• Si Biggs

48 Royal Marine Commando - July 1944 - Sallenelles

Updated: Jul 30

Occupation of Sallenelles


X Troop, under the command of Capt Linnell, led the commandos into the area and found Sallenelles, as expected, unoccupied by the enemy.


Linnell and his men then moved on a scouting patrol through the village and bumped into a few Germans making their own patrol. They took flight immediately when they saw the commandos sweeping towards them. In his official history of the Commando, Linnell described how the sector was defended:


On our first arrival in the Sallenelles position on 12 June slit trenches were dug and that for the moment was our defensive line. Gradually positions were strengthened. Wire and mines were disgorged reluctantly by ordnance dumps - defence stores were a very low priority in the landing of supplies. Slit trenches were deepened, head cover was put on- an important precaution in orchard country where shells frequently detonated in the trees - and eventually a linked-up series of Troop positions was constructed.


Our front was protected by both anti-tank and anti-personnel mines which, while they gave protection, also caused casualtiesamong incautious personnel, especially signallers who once followed cable into a minefield. Houses which we occupied were strengthened by shoring and sand bags, and camouflage netting was erected to lessen the direct observation of our positions from Franceville Plage, of which fortunately the enemy availed himself little.


The Commando was now being used as infantry in a manner for which it had not been prepared, as Lt Harold Smedley recalled:


'We were untrained in defensive tactics, the whole emphasis in our training had been on the attack. Nor were we prepared for this type of service, we had few support weapons of our own. The training the Commando had received at Achnacarry had been on fieldcraft and commando techniques, while that carried out at Gravesend and in London was on the use of weapons and street fighting. The exercises and manoeuvres which took place in Sussex were amphibious. All of these were focused on the attack.'


As Capt Linnell later wrote:


'We had to learn the technique of defence and fight as we went along. In the eighty days available to train and equip the Commando before the invasion, only desultory attention could be given to defensive fighting and patrolling against static positions; there was barely time to teach the essentials of battle training and the use of weapons.


As Maj Sanders, the Commando's second-in-command said, 'We have only reached page 34 of the training manual.'


Once it had established itself in the line, the Commando set about stamping its authority on the area. The enemy had to be shown who was in charge and just who had the initiative. The unit might be in a defensive position, but its aggressive spirit was not to be dampened by static warfare.


Moulton insisted that the enemy must be harassed at every opportunity. Ralph Dye and the Bombardment Observers from the Royal Artillery remained with the Commando for some time as the warships at sea were still available to support ground troops for the first few weeks after the invasion.


Dye remembers looking for advantageous positions from which to observe the enemy, as he explained later.


'Captain Tyrer and I went well forward looking down the lane for a suitable site for our observation post. The battlefield was so silent; you could almost hear the silence. It was a menacing sort of silence as though nothing is happening. You were aware of every twig snapping and every leaf rustling. We drove down the road and I looked across to the captain and he looked back at me. We mutually agreed that we were probably heading for the German lines. I quickly did a three-point turn and raced back to the safety of our lines.'


The actual forward line was a ragged affair which ran along certain lanes and across certain fields. It was by experience that the marines knew where they could show themselves and where they could not. Both sides patrolled by day and night so it was always possible that you could run into the enemy at virtually every bend in the road. It was said that the local estaminet in the village was frequented by both sides and more than one commando has

admitted to hearing that German troops were going out the back door as they came in the front.



Capt Geoff Linnell recalls this close association with the enemy.


Our lines were just a few hundred yards apart and we shared a house in the middle of no-

mans-land with the Germans. It overlooked a concrete strongpoint of theirs. They might use

it one day and we would try to use it the next. From the windows we could direct mortar fire

on to their strongpoint when we saw any movement. We used it as a forward observation

post and were always sending patrols up to it. The Germans were not very aggressive; they

preferred to just sit it out. They were not exactly passive for they were very active with their

mortaring, but not very active with patrolling. Our morale in the unit was very high and we

actively patrolled to deny the area to the enemy.



The RSM, Colin Travers, also remembers the type of warfare he experienced in Sallenelles.


