D-Day hour by hour: SWORD Beach on D-Day

First Allied troops to land: 3rd British Division, led by 8th Infantry Brigade Group.

A flat, sandy beach, fronted by small villages. German strongpoints were sited inland and as well as on the beach.

Objectives: Sword Beach was at the eastern end of the Allied landings. The troops’ objectives were: to advance inland towards the city of Caen; to link up with the airborne troops, who had landed by parachute and glider and were protecting the eastern flank of landings against German counter-attack.

00.16 onwards – Gliders and paratroops seize the eastern flank of the landings, including “Pegasus Bridge” (Bénouville).

04.30 – British airborne troops, who had landed earlier that day, attack the Merville Battery (a position for German long-range guns, to the east of the landings).

07.26 – The landings begin, preceded by a heavy bombardment of the beach by warships and aircraft. DD (swimming) tanks and “funnies” (specialised tanks) knock out numerous enemy gun positions.

07.50 – Nos. 4 and 10 (Free French) Commando land. Heavy fighting on the beach.

08.35 – Three beach exits cleared of the enemy.

09.30 – Hermanville taken. Riva Bella casino strongpoint captured by the Free French. Heavy German opposition halts the advance. With a fast incoming tide, the beach becomes congested; the reserve brigades are held up.

10.00 - 12.00 – German strongpoints inland are gradually overcome.

13.30 – 1st Special Service Brigade Commandos link up with 6th Airborne Division at “Pegasus Bridge”.

16.00 – 9th Brigade moves inland. 185th Brigade repulses attack of the German 21st Panzer Division at Periers Ridge, but the British advance pauses.

20.00 – Benouville is captured.

A German counter-attack is made towards the sea between SWORD and JUNO Beaches. The German HILLMAN strongpoint is secured, after a long battle.

21.00 – A group of 250+ Allied gliders fly in and deter the German attack. 185th Brigade halts at Bieville, three miles short of Caen.

By midnight, 29,000 troops had been landed on SWORD Beach, with fewer than 1,000 casualties. The troops had reached six miles inland.