Normandy
November 1943 - July 1944

Allied Invasion Force, June 1944

Allied Invasion Force (Map)

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Preparation
Nov 1943 - June 1944

The 51st Highland Division returned to Britain in November 1943 and after leave settled down to training. In March they moved to East Anglia and on 5th April 1944 transferred from 30th Corps to 1st Corps and commenced training for the invasion of main land Europe Operation OVERLORD. In June they moved to the River Thames and embarked.

The Order of Battle of the three infantry brigades remained largely unchanged:

  • 152 Brigade commanded by Brigadier AJH Cassels consisted of 2nd and 5th Seaforths and 5th Camerons
  • 153 Brigade was commanded by Brigadier "Nap" Murray with 5th Black Watch, 1st and 5/7th Gordons
  • 154 Brigade was now commanded by Brigadier James Oliver (formerly Commanding Officer of 7th Black Watch) with 1st and 7th Black Watch and 7th Argylls

In addition the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry replaced the Highland Recognisance Regiment.

Conclusion

Although Operation Goodwood had gone well for the Division, restoring in part the its confidence and reputation, the previous failures had left their mark. The Divisional Commander, Major General Bullen-Smith, was replaced. The new commander was Major General T G Rennie, previously a commander of 154 Brigade.

Whereas the Division had been very at home with 30 Corps in North Africa and Sicily, they did not enjoy their time with the 1st Corps in Normandy and felt that the Corps was in part responsible for the problems they had encountered. They were therefore not disappointed to be reassigned to the Canadian Corps for what was to follow.

Operation Totalise (The Breakout) would commence at the end of July.