Battlefield Normandy – The Battle of Juno Beach 6 June 1944
Articles, Blog

Battlefield Normandy – The Battle of Juno Beach 6 June 1944

December 3, 2019

The Normandy campaign is probably one of the
best known campaigns in the history of the Second World War. This series, Battlefield
Normandy is all about the Canadian involvement in that famous Normandy campaign. We will
start today’s episode with D-Day, the Canadian Landings at Juno beach.
The Canadian landings at Juno beach were a part of the much larger Operation Overlord,
the Allied plan to liberate Europe from the Nazi-occupiers. 6 Allied divisions were tasked
to gain a firm bridgehead on the appointed beaches. The Canadian Third Division, commanded
by Major General Rodney Keller was tasked to secure Juno beach.
The Canadians also had an Airborne battalion, but they won’t be featured in this series.
Although they fought courageously against the German opponent, this series is more about
the landings at Juno beach and what happened after that.
Juno beach was a stretch of beach of seven kilometres long. It ran from Graye-Sur-Mer
to St. Aubin-Sur-Mer. Opposing the Canadian Third army would be members of the Infanterie
Regiment 736 who were a part of the Infanterie Division 716. Like all along the French coast,
the beach was littered with various bunkers, pillboxes and fortified positions, all part
of the famous Atlantikwall. These fortified positions went by the name of Widerstandsnest,
roughly translated as resistance nest. Next to the German infantry, many minefields and
beach obstacles were laid out all along Juno beach. All the defensive zones were a part
of the Stützpunkte or strongpoints. Juno beach was split into two sectors. Each
sector being subdivided into two or three parts. On the right flank of the Canadians,
or the left flank of the German defenders was Mike-Sector. Mike Sector was divided into
Mike-Green and Mike-Red. On the left flank of the Canadians was Nan-Sector. Nan was divided
into Nan-Green, Nan-White and Nan-Red. Mike beach and a part of Nan beach were designated
to the 7th Canadian Infantry brigade. The rest of Nan Beach was designated to the 8th
Canadian Infantry brigade. 9th brigade was in reserve. The First objective was to create
a bridgehead around the beaches on the Yew line. The second Objective was the The Elm
line, a line further inland which ran from Cruelly to Anguerny. The final objective of
the Third Canadian Division for June 6 1944 was the Caen-Bayeux road and the adjacent
railway line. These objectives were codenamed OAK. Another objective was the Carpiquet airfield
and the Canadians were also tasked to link up with the British divisions on their left
and right. The Canadian assault was well planned and
it even involved the famous Duplex Drive shermans. The two assaulting Canadian Armoured Regiments
were the 6th Canadian armoured Regiment or 1st Hussars and the 10th Canadian Armoured
Regiment or Fort Garry Horse. Both regiments had their A and B squadron’s equipped with
19 of the swimming Sherman tanks. The remaining tanks would disembark from their LCT’s and
drive towards the beach. The infantry was to dismount from their LCA’s and wade towards
the beach. C company of the Canadian Scottish Regiment
landed on the extreme right flank of the Canadian forces. Next to them were the men of D company,
Royal Winnipeg Rifles. They landed at Mike-Green at exactly 07h49am. Around 10 minutes behind
the original schedule due to rough seas. Behind them were the tanks of A Squadron, 1st Hussars.
Crab flail tanks and AVRE’s followed afterwards. Flail tanks were designed to take out the
many minefields along the invasion beaches. The Winnipeg Rifles landed on the left of
Mike-Green and they moved along the beach to deal with the several pillboxes whose fire
enfiladed the landing beaches. D company of the Winnipegs had to destroy the pillboxes
themselves as no armour of the 1st Hussars could be seen. In eliminating the concrete
strongpoints, the Winnipegs suffered multiple casualties. C company of the Canadian Scottish
had an easier task as their objective had already been destroyed by the preliminary
bombardment. Mike-Red was a tougher nut to crack. Mike-Red
fell right on top of WN31. A Strongpoint with PAK-Guns, machineguns and mortars. Manning
WN31 were members of the 6. Kompanie Infantrerie Regiment 736 or Infantry Regiment 736. B company
of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles stormed the beach. Supporting them were the tanks of A squadron,
1st Hussars. The initial bombardment on the coast failed to eliminate the concrete positions
of WN31, so when the Canadians landed, they fell under severe fire. B company found itself
fired upon before they had even disembarked. When they finally did disembark they were
chest-deep in the cold seawater and bullets were whizzing past their heads. They nevertheless
fought on and managed to eliminate the pillboxes along the beach with the help of the supporting
tanks. B company moved up towards Courseulles where they managed to seize the bridge over
the Seulles. They also cleared the island between the harbour and the river of Germans.
B company had endured immense losses. The landing and the subsequent fighting reduced
B company to Captain P. E. Gower, the Company commander, who earned the Military Cross and
26 men. A and C companies, who were in reserve endured mortar- and machinegun fire when they
landed at 08h05am. The rest of the Canadian Scottish landed at 08h35am.
A company of the Regina Rifles took Nan-Green for their record. They landed directly in
front of WN29 at Courseulles-Sur-Mer at 08h09am. WN29 was equipped with several AT-guns, one
of which an 88mm gun, and machineguns. A company landed right on top of a 75mm gun casemate.
The German Anti-tank gun was put out of action by a Canadian tank after putting up one hell
of a fight. The 88mm gun was also destroyed by the Canadian armour. Helped by the tanks,
A company flanked the strongpoint. They however found the Germans retreating through tunnels.
B company of the Regina Rifles had an easier time in landing as they didn’t encounter
much fire. They landed at 08h15am. The resistance in the village was also slight. In the rising
tide, D Company, one of the supporting companies suffered dearly as multiple landing crafts
hit the in-the-meantime hidden beach obstacles. D company was reduced to just under 50 men.
The Regina Rifles consolidated and waited for further orders.
A and B companies of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada assaulted Nan-White at Bernières-Sur-Mer.
They landed at 08h12am, nearly 20 minutes behind the original schedule due to rough
seas. B company was on the Canadian left, A company on the Canadian right. B squadron
of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment, Fort Garry Horse was to follow the infantry, but
they arrived late, arriving behind the AVRE’s of the 80th Assault Squadron of the Royal
Engineers. The Fort Gary Horse, in contrast to the 1st Hussars drove to shore. The 1st
Hussars really swam towards the beach. B company of the Queen’s Own Rifles landed more to
the east than originally planned. Meaning that they landed immediately in front of a
resistance nest at Bernières-Sur-Mer. Within the first minutes, B company suffered 65 casualties.
Lieutenant W. G. Herbert, Lance Corporal René Tessier and Rifleman William Chicoski managed
to fight themselves towards the pillbox that was inflicting the heavy casualties upon their
comrades. Armed with Grenades and Sten Guns the three soldiers managed to put the pillbox
out of action. Lieutenant Herbert would receive the Military Cross for his action and Lance
Corporal Tessier and Rifleman Chicoski both earned the Military Medal for their daring
action. A company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada
landed more to the east. Although they had an easier time getting of the beach, they
were still under mortar fire and they suffered several casualties due to the sea wall in
front of them. The final beach for the Canadians to secure
