Operation Pomegranate - Part III
XXX Corps launched Operation Pomegranate on 16 July. The objective of 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division on the right is to capture Vendes and the surrounding area, in the center the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division is to capture the villages of Noyers-Bocage, Haut des Forges and Landelle and on the left the 53 (Welsh) Division is to attack, ready for the corps to advance towards the high ground north-east of Villers Bocage. 33rd Brigade is to support the efforts of 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.
Tactical Plan – 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division, Phase II
Phase I of the attack began at 5:30 a.m. this morning with units of 177th Brigade supported by 33rd Armoured Brigade clearing their start lines and advancing on their objectives.
On the right, despite encountering stronger than expected resistance which saw the leading units taking heavy casualties, 1/6th South Staffs supported by B Squadron 144 RAC have successfully captured their objective (the hamlet of ). With this objective in Allied hands, 1/6th South Staffs then switched to the defensive to allow the Phase 2 forces to pass through.
On the left 5th South Staffs, supported by C Squadron 144RAC, advanced to capture Les . This attack ran into several unmarked friendly minefields, but achieved it's objectives.
Phase II of the operation began at 1pm, with A Coy 2/6th South Staffs and A Squadron of 144RAC passing through 1/6th Staffs to initially capture Pt 126 and Railway Station before pushing through to attack village from the North. At the same time C Coy 2/6th South Staffs, supported by available tanks from B and C Squadron 144 RAC, advanced from Les and attacked towards village from the East.
Both attacks encountered heavy resistance and stopped short of the village as night fell. Friendly forces are consolidating, with a further advance on planned for first light.
The area around Brettevillette and Noyers consists of large crop fields bounded by tall hedgerows. Orchards and sunken lanes are prevalent. Several enemy minefields were discovered and breached during the Phase II operation.
Known Enemy Forces
Infantry from the newly arrived 277th Infantry Division are confirmed to have taken up prepared defensive positions in the Noyers area. This Division has newly arrived in Normandy, and is believed to have been transferred from coastal defense duties in Southern France. Today's fighting has shown that they are heavily supported by dug in and concealed anti-tank guns - dug in infantry and machine gun positions offered heavier than expected resistance. The enemy has deployed minefields as part of his defensive network. Enemy A/T guns were engaged and destroyed during the fighting, as was a single Panther from 9th SS Panzer Division. Further enemy armored units are reported to be in the area, including further tanks from 9th SS Panzer Division. At dusk reports were received of several Panzer IV's advancing from the town.
2/6th South Staffs, having advanced and secured railway station and points SOUTH, is to defend these gains. In addition, the orchards bordering the SOUTHERN fields are to be the start line for 1/6th Staffs morning assault on . This start line is to be secured by 2/6th Staffs before first light.
As such, objectives will be:
- The defence of railway station.
- The holding of recent gains (subject to tactical considerations)
- The clearing of the orchards to the SOUTH of railway station as the start line for the 1/6th Staffs advance (Phase III) before first light on the 17th.
Points of Note
- Preparatory bombardment will be available to support the clearing of the orchards. A forward observer (FOO) from 116th (North Midland) Field Regiment has been attached to the company to provide fire support.
- Two defensive fire points may be nominated to aid artillery support of the defensive positions
- Enemy has been reported to your front. It is unlikely that this armor will operated at night without infantry support.
- The tanks of 144 RAC have retired to replenish fuel and ammunition, and conduct required maintenance. support will be available at first light.
- Expect enemy attempts to retake previous positions.