Bénouville, FRANCE, 6 June 1944: In the German defensive scheme of multiple Widerstandsnestern (Resistance nests), Wn 13 was situated at the second of two bridges over the Orne River at Ranville and the Caen Canal at Bénouville. These crossings were vital to capture as they were the only crossings over the waterways between D-Day objectives Ouistreham and Caen. Later known as “Pegasus Bridge”, the crossing over the Caen Canal was (and still is) a bascule bridge, a movable bridge that can be raised to allow the passage of shipping. The road had been a railway until 1934, when the two bridges were built, with roadway replacing railroad beds. The bridge at Bénouville was protected by a PaK 38, machine-gun position, and explosives were placed on the bridge’s uprights. To the British attackers of “Operation Deadstick”, Landing Zone ‘X’ was sited on the eastern bank of the canal, just south of the Bénouville Bridge. A large pond at the northern end of the LZ posed an obstacle to the attack, and later reconnaissance revealed that the Germans were digging holes for the installation of anti-glider poles (aka “Rommel’s Asparagus”) nearby. Fortunately for Major R. J. Howard, commander of the 52nd Foot (Ox and Bucks Light Infantry), those obstacles were not in place. At just after midnight on 6 June, Howard and six gliders were released, and five landed at their appointed LZ’s near the bridges. Howards craft landed a mere 20 yards from the Bénouville Bridge, within the German wire, with the other 2 assigned to this part of the operation, landing nearby. The moon was overcast and visibility was between 30 and 40 yards at the time the attack was laid in on the bridge proper. The element of surprise was complete, and after some resistance, the bridge was crossed, the pillbox and trenches cleared, and positions were held on the far bank.
>>> This is the June 2022 entry of Operation Deadstick that covers the airborne landings at Pegasus Bridge as well as the bridge over the Caen at Ranville. It comes with 9 boards, and scenarios that cover all the action. In stock, ships upon ordering.
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