It is 2300 hrs when six Halifax planes take off from
the Tarrant Rushton airfield. They tow six Horsa gliders with major Howard's
men inside. In the same time the Albermales carrying the pathfinders of
the 22nd Independent Parachute Company takes off from Harwell so as to
mark out the future DZs of the division.
: The first glider of the "coup-de-main" lands close to the Bénouville
bridge. Within 15 minutes, the Oxf. and Bucks men seize the bridges and neutralize
the destruction mechanism whose charges are not in position.
It does not go so well
for the pathfinders. The strong wind and errors of drop lead to the desorganization
of the sticks. The markers are lost and some sticks are not on the DZ they were
assigned to. These errors will have an effect on the drops of the division that
will occur 30 minutes later.
While the planes of the division are approaching
the Normandy landing zones from 0050 hrs, the weather conditions lead again to
a scattering of the sticks. Many men are dispersed away from their intended DZ
or are in the flooded marsh of the river Dives and eventually drown.