Steel Angel Kurumi
Steel Angel Kurumi Encore

D-Day 1944 (4) by Ken Ford

D-Day 1944 (4) by Ken Ford

Author:Ken Ford
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978 1 84908 722 3
Publisher: Osprey Publishing

Royal Navy Beach Group command post on Gold Beach organising the landing of follow-up units, stores and reinforcements. These are Royal Navy personnel, wearing army commando battledress complete with combined operations badges. They proudly display the White Ensign above their control post and the two officers retain their naval headdress. (Imperial War Museum, A24092)

Whilst the attack on Le Hamel was in progress, the remainder of the Hampshires had moved westwards along the coast and had cleared the gun positions of WN 38 at St Côme de Fresné and captured the Radar Station on the cliffs to the east of Arromanches. This now left 231st Brigade overlooking the town from both the south and east. At the same time, from the high ground on the other side of Arromanches, German fire began to interfere with the build-up of troops and naval gunfire was called for to put a stop to it. Patrols were sent down into Arromanches late that afternoon and met little resistance, so an artillery programme was arranged to give supporting fire and the town was entered by the Hampshires and captured later that evening.

By this time the Dorsets were occupying Ryes and the Devons had continued westwards towards the great gun battery at Longues. The guns at Longues had first opened fire on the invasion fleet approaching Gold Beach at around 0605hrs. Prior to that the battery had been subjected to both heavy bombing and bombardment from other warships. At 0537hrs, the French cruiser Georges Leygues had targeted the battery. This fire was then taken up by the American battleship USS Arkansas. Longues battery replied by firing its 152mm naval guns at the battleship and the US destroyer Emmons. Then another French cruiser, the Montcalm, joined in the skirmish. At 0605hrs the guns were turned on a closer target when the battery opened fire on the flotilla of ships anchored off Gold Beach. The first to feel the effects of the German coastal weapons was the HQ ship HMS Bulolo. So accurate were the initial salvos that Bulolo was forced to weigh anchor and move out of range. At this time the cruiser HMS Ajax began its bombardment plan and concentrated all of its guns on Longues. A long-range duel now began that was to last twenty minutes. At a distance of 11,000 metres the two adversaries swapped shell for shell. Victory went to the Ajax as the battery fell silent at 0620hrs. This was only a temporary respite, however, and at around 0700hrs it opened up once more on the Americans landing at Omaha. Once again Ajax pounded the battery, joined by HMS Argonaut. This time the action was decisive, with astonishing precision the two cruisers managed to knock out three of the four guns.

That should have been the end of Longues, but its one gun resumed firing later that afternoon, threatening Allied shipping and the landing beaches. Throughout the afternoon and into the early evening the lone gun kept up intermittent fire on the invaders. Finally, at 1900hrs it fell silent.


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