was Nan-Red. Nan-Red was the objective for the North Shore Regiment which landed on the
beach at 08h10am. They were supported by C company of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment.
The strongpoint at St. Aubin-Sur-Mer, which was their objective was reported to be untouched
by the preliminary bombardment. The strongpoint, WN27 was the task of B company of the North
Shore. They were however supported by tanks. A company found its job easier, but when they
cleared the village of Germans, they found many houses booby-trapped and several casualties
resulted because of it. At 08h30am, 8th brigades reserve, the Régiment
de la Chaudière landed together with the remaining companies of the North Shore and
Queen’s Own Rifles. Next to the Canadians were the men of the British No.48 Royal Marine
Commando. The Commandos were to pass Saint-Aubin’s eastern edge and occupy Langrune-sur-Mer on
the eastern end of Juno. The strong point facing them had not been fully cleared and
120 of the 400-man unit became casualties within seconds of landing.
After Juno was largely secured, Keller prepared to deploy his reinforcements in the form of
the 9th Infantry Brigade and the tanks of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers. Keller was faced
with a difficult decision as the incoming messages were contradicting. Stiff German
opposition and problems with mine obstacles on the beaches at Nan-Red meant that the 9th
Brigade was going to have to land in Bernières-Sur-Mer and the Nan-White sector. The 9th Brigade
finally touched down at 11h40am. A congestion on the Nan-White beaches caused severe trouble
in disembarking the troops. The 9th brigade moved across the beach and joined the Chaudières,
Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the Fort Garry Horse at Bernières-Sur-Mer, where they
awaited further orders to go inland. At 14h35pm, with objective Yew being secured,
General Keller had a meeting with all brigade commanders including the commanding officer
of the newly constructed 2nd armoured brigade. At the meeting he ordered the 7th and 8th
brigade to advance towards the second Elm Objective. Once the Second objective was reached,
9th brigade would take over the advance towards the third and final objective by the name
of Oak. Facing the Canadians were the remnants of the battered 736th Infantry regiment and
the 726th regiment. B company of the Royal Winnipegs was still
facing snipers in Courseulles when companies A and C of the same regiment moved off the
beach to capture the Chateau of Vaux and the town of Graye-Sur-Mer. After Graye was secured,
they moved up towards Banville, were the command post of the German second Battalion, 726th
Regiment was located. C company managed to near Banville when they were fired upon by
German machineguns just in front of the town. While C company was under fire at Banville,
A company of the Royal Winnipegs moved up towards St. Croix together with C company
of the Canadian Scottish. They were supported by a troop of C squadron of the 1st Hussars.
They were however unaware that the 8. Kompanie of the 726 regiment was preparing for a counterattack.
Fortunately for the Canadians, the Canadian Scottish saw what was happening and they managed
to stop the German counterattack before any harm was done to the Canadians.
D company of the Winnipegs joined the members of C company in their struggle for Banville,
but with the aid of the reinforcements and artillery, Banville was captured at 13h10pm.
The Regina Rifles advanced towards Reviers. During their advance, they came into contact
with men of the 8. Kompanie 736th Infantry Regiment. The Regina’s managed to capture
the town of Reviers by 12h15pm and started to consolidate their newly won positions.
8th brigade’s advance into the French mainland started slower than their sister brigade to
the west. Mostly because the Chaudières had lost their equipment during the advance on
the beaches. Even worse for the 8th brigade was that C company of the Queen’s Own Rifles
was pinned down at Bernières due to accurate sniper-fire. They were unable to cross the
open fields beyond the village. Their armour support was halted by German anti-tank fire
from Beny-Su-Mer. When the Chaudières were put into action they found themselves in a
crossfire. Their A and B companies were pinned down. B company lost nearly a full platoon
due to 88mm fire. After two hours of softening up the German defences at Beny, the 8th brigade
finally managed to move forward. At 14h00pm, Beny-Sur-Mer at last fell into Canadian hands.
At the exact same time, C and D companies of the North Shore regiment, supported by
tank of the Fort Garry Horse entered the town of Tailleville, which was the headquarters
of the II battalion 736th Infantry Regiment. The Canadians were however oblivious to the
fact that the Germans had created a tunnel system at Tailleville. It took the Canadians
a further seven hours to clear the town of German fighters. This meant that the North
Shores were unable to capture an important German Radar position to the south.
At the beach, B company of the North Shore regiment together with No. 48 Commandos were
tasked to secure St. Aubin-Sur-Mer and Langrune-Sur-Mer. B company of the North Shore regiment had
captured WN27 within two hours of their landing. That way A and B Company of the commandos
could advance further. The commandos moved up towards WN26. At the same time on Sword
Beach, No. 41 commando was pushing west towards the same objective to make contact and unite
both bridgeheads. The gap in between both beaches was defended by the German 736th Infantry
Regiment. Several attempts by the No. 48 failed to capture the WN and during the night, orders
were to stop attacking as the 21st Panzer Division was endangering the entire operation
by driving a wedge in between both beaches. Langrune-Sur-Mer and Luc-Sur-Mer would only
be captured on June 8. The small Canadian bridgehead was at that
point so crowded that some units couldn’t be moved properly. This severely hindered
the advance on Basly. In the end the Chaudières finally managed to secure the town at 18h15pm.
The Queen’s Own Rifles had in the meantime already captured Anguerny, on the Elm line.
With reports of the German 21st Panzer Division moving in, Lieutenant General Dempsey, the
Commander of the British Second Division ordered to halt all advances of the day and to dig
in. On the 7th Brigades flank, the men had pushed
on well beyond the Elm line and the Canadian Scottish and the Regina Rifles finally stopped
their advance at 21h00pm, after reaching Cairnet and Le Fresne Camilly. A remarkable advance
was made that day by No. 2 troop of C Squadron 1st Hussars. Three Sherman tanks continued
their advance towards Carpiquet, and apart from some Machinegun nests, virtually no opposition
was found. They managed to reach the Caen-Bayeux railway line. That way they were the only
units to reach the final D-Day objective. Commanding the unit was Lieutenant William
McCormick. He tried to contact his superior so they could sent reinforcements, but his
attempts were in vain. The three Shermans under McCormick eventually had to retire to
the Canadian lines. Although the casualties were high, they were
not as high as initially feared. On June 6, the Canadian Third Division suffered a total
of 950 casualties dead, wounded and missing. If you compare this to the Dieppe Raid which
saw the Canadians having more casualties for objectives far less ambitious than the Normandy
landings, the number is quite remarkable. Not all objectives were met on June 6. The
Caen-Bayeux road was not captured and nor did the Carpiquet airfield fall into the Canadian’s
hands. The Canadians did however manage to secure a bridgehead, but the battle was far
from over as the 21st Panzer Division created a gap between the Canadians and the British
Third Infantry Division at Sword and the Canadians hadn’t met the 12th SS Hitlerjugend.
This was The AceDestroyer! I hope you have enjoyed this documentary! If you did, I would
like you to consider subscribing to my channel, or leaving a like and a comment Cheers!


