA [SP]: in support of 231st Infantry Brigade
198th and 234th AT Btys of 73rd AT Regt RA
320th LAA Bty RA of 93rd LAA Regt RA
120th LAA Regt RA (RHQ and 394th and 395th LAA Btys only)
RHQ 113th HAA Regt RA (152nd AA Operations Room and one troop 356th SL Bty RA)
one flight 662nd AOP Squadron [ground staff only; aircraft arrived D+2]
HQ 6th Assault Regt RE
81st, 82nd Assault Sqns RE
73rd, 280th Field Coys RE
203rd Field Ambulance
168th Light Field Ambulance
104th Beach Sub-Area
9th Beach Group responsible for King Beach
2nd Bn Hertfordshire Regt
10th Beach Group
6th Bn Border Regt responsible for Jig Beach
69th, 89th, 90th, 183rd Field Coys RE
21st and 23rd Stores Sections
51st and 74th Mechanical Equipment Sections
1043rd Port Operating Coy RE
953rd and 961st IWT Operating Coys RE
3rd and 10th Casualty Clearing Stations
3rd, 25th, 31st, 32nd, 35th Field Dressing Stations
Nos 41, 42, 47, 48 Field Surgical Units
Nos 24, 30 Field Transfusion Units
2 24th Lancers, the third regiment in 8th Armoured Brigade, did not land on D-Day. 8th Armoured Brigade in June 1944 had 193 cruiser
tanks (76 Sherman II DD, 95 Sherman III and 22 Sherman VC [Firefly]), 33 light tanks (Stuart III), and 20 Crusader AA tanks.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 3
[Gold Beach]
[104th Beach Sub-Area]
22nd and 23rd Port Detachments
Supply and Transport
305th, 536th, 705th General Transport Coys RASC
2nd and 5th Detail Issue Depots
244th Petrol Depot
7th, 10th, 36th Ordnance Beach Detachments
24th and 25th Beach Recovery Sections
30 Corps Workshops [included two composite workshops and a light recovery section]
240th and 243rd Provost Coys
Pioneer Corps
75th, 173rd, 209th, 280th (Pioneer) Coys Pioneer Corps
[Juno was divided right to left into Love, Mike and Nan Beaches, with assault brigades landing on Mike
and Nan]
3rd Canadian Division Troops: Maj-Gen R. F. L. Keller
HQ 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
12th Field Regt RCA [SP]: support of 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade
13th Field Regt RCA [SP]: support of 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade
14th Field Regt RCA [SP]: support of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade
32nd LAA Bty RCA of 4th LAA Regt RCA
Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (MG)
6th, 16th, 18th Field Coys RCE
3rd Canadian Divisional Signals
14th, 22nd, 23rd Canadian Field Ambulances
7th Canadian Infantry Brigade: Brig H. W. Foster assault brigade, Mike and Nan Beaches
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles assault battalion, Mike Beach
The Regina Rifle Regt assault battalion (right), Nan Beach
1st Bn Canadian Scottish Regt reserve battalion
battery 2nd RM Armd Spt Regt Centaur tanks (from RM Armd Spt Gp)
squadron 5th Assault Regt RE AVRE's (from 1st Asslt Bde RE)
detachment 22nd Dragoons flail tanks (from 30th Armd Bde)
8th Canadian Infantry Brigade: Brig K. G. Blackader assault brigade, Nan Beach
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada assault battalion (center) Nan Beach
Le Regiment de la Chaudiere reserve battalion
The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regt assault battalion (left), Nan Beach
battery 2nd RM Armd Spt Regt Centaur tanks (from RM Armd Spt Gp)
squadron 5th Assault Regt RE AVRE's (from 1st Asslt Bde RE)
detachment 22nd Dragoons flail tanks (from 30th Armd Bde)
British Assault Landings at Normandy 4
[Juno Beach]
9th Canadian Infantry Brigade: Brig D. G. Cunningham reserve brigade (landed behind 8th at Nan
The Highland Light Infantry of Canada
The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
The North Nova Scotia Highlanders
2nd Canadian Armored Brigade:3 Brig R. A. Wyman
6th Canadian Armored Regt (1st Hussars) support of 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade
(DD tanks)
10th Canadian Armored Regt (Fort Gary Horse) support of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade
(DD tanks)
27th Canadian Armored Regt (Sherbrooke Fusiliers)
Units under command 3rd Canadian Division
"C" Sqn Inns of Court Regt [armoured cars]
RHQ 2nd RM Armoured Support Regt
HQ 4th Special Service Brigade: Brig B. W. Leicester4
No. 48 (RM) Commando landed Nan Beach and moved east
19th Field Regt RCA [SP]: support of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade
62nd Anti-Tank Regt RA (RHQ, 245th and 248th AT Btys RA only)
Tactical HQ 80th AA Brigade
114th LAA Regt RA (RHQ, 372nd and 375th LAA Btys RA only)
321st LAA Bty RA of 93rd LAA Regt RA (under command of 114th)
218th and 220th LAA Btys RA of 73rd LAA Regt RA
two troops 474th Searchlight Bty RA
155th AA Operations Room