'It was a period of night patrols and observing the enemy. I did not go on any patrols but had the responsibility of controlling our snipers. We had two snipers and I would go out and place them in spots I had selected beforehand. The HQ occupied a farmhouse and its outbuildings. Our medical station was in one of the barns. Moulton had a large dugout built in the yard away from the house and the signallers and other personnel all had their own dugouts. Most of the day was spent in these, protected from enemy shelling, and at night we came into the house

and barns.' [1]






48 RM CDO War Diary


Month and year : July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt Col J.L. Moulton, RM

1st July 1944

Place: Quarry 122759

'D' Cdo. Tp Commanders take sub-sec Commanders over ground for counter-attack on SALLENELLES feature.

2nd July 1944

Place: Quarry

Pay Sgt (Sgt Edmonson) wounded by fragment of Oerlikon shell in B Ech area. Move of Cdo to 4 Cdo area (HAUGER) cancelled but warning order received to relieve 41 Cdo in our old position on SALLENELLES feature.

4th July 1944

Place: Quarry

1300 - Relieved 41 Cdo (Left fwd Cdo B) Battle H.Q. 130765 Adm H.Q. 131765. B Ech remain at 119756. Take over 'F' counter Mortar O.P. at 135771 in patrol house where we maintained standing patrol of 1 Tp less 1 sub-sec.

2300 to 0330 - Listening patrol (Cpl Telford Z Tp) to 137773 reports no enemy activity.

5th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2300 to 0230 - Maj de Stacpoole + 10 Recce of F.D.L's. A firm base of 1 SNCO and 7 Established at Halfway House 138772. One Recce patrol to 138773 to observe MOULIN DU BUISSON 140776 while another went to line of trees 138773. Bright Moonlight hindered movement. No enemy observed but sounds of Tpt heard. Standing patrol reports camouflaged observer in Strongpoint 139776. Snipers had no success.

6th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2100 - M.G. fired from upper window of MOULIN at Capt Flunder (Adj & O.C. Snipers) and snipers who were recceing area of Halfway House. No casualties. Otherwise only routine activity at Strongpoint. Recce patrol to Halfway House nothing to report.

7th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Sentry observed in slit trench S of left hand concrete pillbox of strongpoint. Snipers had no success.

2045 to 2115 - 75mm guns (? Les Marmiers) shelled a house at 131775 used as H.Q. Officers Mess, an unpleasant business. All H.Q. Officers were at dinner when shells started to fall at the door and hit the house which had not been protected. There was nothing to do but remain in the house until shelling stopped. Three shells fell within 5 yds of door; 5 more, two of which were duds, hit the house (the shells bore date 1915, presumably old French stock). Cas 1 Mor killed.

8th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1000 to 1500 - Ambush at 139773 under command Capt Mackenzie. Snipers went out with patrol with orders to observe only. Patrol reports a dugout occupied by a very casual enemy just East of the MOULIN. One was a sentry, another observing but not apparently very successful, with binoculars. Wire seen along length of ditch running from MOULIN to F.D.L's. at 142772 and around the Moulin, also a wire road barrier at 139772.

2215 to 0415 - M.M.G's. fired harassing shoot on Les Marmiers.

8th to 9th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Orders were received to simulate liveliness on the Bde front during night 8/9 and 9 July. Other Cdo's were firing harassing shoot during night.

0430 - 48 Cdo started harassing shoot combined with continuous movement of base plates to simulate new Mortars coming into position. During day over 500 rounds were fired and 5 different positions used. This opportunity was used to train new fire controllers. Capt Linnell (O.C. S Tp Previously M.M.G. Offr) Sgt Kern attached to S. Tp from X Tp to replace casualties, Cpl Thornton promoted to replace casualty.

9th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Maj. de Stacpoole attempted recce patrol over Saltings but found the route impassable at High tide.

0430 - Nebelwerfer (15 cm) fired on patrol houses scoring several near misses and badly damaging East end of SALLENELLES; probably fired from Les Marmiers, one man slightly wounded.

1000 to 1500 - Snipers covered by sub-sec at 139772 had no success.

2200 to 2230 - Timed programme of M.M.G. and Mortar fire on Bde front attempted to simulate attack. Enemy did not respond - the effect without artillery was very thin.

10th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Standing patrol reported quiet day.

2100 - Two men seen crawling on West of road at 139774 vanished before they could be engaged. Orders were received from Bde to prepare for raid on 48 Cdo front at end of week. Y Tp under Maj de Stacpoole detailed.

11th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0001 to 0230 - Listening patrol to 137772 reported no enemy activity except a gun firing at 0015 from bearing 85 Mag. Snipers no luck during day.

