Ouistreham

×HISTORICAL FACTS

The First Breakout and Liberation
At 0845 hours, Lord Lovat, his piper and the men of 1st Special Service Brigade disembarked.
Hermanville-sur-Mer was liberated by 1st South Lancashire Battalion (8th Brigade) at 0930 hours which then continued to advance before being halted by 88mm gunfire on the ridge near Périers. The village became the assembly point for the second echelon troops.
Simultaneously, 1st Suffolk Battalion (8th Brigade) liberated Colleville-sur-Orne and advanced towards the “Morris” strong point, on the Saint-Aubin-d’Arquenay road, which surrendered without a fight.
The fortified position at Riva-Bella composed of the casino, the port and locks was rapidly reached by Lord Lovat’s commandos. The French force, “Commando Kieffer” with the help of a British tank, neutralised the strong point at the casino shortly before 0900 hours. The German garrison surrendered several minutes later to the British forces while the French regrouped and set out towards Saint-Aubin-d’Arquenay and Bénouville. Ouistreham-Riva Bella was completed liberated by midday.

The Bunker at Ouistreham Falls to the British
Overlooking the sea at Ouistreham Riva-Bella, the Germans had built, in 1942, an observation post as part of the Atlantic Wall. The 17 metres high concrete tower, with five floors, gave an exceptional view for the German artillery observers who had installed a telemeter on the highest level, designed to give directing fire for 6 guns of the local coastal artillery battery. After having landed on Sword Beach, the British commandos advanced towards Riva-Bella and were surprised to discover the fortification which had not been identified on aerial photographs, nor by the French Resistance. The British were, however, aware of the six guns of 155 mm calibre which had been installed near the lock gates at the port. The guns, though, were no longer in place. To protect them from Allied bombing, they had been removed inland to Saint-Aubin-d’Arquenay. For three days, as the bunker posed no threat, no attempt was made to enter it, until sappers realised that the fortification was occupied. In the evening, a decision was taken to assault it and the observation post fell to Lieutenant Bob Orell and three Royal Engineers. On entering the bunker, by destroying the armoured door with explosive charges, the garrison of 53 troops surrendered after having been holed up since 6th June.

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