160th AA Operations Room
"A" Flight, 652nd Air OP Squadron [ground staff only]
26th Assault Sqn RE
80th Assault Sqn RE
5th Field Coy RCE
262nd Field Coy RE
102nd Beach Sub-Area
7th Beach Group
8th Bn King's Regt responsible for Mike Beach
8th Beach Group
5th Bn Royal Berkshire Regt responsible for Nan Beach
HQ 7th GHQ Troops RE
72nd, 85th, 184th, 240th Field Coys RE
19th and 10th Stores Sections
59th Mechanical Equipment Section
11th and 1034th Port Operating Coys
3 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade in June 1944 had 193 cruiser tanks (76 Sherman V DD, 95 Sherman III and 22 Sherman VC
[Firefly]), 33 light tanks (Stuart V) and 20 Crusader AA tanks.
4 The 4th Special Service Brigade did not land as a unit at Normandy. Its No. 47 (RM) Commando was with 30 Corps' 50th
(Northumbrian) Infantry Division on the far right of the British landings. No. 48 (RM) Commando landed at Juno under 3rd Canadian
Infantry Division, moving east towards Sword Beach. No. 41 (RM) Commando landed at Sword under 3rd Infantry Division, and
moved west towards No. 48. The last unit in the brigade, No. 46 (RM) Commando landed after D-Day.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 5
[Juno Beach]
[102nd Beach Sub-Area]
966th IWT Operating Coy
32nd Casualty Clearing Section
1st , 2nd, 33rd, 34th Field Dressing Stations
Nos 33, 34, 45, 46, 56 Field Surgical Units
Nos 13, 14, 36 Field Transfusion Units
3rd and 4th Sanitary Sections
21st Port Detachment
Supply and Transport
HQ 30th Transport Column RASC
199th and 282nd General Transport Coys RASC
139th and 104th Detail Issue Depots
240th and 242nd Petrol Depots
15th Ordnance Beach Detachment
45th Ordnance Ammunition Coy
22nd and 23rd Beach Recovery Sections
242nd and 244th Provost Coys
Pioneer Corps
58th, 115th, 144th, 170th, 190th, 225th, 243rd, 293rd (Pioneer) Coys Pioneer Corps
[Sword Beach divided right to left into Oboe, Peter, Queen and Roger Beaches, with the assault at Queen
3rd Division Troops: Maj-Gen G. T. Rennie
HQ 3rd Infantry Division
7th Field Regt RA [SP]
33rd Field Regt RA [SP]: support of 8th Infantry Brigade
76th Field Regt RA [SP]: support of 8th Infantry Brigade
20th Anti-Tank Regt RA
2nd Bn Middlesex Regt (MG)
17th, 246th, 253rd Field Coys RE
3rd Divisional Signals
8th, 9th, 223rd Field Ambulances
3rd Division Provost Company
British Assault Landings at Normandy 6
[Sword Beach]
8th Infantry Brigade: Brig E. E. E. Cass assault brigade, Queen Beach
1st Bn Suffolk Regt reserve battalion
2nd Bn East Yorkshire Regt assault battalion (left) Queen Beach
1st Bn South Lancashire Regt assault battalion (right), Queen Beach
5th (Indep) Armd Support Bty RM Centaur tanks (from RM Armd Spt Gp)
two sqns 5th Assault Regt RE AVRE's (from 1st Asslt Bde RE)
sqn 22nd Dragoons flails (from 30th Armd Bde)
185th Infantry Brigade: Brig K. P. Smith first follow-up brigade
2nd Bn R Warwickshire Regt
1st Bn Norfolk Regt
2nd Bn King's Shropshire Light Infantry
9th Infantry Brigade: Brig J. C. Cunningham second follow-up brigade
2nd Bn Lincolnshire Regt
1st Bn King's Own Scottish Borderers
2nd Bn Royal Ulster Rifles
27th Armoured Brigade:5 Brig G. E. Prior-Palmer
13th/18th Hussars support of 8th Infantry Brigade (DD tanks)
East Riding Yeomanry
Staffordshire Yeomanry
1st Special Service Brigade: Brig the Lord Lovat landed Queen Beach, to left of 8th Infantry Brigade
No. 3 Commando
No. 4 Commando
No. 6 Commando
No. 45 (RM) Commando
two troops No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando
one troop RM Engineer Commando
Units under command 3rd Division
22nd Dragoons
No. 41 (RM) Commando (from 4th S.S. Bde) landed on right of Queen Beach nd
moved west
HQ 53rd Medium Regt RA
RHQ and 218th LAA Bty RA of 73rd LAA Regt RA; also controlling one troop 318th
LAA Bty RA of 92nd LAA Regt RA, 322nd LAA Bty RA of 93rd LAA Regt RA,
and bty of 9th Survey Regt RA
"B" Flight, No. 652 AOP Squadron
HQ 5th Assault Regt RE
77th and 79th Assault Sqns RE
71st and 263rd Field Coys RE
629th Field Sqn RE
Supply and Transport
106th Bridge Coy RASC
90th Armoured Brigade Coy RASC
5 27th Armoured Brigade in June 1944 had 193 cruiser tanks (38 Sherman V DD, 126 Sherman III and 29 Sherman VC [Firefly]), 33
light tanks (Stuart III), and 20 Crusader AA tanks.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 7
[Sword Beach]
153rd Infantry Brigade: Brig H. Murray6
5th Bn Black Watch
1st Bn Gordon Highlanders
5th/7th Bn Gordon Highlanders
101st Beach Sub-Area
5th Beach Group initial beach group, Queen Beach
5th Bn King's Regt
6th Beach Group follow-up beach group, Queen Beach
1st Bucks Bn Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