  • Reply Jean-Luc Martel November 18, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    combine seasickness with extreme terror and artillery shells crashing down on you….

  • Reply Daniel Kokal November 19, 2018 at 11:29 am

    well done ….

  • Reply William Reynolds November 20, 2018 at 12:56 am

    well done indeed. I was at Juno Beach in June 10, 2018. Waded in the water and climbed the beach. Very moving.

  • Reply Dom Degood November 20, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Free My ass 🙂

  • Reply Frater Lulz November 21, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Not to be ultra critical, but Regina, at least the way it is spoken in Canada rhymes with another word for fun.

  • Reply Admiral Crunch November 29, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Glad to see "new" footage.
    These history lessons just keep getting better.👍👍
    PS, I know my name is misspelled.

  • Reply Elizabeth Sime December 2, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Thank you for this and thank you to all veterans we honour you and your sacrifices.

  • Reply Andrew Blasdell December 17, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Great work! The Canadian involvement in both world wars is fascinating and I love learning about it. Happy holidays!

  • Reply Bazyli Kamada December 18, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    My cousin Carl just passed away a few days ago, he died at the age of 96, he took part in the landings, was wounded by a German mortar positioned in a church steeple. Killed his buddy and blew out his ear drums. All of our ww2 veterans will not be around much longer, make sure you thank them and show your appreciation!

  • Reply BBQMike Living life. December 20, 2018 at 4:33 am

    Very nicely done, merci 🙂

  • Reply jnf519 December 21, 2018 at 12:28 am

    It"s Ra – Jine -a . Excellent Video !

  • Reply Dave December 24, 2018 at 2:30 am


  • Reply CG Account December 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Weird. I watched a French documentary on Netflix and it apparently wasn't Canada that landed but France! Canada defended France in 2 world wars with millions of soldiers and many French leaders ignore it and some even support destroying Canada. Um… news flash… French Canada as a whole did not want to fight or support France in either war. English Canada did. Look it up. Quebec is selfish

  • Reply CG Account December 29, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I believe Scotty from the original Star Trek was fighting with Canada at Juno and lost a finger due to machine gun fire. Edit… I looked it up and he was shot several times unfortunately by friendly fire. But he did perform heroically at Juno

  • Reply K Grant January 1, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Great series please continue and make more. Thanks!

  • Reply Philbyd 123 January 2, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Very well done documentary,thanks for your effort

  • Reply frankishe23 January 2, 2019 at 6:24 am

    I heard you were talking about Canada and I came as fast as I could

  • Reply Laurens Nefkens January 3, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    I just saw footage of d-day that I have never seen before…twice. Amazing!!! It has been a long time since that happened. Forgot the feeling, thanks!!!

