British and Canadian Invasion Beaches

Because of later tides, the British and Canadians of the British 2nd Army would land later than the Americans, at 7:30.  An aerial and naval bombardment preceded the landing.  The city of Caen, over seven miles inland, was the objective for the first day.  The 3rd Infantry Division landed on Sword Beach to the east.  The 50th Infantry Division landed on Gold Beach to the west, and the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division landed on Juno Beach in between.  


On the far left, or east, the 1st Special Service Brigade landed in the second wave with attached French commandos under Commandant Kiefer.  The flame monument sits atop a German machine gun cupola.

This is the view looking east from where the French landed.  The large biege building in the right-center is a modern casino.  During the war, across from this casino, was a demolished casino converted into a German strongpoint.  The Allies captured the position and continued east, capturing German gun positions that were found to have wooden poles replacing the guns.  The Grand Bunker built to coordinate German artillery was bypassed.  This bunker would hold out until June 9th, forcing follow on waves to land further west.

Sword Beach

This is the viw looking west from the commando landing area.  Like Omaha Beach, this section of Sword Beach is concave, which made it easier to defend.



The 41st Commando landed on the western flank of Sword Beach at Lion-sur-Mer.  The sundial is a monument to the unit.  To its west was the yet unoccupied gap between Sword and Juno Beaches.  The 21st Panzer Division counterattacked that day, posing a great risk to the invasion.  By 8pm they had reached the shore here at Lion-sur-Mer, but British gliders overhead convinced them to withdrew lest they be surrounded.



Juno Beach - WN 27

This 50mm German anti-tank gun position on Juno Beach was designed to be protected from direct fire from the sea and was protected by wire and minefelds.  Its enfilade fire along the beach was effective, knocking out several Allied tanks before surrendering.  Anti-tank guns, a specialized AVRE tank and two other tanks neutralized the position.  The nearby monument commemorates the landing of the North Shore Regiment, the Ft. Gary Horse, and the 48th Commando.


Juno Beach Near the Canadian Juno Beach Centre.  Fortifications, including this machine gun position, still exist.

Cosy's Pillbox

Company B, Royal Winnipeg Rifles lost near 3 out of every 4 men.  Arriving before the duplex drive Shermans and the engineering vehicles, they lost over 20 men before even landing, then crossed thebeach under heavy fire.  The air and naval bombardment had been ineffective.  This position was attacked by Sgt Cosy and 15 men reinforced by roughly 150 engineers.  The Germans surrendered only after an explosion.  Just 26 Canadians of Company B remained at the end of the day.   

Juno Beach


Juno Beach

Gold Beach

These are views from where the Avenue du Colonel Harper meets the beach, where the 2nd Bn., Hertfordshire Regiment landed.  Nearby is a Sexton SP artillery piece.


Gold Beach

Further west, bluffs dominate the beach.  Further still, cliffs seperate Gold Beach from Arromanches.

Copyright 2010, John Hamill

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