Paratroopers Jeep dash Through Troarn, Normandy

The British Paratroopers Jeep dash through the German occupied village was something like scene out of a Hollywood movie, but it did happen. The 6th Airborne Division began parachuting into Normandy at 00:50 on D Day the 6th June 1944.
Paratroopers Jeep dash Classic Jeeps.co.ukThe plan was to demolish road and rail bridges in the area to slow or halt the German advance towards the beaches, stopping them from attacking the British and Canadian forces as they landed later that morning. The 8th Battalion, 3rd Parachute Brigade drop zone was three miles to the south of the main force at Ranville.
The bridge at Troarn was some 4 miles from the drop zone, the village and area into which they were heading was still occupied by German troops. A small group started out on foot towards the objective, when they heard the unmistakable sound of a Jeep approaching. It was a Royal Army Medical Corps Jeep and trailer carrying medical supplies.
They were quickly persuaded to surrender the Jeep which was unloaded of its stores. The nine Paras loaded up their Jeep and trailer with as much explosive as they could. They then climbed on board with Sten guns at the ready and headed off towards Troarn.
Paratroopers Jeep dash Classic Jeeps.co.ukJust outside the town they were spotted by a German on a bicycle who they shot. The sound of gunfire alerted the German garrison in the town.

The Jeep was driven ‘hell for leather’ down the hill through the main street. There seemed to be Germans everywhere, as the Jeep sped through the paras were firing at windows and doorways. As the jeep bounced it’s way down the hill, one of the sappers lost his grip and was thrown out.

On reaching the bridge they quickly set about placing the demolition charges. Before the Germans arrived they blew the bridge and made their escape along the river bank, abandoning the Jeep and making their way back on foot.Paratroopers Jeep dash Classic Jeeps.co.ukTroarn is not far from Pegasus Bridge and well worth a visit, you can reenact the Paratroopers Jeep dash through the village in your Jeep and try to imagine what it must have been like.

Painting reproduced by kind permission of the artist (copyright, not to be copied)  Maps by Google Maps