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Staff-Sergeant A. H. Smith

6th Airborne Division - Glider Pilot Regiment - No.1 Wing - D Squadron

Sword Beach


The tow was uneventful from the take off at 0130 hrs until we reached the French coast when some quite concentrated bursts of flak were encountered and also a considerable patch of thick smoke. The rear gunner put his red light on and I managed to keep in a favourable position. We encountered several more bursts of flak up to the L.Z. but managed to land safely and without any damage to the glider.

We unloaded the glider and proceeded to take up our gun position which was to the rear of the arc of guns and covered the Eastern edge of the L.Z. It was a difficult position as there was little or no cover and we had to stick it into a hedge and camouflaged it with pieces of hedging etc. We stayed in this position until 0900 hrs at which time we were being heavily mortared being just on the edge of the L.Z. and which was the apparent target for the German mortars. We proceeded from this position to go to our new detailed positions which was on the main road to the South of RANVILLE and was on the right flank of the other gun positions. We attempted to get to this position but on going over the (stream) bridge and about 50 yards onwards just through the village we encountered heavy machine-gun fire and the No.1 on the Gun told us we would have to wait till it was clear enough or less open to fire before we could take up our position. We stayed by the bridge till approximately 1300 hrs and then we had orders to take up another position with a company of the 13th paratroops on the left flank of the arc of guns. The Major Commanding the paratroops in this area said they expected an attack on this flank and he wanted the gun covering the S.E. approach to the position.

(Source: Operation "Tonga" , Report)