Warfare The Gates to Hell Tuesday 6th November 1956 ..The L-Day ..Part 12

Dr.Yahia Al Shaer

Mi Sergeant
MI.Net Member
Sep 14, 2020

Operation Musketeer
Part 12
The Gates to Hell
Tuesday 6th November 1956

The L-Day

The black thick smoke rising from the Texaco oil tanks set ablaze by the French corsairs on Monday 5th November was rising high in the sky. It was depressive to see it.

Apocalypse Fire

From the Sea, from the Air and on the Ground

This was not one of the Hollywood films we used to watch in the movies, this was real. Death was at the front steps of our homes. We have experienced it during our fighting battles against the Parachutists yesterday. The all night standby behind the barricades, the humidity of dug-in ditches.
Apart from the - at that time - modern Jet fighters, Bombers, Sea Hawk, Wyverns , F-84Fs and the dopple propelled Cursaire, the Sycamore and Whirlwind Helicopters we were facing the giant Anglos-French naval armadas of the French and British Naval Task Forces in addition to the British and French Forces

The grey swimming ,death structures have began attacking the town. The naval Bombardment aimed to soften the resistance, demoralise the morals were the preparations for the first landings from LSD, LCT, LSTs and LCM to be carried on from the early morning of Tuesday 6th November. The British commandos, the Paras from every direction.

The Whitehall orders
" Limited death and no Overkilling !!"

At dawn the 6th of November ( L Day) , the invasion fleet took positions 8 kilometres ( 5 miles ) off Port Said, and began an hour long the bombardment of the Egyptian Shore positions. HMS Cruiser Jamaica had completed a ninety degree turn, the DD Destroyers Duchess, Diamond, and Decoy, steamed past her stern, closing the range to what seemed less than a mile, they also turned to port to lie stopped, parallel to the shore line. Eighteen 4.5 inch guns began a systematic, and deadly, bombardment of the landing area. (H.M.S. Jamaica ).
During the bombardment, the Tanoy system on-board Jamaica gave an explanation as to why the cruiser had not opened fire, "...We have received orders from very high up, that no large calibre guns are to be used, the reasoning is to keep Egyptian casualties to a minimum". These were PM's Antony Eden orders dispatched to the High Command few hours after 5th November Midnight.

PM Antony Eden's orders have forbidden all the RN Ship participating in the Dawn bombardment of Port Said and Port Fouad, from using any heavy gun including the 6 inch guns, in order to save the lives of civilians in both cities.

The French don't comply

The French ignored these orders, with the simple argument, that they have neither calpner 6 inch guns nor caliber 4.5 inch on their ships.. They measeured their gun calibers in mm. That was the way around for them to use the heavy guns exceeding the Whitehall's instructions. They used their mm 106 (which is equivalent to 6inch) in the bombardment.
The French Cruiser Georges Lygos (C 604) has sent some of his heavier salves to Port Said and Raswa. The best descriptiorible moments are best documented in "The Royal Marines, written by Julian Thomson" , quote"...The landing was to bIn addition to carriers taking helicopters, the Royal Navy provided two more to provide air!!!!!!! preceeded by naval gunfire and air strikes to destroy and suppress beach defences....

Port Said ablaze

Today, many Buildings were ablaze after direct hits of bombs either from the sea bombs or from the aircraft launched rockets. The whole bathing huts facing the sea shore were on fire. Additional fire set the huts of Shanty Town (El Manakh) ablaze, that sprang to other neighbouring houses, was caused by the 3 Para, as they used the 106mm recoilless gun to shoot an Egyptian defence position hidden between the huts near to the slaughter house. Another have erupted in a small Mosque at the south of the city. The worst fire was the one that consumed several blocks of houses in the Arab part of the Town near to the Abbasi Mosque. The Government building was hit by rockets, several buildings in the European part of the Town, including the big hotel on the shore, part of Casino Palace, my school, many building facing the sea shore had direct hits. Some buildings crumbled,
many caught fire and were ablase. It was the De Facto Inferno.
We were helpless ... I knew, we lost the battle, but I swore to my self that we shall not lose the war that easy. Let them come, we are ready. I have decided to carry on fighting, emotionless but smart. This will not be the End

The L-Day Dedicated operational tasks

Amphibious Assault landing (By Air, by Sea)

The beach was divided into 2 landing areas separated by the sea casino (green) left or east while red right or west of it, which consequently leads to the city and El Gamil Airfield
- 40 Royal Marine Commando (Br) Sierra red landing area
- 42 Royal Marine Commando (Br) Sierra green landing area
- C Sqn Royal Tank Regiment (Br) Left of sierra green
- 45 Commando Royal Marine (Br) Helicopters attacking assault
The world's first amphibious combat helicopter "Air Assault" onboard Royal Navy Ships Fly ashore to Air Assault directly into Port Said and to link up with British and French Paratroops already on the ground from an earlier fixed-wing aircraft parachute assault to regain control of the vital world waterway.
40 RMC Royal Marine Commandos Amphibious landing
42 RMC Royal Marine Commandos Amphibious landing

came ashore by conventional sea landing craft LST backed by 6 RTR Royal Tank Regiment 6th Royal Rank Regiment Centurion-4 tanks and were supported by the French AMX- 13 light tanks which landed in the Fishers Basin in the afternoon landed

