During my Advanced Amphib Course at Shriv we did the bottle field tour of D-Day and my dit was on this very battle. Having visited the battery and read up on it all - bloody hell springs to mind. If you ever do go to Normandy it is worth a visit. A nice little musem and gift shop. To see the lie of the land you quickly see the problems this man had to cope with. To cap it all a timed NGS bombardment was only to be lift if the codeword for success was recieved. By radio perhapes or some other modern comms???? Nope a number of homing pigeons where to be released and then orders could be passed. Bowman fall back?????
I hadn't heard about the captured soldiers in front of the paras. What is the source for this statement?
Its not in the locally produced history "Get in Get in" Nor in the history of 9th Parachute Battalion "The day the devils dropped in". The latter book makes it clear that Otway was utterly ruthless. It mentions the French civilians they captured and Otways orders to shoot them on the basis that only collaborators would eb allowed out at that hour!. (They weren't; shot) Its not in any of the many eye witness statements, notr was it mentioned by any of the vets who were in Normandy in 2004.
It seems a little unlikely that the 150 men of 9 para who reached the RV to bring in 23 germans -or for Otway to show them more mercy than the Frecnh . It also seems odd to expect a random scattering of germans to know their way through the minefield at Merville!