HQ 18th GHQ Troops RE
84th and 91st Field Coys RE
8th and 9th Stores Sections
50th Mechanical Equipment Section
HQ 9th Port Operating Group
999th and 1028th Port Operating Coys RE
940th IWT Operating Coy RE
16th Casualty Clearing Section
9th, 12th, 20th, 21st, 30th Field Dressing Stations
Nos 37, 38, 39, 40, 55 Field Surgical Units
Nos 21, 22, 29 Field Transfusion Units
1st and 2nd Field Sanitary Sections
20th Port Detachment
Supply and Transport
HQ 21st Transport Column RASC
39th, 101st, 299th, 633rd General Transport Coys RASC7
96th and 138th Detail Issue Depots
237th and 238th Petrol Depots
11th and 12th Ordnance Beach Detachments
44th Ordnance Ammunition Coy
20th and 21st Beach Recovery Sections
241st and 245th Provost Coys
Pioneer Corps
53rd, 85th, 102nd, 129th, 149th, 267th, 292nd, 303rd (Pioneer) Coys Pioneer Corps
6 This brigade, from 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, landed the evening of 6 Jun 1944 under the command of 3rd Infantry Division.
7 These companies manned DUKWs, and only landed two platoons each.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 8
6th Airborne Division Troops: Maj-Gen R. N. Gale
HQ 6th Airborne Division
6th Airborne Recce Regt RAC
22nd Indep Parachute Coy [pathfinder unit]
Army Air Corps
Nos 1 and 2 Wings, Glider Pilot Regt
211th Bty RA of 53rd Airlanding Light Regt RA
3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Regt RA
4th Airlanding Anti-Tank Regt RA8
3rd and 591st Parachute Sqns RE
249th (Airborne) Field Coy RE [brought in by sea]
6th Airborne Divisional Signals
Supply and Transport
716th Light Composite Coy RASC
398th Composite Coy RASC [brought in by sea]
224th and 225th Parachute Field Ambulances
195th Airlanding Field Ambulance
detachment 6th Airborne Division Workshop
3rd Parachute Brigade: Brig S. J. L. Hill drop zones "K" and "V"
8th Bn Parachute Regt
9th Bn Parachute Regt
1st Canadian Parachute Bn
5th Parachute Brigade: Brig J. H. N. Poett drop zone "N"
7th Bn Parachute Regt
12th Bn Parachute Regt
13th Bn Parachute Regt
6th Airlanding Brigade: Brig Hon. H. K. M. Kindersley landing zone "W"
2nd Bn Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry9
1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles
"A" Coy 12th Bn Devonshire Regt10
8 Brought in by sea.
9 "D" Coy and two platoons "B" Coy from the 2nd OBLI and 30 men from 249th (Airborne) Field Coy RE were formed into a force to
seize bridges at Benouville and Ranville.
10 The remainder of the battalion landed by sea on D+1.
British Assault Landings at Normandy 9
The Royal Navy formed eight Naval Beach Commandos (each 84 personnel plus a signals unit of 30) to
assist with operations on the beaches. Beach Commandos 'J', 'Q' and 'T' served on Jig and King Beaches
(Gold), 'L', 'P' and 'S' on Mike and Nan Beaches (Juno), and 'F' and 'R' on Queen and Roger Beaches
The Royal Marines also provided crews for landing craft: 'E' Squadron (605, 606, 607, 609, 654 and 698
Flotillas) with LCM, 'B" Squadron (805, 806, 807, 808 and 809 Flotillas) with LCVP, and the independent
700, 706 and 557 Flotillas with LCP(L). They also provided Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 Landing Craft
Obstacle Clearances Units drawn from RM Engineer Commando.
The assault landing in Normandy is one of two snapshot orbats contained in Lt-Col H. F. Joslen, Orders of
Battle, Second World War, 1939-1945 [History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military
Series] (reprinted in one volume by The London Stamp Exchange, Ltd, 1990; originally published by
HMSO in two volumes in 1960).
A few details have been added from other sources. In particular, details on landings by beach are from Maj.
L. F. Ellis, Victory in the West, Volume I: The Battle of Normandy [History of the Second World War,
United Kingdom Military Series] (reprinted; Nashville: Battery Press, Inc, 1993; originally published by
HMSO in 1962).
Easier to find in print are two volumes by Christopher Chant: Order of Battle, Operation Overlord: Gold &
Juno Beaches, 6 June 1944 and Order of Battle, Operation Overlord: Sword Beac & The British 6th
Airborne Division, 6 June 1944 (both published by Ravelin Ltd [Braceborough, Lincs.] 1994). Chant’s
details on units is clearly taken from Joslen (it would be hard to do anything else, really) but he does
contain other information as well.
Details on the armoured brigade tank strengths are from Peter Brown, "21st Army Group Tanks: British
Tanks in Europe 1944-45." November 1996 [based on "Half Yearly Reports on the Progress of the Royal
Armoured Corps" for June and December 1944 and June 1945]; located in 1999 at