1430 - 8 Mortar bombs fell in area Halfway House (? answer to own Tps fire) Reallocation of patrol areas 48 (R.M.) Cdo area from River Orne to incl road from Bridge 136767, Crosstracks 138767, and East along track.

1830 to 0100 - M.M.G. shoot in conjunction with 46 (R.M.) Cdo's guns on Merville from positions across R Orne.

12th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0100 to 0200 - Shoot on MOULIN. Bend in road 146775 - to cover movement of recce patrol. M.M.G's remained in their positions overnight and were shelled in the morning, suffering no casualties.


0001 to 0230 - Recce patrol under Maj de Stacpoole of enemy F.D.L's along line of hedge 140772 to 143768 to confirm information received from Polish deserter. Presence confirmed of cattle fence 50 yds forward of line of hedge. Bright Moonlight hindered Recce, as did regular flares (both Signal Pistol and Mortar).

0520 to 0620 - Cdo area shelled but no casualties.

1830 to 2200 - Lt Col Moulton, Maj Stacpoole, Capt Mackenzie with sub-sec recce F.D.L's in preparation for raid. While at 140771 patrol was fired on from 141772 by a sentry, and moved along hedge to craters at 140769. Here they were fired on by M.G., and when they attempted to withdraw, the enemy advanced to the craters and fired automatics along hedge killing three of the escort and wounding a fourth. The Hun then threw egg grenades without effect and fired down line of hedge at 138769. It appeared he had fixed lines down the hedgerows. The patrol returning the fire claim two enemy hit. Restriction was placed on Mortars to 40 rds per Mortar per day.

2140 - Cdo area shelled; no casualties - probably from 88 mm on Franceville Plage. Since the patrol house had been the object of a salvo from a Nebelwerfer, it was obvious the Hun knew we were there, and it was decided to move back into the middle of Sallenelles 135771. This was to be held as an outpost position by a complete troop of which one sub-sec manned a German 50 mm A Tk gun situated in a hotel at the S.W. corner of the junction at 132769.

13th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Sniper (Mne Hayward) 1 certainty on Strongpoint.

2330 to 0100 - Maj de Stacpoole covered by fire groups of X Troop with A Troop in reserve at the patrol house, led his troop in an attempt to recover the bodies of the men killed the night before. The fire groups were posted along the line of track, Cross tracks - Halfway House. One Gp went astray and drew fire and accordingly the plan was called off. Casualties were 4 wounded (Sgt Williams crawled back 700 yds with a broken leg and three bullet wounds). One man came in after lying up all night, and two came in after lying up for 24 hrs. To support the patrol, Capt Linnell went fwd as M.F.C. for the 3" Mortars and put down fire on the F.D.L's and the M.M.G's from across the Orne fired on the Strongpoint. The latter drew back immediate and accurate fire from the Moulin, and the detachments withdrew from the guns to avoid casualties.

2250 to 2315 - Mortar bombs fell in Cdo area, apparently directed at Rd junction 135771. 1 civilian killed and 1 wounded.

14th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Patrol house mortared, no casualties. A programme for training was now arranged with the object of withdrawing one troop at a time for this purpose. The main objects were training in fieldcraft and instinctive action, and more practice in movement by night and the use of weapons. In close country we had found that a Tommy Gun, if used up to ranges of 150 yds was as useful as a Bren and much easier to handle.

1905 to 1915 - 3 shells (? 10.5 cm) fell in Cdo area, killing one gunner. As the enemy showed more initiative on our front and as our arty sp was withdrawn, our patrols did not advance fwd of the line of track, Cross tracks - Halfway House, unless well supported.

15th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0030 to 0330 - Listening patrol at 137772 reported sounds of movement at 0235 hrs down line of hedge 139772. Snipers during the day scored two certain kills against Strongpoint.

1230 to 1700 - Ambush patrol at 137769 saw no signs of enemy.

1200 - An American airman baled out of a Thunderbolt and landed in the Orne at 127776. He was rescued by 2/Lt Collins and the Medical Orderly (Pte Cosnett) of A Tp who went out under M.G. fire. Three civilians had previously tried to rescue him, but in vain. Our 3" Mortar gave cover with smoke during this.




16th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0130 to 0330 - Lt Boreham (Y Tp.) with recce patrol reported sounds of movement along hedge at 137771. Although not definitely established, these, and other such noises reported, were probably caused by cattle.

