January 27th 1944

RECONNAISSANCE COASTS

From today, all cross-Channel raiding stops. The previous summer was marked by an upsurge in commando activity, which gathered valuable intelligence on German defenses. Now that the invasion is definitely on, the priority will be to avoid drawing attention to the French coasts.

X Craft interior, with 2 divers.

X Craft interior, with 2 divers

 

The Germans must not be given any reason to strengthen their defenses. The only cross-Channel operation authorized until the invasion will be the reconnaissance missions undertaken by the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP).

COPP

COPP

 

ORDER OF BATTLE, ARMOUR

General Eisenhower and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir Alan Brooke, travel to the headquarters of the British 79th Armoured Division, near Orford in Suffolk. Met by division commander Major-General Sir Percy Hobart, they see demonstrations of the specially designed vehicles he is developing for the invasion. Brooke’s diary records:

Sir Percy Hobart

Sir Percy Hobart

“Hobart collected us at 9a.m. and took us first to his HQ where he showed us his models and his proposed assault organization. We then went to see various exhibits such as the Sherman tank for destroying tank mines, with chains on a drum driven by the engine, various methods of climbing walls with tanks, blowing up minefields and walls, flame throwing Churchill tanks, wall-destroying engineer parties, floating tanks, teaching men how to escape from sunken tanks, etc, etc. A most interesting day, and one which Eisenhower seemed to enjoy thoroughly.”

 

Sherman Flail

The Sherman Flail performed a vital service during D Day and beyond and its importance should not be underestimated.

Churchill AVRE

Churchill AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) Type C Mark II carpetlayer for laying tracks across soft beaches.

FRENCH RESISTANCE, RESOURCES

Churchill holds a meeting in response to recent calls from the French Committee for National Liberation and SOE that more transport aircraft and supplies be made available to Resistance Groups. The meeting includes representatives of SOE, two members of General de Gaulle’s Free French HQ in London and Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff. The French are promised that two US Army Air Force bomber squadrons will be made available for clandestine air drops in the coming weeks.

French Resistance SOE

French Resistance SOE

 

The SEO also provides an assessment for the prime minister of future Resistance capabilities. It predicts that with a fresh supply of weapons, and after a period of retraining during the spring, there will be little problem in launching a substantial campaign of sabotage to coincide with the invasion.
The meeting results in an intensification in the number of clandestine air sorties over France and a very marked increase in the supplies dropped for the resistance.

Halifax MkIX

RAF Handley Page Halifax MkIX dropping an armed Jeep and three supply containers in 1944

January 27, 2018