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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)

long post more reading

August 13 2007, 6:16 AM 

The 5th June 1944 had been decided upon as “D-Day”, and on the 3rd June final briefings took place and the tanks and their crews embarked on L.C.T.s at ports in the South of England. The weather in the Channel was so bad, however, that a major decision was taken by the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower, to postpone the whole operation for 24 hours.
The crossing of the Channel was choppy, and in the uncomfortable conditions of an L.C.T. most of the men were seasick and suffered for up to two days from loss of sleep and lack of hot food. In spite of this morale was very high when the first landings took place on a rising tide in the early morning of the
6th June 1944. Owing to the strong wind the water was higher than had been expected on most of the beaches.
The task of 8z Squadron, under the command of Major H. G. A. Elphinstone R.E., was to create six “lanes” cast of the town of Le Hamel. Each lane team consisted of three or four AVREs and two Flails, and the leading AVRE of each team was fitted with a “Roly Poly” to lay “carpet” from the ramp of the L.C.T. to the dry beach. All the L.C.T.s touched down at approximately 073o hours-“H-Hour”.
Major Elphinstone in Lane z was killed shortly after disembarking whilst exposing himself through the turret hatch, and lane i failed as the L.C.T. came under fire from a battery at Le Hamel. A direct hit on the bridge of the Landing Craft wounded Captain K.M. Wilford R.E., the Lane Commander, and the leading AVRE became jammed and prevented any disembarkation before 133o hours. Nor was Lane 2 successful, as theL.C.T. touched down too far west and the Flails became bogged. However the AVREs of this lane helped in the clearance of beach obstacles, and later in the day left the beach via the partially successful Lane 3 and assisted in the clearance of Le Hamel with Petard and Besa fire.
Lane 4 failed as the Flails became bogged on the beach. Lanes 5 and 6 were successful and the teams succeeded in reaching the lateral road behind the beach, where craters were filled.
During the afternoon and evening the Squadron rallied at Buhot, having lost a total of four AVREs out of the 2I originally embarked. L/Sjt. H. M. Scaife R.E. used his Petard with considerable success against a large German occupied building, and later against a strong concrete pill-box, where one Dustbin was sufficient to demoralize the whole crew. Later he destroyed a gun and its crew with a single round, and then proceeded through Le Hamel in his AVRE destroying machine gun nests which were holding up the advancing Infantry. L/Sjt. Scaife was awarded the D.C.M. for this exploit.
On the following day a party was called forward to St. Sulpice to assist in the advance on Bayeux, and Captain F. J. B. Somerset with five AVREs operated with the GLOSTERS west of Bayeux. The Squadron, under the command of Captain J. M. Leytham R.E. rallied at St. Sulpice on the 7 th and 8th June.
Six lanes were planned on the beach west of La Riviere. The Squadron’s L.C.T.s touched down at H-Hour in a rough sea, and the tanks had to wade through choppy water approximately four feet deep before reaching the beach.
In spite of the fact that two AVREs were blown up shortly after landing all the lanes were successfully made. One AVRE carrying Captain D.A.King M.C., R.E. effectively silenced a pill-box with one Dustbin, and then seeing that Spandau fire from behind the sloping sea wall was pinning the Infantry down and causing serious casualties, charged the sea wall with another AVRE, dro ped four feet on the far side, and brought the Spandau fire to a rapid stop.
Fascines were dropped in an anti-tank ditch and in a crater on the road to La Rivi@re. Fire from a house on the outskirts of the town was holding up the Infantry, so this house was effectively demolished with a Dustbin.
During the afternoon and evening the Squadron rallied south of Ver-sur-Mer, and on the 7th and 8th June assisted in the removal of beach obstacles.
The 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade was given the task of capturing Courseulles-sur-Mer and Graye-sur-Mer, and was supported by 26 Assault Squadron under the command of Major A. E. Younger D. S.O., R.E. Four armoured bulldozers Of 149 Assault Park Squadron also landed with the first wave.
