Juno Beach and the Battle for Normandy

Canadians Coming Ashore at Juno Beach
June 6, 1944

The Canadian 3rd Division was given a four-mile wide sector of the Normandy invasion shoreline designated Juno Beach. They were also given the most distant objective of any of the Allied divisions landing on June 6th. They were expected to advance eleven miles south to an airfield just outside of Caen. They were also expected to join-up with the 50th British Division on their right [Gold Beach] and the 3rd British Division on the left [Sword Beach].

On the morning of D-Day, heavy sees delayed the demolition teams, holding up the landing craft and allowing the Germans time to retrench after the initial bombardment. The division's Eighth Brigade faced the heaviest opposition on the left between the resorts of St. Aubin-sur-mer and Bernieres-sur-mer. The link up with the British 3rd Division was initially prevented and the gap would provide the first target for a German counterattack. The rest of the advance, though, was good to excellent. The connection with Gold Beach went smoothly and the 7th Brigade advanced nearly to Bayeux and the airfield at Caen.

View from German Bunker at Juno Beach
Shortly after D-Day

Rommel's first attack against the Juno-Sword gap failed as British glider forces arrived on the scene just as the Canadian and British 3rd Divisions joined-up and the Panzer began their advance. The gap was closed. One of the great battles of history ensued as the Allies eventually broke out of Normandy and began the clearance of the lowlands and the pursuit to the Rhine. Canadian forces, by then part of the British Second Army, almost completed the encirclement of a huge German force near Falaise. After 25 August the German Army had retreated north of the Seine having lost 400,000 killed, wounded and captured in Normandy.

For some additional information visit:

Juno Beach Centre

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Copyright © 2001 Joyce M. Kennedy
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