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Operation Tonga (Paperback)

Pegasus Bridge and the Merville Battery Elite Forces Operations Series

WWII D-Day & Normandy Military

By Jon Cooksey
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Elite Forces Operations Series
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781844152032
Published: 31st May 2019

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The seizure of Pegasus Bridge by six glider borne platoons of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry under Major John Howard very early 6th June 1944, is one of the better-known stories of D-Day. Landing just yards from vital bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal near Bénouville, Howard's men took and held the bridges in a remarkable coup de main operation with minimal casualties. The 7th Parachute Battalion dropped in soon afterwards to relieve Howard's men and the action remains, by any standards, a remarkable feat of arms. But it was only one act in a much grander production put on by 6th Airborne Division that night to secure and protect the eastern flank of the Allied landings inland from Sword, the British landing beach. Key bridges over the Dives had to be blown to foil possible German counter attacks and to north east, at Merville, a battery of guns which the allied planners thought could wreak havoc on the beaches and ships at sea, had to be eliminated. The task fell to the men of the 9th Parachute Battalion, whose actions in assaulting the Merville Battery became another D-Day epic - but for very different reasons.

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About Jon Cooksey

JON COOKSEY is a leading military historian who takes a special interest in the history of the world wars and the Falklands War. He is the former editor of Battlefields Review and the current editor of Stand To!, and his articles have appeared in many of the foremost military magazines and in national newspapers. As an experienced battlefield guide, he regularly leads tours to the battlefields of both world wars as well as the Falkland Islands. His TV and radio appearances include the Channel 5 programme on the 1914 Christmas Truce and and Great War soldier Ronald Poulton Palmer and Gallipoli Victoria Cross winner Frederick Potts for the BBC. His books include The Barnsley Pals, Flanders 1915, Calais: A Fight to the Finish and 3 Para Mount Longdon – The Bloodiest Battle.

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