All ten L.C.T.s on this sector successfully touched down between o8oo and 083o hours to the cast and west of the town of Courseulles, which lies at the rnouth of the R. Sculles. Few rnines were encountered except those attached to the steel beach obstacles, but to the west the advance was held up by a water covered crater in a culvert approximately 6o feet wide and over 12 feet deep. Owing to the surface flooding the leading AVRE, carrying a fascine, failed to see this crater and was submerged in it. The fascine was pushed from the AVRE into the crater and an assault bridge laid on the turret of the submerged tank. In this way and with the help of the armoured dozers a successful crossing was made on top of the drowned AVRE and was in constant use until 133o hours. This “bridge” was christened “Pont AVRE”. Dismounted personnel of 2 Troop opened a weir to allow the water to drain away, and during this operation captured 30 prisoners.
To the cast of the town ways had to be opened across an anti-tank ditch, and this was done by dropping two fascines into the ditch at one point and spanning it at another point with an assault bridge; this bridge carried constant traffic all day. During these operations the armoured bulldozers were in great demand, and did excellent work under mortar and small arms fire in conditions of great difficulty.
On the afternoon of the 6th June six AVREs and two bulldozers were employed in the clearance of beach obstacles, and on the 8th June the Squadon moved to Tailleville. During the landing the O.C. was wounded, but of the 25 AVREs embarked only one was lost; this one amply justified its existence as the “Pont AVRE”.
Because of the difficulties of approach and a strong cross current most of the L.C.T.s at this beach touched down well to the east of the planned gaps. The first craft to reach the beach (at 0745 hours) carried Brigadier G. L. Watkinson, Commander of the Brigade, and Major R. T. Wiltshire R.E. the Squadron Commander.
The main obstruction on this front was a sea wall between ten and twelve feet high. Two assault bridges were laid against this wall and provided passable exits from the beach for tracked vehicles. It was not possible in most places to use Petard fire to breach the wall as Infantry of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade had landed before the AVREs and were all over the beach and were in danger of suffering casualties from our own fire.
Three fascines were used to form causeways across an anti-tank ditch, and a coir matting “carpet” was laid as a roadway for traffic on the soft sand of the dunes cast of the town. While directing traffic here Lieutenant J.W. Hornby R.E. was trapped between a tank and an armoured bulldozer and suffered fatal injuries.
On the 7th June three AVREs under Captain I. T. S. Essery M.C., R.E. were sent to attack the Radar Station at Douvres-Ia-Deliverande with Petard fire and to ascertain whether there was any strong organized resistance. Two of them blew up on mines and were almost immediately set on fire by 5 0 mm. shells, and the remaining AVRE managed to withdraw, having survived six hits. This Radar Station proved to be a tough nut to crack, and its final reduction will be described later.
The Squadron assembled and reorganized at Beny-sur-Mer on the 8th and 9th June.
77 and 79 Squadrons were in support of the 3rd British Infantry Division, which had the task of capturing the large town of Ouistreham at the mouth of the R. Orne, and the town of Lion-sur-Mer to the west.
Three Troops Of 77 Squadron beached at H-Hour, but the L.C.T. carrying the fourth Troop with Lieutenant Colonel A. D. B. Cocks R.E., Commander Of 5 Regiment on board, came under heavy anti-tank gun fire. There was an explosion on board which killed Lt. Col. Cocks and did so much damage that the L.C.T. had to return to England without discharging any of its AVRES.
The main obstructions anticipated on this beach were high sand dunes, and specially prepared explosive charges (,”Boase Bangalores”) were carried to blast a way through these dunes. It was found, however, that most of them could be crossed by tanks without assistance, and as a result only one Boase Bangalore was used. One AVRE of 1 Troop was hit by antitank gun fire and drowned, but the crew of six dismounted and forced their way into Hermanville, killing many of the enemy and holding the village until relieved by the Infantry.
The Squadron rallied at 1100 hours, and at noon assisted in the first attack on Lion-surMer with Petard and Besa fire. Casualties were heavy. During the day two officers, Lt. Col. Cocks R.E. and Captain G. McLennan R.E., were killed and three wounded, and by the gth June out of a total Of I7 AVREs originally embarked only three remained fit.