  • Reply Ladislav Mandelík February 5, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Great videos, better than most documents on tv

  • Reply 1111 February 7, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Canadians are usually not given much credit in American and British World War 2 films. In the film "The Longest day" they do not show any story lines of Canadians. However, Americans, Germans, Brits, French get enormous consideration, but Canada's participation hardly exists in this movie. In the movie "The Dam Busters" one person in five of all Lancaster bomber crew members was a Canadian, but again the subject line of Canadian participation is ignored. Canadians save everyone's ass but rarely get credit or mention. Lets not wake up sleeping dogs.

  • Reply Scooby BOI February 10, 2019 at 4:35 am

    You deserve more subs brother : ]

  • Reply H D Dunbar February 23, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Great video. The Canadians were instrumental in the European victory..thanks for posting this

  • Reply Chris Gibson February 23, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Interesting fact. I believe that the German 736th Infantry regiment included troops who'd served previously in the elite Italian Bersegali regiments.
    These Italians fought on in the German army after the Italian surrender.

  • Reply yolanda231000 February 24, 2019 at 9:54 am

    I love how you use the map graphics to explain the narrative. Well done sir!

  • Reply paul alexander February 24, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    As a former member of the QOR I was privileged to meet some our WW2 vets at unit Christmas Dinners and Remembrance Day. One such was Charlie Martin who recounted his taking of a German machine gun with one other soldier and I quote" We were taking heavy fire from an MG42 and we were pinned down. I ( Charlie) got up and urged the men forward beside me was a Bren gunner who had his hand blown off I grabbed the Bren Gun from him sprayed the German position and the wounded Bren gunner ran along beside me handing me fresh magazines to load with his good hand. We eventually overwhelmed the MG position and the gunner had his wounded stump bandaged up I later learned that he died the next day due to loss of blood and shock ." Charlie at this point in the dinner tearfully pointed to his medals and said" I donot deserve these the fellow who handed me the magazines earned them all and far more". I believe wholeheartedly these were the type of men that won the war be they Canadians Americans Brits Aussies Poles and many others.May their sacrifice always be remembered.

  • Reply André Raymond February 25, 2019 at 2:55 am

    Thank you for the hard work and careful detail you put into these videos. Beautifully crafted.

  • Reply Vladimir Minakov February 25, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Great content!

  • Reply cramnkey13469721907 February 25, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    You should put an indicator on the bottom right/left to show the distnaces when youre showing maps

  • Reply Amber Maynard February 26, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    I knew two people who were at Normandy. The first guy was an American, good friends with my Grandfather. His WWII story he told me went like this. He went to basic training for a couple weeks, then was shipped to England. He spent a couple months in England then was put on a ship to Normandy. His landing ship went to the beach, the door opened, he ran out, took a few steps and was hit by a mortar or artillery shell. It blew a couple of his fingers off, he had shrapnel in his legs, abdomen, eye, and brain. He fell down and his intestines were hanging out. Hours later once the beach had been secured, medics were checking people to see if they were still alive. They took one look at him and kept going. They didn't think he was possibly alive so didn't bother to check. Finally he came out of shock and used the hand with missing fingers to hold his guts in and the other arm to try and crawl. The medics saw him, realized he was alive and patched him up, sent him back to England where he had several surgeries. They said the sand in his wounds kept him from bleeding to death. I wasn't there, so I don't know how accurate his story was, but he had the scars to support his story. He also had brain damage and had mini seizures every 30 seconds or so. He talked perfectly normal for about 30 seconds, then would stutter, his face contorted, and he twitched a bit, for only a few seconds, then would continue talking normal for another 30 seconds or so.
    The second guy I knew was a German living in America who had been in the SS Hitler Youth at Normandy. He had a glass eye and other scars. He never talked to me about anything that happened in WWII. He was my friends dad. I used to stay the night at their house all the time. I was terrified of the guy when I first met him because of his scars, glass eye, and thick accent. After I got to know him, he was a really nice guy.

  • Reply todd reaker February 27, 2019 at 9:04 pm


  • Reply Alexander Challis March 1, 2019 at 4:23 am

    Canadian War Diaries 'Normandy Campaign' 1944:
    War diary 13th Canadian Field Artillery RCA HQ landed H hour plus 20 minutes at Nan Green alongside Regina Rifles . CPO Lieutenant JM Doohan RCA (Scotty Star Trek) was later shot by his own sentries (bren gun) wounded six times he was returned to the UK where he later remustered as an Observer pilot RCA flying Austers (666 AOP Sqn attached RCAF) :

    Canadian Int reps WW2 : Including D day, Scheldt, North West Europe etc:

    Royal Regina Rifles Lutzow's Wild Hunt: (sister regiment of the KRRC):

  • Reply Martin Lewis March 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    We don’t get enough of this we get shown UK or US, it was a joint operation. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Craig X March 3, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Wow…that was some army little Canada had during ww2…Only 12 million people in all of Canada then I believe.Wow,,,FROM THE U.S…!

  • Reply Richard Putz March 3, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Regina Rifles Rule !! No matter how badly pronounced Regina is.

  • Reply Treadhead Pete March 4, 2019 at 8:55 am

    As a Canadian, I thank you for this great video! My grandfather did not land on the 6th… his engineer unit built the Mulberry harbours, and he came later with them. Your research is excellent!

  • Reply J. Brian Batter March 4, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Well done.

  • Reply Gerhard_travel734 March 8, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I have been to Juno Beach many times. I am trying to get a piece done on Bold, a Canadian Sherman dual propulsion tank that sank on D-Day only to be bought up in 1972. Today it sits as a memorial at Courseuilles-sur-Mer. My dad was in the Italian campaign and then in the battle of the Schelt – Netherlands where a land mine ended his part in the war. He recovered and served until 1973.

  • Reply Rick Stanfield March 14, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Well done. My father commanded a DD Sherman tank with "A" squadron of The 1st Hussars on D-day.

