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Thread: Mont Fleury Coastal Battery, Normandy

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    Default Mont Fleury Coastal Battery, Normandy

    In a recent posting, 'DFuller52' from Canada mentioned Mont Fleury and about plans for a group of Canadian youngsters to visit the Normandy Cemeteries next Spring.

    Mont Fleury 'Heavy Coastal Defence Battery' in Normandy which overlooked 'Gold Beach' had to be immobilised before a sucessful landing could be made. It was first attacked by Bomber Command during the early hours of 6th June 1944 and after a 'roughing up', was given a long bombardment by Naval fire from HMS Orion and HMS Belfast (part of Force "G").

    Later, in the afternoon, it was finaly over run and taken by the Green Howards during which the CSM, Stan Hollis, won the only VC awarded during the Invasion.

    Has anyone any information on the RAF involvement with Mont Fleury where two Halifax aircraft were lost, particularly the Canadian airman who was lost, and on anything else that may be of interest? Thank you.
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 23rd November 2008 at 20:23. Reason: typo error

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    Norman

    the two Halifaxes lost were from 76 Sqn (as I'm sure you're aware) and from 578 Squadron. Bill Chorley has them both in BCL Showing Sgt MC Murray as the Canadian in the 76 Sqn a/c. He states that MP- W was shot down between Ver-sur-Mer and Graye-sur-Mer, The 578 a/c was believe to have been hit by flak while leaving the target area. Four were killed and the remainder picked up by a US LST off the Normandy coast.

    With regard to the RAF commitment, over 1,000 aircraft took part in operations on the night 5/6 Jun primarily against coastal batteries. 78 Sqn provided 23 crews to attack Mont Fleury. Visibility over the target was reported as poor with 10/10th cloud but the crews reported that the target was well marked by red and green target indicators and that the majority bombed from 10,000 feet and belived the raid to have been a success.

    Regards

    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 26th November 2008 at 20:00.

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    Hi Norman
    I think I have the a/c you are seeking from Chorley BCL Vol 5.
    Halifax III,76 Sqn, LW638, MP-W. Shot down attacking Mont Fleury on 5/6/Jun/44 with the loss of all on board.Posn between Ver-sur-Mer and Graye-sur Mer, 10 km NNW of Douvres-la-Delivrande, in the Calvados region
    P/O S A D Walker,pilot,
    Sgt N J Neal F/E,
    Sgt M C Murray, RCAF, Nav,
    F/O I R Draper, Air Bomber,
    Sgt D W H Edsell, W/op,
    Sgt P Craig, MU Gunner,
    Sgt T A McRobbie Tail Gunner
    All were initially buried at Ver-sur-Mer but Sgt Murray now lies in Beny-sur-Mer and the other 6 lie in Bayeux War Cemetery. Murray is the only designated Canadian in the crew and there is no Canadian indicated on the 578 Sqn Halifax that was also a casualty of the operation
    Regards
    Dick

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    There were 124 aircraft dispatched to Mont Fleury, 114 Halifax IIIs from 4 Group and 5 Lancaster IIIs from 582 Squadron did the PFF backing up using green target indicators. 3 Mosquito XVIs of 109 Squadron and 2 Mosquito IXs of 105 Squadron did the PFF Oboe marking from 18,0000' & 30,000' with red target indicators. All 10 Pathfinder aircraft attacked successfully with 10/10 cloud at 9/10,000 feet. 103 of the 114 Halifaxes attacked the primary with 2 lost. The Lancasters marked at 04:33 to 04:37 from 7,000 to 8,500 due to the thick cloud that was causing icing. I presume the Halifaxes also had to descend to get under the cloud. 540 tons of bombs were dropped.
    Regards
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 25th November 2008 at 01:28.

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    Thank you all for the information. Do you have the 4 Group Squadrons that took part please?
    Norman

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    Sorry - I don't have a breakdown of the 4 Group Halifax Squadrons that took part.
    Dave

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    I looked around and have come up with the following squadrons taking part
    4 Group
    10
    51
    76
    78
    578
    635
    8 Group - Pathfinders
    105
    109
    578
    There may be other 4 Group squadrons
    Dave

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    hello,

    From No. 4 Group ORB in AIR 25/94 :
    24 of 10
    24 of 76
    24 of 51
    24 of 576
    24 of 78
    101 attacked primary, 11 abortive over enemy territory, 6 failed to start, 2 lost.

    Joss

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    Thank you Dave, Thank you Joss,
    Do you have the individual Sqn. targets? I know that 76 Sqn. attacked 'Mont Fleury' with 582 Sqn providing path finding. I may be making a mistake in understanding but did 124 aircraft take on one gun battery? These are all the targets that were attacked that night in Normandy

    Fontenay
    Houlgate
    La Pernelle
    Longues
    Maisy
    Merville
    Mont Fleury - 76 Sqn
    Pointe du Hoc
    Ouisterham
    St Martin de Varreville

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 25th November 2008 at 18:00.

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    Hi Norman
    My earlier listing showing 635 Squadron is most likely wrong, I suspect that officer was posted there after being in a 4 Group squadron.
    The primary Pathfinder marking was done by the 5 Oboe Mosquitoes from 109 & 105 Squadron who attacked at the same time (give or take a minute) as they were using 5 different Oboe channels simaltaniously, dropping red Tis. This was backed up by 582 Squadron Lancs using green TIs.
    There were 124 aircraft sent to Mont Fleury and similar numbers at the other targets that night. I have a list on another computer that gives the number for each target if you want it.
    H-Hours for the targets were:

    Crisbecq (Fontenay) 23:35
    St Martin de Varreville 23:50
    Merville 00:30
    La Pernelle 03:20
    Houlgate 03:50
    Maisy 03:35
    Mont Fleury 04:35
    Longues 04:40
    Pointe du Hoc (St. Pierre du Mont) 04:50
    Ouisterham 05:05
    The Oboe crews had a window from 1 minute early to 30 seconds after H-Hour to drop their markers. Sometimes Oboe ground stations ran a little early or late getting things going when calling in the Oboe Markers to do their target run.
    Let me know if you want the numbers for the other targets that night.
    Dave
    Last edited by David Wallace; 25th November 2008 at 20:09.

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