Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Port-en-Bessin surrounded by four defence positions. This is Wn58 a minor defence of possibly, one pillbox, one bunker and a lot of trenches. There would have been wire around the outside and maybe mines. This defence covers the rear of the port and the three roads coming into the town. 47 Commando were tasked with taking the Port on D-Day. Well that did not happen and the attack went in on D+1 around 15:00hrs. When the Commando passed east of Wn58, they were fired on and started to take casualties. So one of the troops was tasked with attacking Wn58 and taking the strong point.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Plans of StP Port-en-Bessin

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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1., Grenadier-Regiment 726, 352th Div.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German plan of the defences of the Port.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
Wn58

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The position of Wn58 and the Bayeux to Port-en-Bessin road.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
Wn58

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You can just make out the position above the field marks of the Medieval strip lynchets. Its now inside the golf course.

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Omaha Beach Golf.

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Golf.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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WO 205-1108 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bigot map

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
Wn58

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Trenches can be seen in this close up picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bigot plan of the defence.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Mostly IWM or from the internet

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
LCA's unloading in a training photo










 

 

 

Commandos exiting the beach (how it may have looked)

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47 Commando landed at 0930 on D-Day around Wn36Asnelles - Roseau Plage. The worst time possible for obstacles, mines, sea conditions and congestion in the water and on the beach. Five LCA's had been sunk and another five were damaged, causing casualties and capsizes. The remainder and survivors were scattered across a thousand yards of fire-swept beach, pinned down in the sand dunes. They came in on assault landing craft from the SS Victoria and HMS Princess Josephine Charlotte.
The forming up point had not yet been captured and so the Commandos had to fight their way around Le Hamel and then advance following the Dorset's off the beach and inland. Their route took them south of Arromanches and Longues-sur-Mer to Hill 72. A prominent ridge sitting between Bayeux and Port-en-Bessin where the road runs through the natural gap. From a prisoner it was discovered that the enemy in Port-en-Bessin were from the 1., Kompanie of I/726 Grenadier Regiment and that just half a mile to the south, in Château Maisons, was their battalion HQ and to make matters worse the 352nd Division Sniper School was even closer in la Fosse de Soucy. There was no sign of the Americans yet from OMAHA as they were to meet up with them. On the flat topped feature to the east of the town was a full-blown Stützpunkt (StP55); on the western feature WN57 provided mutual support across the port; while down at the port side were the defences of the small WN56. A further defended location (WN58) was situated to the south of the town on a small promontory overlooking the roads to Bayeux, Colleville & Arromanches. There were many trenches and one small machine gun type casemate and a concrete shelter.

Due to the fact the Commandos were so late, they spent as much of the night on the feature Hill 72. Quite a lot happened there and I can only say, read the books, internet accounts of 47 Commando on D-Day as they tell the tale better than I. Some managed a couple of hours sleep, lorries arrived with ammunition to make up for what had been lost in the landings. The Commandos had picked up any weapon from died British and German soldiers. They were well trained in using captured weapons. When some battles commenced, the Germans were fooled in thinking an MG43 being fired was theirs, when in-fact it was a Commando. Taken from several sources.

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The LCA had a long central well section fitted with three benches, one centre, one each port and starboard, for seating troops. The side benches were covered by the top deck. The well was divided from the bow by a bulkhead fitted with two vertically hinged doors. This pair of forward-opening armour-plate doors led to the ramp, which was lowered and raised by a simple arrangement of pulleys and wire. Two rollers on the leading outboard edge providing some freedom of movement for the ramp when it was grounded. Over this ramp troops could come ashore in two to three minutes, or less if the soldiers and crews were well trained. Immediately behind the bulkhead were the steering shelter on the starboard, and the Lewis gun shelter on the port. The steering shelter was fitted with a telegraph and voice pipe for communication with the stoker, a featherspray control lever, and a fold-up seat. The shelter was protected on all four sides by non-magnetic bulletproof plate surmounted by a hinged double-door roof. Most LCA's were fitted with a compass. Wikipedia

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LCA's.

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The SS Victoria a converted Isle of Man Steam Packet converted into an assault landing ship carrying LCA's on her davits.

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HMS Princess Josephine Charlotte with LCA's on her davits.


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Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) Officers. Many were not regulars.

Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Mostly IWM or from the internet.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
Moving inland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting across the hinterland of Normandy

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The Attack on Port-en-Bessin: -
As the advance towards the village began at 1500 hours on D+1, the Commandos of A, B and X Troops were engaged by 'Spandau's' firing on them from their left rear, Wn58. This fire caused some casualties and a delay while the enemy were neutralised. Barring the way into Port-en-Bessin from Point 72 was the 'Southern Strong point' (WN 58), which was described as being: ... on the slope of the high ground south of Port-en-Bessin, covering the southern approaches to the town and docks. It is surrounded by a thick belt of wire, with two small gaps. There is one pillbox facing NE, and one concrete shelter. Several weapon pits give all-round fire, and a trench system is dug just south of the pillbox. This position having been 'plastered with extreme accuracy by the guns of the Essex Yeomanry', the leading elements of 47 bypassed it to the east. Guided by a local Gendarme, A and B Troops headed for the town, leaving X Troop to deal with WN 58. Taken from several sources.

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Essex Yeomanry 25lb'er Sextants.

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Essex Yeomanry 25-pdr Sextants..

Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
The feature Hill72 - to X Troop Attack

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The plan shows the advance from the beaches to Hill72 feature, the move to Escures and then onto Port-en-Bessin .
A, B & X troop advanced towards the port, when they came level with Wn58. Machine gun fire started to cut into them. X Troop was detailed off to attack Wn58. X Troop with bayonets fixed charged, screaming and shouting straight into the trenches. There was very little reaction from the defenders and they all gradually surrendered.

Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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Mostly IWM or from the internet.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
French Commandos

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Leaving X Troop to deal with WN 58. This picture is how an enemy would start to see an assault against them.









 

The carrier platoon arrived with medical, food and ammunition supplies and took away the wounded.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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11 November 2016

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
The feature Hill72

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Port-en-Bessin from the feature Hill72.

Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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11 November 2016

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
The feature Hill72

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It looks by the hedges and banks, that the area was an old Iron Age hill fort, probably used a long time before and was now used by the Germans as a medical post and probably fall back feature from the beach. There was a two roomed concrete medical bunker with an Army and a Naval doctor. The Commando took over the bunker and captured the staff. Also on the morning of June 7th, a Sergeant and a batch of soldiers turned up on sick parade and had no idea the Commandos had arrived and taken over their sick quarters.

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud

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11 November 2016

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Wn58 Port-en-Bessin sud
The feature Hill72

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One marine mentions how stony it was to dig a slit trench for the night, he was so tired and when he started to use his entrenching tool, he gave up as the ground was so stony.

47 Royal Marine Commando (internet).
From Omaha to the Scheldt by John Forfar (a very good book).

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Entrenching tool.

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Entrenching tool.

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Slit trench.