1300 - Investiture by General Sir Bernard Montgomery K.C.B. of Officers and men of 6 Airborne Div and 1 and 4 SS Bdes.

Awards

D.S.O. Lt Col J.L. Moulton R.M.

M.C. Capt R.G. Mackenzie R.M.

M.C. Lt. D.M.de.R. Winser R.A.M.C.

M.M. T.S.M. R.T. Clarke

M.M. Sgt. J.C. Stringer

M.M. Pte. F.B. Tickle R.A.M.C.


(follow the links to Pegasus Archive for the invadual citations)

Gen Montgomery pins the Military Medal on 48 Commando's L/Cpl Tickle (RAMC) at L'écarde quarry, Amfreville 16th July 1944 for his brave work tending to the wounded on Nan Red Beach on D-Day. The commando in the foreground is Marine Vardy from 46 RM Commando, who also won the MM and who was later killed in action.

2030 to 2110 - 8 to 12 shells fell mainly along line of road at 132766. Two men wounded including R.S.M. Travers.

17th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1400 to 1900 - Maj Wall led strong recce patrol to area Cross-tracks. Only report was sound of stakes being hammered in. Continuous patrols between our F.D.L's and the enemy's reported no enemy movement.

2000 to 2030 - 8 shells (10.5 cm) fell on the lower and upper roads to Sallenelles; no casualties.

18th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0600 - The Cdo went to ground at the beginning of the British drive East of the Orne, and watched the Lancasters stream overhead and heard the artillery barrage. The enemy made no attempt to retaliate on our positions and during the afternoon we resumed our normal routine. To cover Franceville Plage where it was thought that the Germans might move S.P. Guns to shell the bridges, our M.M.G's moved to positions on the flats. The M.M.G's were withdrawn on 19 Jul to their former positions.

Appointments. R.S.M. C.S.M. R.H. Hay ('B' Troop)

Posting. Major Wall to H.M.S. Turtle; Lt Bonner takes over command 'A' Troop.

19th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0500 to 1000 - Lt Dunn with recce patrol to Halfway House reported the usual sounds of stakes being hammered in and a large column of black smoke over Merville. The Cdo was ordered to have one Troop ready to follow up the enemy should he withdraw from the positions he was holding. During the day the Strongpoint was more active than usual.

1930 to 2300 - A strong recce patrol under Capt Mackenzie covered snipers at 139771; the snipers however failed to find a target. At 2100 hrs M.G. fire opened up from concrete pillbox on left of Strongpoint at the old patrol house without causing any casualties, and somewhere in rear a mortar was firing, the bombs falling in the Western end of Sallenelles. Shelling of the same area wounded one man slightly. The patrol heard considerable noise from the Strongpoint in addition to the usual stake hammering party. The F.D.L's along the hedge were quiet. Halfway House was found with all doors closed which the previous patrol to enter left open.

20th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2345 to 0200 - Recce patrol to 138771 (Lt Boreham). At 0010 mortar and L.M.G. fire on Halfway House (? enemy DF task). At 0400 a man was heard walking down road, but was not identified.

0145 to 0315 - A recce patrol to 139778 reported only flares from F.D.L's at approx hourly intervals. Strongpoint put up red flares on approach of enemy a/c. Previously green flares had been used.

1300 to 1900 - Strong recce patrol (Lt Dunn) to Halfway House reported sounds of stakes being driven in.

21st July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2330 to 0215 - Sounds of transport moving behind enemy positions. Might have been sea but further South Halftracks and S.P. Guns reported moving. Listening patrol reported no sounds of enemy.

22nd July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1800 to 2200 - Ambush patrol (Capt Mackenzie) at 139767 reported possible O.P. in hedge at 140768. A German was seen standing by this tree wearing a greatcoat and steel helmet. Also excavations were seen, purpose unknown, between road at 138768 and crater at 140769. Voices and loud laughter were heard from F.D.L's and the usual stake striking noise. On either side of the track at 139767 were holes in hedge which were possible German ambush positions.

23rd July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0001 to 0400 - Listening patrol at 139773 reported only the usual noise and flares from area of Strongpoint. This was confirmed by small ambush patrol at 137440.

