Gold Beach

Beach Defenses

There were two German batteries guarding Gold Beach near Ver Sur Mer and La Mare Fontaine; neither were able to duel with the Allied Ships but could inflict damage to the landing forces. Both of these batteries lacked measuring instruments so could only fire on targets with known coordinates. The third battery which covered Gold beach was the battery at Longues. There was a radar station at Arromanches that like the station at Douvres had three installations, the Freya that covered the distant horizon, the Mammut and the Wassermann. These were very accurate radars but could be scrambled easily by the Allies. On D-day the mission was to conquer the hills to the south of Arromanches. The unit given the task was the British 50th division, which had a grudge to settle with the Germans. It was this division that had been mauled in the retreat at Dunkirk, at El Alamein and in Italy in 1943. The Canadians who landed here also were remnants of the troops who landed in 1942 at Dieppe. The Hobartís funnies played a major part in this landing, and the sea wall was breached by the flying dustbins and DD tanks. The batteries that could have had a major impact on the landing troops had in fact been put out of action by the aerial bombardment during the night and played no further part in the action. By the end of D-day, 25,000 men had been landed and they occupied the beach area between Arromanches and Courseulles and later met up with the Americans as well as capturing Port en Bessin. Many of the German troops were in fact Russians, given the choice to wear a German uniform or spend the war in a concentration camp. One of the German Regiments defending the area was made up of thirty-two different nationalities and needed a squad of interpreters to convey instructions to the men. Many fled or joined the Allies at the first opportunity. On June 8th the work commenced on building the artificial port, which at first was constructed by sinking old ships to form a breakwater. The troops who landed here went on to liberate the town of Bayeux.

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