The most easterly landings of the initial assault were made on this front, beyond the R. Orne estuary; the enemy fought stubbornly on this front and was not finally dislodged from the woods to the east of the R. Orne for several weeks.
The whole Squadron landed at H-Hour-in fact three Troops touched down at 0725 hours, five minutes early. Opposition was very heavy, and a number of tanks, including almost all the Flails, were knocked out by anti-tank gun fire very quickly. Consequently mines had to be lifted by hand in the open; in spite of this 8 lanes from the beach to the road were successfully cleared in 5 hours. The four AVREs Of
3 Troop and the two Flails with them were knocked out, but the survivors of the crews rallied on foot. Three assault bridges were dropped and three log carpets laid to form roadways by the i and 2 Troops.
At I 5 oo hours the C.O. of the 4th Commando reported to the Squadron Commander, Major J. H. Hanson D.S.O., R.E., that the lock gates and bridge at Ouistreham were held by the enemy. As the,Commando C.O. was wounded Major Hanson took charge, and asked for Infantry assistance in making an attack. None could be spared, so at I53o hours ten AVREs moved off and so surprised the enemy that the west bank was captured. Unfortunately the party were not able prevent the demolition of one span of the bridge over the canal, but intense Petard and Besa fire from the AVREs had such a demoralizing effect on the Germans that by 163o hours 6 officers and 51 other ranks surrendered. The Squadron then deployed and took up hull-down positions on the west bank with Bren gun posts on the east bank, and removed demolition charges from the lock gates and the remainder of the bridge. The position was held until the following morning when the Infantry took over.
It is idle now to speculate how the D-Day assault would have fared had we not been able to land tanks early. That we did so was largely made possible by the contribution of the Assault R.E. and the Flails. The losses both of men and armour on the American “Omaha” beach where such innovations were not used, were very much heavier than in the british sector. Any impression that the landings were a “walk-over” is quite wrong. The Atlantic Wall was strong and well manned, but the German defenders were unable to stand up to the type of attack which the AVREs made possible. The gallantry and dash of the Sappers manning these AVREs established another outstanding achievement in the history of the Corps.
The period between the initial landings and the break-through and cleaning up of the Falaise “pocket” in the middle of August was characterized by actions in which AVREs were used generally in small numbers with inadequate support and generally as “infantry” tanks. The AVRE, although mounted on the Churchill tank chassis, does not carry the armament of the normal gun tank. The Petard, a very effective weapon against concrete defences and in built-up areas, has a range of little more than 8o yards. Consequently AVREs cannot give each other fire support and unless good support is provided from gun tanks or artillery the AVRE has little chance of getting within range of its objective, and falls an easy victim to any tank or anti-tank gun defences.
In spite of these difficulties much good work was done in mopping up stubborn pockets of resistance within the beach-head and in consolidating the area as a springboard for the next great advance. One noteworthy action was the final assault by 26 Squadron operating with the 4’st Marine Commando against the strongly defended Radar Station at Douvresla-Deliverande which had hitherto defied all our attacks. A reconnaissance had been made on the 7th June by Captain I. T. S. Essery M.C., R.E. with three AVRES, of which two were knocked out. On the night of the i zth June an attack was launched by i2 AVREs of z6 Squadron, which failed as the AVREs were unable to penetrate the perimeter minefield; Petard fire at night from outside the minefield proved to be of little value. On the ‘7th June an attack was made by a composite team Of 17 AVREs Of 26 Squadron, 28 Sherman Flails of the 22nd Dragoons, and 160 Commandos.
The Radar Station consisted of two strongly fortified points 200yards by ioo yards and 6oo yards by 250 yards surrounded by a double belt of barbed wire enclosing a minefield about 40 yards deep. Inside were underground concrete shelters and heavy reinforced concrete pill-boxes housing 50 mm. anti-tank guns and numerous automatic weapons. The German garrison consisted of five officers and 200 determined men.