  • Reply nuff said March 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

    my dad told me one of the bravest things he saw in ww11,was a sikh who was charging a machine gun post and he had his arm blown of at the said he picked himself up drew his bayonet and charged on again.i asked my dad what happened to him.he said i don't know son i had my hands full at the time.

  • Reply Greg Lucas March 17, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Once again you scored with a well laid out and researched snippet.

  • Reply Tomáš Bouzek March 19, 2019 at 8:53 am

    It is interesting to know, that official order in documents was not to take prisoners if they could hamper the attack. Not only wild Canadians but also British soldiers were killing German prisoners of war. Of course, there is nobody, except former German soldiers, few allied once and civilians who gave those information away for future generation in documents and memoirs.

  • Reply Todd Sauve March 21, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    One small correction. It was the Regina Rifles regiment, not pronounced Regeena but Regina with a hard "i". Now they are the Royal Regina Rifles regiment. They lost over forty dead and who knows how many wounded that first day of the landing. Otherwise, your first episode of the Juno Beach campaign is very good, indeed!

    The footage you show of the Canadian troops approaching Juno Beach in a landing craft is of the North Shore Regiment from New Brunswick. This is the ONLY known footage of an initial assault landing in Normandy to survive the war. No one knows what may have happened to any British footage but the American footage fell into the sea while being transferred from a returning landing craft to a ship returning to England. Thus the Canadian footage is all that is known to exist.

    I will post some research here I did on my hometown regiment's hard fight against the 12 SS Panzer division and Kurt Meyer at Bretteville, which the Regina Rifles captured on June 7, 1944. This put the Regina Rifles literally on the leading front of the entire assembled Allied armies in Normandy. The Winnipeg Rifles were just to the right at Putot, with the Canadian Scottish Regiment from Vancouver Island moving in behind the Winnipegers.

    Hopefully you will produce an episode on the Battle for Bretteville, June 7-10, 1944, as it was very important in holding the 12 SS Panzers from breaking through and reaching Juno Beach. 😉


    It is interesting to note that as Montgomery drew up his plans for the Normandy campaign, the Canadians found themselves assigned to the toughest section of the Normandy front.

    Why was it the toughest?

    Because it was so wide open in so many places that it was regarded as by far the most favourable territory for tank warfare. So the very terrain of the Juno Beach regions was far and away recognised as the worst for infantry. Hedgerows were fewer or farther between, but the wide open access for the excellent German armoured divisions made it a terrible place to fight for the generally inferior Allied armour. In response to this, D-Day plans called for double the number of artillery pieces to be landed on Juno than on any other beach and immediately put into action, coordinated with the forward-most Canadian infantry units—the Regina Rifles and the Winnipeg Rifles—both of whom had previously stormed the beach early on June 6.

    It was in precisely this sector of the Canadian front that the Germans planned to mass their armoured divisions and try to push the Canadians back into the sea, and then spread left and right to attack Gold and Sword beaches. This is what Montgomery realised when he drew up the plans for the Normandy campaign. The terrain literally dictated the Nazi’s strategy.

    During the lynch-pin Battle for Bretteville (June 7-10, 1944) this artillery support was vital and broke up numerous German infantry and 12 SS Panzer attacks. That and the sheer guts and unbelievable determination of the two aforementioned infantry regiments saved the day. These were some tough Canadian kids from the Prairies who took on the German SS Panzer divisions and beat them! The commander of the 12 SS Panzer division, Kurt Meyer, had smugly concluded that his men would sweep the Canadians back into the English Channel like so many “little fishes.” Needless to say, Meyer and his 12 SS Panzers were the ones licking their wounds and howling in misery when they finally fled from Bretteville—minus 43 dead, 99 wounded, 10 missing and 29 panzers destroyed including a good number of Panther Mark Vs. And other than the 29 lost panzers, that was just on the first night!

    It was here and at nearby Abbey d’Ardenne that Kurt Meyer’s 12 SS and the Canadians began executing each other’s prisoners tit for tat, with no quarter given. The two sides really hated each other and this made for likely the bitterest fighting in Normandy.

    Here is a limited account of the terrible fighting at Bretteville:

    And here is an excellent and much more detailed scholarly account of the Battle of Bretteville in .pdf format:

    [Be prepared to meet Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott of the original Star Trek series fame, as he was actually right in the area, being a Canadian artillery officer who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. I bet you didn’t know that! ;)]

    In fact, the Canadians made the greatest penetration of the German lines on D-Day, beating them back almost seven whole miles in the first 24 hours. Neither the Americans nor the British came anywhere close. Indeed, three Sherman tanks of the Canadian 1 Hussars actually reached their assigned D-Day objective—the Caen-Bayeux highway next to Carpiquet airfield—before having to pull back when they could not make radio contact with army HQ and request reinforcements, as you correctly noted. (And it was hard fighting with the Canadians losing 359 men killed landing on the first day alone—second only to Omaha for men KIA!) Perhaps the great progress was because the Canadian army was the only Allied army in Normandy that was entirely volunteer. (Originally Juno beach was to be called Jelly, but Churchill forbade it noting it was a sorely inappropriate name for a place where so many men were going to die.)

    And yes, the two British and one Canadian beaches faced the bulk of the German armour—something like 70% of all German armoured divisions in Normandy faced us around Caen. Indeed, German armour was lined up virtually cheek by jowl! Historians have carefully investigated the numbers involved and the Germans, Canadians and British had more tanks per square mile all around Caen than the Russians and Germans had at Kursk! Around Caen and Carpiquet alone, the Germans had seven panzer divisions supplemented by an additional battalion of more than 100 Mark V Panthers! They were Panzer Lehr, 2 Panzer, 9 Panzer, 116 Panzer, 1 SS Panzer, 9 SS Panzer and 12 SS Panzer. Though few people understand this, these were the heaviest, most concentrated tank battles of WW2!

