46th ROYAL MARINE COMMANDOS
6th - 12th JUNE 1944
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel C.R.Hardy
Source: PRO DEFE2/977.
6 June 1944
They sailed from Cowes on the
Isle of Wight, arriving at Juno Beach (Canadian Beach) at St Aubin-sur-Mer at
1830hrs, where they remained until the next morning.
Received a signal that 46 (RM) Commando to come under the
command of I Corps, and to land at Bernieres-sur-Mer. The C/O went to HQ of the
4th S.S. Brigade at St Aubin-sur-Mer where he was ordered to capture
the German strongpoint at Petit Enfer with one troop of RM Armoured Support
Regiment who would be under his command. This strongpoint occupied a built up
area 400 yards in length and 150 yards in depth and sited at the eastern edge of
The attack commenced at 1330 hrs from Langrune-sur-Mer in
three phases. Two troops secured the road on the western edge of the town
without casualties; there were shots from snipers in the area. When the naval
bombardment was over, tanks of the RM Armoured Support Regiment moved forward to
make contact with the enemy on the west side of the strongpoint, with the
remainder of the Commandos following up closely. These two troops were to secure
suitable Ops so as to plan the attack. The western defences centred on an
anti-tank gun at the crossroads at the far end of the town covered by a
minefield and a wire and trench system. The strongpoint consisted of pillboxes
and a re-enforced house. The attack on the anti-tank gun by the two troops was
supported by one tank, and timed so that the other troop could draw enemy fire
and enable the tank with the other troop to destroy the gun. It was successful.
During further attacks on the strongpoint, one troop
engaged enemy from the south, enabling the other troop to cross the wire and the
minefield. After a brief encounter one troop entered the strongpoint and the
All enemy resistance ceased: 64 POWs of 716th
Division were taken along with a number of weapons and equipment; no casualties.
The Commandos occupied the remainder of the town.
Two troops were ordered to occupy La Delivrande and a
small town two miles inland. They left, passing through Luc-sur-Mer which had
been occupied by 41 (RM) Commandos, reaching La Delivrande by 2200 hrs.
The town had been heavily shelled by the Navy, and was
occupied without opposition. An armoured counter-attack was expected during the
night, communications had failed, and the patrol that as sent forward to clarify
the position returned at 0400-0500 hrs. Brigade HQ gave orders to send a patrol
to Douvres after first light.
8 June 1944
The rest of the unit went to La Delivrande; the patrol
returned at midday and reported Douvres was clear of the enemy, but contact was
made at the strongpoint south of the village, this being the Radar Station
between Douvres and Basly. Douvres was occupied and searched, and the Commandos
took up positions ready to support an attack on the Radar Station by the 7th
Black Watch at 1800 hrs, with Naval support and air support. It was cancelled by
9 June 1944
46 (RM) Commandos were ordered to join the 3rd
Canadian Infantry Division, and was placed under the command of the 8th
Canadian Infantry Brigade who were holding the area around Anguerny. During the
afternoon the 48 (RM) Commandos arrived at Douvres to take over the village, so
the unit moved to a new area.
10 June 1944
Ordered to move at first light to clear the valley of the
River Mue from Barbiere to Rots. Supported by a Squadron of 10th
Armoured Regiment, one troop of the RM Armoured Support Regiment, one section
from RCE, one Field Regiment and one company of Machine Guns.
11 June 1944
Commandos left Anguerny and married up with the
supporting units, and the operation was in 4 phases:-
1. Clear the woods from Barbiere to the outskirts of Cairon.
2. Clear Cairon.
3. Attack on Rosel.
Attack on Le Hamel and Rots.
In the first phase the bulk of the Commandos would go to
the west bank of the river, and with two troops would clear the woods on the
east bank. Tanks would move onto the higher ground on the west side. It was
completed without difficulty by 1100 hrs. 8 POWs were taken in the woods.
On reaching the outskirts of Cairon, the Commandos came
under fire from 105mm Battery at Rosel. When the village was entered it was
found to be occupied by the Canadians. Further progress was prevented by enemy
harassing fire from the Rosel Battery.
The Third Phase commenced, and the attack was supported
by Artillery concentrations, also machine-guns firing from the high ground above
Lasson. Two troops formed up north-west of the outskirts of Lasson supported by
tanks, and swept through Lasson and Rosel without difficulty meeting only a
small amount of enemy fire.
Both the villages were cleared. The unit re-formed on the
west bank to prepare for the final phase. Information on the enemy strength in
Le Hamel and Rots was rather scanty, but the Canadians attacked earlier and were
Phase 4. During the assault on Le Hamel, Rots was to be
contained by one Field Battery firing HE and smoke. As soon as Le Hamel was
captured two troops were to pass through to Rots. The plan worked well and the
days action represented a gain of 7 miles with the flanks making little gain. If
they remained in Rots overnight it would be precarious, so they were ordered
back to Cairon. The counter-attack expected during the night did come.
12 June 1944
One company of the Regimet de Chauderie arrived with
carriers and anti-tank guns, and the whole force was ordered to withdraw before
When Rots and Le Hamel were re-occupied by the Canadians
two days later they found 122 dead Germans.
Honours & Awards:-
Lt-Col Hardy DSO
Major Lee MC
Sgt S.Cooper MM
L/Cpl R.McCarthy MM
Mne T.Vardy MM
ROLL OF HONOUR - 46th ROYAL MARINE COMMANDOS
©Paul Reed 2002-2006