The attack was a success. Diversions were staged by two Troops Of 77 Squadron from the west and south. The Flails succeeded in breaching the perimeter minefield from the cast, although they suffered some casualties in doing so; the AVREs with their Flying Dustbins and carefully placed Beehive charges did the rest. Infantry casualties were light, as the Infantry did not enter the area until half an hour after the AVRES.
During the mopping up operations in the area of Tilly-sur-Seulles and Villers Bocage “Dustbins” were used for a new type of demolition@reating gaps in the “bocage banks” which divided the small fields and which gave such excellent cover to the defending German guns and tanks. Except for the plain between Caen and Falaise, Normandy was difficult tank country, as the heavy bocage banks and numerous ditches provided good natural anti-tank obstacles, and the dense hedgerows on top of the banks gave good concealment for well placed anti-tank guns.
Much trouble was caused by dust; penetrating yellow clouds of it blinded the drivers, filled the tanks with grit, and made everyone’s life uncomfortable. Since D-Day troops, guns, tanks, stores and
ammunition and all the other paraphernalia of war had been pouring into the beach-head over the beaches and through the famous “Mulberry” port at Arromanches. By the middle of July every field was an extempore camp, an ammunition dump, a vehicle park, or a store of some sort. The roads and lanes of Normandy, never designed to take heavy traffic, broke up rapidly under the unending streams of trucks and tanks. No one will forget the sweating teams of Sappers and Pioneers trying to keep these roads in some sort of repair, and the harassed Military Police dealing with apparently inextricable traffic blocks.
At the beginning of August the balance of 6 Regiment, 87 and 284 Squadrons, landed in France, together with the combined H.Q. 1st Assault Brigade and H.Q. 149 Assault Park Squadron; Bde H. Q. was set up in an orchard in the village of St. Gabriel near Creuilly. At about this time it became necessary for the Brigade to establish its own training and reinforcement unit, as the specialist training of AVRE crews made it impossible for reinforcements to be drawn direct from normal engineer sources, and casualties had caused serious depletions in our numbers. ConsequentlY 5 5 7 Squadron was detached from 47 Regiment, reconstituted as 5 5 7 Assault Training Regiment and moved to Parham near Arundel in Sussex; Lieutenant Colonel R. P. G. Anderson R.E., the previous C.R.E. of 6 Regiment took command. At the same time all Assault Squadrons in the Brigade were reduced from four Troops to three, and the number of AVREs from 26 to 20.
In August the port of Cherbourg was opened by the Americans, and the great drive across the Brittany Peninsula and round the south of Paris began. In spite of the most vigorous and supposedly Hitler-inspired efforts the Germans were unable to break through the American line to the coast at Avranches, and large forces were trapped in a number of pockets, of which the last to hold out was the Falaise pocket. Allied morale rose very high; Rommel was reported as killed, and everywhere was the visible evidence of great destruction of the enemy forces. ENSA cinemas and shows too began to appear.
Two Squadrons Of 5 Regiment were engaged in the drive from Caen towards Falaise starting on the night of the 7/8th August (operation “Totalize”). This was primarily a tank attack, and 79 Squadron, with a Troop of 8o Squadron, was given the task of marking lanes with white tracing tape and lights for the gun tanks to follow. The task was successfully carried out in collaboration with the Flails of the i st Lothians and Border Yeomanry, and the following commendation was later received from the Commander of the znd Canadian Armoured Brigade;
During this operation 79 Assault Squadron R.E. and i Lothians were placed under command this formation. They carried out their tasks with considerable skill and courage, and their contribution was a most important factor in the success of the battle.”
Meanwhile early in August 81, 82 and 284 Squadrons of 6 Regiment concentrated near Courseulles-sur-Mer to undertake intensive training in rafting and bridging in preparation for the advance to the R. Seine. 87 Squadron was engaged in operations until the 16th August, and played a valuable part in the crossing of the R. Orne.
On the ‘7th August three Squadrons, 16, 22z and 6I7, and the H.Q. Of 42 Assault Regiment landed in France; during the next few weeks the whole Brigade concentrated at Herouvilette on the east bank of the R. Orne for training in rafting.

