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The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day
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The Royal Regina Rifles D-Day

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The contributions and the story of the Royal Regina Rifles and the Regiment's part in the largest invasion in human history.

The contributions and the story of the Royal Regina Rifles and the Regiment's part in the largest invasion in human history.

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  • Hi.....Ted Mackenzie, son of Errol Grosch and Grandson of Henry Edward Grosch. For as long as I can remember my mother showing and giving a copy of the newspaper article after the war. Also the plaque for Juneau. Very proud to be in the family!!

    Ted
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  • Major Duncan Grosch was, proudly, my grandfather.
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  • 1. The 1st Battalion, Regina Rifle Regiment
    Normandy Landing
    June 6th, 1944
  • 2. Planning for Operation OVERLORD
    "In the East, the vastness of space will… permit a loss of territory… without suffering a mortal blow to Germany’s chance for survival. Not so in the West! If the enemy here succeeds… consequences of staggering proportions will follow within a short time." — Adolf Hitler, 'Directive 51'.
  • 3. Planning for Operation OVERLORD
    Operation Overlord - code name for the invasion of northwest Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation began with the Normandy Landings on June 6th, 1944.
    June 6th is commonly known as D-Day.
    D-Day is among the largest amphibious assaults ever conducted. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than 3 million troops had landed by the end of August.
    Planning began in earnest in 1943 and lessons from the failed landing at Dieppe (1942) were used to try and prevent a similar outcome.
    Bodies Of Canadian Soldiers at Dieppe c.1942
  • 4. Deception
    Operation Fortitude was the codename for the deception operations used by the Allied forces during World War II in connection with the Normandy landings - Operation Overlord.
    An entirely fictitious First U.S. Army Group ("FUSAG"), supposedly located in south-eastern Britain under the command of General Lesley J. McNair and General George S. Patton, Jr.
    The plan was divided into Fortitude North, a threat to invade Norway, and Fortitude South, designed to induce the Germans to believe that the main invasion of France would occur in the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy.
    This operation was one of the most successful deception operations of the war and some argue one of the most important.
    Both Fortitude North and Fortitude South were related to a wider deception plan called Operation Bodyguard.
  • 5. Invasion
    “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.”
    General Dwight Eisenhower – letter to soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force.
    General Eisenhower giving orders to American Paratroopers
  • 6. Invasion MapD-Day
  • 7. Canadian Regiments of the 3rd Canadian Division
    105 mm mortars of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa plus a platoon of medium machine guns from this Regiment would land with each assault battalion.
  • 8. Mission
    On June 6th, 1944, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Armoured Brigade were tasked with establishing a bridgehead on Juno Beach. Juno Beach was an eight-kilometre long stretch of beach bordering Saint-Aubin, Bernières, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Graye-sur-Mer. Assault troops were then to break through and move towards the Carpiquet airfield, 18 kilometres inland.
    1st Hussars tanks and men of the 7th Infantry Brigade landing on a crowded beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer, June 6th,1944.Photo by Ken Bell. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-128791
  • 9. Juno Beach Orientation
    3rd Canadian Infantry Division with the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade
    MIKE BeachNAN Beach
    7th Canadian Infantry Brigade 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade
    1St Hussars Fort Garry Horse
    Green Red Green White Red
    “A” COY “B” COY
    Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regina Rifle Regiment Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada North Shore Regiment
    w/“C” COY Canadian Scottish Regiment
    Courseulles-sur-Mer
    River Seulles
    Reserve Battalions landing after the initial assault – The Canadian Scottish Regiment and Le Régiment de la Chaudière's.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13. The 1st Battalion, Regina Rifle Regiment
    At 11:00 am May 30th, the final briefing for D-Day was given by Lieutenant-Colonel Matheson.
    The original date of June 5th, was postponed due to rough weather and high seas.