1000 to 1800 - A recce patrol, strongly supported, moved to line of hedge at 139770 reported no sign of enemy. The patrol was supported by 3" Mortars which put down 30 H.E's on F.D.L's at end of patrol. A new patrolling schedule was now introduced by which defensive patrols were maintained throughout the 24 hrs in advance of our F.D.L's. Our right was covered by a post of 46 Cdo at 135167. Our post, of 1 N.C.O. and 2, was in general area Halfway House - Pond 136770 - Patrol House. Lt Bonner O.C. 'A' Tp sick with malaria. Capt D.J. Flunder took over Troop, Lt L.R. Grant (S.O.) becoming A/Adjutant.

24th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1400 to 1700 - 3" Mortar register on and harass enemy F.D.L's from Strongpoint to track at 143769.

1500 - A Hun was seen to blow himself up on his own minefield at Franceville Plage.

25th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0420 to 0715 - Some 15 shells fell in front of F.D.L's, no casualties. The enemy was suspected of bringing 5cm Mortars fwd of his position as bombs fell regularly on track leading South from Patrol House which we believe that he thinks are our F.D.L's. This night the Hun used Red Amber flares from his F.D.L's to the East of us and Green from the Strongpoint to try to stop the Hun dropping his bombs on his own troops.

0800 to 1200 - 'A' Troop (Capt Flunder) cover mortar Officer (Capt Linnell) registering 3" Mortars on MOULIN-ditch to F.D.L's to O.P. at Halfway House.

26th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0230- Listening at 137771 reported much crashing in the undergrowth and came back to report. The enemy must also have heard it as he opened up with flares and M.G. fire from Strongpoint thus showing up effectively that he had no patrols operating.

27th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1045 - 'A' Troop again reported 5cm mortar firing on their front after 46 Cdo had been testing automatics.

28th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2200 to 0230 - Maj Freeman, Lt Square, 2/Lt Lindrea ('Z' Tp) & 18 O.R's moved to X tracks through 46 Cdo where firm base was established. Maj Freeman then examined the line of hedge 139770 to 140767 through his binoculars from 139767 but could seen no sign of movement. Ambush patrol under Lt Square proceeded to hedge at 140767 but although it was a very quiet night reported no sound of enemy. The track at this point was overgrown and showed no signs of use by enemy and all gaps in the hedge were blocked by overgrown brambles. Ambush returned at 0200 and Maj Freeman set out to recce line of hedge. From his right, however, came sounds of fire from a part of 41 Cdo and flares came up. Expecting the enemy to put down his D.F. fire, Maj Freeman withdrew; but on our sector the enemy showed no signs of life, not even putting up flares. Sniper (L/Cpl Hayward) wounded one German in Strongpoint.

2347 - "Panic" party staged to give enemy impression that our F.D.L's were on the line of track Patrol House - Bridge, it was also hoped to elicit fire from the enemy and confirm his presence. The plan was to open up with mortar illuminant and bursts of Bren fire. At 2355, 41 Cdo Mortars who were in our Sp, our own Mortars being employed on counter battery work, put down a crump on 142772 and the MOULIN. The only enemy reaction was a single rifle shot from direction of MOULIN.

29th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

This night and the previous night the 2 i/c (Maj Sanders) had recced a route across the Saltings. The first 50 yds on account of rushes were difficult to negotiate, but after that, although soft, the going was reasonable. Running from approx 135775 to Strongpoint is a bank, slightly raised from the general level, which is comparatively firm. During the night listening patrols reported flares being put up at intervals from F.D.L's.

31st July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0330 to 1000 - Ambush to area Halfway House - reported at 0400 a 5 cm mortar ranging on line of track Halfway House - 139772.

0400 to 2300 - Lt Col Moulton R.M., Capt Linnell to Point du Siege to recce area Franceville Plage, lying up by day.

Month and year : August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt Col J.L. Moulton, RM

1st August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0400 - 2 shells fell in Cdo area. 1 man slightly injured.

0430 to 1000 - Snipers operated forward of X Tracks 137772 with a covering party in support. Saw nothing. Various sounds of movement heard including hammering and digging.

2000 - Cdo took over defensive patrol at crashed Spitfire 135767 from 46 Cdo.

2020 - Enemy automatic opened fire from FDLs in wood and orchard.

2100 - Cdo took over "E" counter mortar OP 132765 from 46 Cdo. "F" OP discontinued.

2120 - Enemy MG fire from MOULIN 139776 thought to be cover for digging operations.