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jeffrey pigden
(Login j_pigden)


August 14 2007, 12:49 AM 

WOW...so much info...now I have to try and sort it all out!!!!!
What is PRO ?
I know thet the bobbin AVRE has to drive over it to lay it but after dropping the SGB would the AVRE then go up it?

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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)


August 16 2007, 7:17 PM 


What ever laid a bridge normaly proves the bridge unless like in WW2 it was opposed. in the case of my farther who laid the SBG at bremovarden over the canel, they backed off to go forward to just straighten it out with the tracks when they got hit by a hand held anti tank weapon.

PRO = Public Records Office. theer is at least 1500 files on the Assault and armoured Engineers from 1941 to 1950
this includes war diaries.
how it helps

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jeffrey pigden
(Login j_pigden)

Re: yes

August 17 2007, 2:43 AM 

are those records online?

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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)

no but

August 17 2007, 5:43 AM 

hi ya

the list of what records is kept but not the records, some are 1000 pages long and you might find about 2 pages within that 1000, where others are 2=50 pages just about one subject,

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(Login paul.i.w)

Gapping on Nan White

September 12 2007, 8:43 PM 

1 refers to the Troop in this Squadron (80 Assault Squadron) and E and F are the particular tanks in the Troop. There were 6 in a Troop. 1E was the AVRE carrying the Small Box Girder (SBG) commanded by Sgt Smith, and 1F was a normal AVRE undr Lt Oxtoby’s command. The attempt to clear an exit of the beach was just one of many such actions on D-day morning. The gapping teams on D-Day were a mix of flails and AVREs. On this sector of Nan White the 1 Troop gapping team landed between two Canadian infantry companies. The flails were first off and a lane was flailed to the 5 foot seawall, then Sgt Smith in 1E dropped his SBG against the wall and this AVRE then climbed up. At the top it struck a mine, blocking the exit. Then two flails flogged along the beach to an area where the seawall had broken down, and managed to climb the wall and started flailing back towards the bridge along the lateral road. Meanwhile a bulldozer had managed to get up and move the disabled bridge AVRE 1E away from the exit at the top of the wall, and mines were cleared from around it by hand. Sgt Smith’s crew did this with help from Lt Oxtoby’s crew from 1F. (Later, after trying to clear a vehicle away from the SBG the Bulldozer driver was killed when he stepped on a mine).

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jeffrey pigden
(Login j_pigden)

Re: Gapping on Nan White

September 13 2007, 1:04 PM 

That explains why 1F seems to have no extra equipment! I expected framework for log carrier or fascine or an onion etc. but none was visible. This led me to wonder about the accuracy of the photo. Now I have an answer!

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(Login paul.i.w)

Gapping on Nan White

September 13 2007, 1:29 PM 

The onion was never used operationally, only being trialled in the UK. 1E, by the way, was later repaired.

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ossie orsbourn
(Login ossie)

80 assault squadron

September 22 2007, 3:22 PM 


ok 80 assault squadron, along with 77 got hammered and some tanks never reached the breach due to the LCT doors takeing hits.
remember 77 also use Borse bangalores along with otehr equipment.
ploughs were taken by 77 but failed, also so tanks like the late mr Dickensions never reached the beach but hit a mine as it came off the LTC and then he started to defuse mines.
there beaches were Sand dunes so they had differant equipment because of this.
email me and i see what i have. but D Day then and now volume 2 is a good source along with the origionl history.

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Lt Dickinson

September 24 2007, 9:17 PM 

Hi Ossie, Just a slight correction, Lt Ivan Dickinson's tank, 3D, didn't get knocked out. He and his crew dealt with a lot of obstacles by hand and the tank was used to tow them away. He commandeered a flail to help him get on to some of the stakes to remove the mines or shells, and it was whilst he was doing this that he was shot. He once told me that it felt like being hit with a pick handle! His Demolition NCO took over his AVRE after he was evacuated. Ivan got an MC for his work on D-Day, as you know.

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Wally Walker
(Login Wally114)

AVRE 1E - any other info?

January 13 2014, 11:14 PM 

Hi, just got into this board so a late question to an older thread. I am modelling the AVRE 1E with SBG as previously referred to, does anyone have the WD number for this or any further info as to what happened to it (repaired after hitting mine just on top of sea wall) and also to Sgt Smith and crew?

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(no login)


October 31 2013, 7:43 PM 

Can anybody tell me about the Pioneer Corps landing on Juno beach on 7/06/1944. My father was a 40 year old Private
in the corps at the time. I know the Canadians landed here too. Was there any shell or gunfire/fighting on this beach when my father and the Canadians landed. I would be grateful for any info, no matter how small.

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(no login)

Pioneer Corps landing on JUNO....

March 18 2014, 5:06 AM 

....Do you have any further info re your Father's unit ? I may be able to help giude your inquiries a bit. I presume by now that by now you've found out more about the Canadian landing on JUNO ?



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