Juno Beach

Juno Beach

Juno Beach

Juno beach spanned from Courseulles-sur-Mer, a village just east of the British beach Gold, to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, just west of the British beach Sword. The Juno landings were judged necessary to provide flanking support to the British drive on Caen from Sword, as well as to capture the German airfield at Carpiquet west of Caen. Taking Juno was the responsibility of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and commandos of the Royal Marines, all under the command of British I Corps, with support from Naval Force J, the Juno contingent of the invasion fleet, including the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The beach was defended by two battalions of the German 716th Infantry Division, with elements of the 21st Panzer Division held in reserve near Caen.

The invasion plan called for two brigades of the 3rd Canadian Division to land on two beach sectors—Mike and Nan—focusing on Courseulles, Bernières and Saint-Aubin. It was hoped that preliminary naval and air bombardment would soften up the beach defences and destroy coastal strongpoints. Close support on the beaches was to be provided by amphibious tanks of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. Once the landing zones were secured, the plan called for the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade to land reserve battalions and deploy inland, the Royal Marine commandos to establish contact with the British 3rd Infantry Division on Sword, and the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade to link up with the British 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division on Gold. The 3rd Canadian Division's D-Day objectives were to capture Carpiquet Airfield and reach the Caen–Bayeux railway line by nightfall.

The landings initially encountered heavy resistance from the German 716th Division; the preliminary bombardment proved less effective than had been hoped, and rough weather forced the first wave to be delayed until 07:35. Several assault companies—notably those of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada—took heavy casualties in the opening minutes of the first wave. Strength of numbers, as well as coordinated fire support from artillery and armoured squadrons, cleared most of the coastal defences within two hours of landing. The reserves of the 7th and 8th Brigades began deploying at 08:30 (along with the Royal Marines), while the 9th Brigade began its deployment at 11:40.

The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had succeeded in pushing farther inland than any other landing force on D-Day.


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