    In his analysis of the fighting against the Canadians of the Regina Rifles Regiment at Bretteville (which contained a number of Sherman and Firefly tanks, as did virtually every Canadian and British regiment), Hubert Meyer, the commanding general of the 12 SS Panzer division (after Kurt Meyer had been captured in September 1944) wrote later in “The 12th SS: The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division, Volume 1” that:

    “The tactic of surprise, using mobile, fast infantry and Panzers even in small, numerically inferior Kampfgruppen, had often been practiced and proven in Russia. This tactic, however, had not resulted in the expected success here against a courageous and determined enemy, who was ready for defense and well equipped. Through good battle field observation, the enemy had recognized the outlines of the preparations for the attack and drawn his own conclusions. The deployment of D Company [of the Regina Rifles] to Cardonville had prevented a breakthrough by 2./26 [of the 12 SS] from the farm south of the rail line to Bretteville, only 1,000 meters away. The anti-tank defenses all around the village were strong enough to thwart all attempts by the Panzers to by-pass the town to the south and north. The surprising use of parachute flares with glaring magnesium light blinded the Panthers and clearly outlined them to the enemy Pak [anti-tank guns like 6 and 17 pounders]. This enemy was especially strong in the defense and could not be taken by surprise. He fought with determination and courage.” [pages 186-87]

    One is unlikely to find higher praise from the SS than 12 SS Panzer General Hubert Meyer had for the Regina Rifles Regiment of the Royal Canadian Army!

    In hindsight, it is something of a feather in Montgomery’s hat that he beat his own estimate of 90 days for capturing Caen and destroying the German armies—by two full weeks minus one day—but who is counting when numbers are so great and the opposition so terrible?

    And finally, Montgomery (and all the Allied generals) had insights into overall German strategy and counterattack plans through the Ultra intercepts at Bletchley Park, England. On many occasions he chose to withdraw his forces a short distance in order to preserve them, when informed that much superior German armoured divisions were being moved up to recapture territory lost. This was only sensible. You do not throw away large masses of men and armour to be ground up by superior numbers of enemy armour simply to display your bravado. No, you withdraw and rebuild your own forces until you can overcome what you positively 100% know is a much stronger force facing you only a short distance away. Many have questioned Montgomery’s leadership, perhaps with some reason. But how many know that he had to preserve his forces (as much as he could anyway) when Ultra intelligence revealed that not doing so would only be a futile gesture and the deliberate squandering of many men’s lives? Moreover, London had already told him that infantry reserves were virtually nil (though armour was abundant) and he had better save as many of his men as possible. So let’s try to be a little bit fairer in our criticisms of him.

    My hat comes off to the many, many brave and excellent fighting men from the US! They fought as well as anyone else and that is a fact. But it was a team effort between the three great English speaking nations of the world that defeated Nazi Germany in Normandy, as well as the many brave French, Polish and other freedom loving European soldiers who fought alongside us. Bravo to all involved!

    PS I am not trying to glorify war here, just so anyone who might think this to be so can understand that I do not approve of war—for all the good this will do.

  • Reply Alan R March 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    D-Eh! Sorry.

  • Reply THESocialJusticeWarrior March 30, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    0:36 Firefly Sherman

  • Reply 1stpogo March 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    2 of my 4 uncles went ashore on D-day, though neither would say more than that. My father was in a Lancaster, his squadron took part in support of the landings. I wish I could have learned more from them but the memories were just to painful for them to recall.

  • Reply Charles Rablin April 2, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Often overshadowed by Omaha landings we don't read very much about Juno. It seems they had serious casualties, but were not stopped and made steady progress.

  • Reply Fuzzy Dunlop April 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    I can't help but picture Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles storming the beach in period-accurate battle dress.

  • Reply JPMerce12 April 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    This is probably the best descriptive documentaryof the Canadian D-day advances I have seen. Very accurate and unbiased. The maps and unit movement indicators are excellent. Thanks so much.

  • Reply freakyflow April 17, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Grandfather Whom was "Metis" ( French Canadian / Native ) blood Only told the story once to his son and daughters And then only 35 years later As he would avoid taking about it He had seen a few American movies and the first thing he would say ..I don't know about the Americans But we Did not have anything to hide behind on the beach I seen men pushing sand in front of them or looking for a hole Or getting behind the dead Only to have to push up to make room for the next set of men behind them As we were in a open tank (Priest ) We seen the men on the ground some quiet Other screaming We could not tell who was dead and who was laying in cover Driving a 22 ton tank is one thing Driving a 22 ton tank under fire with your own men laying in front of you while your trying to find cover yourself and fire at the enemy And we knew this enemy was veterans and crack units that were dug in followed by German tanks and 88mm guns But we had no choice other than push forward.

     Lance Bombardier Orville Villemere RCA Sudbury Ontario Canada
    And with a family tree line We are also from Normandy And have family members living not only then but still today

  • Reply Neil Wilson April 19, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Great stuff. I am still curious about the attacks that have not been covered by the many descriptions of Omaha beach.

  • Reply Stephen Mason April 21, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Some amazing history!! My grandfather landed there with the Sherman tanks with Fort Garry Horse. Amazing information here, well done!!!

  • Reply libertarian45 April 30, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Whew! I just watched your vid on the commando raid on Rommel and then found this. Outstanding! As a Canadian vet (modern – not WW2) I say thank you, thank you and thank you again! All too often Canada's significant contributions get ignored by movies etc (case in point – "The Longest Day". Canada was the third largest attacking force and penetrated deeper into France than any other ally. Yet, never get mentioned). Really good vid. Can't wait for the one on First Canadian Para Bn. I'm subscribing right now!
    One minor criticism: Regina is pronounced with a long "i" sound. Rhymes with "vagina".