    On the morning of June 6th, 1944, the German 716th Infantry was stunned by the noise and volume of fire but no serious damage was inflicted and they were in position.
    This view from a landing craft of the 2nd Canadian Flotilla shows ships of Force J en route to Juno Beach on D-Day.
  • 14. The 1st Battalion, Regina Rifle Regiment lands
    Able (“A”) Company
    Landed at 0805 directly in front of a strong point and were pinned down by heavy fire.
    During the initial assault, as the landing craft of A Company splashed onto the shore in front of the block 1 sector, the company commander, Major Duncan Grosch, was wounded and became a casualty.
    At 0830 hours, the company, still on the beach, reported that it was pinned down and taking casualties from heavy machine gun fire and rounds from an 88mm gun from inside the emplacement.
    Despite the heavy early morning bombardment from naval gunfire, the gun emplacement, with its four-foot thick reinforced concrete walls and supporting fortified positions, was still intact.
    The men of A Company lay on the beach, exposed to the intense fire directed at them. They could go no farther.
    However, Lieutenant Bill Grayson, a platoon commander, took cover behind a corner of a house near the German concrete gun emplacement where he could not be observed by the crew inside.
    Grayson checked the timing of the bursts and estimated that he would be able to get past the machine gun and run to the side of the emplacement where he could toss a grenade through the gun slit.
    After the next burst from the machine gun, he made a mad dash for the emplacement only to become entangled in the wire that formed the protective barrier for the gun. Miraculously, the next burst of fire was delayed. Grayson tore himself free and tossed in his grenade.
    On hearing the explosion, he dived in after it through the aperture. He leaped up just in time to see the last of the German gun crew disappearing through the back door of the emplacement. The rear man, on seeing Grayson, turned and threw a "potato masher" grenade at him, which landed between his legs. Coolly, Grayson reached down, grabbed the handle and threw the grenade back at the German who left abruptly before it exploded. Grayson then followed the Germans into a trench which zigzagged along to a covered underground protective area. On looking into this dark hole he could make out three or four figures. He heard shouts of “Kamerad,” so he motioned with his pistol for them to come out. Out came 35 men whom he promptly took prisoner.
    By then, other men from A Company had reached the emplacement, and they disarmed the prisoners and led them away. With the 88mm gun out of action, A Company was able to push on into the town to clear block 5. For his daring action Grayson was later awarded the Military Cross.
    By 1000, a seriously depleted A Company was still engaged in heavy fighting in the beach area as some Germans had moved back into the fortified positions.
  • 15. Baker (“B”) Company
    B Company landed on the left at 0815 hours. Due to low tide, the beach now stretched some 400 m ahead of them to the sea wall.
    While Lt. Grayson was silencing the pillbox, “B” Company under Major F.L. Peters were able to move inland more quickly.
    They were initially held up by a sea wall until it was breached by tank fire.
    “B” Company was then able to move off the beach and begin clearing the town.
    Major Frank Peters, his 2IC Capt. Glenn Dickin and Rifleman A.J. Kennedy were killed by mortar fire near Fontaine-Henry.
    Charlie (“C”) Company
    • Charlie Company landed at 0835 hoursbehind B Company and advanced in Courseulles-sur-Mer without difficulty .
  • Dog (“D”) Company
    Landed at 0855 hours.
    Unfortunately, as D Company moved in, two of its landing craft were blown up by mines about 250 yards from the beach, leaving many casualties.
    Among the dead were Major J.V. Love, the company commander, as well as CSM Danny Yeo and Lieutenant R.B. Murchison, the signals officer.
    The 49 remaining members of “D” Company under the command of Lieutenant H.L. Jones were able to join with “C” company at Reviers.
    “C” and “D” companies successfully attacked a German HQ position, inflicting a number of casualties and taking more than 20 prisoners.
  • 16. Battalion Headquarters
    Landed at 0900 hours and was consolidated with “A” “B” “C” and “D” Companies by 1500 hours.
    By this time of the advance, the Regiment had captured 80 prisoners.
  • 17. Casualties – D-Day and Breakout
    1st Battalion, Regina Rifle Regiment, June 6th, 1944 – D-Day
    • 108 casualties – 45 KIA – 63 wounded
    • 18. “A” Company sustained the most casualties an was only able to muster about 28 troops out of about 120 after the initial landing.
    By the end of the day, D-Day, 14,500 Canadians were landed on Juno Beach. 915 became casualties – almost 1 out of every 15 men.
