Normandy: Pegasus Bridge and Merville Batteryby Carl Shilleto
The film The Longest Day first brought international attention to the daring airborne operations that accompanied the Allied landings in Normandy. British parachute and glider units were assigned to secure the eastern flank of the Allied operation, the appoaches to the British objective of Sword Beach. A team from the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry landed at night by glider to secure the "Pegasus" bridge across the Orne River, thereby blocking German reinforcements. British forces did not secure Sword Beach as quickly as anticipated, and the lightly-armed glider troops defending the bridge were forced to hold out alone against the advancing Germans. At the same time British paratroopers landed virtually on top of the massive Merville Battery, whose heavy guns would have made the Sword Beach landing impossible. Armed only with grenades and hand weapons, the paras secured the heavily-fortified position before its guns could be brought into action.
Part of the acclaimed Battleground Europe Series of battle field historical guides
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