Port en Bessin
Situated between Omaha and Gold Beaches, Port en Bessin was an early
invasion objective. A small port, it could be used to help supply
the invasion. It would also be used as the endpoint of PLUTO, or pipeline
under the ocean. Capture of the port would also help link the British and American beaches.
Built in 1694, a small coastal defense fort overlooks the basin.
Walking further up along the cliffs, you have a good view of the town,
the valley it is in, the basin, and the little Vauban fort. A canal goes inland from
Continuing along the trail, you can see German
concrete positions and trenches dug along the top of the cliffs.
The 47th Royal Marine Commando landed on Gold Beach on June 6th.
From casualties on the beach, and from damaged landing craft, the
unit on Gold Beach was down to 340 of its 420 man establishment.
Advancing inland, they moved west, then on June 7th they
left a detachment inland, then moved north into Port en
Bessin, defended by men by the 352nd Division and by two flak
boats in the basin, which were unexpected. The town was taken in
house to house
fighting, but the inland portion of the unit was attacked and captured,
isolating the 280 remaining Brits in town with German strongpoints on
the high ground on either side of town. The western of these
strongpoints had already repulsed an attack.
In desperation, Cpt Cousins led four officers and 25 men in an attack
on the strong point on the eastern side of town. Cousins was
killed, but the bunker, along with the other German defenses on the
eastern side, were captured. The German strong point on the
western side of town was captured the next day, June 8th.
Copyright 2010-11 by John Hamill