    Only “Omaha” Beach sustained more casualties than “Juno” Beach.
  • 19. Advance after the Landing
    The towns of Fontaine-Henry (B COY) and Le Fresne-Camilly (C COY) were captured.
    Lt. Col. Matheson moved Battalion HQ forward to Le Fresne and was able to report by 1950 hours, that the intermediate objective, line ELM had been captured.
    At 2100 hours the Battalion was ordered by brigade to consolidate for the night in a new position on the high ground southwest of Le Fresne.
    That evening, over 100 reinforcements arrived from the beachhead, and were allotted to A Company.
    With the reinforcements came a number of the survivors of D Company who had been pulled from the water and brought ashore. They arrived equipped with German weapons. Two men even had naval uniforms, having had to discard their own on the beaches!
    At 2200 hours, the Battalion dug in for the night, and Matheson went forward to do a recce of the positions for the following day's advance.
    For the Regina Rifles, D-Day was over. In the 14 hours from the first splash down to taking up defensive positions for the night, the Rifles had moved inland about seven miles from Courseulles through Reviers and Fontaine-Henry, to reach their intermediate objective at Le Fresne-Camilly.
    The advance was not without cost. The Battalion's casualties had been high, including three company commanders, two of them killed and one wounded.
  • 20. The defeat of the 12SS - June 7th-10th, 1944
    By 1400 hours after some heavy fighting Bretteville was captured and the Battalion took up a defensive position around the village where things remained quiet during the afternoon.
    The companies dug in to be ready for an expected counter-attack which could come either from the east from Caen or from the left front from Carpiquet.
    With the occupation of Bretteville, the Regina Rifles became the first and only unit of the invasion force to reach and hold its final D-Day objective. 
    During the night of June 7, the Germans mounted a strong counter-attack with tanks and infantry simultaneously on B,C, and D Company positions. The attack was repulsed, and the Battalion continued to hold its position with no back-up troops and with its left flank still wide open.
    In the confused fighting in the days following the Normandy Landing, PIATs were sometimes used to great effect. The Regina Rifle Regiment was counter-attacked at Bretteville-l�Orgeuilleuse on the night of 7-8 Jun 1944, and this Panther was knocked out just 30 yards from Battalion Headquarters. PAC Photo.
  • 21. During the early hours of June 8th, the Regiment repulsed a 12th SS Panzer counter-attack .
    This stopped the Germans from pushing through a left flanking attack to the beaches. As a result of the action, the Regina Rifles suffered heavily, losing seven carriers, including one loaded with ammunition, and two six pounder guns.
    The Battalion also suffered 11 deaths on the night of June 8, and 33 more deaths the next day.
    Among them was Captain R.G. Shinnan. By June 9,1944, the Rifles had fought their way 10 miles inland, south from Courseulles, and had repulsed a determined armoured counter-attack. The Battalion had survived its baptism of fire and was now firmly entrenched on French soil.
    Personnel of D Company, Regina Rifles, occupying forward position at Bretteville, Normandy, around 10 June 1944. Photographer: Donald I. Grant (NAC, PA 129402)
    The defeat of the 12SS - June 7th-10th, 1944
  • 22. 3-inch mortar crew of The Regina Rifle Regiment in Normandy, 9 Jun 1944. Their Carrier can be seen in the background. LAC Photo.
  • 23. Build-up for the Allied Break-out
    By June 17th, The Regina Rifles had been continuously on the line for 11 days. On their first day out of the line, June 18, it began to drizzle and continued raining for the first two days of their brief rest. This bad weather was to delay the planned build-up of the Allied forces for their break-out into Normandy. The Rifles were to stay at Bray until June 29.
    Lt. Col. Matheson was indeed proud of his Regiment that had battled so hard and would continue to do so over the next months leading up to May, 1945.
  • 24. Three "D-Day originals" of the Regina Rifle Regiment who landed in France on 6 June 1944. November 8, 1944, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 25. Monument to the 3rd Division on Juno Beach
  • 26. Bibliography
    Luxton, E.C. with Baird, J.G., Rouatt, C.E. and Tubb, C.S.T. 1st Battalion The Regina Rifle Regiment 1939-1946 (The Regina Rifles Association, 1946).
    Mein, Stewart A.G. Up The Johns! The Story of The Royal Regina Rifles (The Senate of The Royal Regina Rifles, 1992)
    Brown, D. Gordon DSO, MID, NBL and Copp, Terry Look To Your Front ... Regina Rifles: A Regiment at War 1944-45 (Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, 2001)

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