Assault on Normandy: Sword Beach (DVD)
In 1940 3rd Division, then commanded by a little known major, General Bernard Montgomery, were unceremoniously evacuated from Dunkirk but four long years later they were to return to France in the van of the D Day assault force; the greatest invasion of all time. Their task was to break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall on a stretch of Normandy beach codenamed SWORD. With the assistance of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force they would blast their way through the concrete and steel defences that lined the beach.
Once ashore their problems were only just beginning! Montgomery had set the Iron Division a demanding D Day task, the capture of the city of Caen but the Germans were deployed in greater depth and strength than the Allies assumed and Rommel had sneaked forward 21st Panzer Division into positions immediately behind the invasion area. With bitter fighting in the villages and open ridges around Caen the two sides fought a desperate battle; the Germans knew that once firmly ashore it would be nigh on impossible to throw them back into the sea as Hitler demanded.
This film charts the operations on D Day from the build up and embarkation of the force through the crossing and subsequent assault landing. Once ashore, the programme follows the advance of 3rd Division inland to the Perriers Ridge. Here the exhausted soldiers repulsed the attack of 21st Panzer Division. Meanwhile, the Suffolk Regiment were struggling to subdue the major German HQ bunker complex codenamed Hillman, while Lord Lovat’s Commandos struck off to the flanks to Pegasus Bridge and the airborne troops.