|About the Book|
Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, was the greatest sea-borne military operation in history. At the heart of the invasion and key to its success were the landings of British 50th Division on Gold Beach and Canadian 3rd Division on Juno Beach. Not only did they provide the vital link between the landings of British 3rd Division on Sword Beach and the Americans to the west on Omaha, they would be crucial to the securing of the beachhead and the drive inland to Bayeux and Caen. In the fourth D-Day volume Ken Ford details the assault that began the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe. The Beaches codenamed Gold and Juno constituted the western section of the British sector of the landings. Although in the British sector the forces landing on Juno were actually the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Gold was to be assaulted by the British 50th infantry division. Both these forces were supported by specialized armored vehicles to help overcome the German defenses, and by Commando units. The D-Day objectives for the troops landing on these two beaches included the capture of the town of Arromanches, which was to be the site of the Mulberry artificial harbor for the British beachhead. They were also tasked with the capture of the town of Bayeux and securing the coast road between Bayeux and Caen. British 50th Division supported by 8th Armored Brigade successfully fought their way off the beach and overcame the German strongpoints at Le Hamel and La Riviere. 47 Commando made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Port en Bessin and link up with the Americans on Omaha. The Canadians on Juno meanwhile had a tougher time getting ashore due to heavy seas and underwater obstacles. Once onthe beach however they silenced the German strongpoint at St. Aubin and pushed inland towards Caen. They were halted by the counter-attack of General Edgar Feuchtingers battle group, the 21st Panzer Division. This drove into the gap between Juno and Sword beaches, stalling the allied timetable and preventing the capture of Caen. It could not, however, prevent the linking of Gold, Juno, and Sword on June 7, securing the British beachhead. The breakout could now begin.