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  • Writer's pictureSi Biggs

Nan Red 6th June 1944 - No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando was formed in March 1944 and was the last commando unit formed during the Second World War. It was formed by the conversion of the 7th Royal Marine Battalion and the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisations (MNBDOs) defence battalions to commando duties. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Moulton, it carried out a shortened commando course at Achnacarry and then joined the all Royal Marine 4th Special Service Brigade alongside No. 41, No. 46 and No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commandos.


Landing on the Canadian Juno Beach, No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando was the first Commando unit to land near Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and started the assault on Langrune-sur-Mer, which was liberated after heavy fighting and severe losses. They then held a position awaiting reinforcement and equipment to land


Commandos H+45 minutes Nan Red 48 Royal Marine Commando -


LCol James Louis Moulton 'A' Troop

Captain Mike Reynolds 'B' Troop

Captain Jim Perry (KIA 06/06/44) 'X' Troop

Captain Hoare 'Y' Troop - Captain De Stacpoole 'Z' Troop

Captain Lennard (KIA 06/06/44) 'S' (Heavy Weapons) Troop

Captain Geoff Linnell


LCI(S) 525

Serial 1503 is LCI(S) 525 carrying:

• 45 men with 4 lightweight motorcycle and 6 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando

• 4 men and a handcart - 4 Special Service Brigade Signal Troop • 4 men - Detachment ‘A’, Troop 3, Bombardment Unit J - FOB No 89 • 1 man and a lightweight motorcycle - Headquarters 4 Special Service Brigade • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF


Serial 1504 is LCI(S) 515 carrying:

• 77 men with 4 lightweight motorcycle and 8 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando • 2 men - 4 Special Service Brigade Signal Troop • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF


Serial 1505 is LCI(S) 533 carrying:

• 75 men with 3 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF


Serial 1506 is LCI(S) 513 carrying:

• 75 men with 3 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF


Serial 1507 is LCI(S) 539 carrying:

• 75 men with 3 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF Page 82


Serial 1508 is LCI(S) 540 carrying:

• 75 men with 3 bicycles - 48 Royal Marine Commando • 2 men with a balloon - 52 Beach Balloon Unit RAF



Commandos wade ashore from landing craft at Juno beach during the invasion of Normandy, 6 June 1944 (NAM. 1986-01-4-215)

48 RM Commando was to land with the reserve companies of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, which should have cleared the beach defences. It was then to move eastwards to clear the strongpoint at Langrune sur Mer before joining up with 41 RM Commando which had landed on Sword.


Although scheduled to land on Nan Red the plan recognised that 48 RM Commando might have to be diverted to another beach. It seemed that the landings on Nan Red were going satisfactorily and 48 RM Commando were ordered to land as planned.


On the run in it seemed that the landing would be unopposed but as the craft approached the beach they met machine gun fire from the St. Aubin strongpoint which was almost opposite the landing point. They were also fired on from mortars and artillery.


One LCI(S), carrying ‘Z’ troop, was hit by shellfire. It then hit an obstacle and was unable to beach. Some Commandos attempted to swim ashore. Some succeeded but others were drowned in the strong undertow. The troop then managed to transfer from the LCI(S) to an LCT, and then from the LCT to an LCA and thus some forty men were able to get ashore.


The LCI(S) carrying ‘Y’ troop also hit an obstacle and was unable to beach. The Commandos on this craft also transferred to an LCT. However disembarking was slow and casualties were mounting so the LCT withdrew with some 50 Commandos still on board. These were taken back to UK.


‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘X’ troops were able to wade ashore through some three feet of water, the bicycles causing some problems. They first sheltered under low earth cliffs and sea wall until an exit could be found.


By 0900 hours these troops plus Headquarters Troop were ashore and at the Assembly Area at La Rive, some 200 yards inland. At 1030 hours, 48 Commando was ready to move to Langrune sur Mer.


It was already considerably weakened.


• ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘X’ troops each had some fifty to fifty five men.

• ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ troops had only some forty five men between them.

• Headquarters had lost some twenty men and the support troop had only one 3” mortar and one Bren team.


The Naval Commander Allied Expeditionary Force considered that it was an error to use LCI(S) at this early stage. They were essentially raiding craft and without the element of surprise they were very vulnerable. [2]


The assault on Langrune-sur-Mer, which was liberated after heavy fighting and severe losses.


They then held a position awaiting reinforcement and equipment to land. The rest of 4th Special Service Brigade carried out two attacks to take a German hill position near the village of Dozule. After the failure of both attacks, No. 48 was reinforced by No. 46 and No. 47 Commandos.


Reinforced, No.48 Commando bypassed the village of Dozule to occupy the high ground at point 120, in the process cutting off a number of retreating Germans and destroying their vehicles.


Instead of being withdrawn after 48 hours, No. 4 Special Service Brigade continued in the Allied advance to the Seine. On route liberating Pont l'Eveque, Saint-Maclou, Pavilly, Yerville, Motteville, Yvetot, Bermonville and Valmont before coming out of the line on 18 August 1944.


48 Cdo with 4th Special Service Brigade returned to the front line to take part in the Battle of the Scheldt and Operation Infatuate in November 1944, tasked with the liberation of the island of Walcheren.


Following the Battle of the Scheldt, No. 48 Commando raided across the Meuse (Maas) in the Netherlands and then took part in the army of occupation in Germany.

June 6th 1944 Staubun. Rallied his sub section on the beach under fire after landing through deep water. He showed great calmness and resolution under these trying circumstances and was unmoved by enemy fire. During the street fighting in Langrune he repeatedly volunteered for, and carried out tasks of extra risk, leading and inspiring his sub section by his personal example. (L.G.29.5.44) Citation for his Military Medal: Sgt. John Clive 'joe' Stringer MM 48 RM Commando


Related Royal Marines History 'Dits'


References



Read More/ Web Link:


  1. You Tube: 48 Cdo Nan Red (via RM History)

  2. Smith, Dennis (Oral history) IWM Audio

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