British 6th Airborne Division 6 June 1944

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Map Code: Ax00358

Vital to the success of the secondary phase of the D-Day landings was the ability of ground forces to move east to engage the Germans. Two bridges provided the only crossing over the Caen Canal/River Orne in the area, so it became the 6th Airborne Division’s responsibility to engage the Germans defending the bridges, and hold them until reinforcements arrived. Operation Deadstick was carried out in the early morning of 6 June before the main landings began. The troops arrived at drop off points using gliders, and were able to neutralize the small defensive force in the area and disabled the explosives wired to blow the bridges. Throughout the night they held off intermittent attacks as nearby German infantry and tanks tried to retake the position after being alerted to their presence. By the morning this small advance force was gradually reinforced by troops who had come ashore during the beach landings

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