2nd August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

Snipers operating from 139772 reported that they could see movement in pill-box to left of strongpoint. This was connected with gunpit by communications trench. The gun was clearly visible and appeared to be a 5cm A/Tk. It was traversed and elevated during the day, the first time we had seen it move. In consequence we requested a destructive shoot. An Airborne bty followed by a Medium bty shoot resulted in the gun being tilted over with its barrel pointing downwards.

0620 - Arty shoot on FDLs in orchard as a result of activity observed on the previous day. No further sounds of digging etc from FDLs.

1900 - Work reported going on in strongpoint ceased when our own guns opened fire.

2230 to 0100 - Recce patrols sent out to Halfway House 137772 and bridge at 139770 reported a burst of red tracer fired into the air from 139772 when a member of the patrol incautiously moved into a moonlight patch. 50 yds fwd of the hedge one man was seen to move in the orchard.

2350 - We put up 4 rds 2 in mortar illuminant over enemy FDLs. Nothing to be seen. A single strand of wire was found stretched across hedge at 139770. No purpose for same could be discovered.

3rd August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0100 to 0110 - Two salvoes of shells and mortars of 15 - 20 rds respectively caused no casualties. Shells were identified as 10.5cm German How.

4th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2345 to 0130 - About 35 shells fell in and around Cdo area. No casualties.

5th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0345 - A group of 15 - 20 shells fell in Cdo area. No casualties.

1645 - Snipers moving fwd to hedgerow at 139771 were fired on from that point by an MG 34 while they were crossing a gap in track at 138771. The snipers returned with their Bren gp through Halfway House. About 5 mins later enemy brought down mortar fire on the X tracks.

2100 - Order Group at 4 SS Bde HQ resulted in instructions to move a.m. 7 Aug for 41, 46, 47 RM Cdos. They were to move to area TROARN to relieve 146 Bde 49 Div. One tp 48 Cdo was to be att to 46 Cdo. 48 Cdo to move to area RANVILLE as Bde reserve on completion of turnover to 5 Para Bde.

6th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0100 to 0300 - Sounds of tpt heard in direction of but beyond MOULIN. It is possible that this was an SP gun moving into position in view of further occurrences. The noise was confirmed by a recce patrol over the saltings who reported rumblings towards FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.

0700 - MG fire opened up from strongpoint was stopped when we put down 2in mortar fire. At the same time a 5cm A/Tk gun opened up with HE and AP shells. Some rounds went along lower rd, one hit the "Officers Club" 128770 and others fell in 46 Cdo area. Snipers reported that A/Tk gun in strongpoint was now on an even keel in gun pit and uncamouflaged. No signs of damage noticed. CO recced 146 Bde area. Major Freeman OC 'Z' Tp recced area held by B Coy 1/4 Lincs. Instructions from Bde to 48 Cdo to remain in present position under command 5 Para Bde.

1030 - Civilian was blown up on A/Tk minefield South of village.

7th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0001 to 0400 - At each clock hour shell and Mortar HE and smoke were put down by enemy on our fwd FDLs causing no casualties. 5 Para Bde relieved 4 SS Bde but 48 Cdo less 'Z' Tp remained in Sallenelles and came under comd 5 Para Bde.

0700 - 'Z' Tp moved under Comd 46 Cdo to area TROARN. One man wounded. 1 SI[or S1?] wound when tp area was mortared in afternoon. The day was marked by more shelling than usual. Probably due to the amount of tpt in the area.

1930 - Enemy opened fire from strongpoint with MG 34 on a strong covering party sent out with snipers. Fire came from Halfway House 138772 as party were moving over X tracks 138771. This was answered by Bren and TSMG fire. The patrol then withdrew down line of hedge with the intention of working round the left flank but when they reached line of stream they again came under fire from track and hedge junc 138769. This was answered by 2in mortar fire and 3in mortar fire was called for on FDLs at 141772. Patrol then withdrew since snipers could not be established in position without suffering casualties. We then put down mortar fire on Halfway House. This was the first time since July 6th that we found the enemy fwd of line of hedge running South from 139772.

2300 to 0030 - A listening patrol went to area Halfway House and reported that there were still sounds of enemy occupation there as did the listening post at 135770.

