Gold Beach: Battle of the Beachhead
In the first part of this duo of DVDs we examined in detail the combined weight of naval, air and land forces and the tactic they used to break through Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall into Festung Europa. Now the veteran 50th Northumbrian Division had to fight its way inland to establish a beachhead that had sufficient depth to survive the inevitable German counterattack.
69 Brigade had a highly successful landing and now had to fight its way through layers of German defense to its objectives eight miles away. While clearing through German held villages and defensive positions the northern warrior, Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, continued the actions that led to him receiving the only D Day Victoria Cross.
Meanwhile 231 Brigade, whose landing had been badly disrupted, were attempting to recover the situation and were fighting through successive German positions towards Arromanches and the enemy held hills and villages. These battles lacked the close coordination achieved by 69 Brigade and were up against field grade German infantry. Hours behind schedule the village of Ryes was taken and the second wave of brigades was able to take over, reaching the outskirts of Bayeux by dusk.
50th Division had the most extensive D Day objectives and considerable difficulties and ultimately achieved more that any other Allied Division on D Day.