Operation Mallard (ii)

This was the British air delivery of Brigadier the Hon. H. K. M. Kindersley’s 6th Airlanding Brigade as a reinforcement for Major General R. N. Gale’s 6th Airborne Division during the implementation of ‘Overlord’ (6 June 1944).

Like Major General Matthew B. Ridgway’s US 82nd Airborne Division and Major General Maxwell B. Taylor’s US 101st Airborne Division in the Cotentin peninsula on the western side of the Allied beach-head, the 6th Airborne Division had been delivered during the initial ‘Tonga’ landing in slightly the wrong places, but unlike the US formations it was at least relatively well concentrated, with much of Brigadier S. J. L. Hill’s 3rd Parachute Brigade and Brigadier J. H. N. Poett’s 5th Parachute Brigade grouped within a triangle some 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 4 miles (6.4 km) deep, and mostly to the east of the Orne Canal. The 5th Parachute Brigade (7, 12 and 13/Parachute) took the bridges over the Orne and Caen Canals and held them until relieved by Major General T. G. Rennie’s 3rd Division, while the 3rd Parachute Brigade (8 and 9/Parachute and Canadian 1st Parachute Battalion) was more scattered but managed to achieve its objectives of blowing the bridges over the Dives river and destroying the Merville battery before being relieved by the 3rd Division.

‘Mallard’ (ii) delivered the 6th Airlanding Brigade in gliders to fields on each side of the Orne river in an area to the south of Ouistreham cleared of German obstacles by the engineers of the 5th Parachute Brigade.

The men of the 6th Airborne Division then served as conventional infantry until the end of the Normandy battle, mainly against Generalleutnant Erich Diestel’s 346th Division of General Hans von Obstfelder’s LXXXVI Corps within Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann’s 7th Army.