Gordon Brown


The ancient Abbaye d’Ardenne is a monastery, several centuries old, surrounded by solid stone walls and having a number of out-buildings as part of the complex. It is located j u s t beyond the northern outskirts of the city of Caen in Normandy. Our attack was to take place on the 8th of July after heavy bombers dropped tons of bombs on the city of Caen on the evening of 7 July. We would have about 1,000 artillery guns to provide creeping barrages and heavy stonks on German positions and the support of about 20 tanks, if they succeeded in avoiding the powerful anti-tank guns of the enemy. Our tanks had not had much luck to date in Normandy with the result that the infantry was becoming accustomed to attacking without them. We had heard First World War veterans describe the infantry as “cannon fodder.” Now we were realizing what an apt description that was!