JUNO BEACH : Canadian Troops



 
 

 


3rd Canadian Infantry Division

Juno is the codename for the beach assigned to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Right in the middle of the britsh sector, between Gold to the west and Sword to the east, this beach is 7km long and located between the villages of Graye-sur-Mer and St-Aubin-sur-Mer.

The coast in this area is defended by elements of the 726th and 736th regiments and is doted by numerous concrete bunkers forming a thin defensive line. Along the beach, the gaps between the pillboxes are filled with rows of wooden posts, wood or concrete tetrahedrons and metalic gates (also called belgian gates) driven in the sand facing the sea.

Juno Beach is divided in two sectors: Mike (Green & Red) west of Courseulles and Nan (Green, White and Red) between Courseulles and St-Aubin-sur-Mer.

According to plans, the assault will be made by two brigades attacking side by side, the 7th brigade to the west on Mike Green, Mike Red and Nan Green and the 8th brigade to the east on Nan White and Nan Red.

Map of Juno sector (67Ko)
Sector Juno

 

The Objectives :

For D-Day, the objectives of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division are to reach the Caen-Bayeux road, capture the Carpiquet airfield west of Caen and link-up with the british coming from Gold and Sword.

The Invasion :

On the canadian beaches, H-Hour is 10 minutes later than on the other british beaches to allow the landing ships to pass over the Bernières reefs.

But the rough sea delay the crafts for another 10 minutes and the 7th brigade doesn't hit the beach until 0745 and the 8th brigade at 0755 and when they do, the rising tide has already recovered a lot of the beach obstacles.

Here and there, some demolition teams had enough time to clear lanes but not on all the beach. 25% of the landing crafts will be destroyed by submerged obstacles. Until then the german defensive fire has been light but once the first men hit the beach it becomes very heavy because most of the concrete works had been built to enfilade the beach and not to fire towards the sea.

Ships Force "J" en route towards France (42Ko)
Ships Force "J" en route
( N.A. Canada )

Once in possession of the beach defences, the canadian troops begin to clear the various resistance nests before pushing inland. The villages of Graye sur Mer, Courseulles and Bernières are captured in the morning but the St Aubin strong point will resist until late afternoon.

The advance inland almost didn't met a living soul. The french civilians were burried away in their cellars while the germans were scarce. Understrength units and the concentration of all their men on the first line of defence had the consequences of leaving all the rear areas behind the coast completely defenseless.

The End of the Day :

At the end of D-Day, the canadians can be glad of the success of the landing. Their troops are strongly dug-in on a line running between Creully, Pierrepont and Colomby-sur-Thaon, 8 kilometers inland.
The 7th brigade linked up with the british from Gold at Creully and a sherman troop of the 1st Hussars pushed to Secqueville, on the RN 13 before turning back.

To the east, the junction with the troops coming from Sword can't be made because of the counter-attack of the 192nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment that reaches the sea between Lion sur Mer and Luc sur Mer, but without further effect.

Juno Beach : landing of the troops at Bernières (50Ko)
Landing at Bernières
( N.A. Canada )

Caen-Carpiquet airfield, one of the day's objectives, won't be captured until early July.

On the canadian beaches, 3,200 vehicles and 2,500 tons of materiel have been landed. Losses are 946 killed, wounded and missiong on a total of 15,000 men engaged.