48 Commando RM
Langrune-sur-Mer was costly
The previous page was: "48 Commando Walcheren"
48 Commando RM was the last Commando unit to be formed in World
War II. When Montgomery drew up his plans for Operation Overlord he discovered he was one Commando short.
He wanted the Commandos to go through the beachheads and advance against various objectives, i.e., batteries silenced, strongpoints taken out, villages, towns and ports secured ready for the Armies that were following them.
With less than two maybe three months before the planned invasion of Western Europe; which had to take place because the advance in southern Europe was well under way in Italy? A commando unit was required to take out a strongpoint of the highest order at, Langrune-sur-Mer.
The Army was unable to provide a new Commando unit at such short notice, but the Royal Marines true to their tradition could rise to occasion. They agreed to have the new Commando unit ready and equipped for whenever it would be required.
48 Commando Walcheren
No.48 Commando was to be formed from the Royal Marine Battalion
that had returned to the UK and the Royal Marine members of the
recently disbanded M.N.B.D.O.. The Command of the Commando was
placed in the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Moulton.
There were eight Commando units landing on D-day, three Army and five Royal Marine. They formed the Special Service Group commanded by Major-General R.G. Sturges, C.B., D.S.O., R.M. The Commandos were divided into two Groups called Nos. 1 and 4 Special service Brigades.
No.4 Special Service Brigade was to land to the west in the area of Lion-sur-Mer and seize a number of coastal villages, including Luc-sur-Mer, Langrune-sur-Mer and St. Aubin-sur-Mer, and then push inland and make itself master of the heavily fortified strongpoint near the radar station at Douvres.
Then they were required to hold the line for forty-eight hours, when they would be relieved.
Fast Boats Pages
Joe Wezley Pages
The harbour of Port-en-Bessin
No.4 Special Service Brigade under the command of Brigadier B.W. Liecester Royal Marines, consisted of Nos. 41, 46, 47 and 48 Royal Marine Commandos. 47 Commando Royal Marines was detailed to operate in the centre of the invading forces, with the British on one side and the Americans on the other. They had to capture the harbour of Port-en-Bessin.
The Commandos had a rough passage in support infantry landing
craft which were inconvenient vessels, for their gangways were
narrow and steep, and the landing of bulky equipment was therefore difficult.
True to tradition 48 Royal Marine Commando was the first to land. Dawn revealed a grey sky, the sea was rough, and some of the assaulting flotillas were making heavy weather. H-hour was
postponed for three quarters of an hour. Then six infantry
landing craft made for land and beached.
On the way in several landing-craft hit the beach obstacles and were sunk. There was a heavy swell and a vicious tidal stream which carried away and drowned men attempting to swim. The beach defences had been almost untouched by the naval and air bombardment.
Heavy fighting and severe losses
48 Commando RM launched the assault on Langrune-sur-Mer after
heavy fighting and severe losses success was complete. They
moved forward advancing to their given position to hold the
line while masses of stores, equipment and men poured ashore
ready to continue the move inland when fully organised.
The battle continued; it seemed that the relief originally
promised for forty-eight hours after the landing would never
come, and that the Special Brigades in their forward positions,
their particular functions were forgotten. They would be
condemned to share indefinitely the lot of the infantry of
In a way this was a compliment, for the position which they
were holding with the 6th Airborne Division, their redoubtable
brothers-in-arms, on the left flank of Montgomery's armies,
was of critical importance.
It was the pivot upon which the great turning movement to be
carried out by the Americans, far awayto the right, ultimately
depended. The best troop in the 21st Army Group must hold it.
That was why the Green and Red berets remained together till,
on the 18th August, the long-for order to advance came at last.
Two attacks had been repelled
No. 4 Brigade was brought in to attack a hill near the village
of Dozule; two attacks had been made but both had failed. No. 48 Commando was reinforced by 46 and 47 Commandos.
They were led towards it by their commanding officer, with his
compass in hand. "It was a slow and ponderous job and seemed to take hours," records Lieutenant J.C. Marsh, whose account gives a very vivid picture of the night attack by a Commando in the thick woods and copses of that part of Normandy.
"We also seemed to make a 'hell of a noise' with thick hedges,
woods and fences to negotiate in pitch darkness. Then luckily
for us, it started to drizzle. Coming up the hill we heard an
awful moaning. It was a Jerry badly wounded, lying in front
of Jerry's forward defence localities. Why he had not been
fetched we did not understand? Lieutenant D.T. Burrows crawled
forward and clubbed him."
"Unknowingly we had crawled up close covered by a ledge; Jerry
didn't know we were there. Captain B. Pierce yelled out
"charge!" Pandemonium was let loose in the dark, Commandos were
charging and yelling like fury there was some real good
language going about. This had not been planned, but had the
effect of making Jerry think a whole Brigade was attacking."
"We reached the farm buildings on the top of the hill. The hill
was ours, and in the darkness we made a defensive perimeter
ready for the usual counter-attack."
Liberation brought delirious greetings
No.48 Commando RM pushed past the village of Dozule and occupied the high ground at point 120, cutting off a number of
retreating Germans and destroying their vehicles. Their success
would have been greater had their numbers been larger, the
Troops were much under strength because of their fallen. Even
so, they did well inflicting heavy loses on the enemy.
No.4 Brigade continued to pursue the enemy and completed their
advance to the Seine. They met with a heavy engagement at Pont
l'Eveque then at St.Maclou. They pressed on liberating town
after town, Pavilly, Yerville, Motteville, Yvetot, Bermonville
At each town the population greeted them with delirious
enthusiasm, hundreds of 'young women and children marched
straight up to them and rapidly deprived them of their
cigarettes and cap badges.
Men with green berets on their heads received the heartiest of the crowds, with the females all blowing kisses of welcome.
48 Commando Royal Marines went on to play their part in the seizure of the island of Walcheren.
The next Link below will be: "Two Commandos Part 1"
48 Commando Royal Marines
Two Commandos Part 1
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