Len Daniels

len daniels

07/09/1922 – 29/07/11

Story of the attack on the Battery :

I jumped from a Dakota aircraft early on the 6 june 1944 morning.

My landing was good, I realised that I had missed the drop zone but looking up at the aircraft flying overhead I knew I was not too far away from the Rendezvous Point.

I immediatly set course across country, picking up a Signaller and three other 9th Para men on the way. The area was covered in low cloud, but the intermittent breaks allowed the half moon to give some light wich was a source of assistance in finding our way. We soon arrived at the Rendezvous and were met by Adjudant Captain, Al Hudson. From then on i twas a mad rush to find 11th Platoon, this I was able to accomplish just prior to the Battalion moving off.

Our main objective was to breach the wire around the Battery in three places using Bangalore Torpedoes. My first major concern was that we did not have sufficient torpedoes to accomplish this task, as some had been lost during the drop. On checking I found that we had only enough to breach in two places.

The Battalion commenced the approach march on the Battery. When we arrived on the perimeter, fresh orders were issued to combat the shortage of men and materials.

As expected the gliders carrying the Gordon Brown party came into sight. It did not seem possible that men could still be alive in the gliders as they appeared to be riddled with flack.

Only one of the three gliders arrived, this did not, as was programmed, land inside the Battery perimeter, but over flew and landed behind our Battalion position.

Suddenly the order came from Colonel Otway.

We proceeded cautiously up to the wire and fed the Bangalore Torpedoes underneath.

As soon as the torpedoes had detonated, the attacking parties stormed through the gaps. All hell broke loose, our whole world exploded as machine guns, flack guns and mortar bombs opened fire on us.

A few minutes after the first assault 11th Platoon advanced to assist in destroying the guns. Our task was soon completed and then we had little left to do but mop up and assist with getting the wounded out of the Battery area.

It is known that approximately 172 men attacked the Battery and only 62 were mobile at the withdrawal.

It had been arranged that we would fire coloured flares from the 3″ mortars To advise whether we had accomplished our task of immobilising the four guns of Merville. However the signal could not be given as the flares were lost on the drop. Instead, the Signals Officer. Peter Loring, released a pigeon (now named The Duke of Normandy) which made all haste back to England, thus confirming the result of the attack.