  • Reply I B May 30, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I spent 10 years working with a bunch of ex-commandos. Project Juno is still burned on my mind!!

  • Reply Todd Ransom June 4, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    thank you so much for your service.

  • Reply David Grider June 6, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Today marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Godspeed to all of the fallen, on both sides.

  • Reply George Jenkins June 6, 2019 at 10:25 pm


  • Reply RMG June 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Hi thereMy father was a Royal Naval gunner on the first wave of landing craft to put the Canadians onto Juno Beech, he died in November 2017 aged 95. He has a plaque with his name on it on the Juno memorial. He was AB Samuel Mc Gookin.Many thanks for the video doc. I miss him more to day as its 75th Anniversary, He didn't speak much about it I learnt more when he was a warded the Légion du honour.

  • Reply David Sabillon June 8, 2019 at 7:01 am

    thank you for detailing Canadas sacrifice on D-Day and beyond. It's not talked about enough. Subscribed 👍

  • Reply IronCross82 June 9, 2019 at 1:23 am

    All I have to say is thank you very much I do appreciate it

  • Reply KK Hagerty June 10, 2019 at 12:06 am

    My great grandfather really got lucky and wasn’t able to participate in this campaign. I don’t even know if I’d be here if he were. God bless the souls of the men who gave their lives for their country

  • Reply JPMerce12 June 11, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Fantastic video. These are by far the most detailed and understandable accounts of the battles. Lots of work put into this. You should be teaching University students my friend. Thanks for posting.

  • Reply Trevor Lemar June 14, 2019 at 11:43 am

    My father was in the British Royal Navy. On D-Day at the age of 22 he Landed Canadian B Company Tanks from his Landing Ship Tank LST-199 onto the Nan White Sector of Juno Beach at Bernieres sur Mer. He left Spit Head in the Solent in the UK at D-Day -11hrs.

  • Reply neil 02 June 14, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    brilliant ace !

  • Reply Jean Simard June 15, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Thank you for a super video- the maps too really help situate the action. My father was in the Canadian First Army in the RCEME- I would love to see more information on this support group- how soon after DDay did they land in France?, what were the major duties, overall how did they contribute to the victory. Substantially, I'm sure, but further details would really help.

  • Reply eduard lapushchik June 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Good work.

  • Reply reddfraser2 June 22, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Love the detail….but, PLease Show maps more and highlight the town you are talking about, as you are talking about it. I found it VERY hard to understand which Canadian elements were where, and when

  • Reply John Hancock June 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Thanks for the excellent presentation, well done.

    Some little known details concerning the Normandy landings. Overlord should have failed, miserably. Had Rommel's order been followed and not subverted by his own generals, some eighteen Wehrmacht divisions would have been present at the beaches, to include three armoured Panzer tank divisions. Instead there were only three German divisions who still put up a stiff fight.

    Thanks to British intelligence, operation mincemeat, American engineering, Allied bravery and the sheer incompetence of Hitler we all know the history of Normandy. Erwin Rommel was the only man in the German high command who truly understood that the Allies could not be allowed to gain a foothold on the beaches, as Germany did not have the resources to fight WWII on two fronts. Rommel was correct.

  • Reply Mike Doll June 25, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Its pronounced like vigina but with an r mate lol….. im from Saskatchewan, love your vids mate.

  • Reply Roland Felice July 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Excellent commentary as usual. I'm particularly impressed at your pronunciation of German, French and Italian. It is far and away better than some commentators faltering attempts that jar and impede comprehension.

  • Reply Aere Perennius July 7, 2019 at 10:50 am


  • Reply Kegoshii July 17, 2019 at 4:29 am

    And some people are here, making jokes about Canada being nice in these years telling that they say sorry after they shoot someon in the war, hurts.

  • Reply JP Ducasse July 24, 2019 at 2:01 am

    good documentary. The city of Regina is not pronounced Ray-gee-na. It is pronounced Ree-g-eye-na. I am a Saskatchewan boy from Saskatoon. We tease them about their name all the time. We call them the city that rhymes with fun!

  • Reply Ryan Hopf July 24, 2019 at 3:30 am

    If you listen carefully you can hear them say sorry Everytime they kill a German soldier

  • Reply Rain Coast July 25, 2019 at 5:58 am

    After the SS Hitler youth joined the battle, it was found by the Canadians that they had murdered quite a number of Canadian prisoners. After that there were no more SS prisoners passed to the rear.

  • Reply Charles Rablin August 1, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    There is so much combat detail in these episodes and remarkable that its all been recorded. Similar on the Eastern Front. It may be just the capture of a town or village that looks like a pushover, but the real story is quite different.

  • Reply Peter Montagnon August 16, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Too bad the the D Day Dodgers were in Italy and were fighting!!!

  • Reply Robert Dawson September 6, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    The only unexpectedly high losses on D-Day were at Omaha where it was a bloodbath. At noon navy Destroyers interceded at Omaha with direct gunfire.

  • Reply Scott Stephens September 26, 2019 at 2:14 am

    At 9:50 you see some of the only footage of Canadians landing at Juno Beach. The man who turns after being patted on the back was remarkably identified 75 years later as Pte. George Baker of the Canadian North Shore Regiment.

  • Reply Nick Vandergragt September 30, 2019 at 2:48 am

    I am loathe to complain when considering how little there is on you tube about Canada's contribution, so please understand this is just an attempt to correct a pronunciation problem on this excellent video. Regina is pronounced REGINA like vagina, not REGEENA. Other than that very well done and thank you from a proud Canadian.

  • Reply Bob McRae September 30, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    The Canadians at D-Day were all volunteers. Canada had the only volunteer army in WWII.

