SWORD BEACH : British Troops



3rd Infantry Division

The Sword sector is the responsability of the 3rd British Infantry Division. This beach, the eastern-most of the invasion area, is located between the towns of Lion sur Mer to the west and Ouistreham to the east.

The landing itself is planned on a 2km stretch of beach between Hermanville-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Orne and divided in two sectors: Queen White and Queen Red.

The WNs along the coast are manned by companies of the Grenadier-Rgt. 736, whose headquarters are at the "Hillman" strongpoint and one company of the 642nd Ost Battalion.
Inland from the coast, several batteries have been built to interdict the Orne estuary and, besides the coastal resistance nests, several antitank walls and a large ditch prevent any penetration of the defenses.


Map of Sword Beach (83 Ko)
Sector Sword

The Objectives :
The 3rd Infantry Division will make the initial assault :
- The 8th Brigade with the 1st South Lancashire and 2nd East Yorkshire, with tank support from the 13/18th Hussars, will land on Queen White and Queen Red and establish a beachhead.
- From the beachhead, the three battalions of the 185th Brigade, with support from the Staffordshire Yeomanry, will march on the city of Cean and capture it.
- The 9th Brigade will link up with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division coming from Juno Beach and protect the right flank.
- Finally, Lord Lovat's 1st Special Service Brigade will capture Ouistreham and then link up with the 6th Airborne paratroopers at Bénouville and reinforce the brigehhead on the east side of the Orne river.

The invasion :

The special tanks of the 22nd Dragoons are the first ashore with the demolition teams, the time is 0720 hrs and they immediately engage the german defences.

At 0730 hrs the 20 LCAs carrying the assault companies of the 1st South Lancs and 2nd East Yorks hit the beach. On Queen Red the fighting is intense and the 2nd East Yorks takes heavy casualties.

LCIs bringing the 177 french soldiers of the Kieffer Commando touch down at 0731 hrs and the men cross the beach to regroup near a ruined holiday camp before carrying on with their assigned missions.

The LCI of the 4 Commando approaching Sword Beach (50Ko) Approaching Sword Beach
( I.W.M. )

The french troops clear Riva-Bella and capture the Casino strongpoint around 0930 hrs while the britsh troops reach the Ouistreham harbor and capture the locks which aren't mined. N° 6 Commando then head inland towards Bénouville (Pegasus) bridge and reaches it at 1202 hrs.

During the morning the other troops began to reduce the strong points inland before their advance towards south. At 0930 hrs Hermanville and Colleville-sur-Orne are liberated and the 185th brigade which began to land, regroup in the north of Hermanville. At the begining of the afternoon, brigadier Smith launch his brigade towards Caen.
The Périers ridge is reached in the middle of the afternoon but the british cannot pursue their advance because they are counter-attacked by the 21. Panzer Division.

The End of the Day :

The 3rd Infantry Division won't capture all of its objectives at the end of June 6. The counter-attack of the 21. Panzer-Division allows some elements of the Panzergrenadier-Regiment 192 to reach the coast near Luc sur Mer at 2000hrs but, witnessing the planes of Operation Mallard flying over head, they chose to withdraw for fear of being surrounded.
The link-up with the canadian troops from Juno beach won't be effective until the next morning.

To the south, even though it was one of the main D-Day objectives, the city of Caen will remain out of reach for the british until July 9. To the east, the junction with the 6th Airborne is made.

At the end of June 6, the 3rd Infantry Division has landed 28,845 men and 2,603 vehicles on Sword and 630 men have been killed or wounded.

Landing of the troops on Sword Beach (74Ko) Troops on Sword Beach