The landing zone defined by the Allies originally ended at the level of Courseulles in the east, but Eisenhower and Montgomery managed to extend it as far as the Orne. Accordingly, a new landing beach appeared east of Juno Beach, codenamed Sword. Theoretically, this stretched from Langrune to Ouistreham, but because of the risks involved in a direct attack against the powerful Ouistreham defences and the impossibility of landing in front of Lion and Luc-sur-Mer due to coastal reefs, the attack eventually took place over quite a narrow front.
It was therefore opposite Hermanville that Major-General Rennie’s 3rd British Division landed, with the support of special tanks. This was flanked by two special brigades of “Green Berets”. To the east, the 1st Special Service Brigadeond by Brigadier Lord Lovat, had the task of gaining a foothold in Colleville before marching eastwards and attacking Ouistreham from the flank. Among its ranks were the 177 French marines led by Lieutenant Philippe Kieffer. At the other end of the sector, the 4th Brigade was also to make its way inland, in order to take Lion-sur-Mer and Luc-sur-Mer.
The 8th Brigade of the3rd Division, which landed opposite the aptly-named La Brèche (The Breach), managed to dent the Atlantic Wall despite strong opposition, and Hermanville was captured by mid-morning. It was now the turn of 185 Brigade to exploit the situation by carrying out the vital mission of capturing Caen before nightfall. However, the overcrowding on the beach, resulting both from German artillery fire and the narrowness of the streets, dangerously slowed the flow of troops inland. The resistance from strongpoints around the village of Colleville, together with the counter-attack launched by the 21st Panzer Division in the middle of the afternoon on the Périers Rise, complicated the situation still further. Thus, by the time the first soldiers of the 3rd Division reached the outskirts of Caen, in the early evening, it was too late. The Allies were to be stopped in their tracks by a defensive wall erected by the Germans.
Meanwhile, after some bloody street fighting, Lord Lovat’s 1st Special Service Brigade had taken Ouistreham and reached the Bénouville and Ranville bridges, where it met up with the paratroops. Less encouragingly No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando had yet to make any headway against the solid German entrenched positions in Lion-sur-Mer.