BIG DAY OUT
DDay British Airborne Landings
Pegasus Bridge Memorial Sites & Merville Battery Memorial sites
The 6th British Airborne Division, “the Red Berets” commanded by Major General Richard Gale, was composed of parachute & glider borne troops transported into German occupied France in Horsa or Hamilcar gliders. The mission to hold the eastern flank of the DDay invasion forces to prevent German counter attacks coming from the east. The mission was carried out in three ways:
The bridges across River Orne & Caen Canal to be captured and held intact to enable the DDay troops arriving from Sword Beach to cross and to prevent the German forces from using them.
The Merville gun battery had to be put out of action. The 100mm calibre guns could fire down on to Sword Beach and the Allied fleet off the coast.
The bridges across the River Dives had to be destroyed to prevent German reinforcements, arriving from the east, from crossing. High ground had to be taken and held by the division.
These missions were accomplished with great success before dawn on D-Day but with heavy losses. More than 2000 soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice and now lie at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Ranville.
1.45m hour drive into Normandy
- Bénouville Bridge - 'Pegasus Bridge'; 6th British Airborne Division glider landing site
- Pegasus Bridge War Memorials
- Iconic Cafe Gondrée the first cafe liberated in France
- Pegasus Bridge Museum which is exellent!
- Lunch at the 3 Gliders Cafe located right at the bridge
- Ranville Bridge, Euston 2 on D-Day, later called Horsa , across the Orne
- Merville 9th British Parachute Battalion memorial & museum & battery site
- The Merville Battery is a formidable fortification of the German Army that was on the east flank of the Allied Landing on June 6, 1944. Bombed repeatedly, without result, it was neutralized by the 9th British Parachute Battalion at term of an unimaginable assault. Only to be re-occupied by the germans that afternoon and remained in use until the 17th of August 1944. Walk on a totally preserved historic site, invites you to discover the history of the Battery.
- The Merville Battery Museum houses an origional Douglas C-47 that participated in the 9th USAAF, WW2 -Overlord - Dragoon - Market - Repulse - Varsity.
Available 15th March to 15th November