Brigadier Hill's 3rd Parachute Brigade were given the task of securing the important high ground on the Eastern Flank on D Day. Bréville formed part of this defensive line, and as it lay on a roughly east-west road leading towards Ranville and the bridges, the village was considered a key position. The Germans still held it on D Day, and the 'Bréville Gap' had to be secured at any cost. A unit of 51st (Highland) Division, who had come from Sword Beach, attempted to take it on 11th June, but this failed. Bombarded by 6th Airborne's artillery, plus newly arrived support from 3rd Division, on 12th June, Lieutenant Colonel A.L.Johnson's 12 Para went and finally took Bréville, but at heavy cost. Johnson was killed (he is buried in Ranville war Cemetery), along with two other officers and 28 men. Five officers and 100 men were wounded. The gap having been closed, the Germans did not attempt to retake the ground. The vital Eastern Flank was finally secure.


Leave Breville by the D37b in the direction of Le Mesnil crossroads. Stop after about 400 meters, almost opposite the water tower on the right. On the left you will find the memorial to 9 Para - Stop 9.

©PAUL REED 2002-2006

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