Sword Beach


Sword Beach was the code name of one of the five main landing beaches in Operation Neptune. Stretching 8 km from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer it was the farthest east of the landing points and around 15 km from Caen. The initial landings were achieved with low casualties, but the British forces ran into heavily defended areas behind the beachhead.
Units of the British 2nd Army led by Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey were assigned the beach. Troops from the British 1st Corps led by Crocker continued the beach assault. The landing was concentrated in the Queen sector of the beach Hermanville-sur-Mer. The key objective was to take the key town of Caen and the nearby Carpiquet Aerodrome to the west. Landings began at 07:25 am when the 3rd Division landed in Peter and Queen. Attached commando units 1st Special Service Brigade and part of 4th Special Service Brigade were tasked with seizing the bridges Pegasus bridge) on the River Orne and the Caen Canal, linking up with paratroops of the 6th Airborne Division who were holding the bridges and had earlier destroyed the batteries at Merville.
Resistance on the beach was weak. Within 45 minutes, by 08:00, the fighting had been pushed inland and on the east flank the Commando units had reached the Orne, linking up with British paratroopers who had landed by the Orne waterways inland from Ouistreham, by 13:00. The British could not link up with the Canadian forces to the west until much later in the day. The only significant German counter-attacks on D-day came into this area, starting around 16:00. In two attacks the 21st Panzer Division pushed all the way from near Caen to the beach between Lion-sur-Mer and Luc-sur-Mer and were only fully neutralised by late evening.