8th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1800 - Y Tp patrol under Major de Stacpoole went fwd to sweep down line X Tracks 138763 - Halfway House 138772 where we had found the enemy the previous day. The assault party was covered by Bren Gp in area 137768. No enemy were met but a sniper was seen up a tree at 141776. He slipped down before he could be fired on. The patrol lay up at 138770 covering Halfway House and the CO who was controlling the operation from an advanced HQ in Outpost House 133770 brought up a party of two PIATS to area 136770. Meanwhile an ambush patrol from A Tp under Capt Flunder reported sounds of voices from triangle wood 139772. Halfway House was "Piatted" at 2100 and 2120 hrs and 3inch Mortar was brought down on the FDLs at 141772 and in MOULIN. No movement was seen. Unfortunately RT communication between ambush patrol and control broke down and it was not possible to clear Halfway House on account of own fire. Patrol returned at 2130 hrs. One member of a PIAT crew was wounded by MG fire from strongpoint area. Patrol established the triangle wood was held as an outpost by the enemy.

Place: Troarn

2000 to 2110 - 1 Mne killed and three ORs wounded in Z Tp during shelling by 88cm. [presumably should read "mm"] gun.

Place: Sallenelles

2230 - A defensive patrol at 135770 reported sounds of enemy movement in their area and were fired on by MG from Halfway House.

9th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2200 to 2230 - 3 shells fired fwd of our right hand FDLs. Listening patrols reported sounds of enemy movement either from Halfway House or FDLs.

10th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

0930 - Halfway House seen to be on fire possibly from own arty fire.

1030 to 1130 - A recce patrol to track at 138771 reported no sounds of enemy movement either from Halfway House or FDLs. Capt Nuttall (Devons) joined Cdo. Posted to 'Z' Tp.

2300 - Single parachute flares were seen over OUISTREHAM - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE area.

11th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

1000 - Advance parties from IND Belgian Bde were shown round Cdo area in preparation for handing over.

12th August 1944

Place: Sallenelles

2345 [11th August?] to 0215 - A patrol from Y Tp led by Capt Flunder supported by a Bren team from Y Tp set out to recce in strength the enemy FDLs. Patrol formed up at patrol house 133771 and moved to corner of orchard 136769. During this time an enemy MG had been firing on Sallenelles from the East. The patrol then moved into position. The Tp with 2in mortar team moved to stream at 137768 Bren teams were pushed out to (1) 138771, (2) 137769, (3) 138776. Two listening posts were established at 143769 and 144768. No enemy were encountered during this move. At 0125 hrs the 2in mortar fired 10 rds rapid and continued firing erratically for five minutes. At 0130 hrs all the Brens fired 5 Magazines. The enemy replied with 2 MGs firing on fixed lines and haphazard SA fire. The Listening post took compass bearings on the enemy MGs. While this was taking place aircraft were overhead and a bomb fell near one of the Bren teams. There were no casualties. This patrol confirmed the presence of enemy in his suspected FDLs and pinpointed his MG positions and fixed lines. Further recce parties from IND Belgian Bde were shown Cdo lay-out, responsibilities, fire tasks, minefields etc. By evening all was ready for the hand over. Lieut H. Smedley to 'X' Tp. Lieut D.G. Goodlet to I.O.

13th August 1944

Place: Touffreville

0500 - A and X Tps moved off from Sallenelles area to take over positions from 46 Cdo in TOUFFREVILLE area. Move was made as early as possible to take advantage of morning mist to cover arrival and change over in new area. On arrival A Tp occupied line of hedge 154692 - 155689 while X Tp relieved Z Tp in orchard area 155688. Z Tp went into reserve area 146690.

0830 - Y Tp and advanced HQ moved off arriving in new area. Y Tp went into fwd locality at area 149693.

0900 - B Tp left Sallenelles area taking up reserve posn in new area at 148693.

Place: Sallenelles

1000 - Cdo HQ closed at location 131767. 48 RM Cdo reverted to comd 4 SS Bde.

Place: Touffreville

1300 - Cdo HQ reopened at brickworks 146686; S Tp occupied posns area 142693. [2]


[1] D Day Commando From Normandy to the Mass with 48 Royal Marine Commando

[2] Pegasis Archive - 48 Royal Marine Commando War Diary


Related 'Dits'


The Last Man Standing, the story of Dennis Donovan, 48 Royal Marine Commando Juno Beach

D DAY Royal Marines

I Was There! - I Saw the Royal Marines Go In at Walcheren


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