- Sword Beach
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refimprove = February 2008
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sections = yInfobox Military Conflict
Operation Overlord, Battle of Normandy
caption=British infantry waiting to move off 'Queen White' Beach, SWORD Area, while under enemy fire, on the morning of 6 June.
6 June, 1944
Ouistreham, Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Merville, in France
flagicon|United Kingdom Thomas Rennie
commander2=flagicon|Germany|Nazi Wilhelm Richter
flagicon|Germany|Nazi Edgar Feuchtinger
Sword Beach was the codename of one of the five main landing beaches in "Operation Neptune", the initial assault phase of "
Operation Overlord", the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Stretching 8 km from
Ouistrehamto Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer it was the furthest east of the landing points and around 15 km from Caen. The landing site was divided into four zones - Oboe, Peter, Queen and Roger (west-east). The German defences consisted of beach obstacles, anti-tank ditches, mines, machineguns and mortars at the beaches and across the River Orneat Merville there were heavy guns. The defending troops belonged to the German 716th Static Infantry Divisionand could call on the support of the nearby 21st Panzer division. The landing forceswere the British I Corps, comprising British 3rd Infantry Divisionand the 27th Armoured Brigade.
The landing was concentrated in the Queen sector of the beach
Hermanville-sur-Mer. The key objective was to quickly reach and capture the key town of Caenand the nearby Carpiquetaerodrome to the west. Landings began at 0725 when the 3rd Division landed in Peter and Queen. Attached Commandounits 1st Commando Brigadeand part of 4th Commando Brigadewere tasked with seizing the bridges on the Orne River and the Caen Canal, linking up with paratroops of the 6th Airborne Division who were holding the bridges and had earlier destroyed the batteries at Merville. Resistance on the beach was weak, within 45 minutes the fighting had been pushed inland and on the east flank the Commando units had reached the Orne and the paratroopers by midday. The British had been unable to link up with the Canadian forces to the west until much later in the day. The only significant German counter-attacks of the entire landing came from 1600 into this area. In two attacks the 21st Panzer Division pushed all the way from near Caen to the beach between Lion-sur-Mer and Luc-sur-Merand were only fully neutralized by late evening. 54 German tanks were destroyed or disabled out of 98.
The day ended with 28,845 British troops ashore and only 630 casualties. However Caen had not been reached and in the face of stiffening resistance the assault had stalled 6 km short of the town. British forces had been bogged down on the beaches by the sheer volume of men and equipment being unloaded.
The beaches of D-Day are still known by their invasion codenames today.
Famous names on the beach
*Lord Lovat led his Commando unit to
last = Reynolds
first = Michael
title = Eagles and Bulldogs in Normandy 1944
Casemate, Havertown, PA, USA
date = 2003
pages = 230 pp
id = ISBN 1-86227-201-8
* [http://www.dday.co.uk/page30.html http://www.dday.co.uk/page30.html]
* [http://www.mod.uk/aboutus/dday60/sword.htm Sword Beach] United Kingdom Ministry of Defence website.
* [http://www.6juin1944.com/assaut/sword/en_index.php D-Day : Etat des Lieux : Sword Beach]
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