The Initial Phase of Operation Overlord: Capturing Pegasus Bridge

Posted in: World War II
Written on 20th September 2011 12:17pm

The objectives of the initial phase of Operation Overlord (0.00 - 3.00 a.m. during the night of 5 to 6 June 1944) were to gain control of certain bridges in order to protect communications between the landing units and, further inland, to blow up others so as to slow down the arrival of enemy reinforcements...

The difficulties were heightened by the poor weather and the absence of markings on the ground.


Space on the ground was very short with trees in the way and the gliders had to crashland near their objectives. At 0.16 hours, Major Howard's touched down within 50 yards of the bridge. In under two minutes there followed two others, one of which broke up.


Horsa Gliders Crash Landed On D-Day at Pegasus Bridge


At the same moment, two more Horsas landed near the bridge at Ranville. A sixth had been lost. Within a few minutes, Howard's men neutralized the German defenders and cut the leads to explosive charges that had been set" Ham and Jam ! "


"Ham and Jam" were the codewords used by Major Howard's men to signal that the bridge had been captured.


The thousands of men under Major-General Gale could in turn land in the Ranville sector. They arrived at 3.00a.m. to reinforce the hundred paratroopers defending the bridge against German assaults.


Two minutes behind the planned timetable, under intense gunfire-, the bagpipes of Bill Millin, personal piper to Lord Lovat, heralded the arrival of the No. 4 commando of paratroopers.


Find out More Information about the Horsa Gliders used on D-Day.


See Pegasus bridge Museum as well as D-Day Landing Beaches and many other Historic Battle Sites on a Normandy Tour.

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