The name Juno Beach is one that resonates with particular strength for Canadians: it conjures up thoughts of one of the most significant events leading up to the Allies' Liberation of France: D-Day.
Located between Courseuilles and St. Aubin sur Mer, Juno Beach is the second of the Commonwealth's three invasion zones along with Gold Beach (situated between Asnelles and Ver-sur-Mer on the western coast of Calvados) and Sword Beach (Lion-sur-Mer, Langrune-sur-Mer).
The fateful events of Juno Beach
Commanded by Major General Rodney Keller, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed in the early hours of the morning on June 6, 1944. In the day that folloed, 574 men of the 3rd Canadian Division wree wounded and 359 were killed, including the men of the First Canadian Parachute who were integrated in the 6th Bristish Airborne Division.
The Germans were caught unprepared as they thought the operation was merely a diversion, the real landing being planned near Calais. Their disorganized troops were not able to withstand the assault; but they would be quick to redress the situation and the following day, SS Panzer Divisions launched violent counter-attacks to drive back the Canadians.
Around noon on that day, the Canadian division was able to fully land on the Normandy coast.
Armour, artillery and infantry units struck inland all that day and pressed on through villages, fields and groves of trees defended by the advantaged defenders, and the subsequent reinforcements that arrived to meet the Canadians’ advance.
Close to 21,000 men landed on Juno Beach over the first 24 hours of D-Day, and approximately 8000 were of them were British. 1074 were either killed or wounded.
While the assault infantry units suffered the highest casualties rates during the first hour after landing, the overall loss rates for the day indicate Canadians and British succeeded in overwhelming and destroying the initial German division that opposed them on June 6th 1944.
From February 1, temporary exhibit "Grandma, What Was it Like During the War?"
Life for Normans and Canadians from occupation to Liberation.