  • Reply planetgong23 October 3, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Pronounced Reg-EYE-na Rifles. Guess you'd have to be a Canuck. Great video

  • Reply Neil Legacy October 4, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I don’t ever remember the Queen fighting.Thank You to all the men that fought and died.RIP

  • Reply Danny T October 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Very well presented and researched documentary/vid. As this is being typed a second auditory taking in of this work is being heard by yours truly. Just curious no answer needed just thought some might find a few facts about Canadian Soldiers interesting- In grade school a school report was made by me about Canadian Soldiers in Dieppe , my conclusion then was no bomber support greatly hindered Canadians that day and cost them dearly. Later in life after declassification that The Canadians in Dieppe were more or less a detraction so a Commando force could seek, find this device needed to decode enigma machine messages. Now to me it is understand a bomb could have destroyed the machine that was captured and used to decode secret messages to the German Navy (,mostly for u-boats). With all due respect it is my personnel belief that those Merchant Marines and their descants still alive today because The Allies were able to change the outcome German u-boats had after The Canadian Sacrifice at Dieppe is a matter still to this day not widely known about or understood. During WW1 & WW2 Germans knew where Canadians were was where an attack was coming from. Before D-Day Canadian Soldiers regularly went in to occupied France to drop off and pick up supplies information and People. Before Canada was in WW1 the highest scoring and most popular team in The NHA (National Hockey Association) was a team that played it home games in Toronto made entirely of Soldiers from a Regiment who called Downsview Toronto home. The regiment they all belonged to got called to War ,they quit the league the league then folded and the NHL was born. All those and their Brothers who played in The NHA then quit hockey for Toronto got called Maple Leaf in Eu. during WW1 , This is why The Toronto Maple Leafs have the name they do.

  • Reply Chris Freestone October 7, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Canada became a country at Vimmy Ridge.

  • Reply Hans_von_Twitchy October 14, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Re the maps @2:00 on: a scale would be very helpful. Should be Standard Operating Procedure for all map please.

  • Reply Shawn Bird October 15, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Canadians usually can get right into the thick of battle when we're needed but our GD government never gives us anything to fight with…!!!

  • Reply simehong2000 October 18, 2019 at 5:25 am

    how to defeat german ?
    whit high tech ?
    No. Send loot soldier and more

  • Reply Mike Lameyer October 20, 2019 at 1:00 am

    One very difficult day in history. Thanks.

  • Reply Kenny Mac October 21, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyable. Considering most of these people were 18 or 19 years old, a remarkable accomplishment in less than a day. Heroes every one. I wonder how the youth of today would handle this.

  • Reply Capodecamper October 22, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    grandfather stormed juno beach, sadly he died before 2011 so was not allowed to take part in remembrance day ceremonies

  • Reply Vivian Benge October 26, 2019 at 7:07 am

    You do a great job explaining the complexities that arise in the ebb and flow of the battlefields. Keep up the very high quality work you do on these important historical struggles.

  • Reply mossbrg5 November 2, 2019 at 2:11 am

    We went on a tour of Juno Beach and then followed the battle sites through to the Abby, including the cemetery at Beny sur Mer. That was a very fascinating and emotional visit. Our tour group were all Canadians except for us as Americans. I w

  • Reply Skhaleni Mzala November 13, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    I here you talk about Adolf Hitler and I came fast

  • Reply Joe Blow November 13, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    What accent is that?

  • Reply funsweed November 15, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Friend Harold , who just passed away was there , thank you Harold for your service

  • Reply Andrew Roberts November 20, 2019 at 12:41 am

    My uncle Bob Roberts was the second Canadian to step foot on juno. There is a famous picture of him capturing the tallest German solider. He is still alive today and he has done a few interviews on his stories. Would be nice if you could do a video on him.

  • Reply Shane Beckett November 27, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Yes it is the most famous with the most information from soldiers on both sides to generals to high command etc I've read so much on Normandy when I first started researching ww2 but I soon came to realize that the most interesting, hardest and so many of these battles ten times the size of juno beach that has no videos or info on it.
    Please start doing some videos on eastern front battles. Would really appreciate it. It's one thing to read about it but much better watching a video that has visual aids with another person's perspective to check my own biases

  • Reply M Lund November 28, 2019 at 1:01 am

    If some few german Soldiers lost their minds and excecuted prisoners, you must understand that german civilians was burning like torches every day from allied bombings targeting civilians by purpose. Most probably these german soldiers had lost relatives in bombings and couldnt Control their feelings. To complain about excetued POW and not care about millions of german women and children by purpose killed and burned to Death is hypycrasy. By the way, allied killed thousends of german POWs during war and after war. For example by starvation in prison camps.

  • Reply M Lund November 28, 2019 at 1:05 am

    I would like to see a video about allied war crimes the bombings of german women and Children. The allied bombingcampaign is by far the most cowerd, and sick "military" operation ever taken place in World history.

  • Reply Dirtyd23 November 29, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I can’t imagine how those brave men were thinking when they hit the beach that day. My neighbor was there but he didn’t talk about it that much. Come to find out he charged 2 German pill boxes with grenadines and was credited with saving over a thousand lives. He was always invited to the reunions over in Normandy and went every time they had it up until the day he died. He was a good man and had it not been for one of his friends telling me about what he did I would have never known because he never talked about it. I can’t remember his first name but his last name was Williamson and went by the nickname Slugger that his Army buddies gave him. If anyone is interested they did a article about him right before the movie Saving Private Ryan came out cause he and a few others were invited to a special screening of it and were asked to speak about their experiences in the war.From what I heard he had to leave the movie after the first 10 mins of watching it cause it brought back horrible memories for him.

  • Leave a Reply