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Juno Beach

Juno Beach was one of the landing sites for Allied invaders on the coast of Normandy during D-Day on June 6, 1944, a turning point of World War II. It is also known as the Canadian beach, as it was assigned to the Canadian 3rd Division to capture. Juno Beach stretched from St. Aubin-sur-Mer[?] on the east to half way between the towns of La Riviere[?] and Courseulles-sur-Mer[?] on the west.

Juno was the second-most-heavily defended of the five landing sites chosen, after the more-famous Omaha Beach. General Richter was in charge of the 716th Division guarding the beach, with 11 heavy batteries of 155mm guns and 9 medium batteries of 75mm guns at his disposal. Additionally, pillboxes[?] and other fortifications were present all along the beach, most heavily concentrated at the Courseulles-sur-mer region. The seawall[?] was twice the height of Omaha Beach's, and the ocean was heavily mined. However, the 716th Division was composed primarily of boys under 18, men over 35, and veterans of the Russian front who had suffered debilitating injuries, reducing the beach's difficulty to some degree.

Aerial bombardment of Juno Beach in the days leading up to D-Day caused no significant damage to German fortifications. Naval bombardment, running from 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM and including everything from battleship barrages to fire from tanks and artillery sitting on transport ship decks only managed to destroy 14% of the bunkers guarding the beach, and due to weather delays the Germans had half an hour between cessation of bombardment and landing of Canadian troops to regroup.

Juno beach was divided up into two sectors, the one to the west called Mike and the one to the east called Nan. The 7th brigade, supported by the 6th Canadian Armored regiment (1st Hussars), where to land and control Mike Sector. The 8th brigade, supported by the 10th Canadian Armored regiment (Fort Garry Horse), landed on Nan sector. The 9th brigade was to be left in reserve.

In the first hour of the assault on Juno beach the Canadian forces suffered approximately 50% casualty rates, comparable to those suffered by the Americans at Omaha Beach. Once the Canadians cleared the seawall (about an hour after jumping off the transports), however, they started to advance quickly inland and have a much easer time subduing the German defenses than the Americans at Omaha would. By noon the 3rd Canadian Division had completely landed and had pushed several kilometers inland to seize bridges over Seulles River[?], and at 6 PM they captured the town of St. Aubin[?]. A 1st Hussar Armored troop was the only unit in Normandy that had reached its objectives; it had pushed 15 km inland and crossed the Caen-Bayeaux[?] highway. This troop was forced to pull back, however, because they had passed the supporting infantry. By the end of D-Day the 3rd Canadian Division had penetrated farther into France than any other Allied force, having faced resistance stronger than at any beachhead save Omaha.

By the end of the next day, the Canadian forces joined with the British forces that had landed at Sword Beach.

The Juno Beach Centre[?] at Courseulles-Sur-Mer, commemorates the Canadian liberation forces efforts and is a memorial to the lives lost.

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