The British Centurions totaled together 48 Centurions. The first wave to land was Sqn "C" consisted of 16 Tanks and has participated in the street fightings and penetration battles during Tuesday 6th November . Similar to the French disembarkation of their AMX-13, teh 6 RTR Sqn "A" has landed in the Fisher Basin during the afternoon. Meanwhile, "B" squadron landed after the cease fire as with 1 Para and 2 Para. Therefore, It is possible that there is no mention in various publications of them
as participants in the street fightings

When the British Paras got on the ground they started to find in due course of the battles lots of Soviet kit . Neither the Egyptian side nor the British can confirm the persisting allegations, that many Paras traded in their issued Sten Guns for AK-47s because the Stens that had served so well in WW II kept jamming in the sandy conditions. During our street fightings and later, we have not faced any British soldier holding any AK-47 in combat situation with us.

The British Royal Navy Landing Ships
RN Amphibious Squadron:
November 6th

First LVT landings on L-Day at the east of Port-Saïd took place after the Beaching of LSTs LSDs, LCT, and LCM . They carried British commandos who penetrated the town and were ingaged in severe street fightings during the whole day until the next day Wednesday 07th Novemebr

The Involved RN Amphibious Squadron Carrying 6 RTR 48 Centurion Tanks Sqn C, B and A consisted of the following ships

- 10 Ministry of Transportation (civilian manned) LST's
- 12 Vessels cocooned in the Clyde were recalled
- 3 LST(A) (incl. HMS Striker, Reggio);
- 5 LST(3) (incl. HMS Puncher)
- 8 LCT(8) (incl. HMS Bastion & Redoubt) Transported 6 RTR 48 Centurion Tanks Sqn C, B and A
- 1 LCH
- 1 LSH (S)
- HMS Meon; carrying 14 LVTs Buffalo
- Numerous LCA's, ML2583
- Numerous Troopships: incl. Empire Parkstone, Ascania
RN Amphibious Squadron:
Type & Name Pennant No.
SulvaL 3510

The afternoon of Tuesday 06. November
LST Landing Craft Transporter

Type & Name Pennant No.
HunterL 3042
TrumpeterL 3524
L 3006
FighterL 3038
WalcherenL 3525
TrouncerL 3523
SlingerL 3510
ThrusterL 3520
L 3015
L 3033
St. NazaireL 3517
L 3504
RavagerL 3505
LST( 3 ) (A)
HMS Striker
ReggioL 3511
8 LCT ( 8 )
LM 2583
LofotenL 3027
BattlerL 3015
TromsoL 3006
ChaserL 3029
BruiserL 3025
TrouncerL 3033
PuncherL 3036
FighterL 3038
StrikerL 3516
Salerno L 3513
L 3039

French Advancing Convoy
French Marines and AMX-Tanks

General Jacques Massu landed at Port-Fouad with the following French units, accompanied by additional French Marines and the AMX-13 Light Tanks. Carried out the first AMX Tanks assault wave
- The 2nd Battalion arrived by sea landing in the fishing harbour

- Advance party of 1st (Guards) Independent Company (in addition)

- Possibly a similar number of troops came along with the 3rd Battalion.

The 1st Battalion landed a short while after the cease fire and advanced west down the coast before digging in, which a lot of publications over look this Fact. The French troops used the following Amphibious landing Ships to disembark and dock at the Port Fouad Shipyard and the Port Said fishing harbour.

The French Navy Fighting Ships

Type & Name Pennant No.
FoudreA 646
LaitaL 9001
OrneL 9002
RanceL 9004
OdetL 9005
CheliffL 9006
CriquetA 761
La BaiseA 625
Elorn A 620
Lac Tonlé SapA 630
Lac TchadA 631
SahelA 638
GibouléeA 741
LiamoneA 760
PachydermeA 718
BélierA 719
FilaoY 638

The British softening air strikes
Tuesday 6th November 1956

Before the British soldiers dared to land on the beach and engage in the street battles, not only destroying the defence positions was pre-required, but also softening and demoralising the opponents in Port Said was necessary. 32 Venoms from Akrotiri wing were dispatched at first light on 6 November to eliminate a number of guns in concrete emplacements on the West Mole breakwater which ran north from Port Said. They fired salvos of eight squash head rockets at the gun emplacements before the Royal Navy's destroyers commenced bombarding the 3.000 yards of invasion beaches. '. Not only did Marshal Sir David Lee documented this fact in his book (wings in the Sun) but also Brian Cull added he details of this attack on page 287 of (Wings over Suez) as follows:

At 0800 two sections of Sea Hawks - four each from 800 and 800 Squadrons - were launched by Albion, their pilots tasked to bomb the gun battery at Port Said , which had bee rocketed an hour earlier by eight Sea Hawks from Bulwark. All aircraft returned safely. Albino's pilots claimed that the west battery had been destroyed, and the east battery damaged, although Lt Cdr Tibb, leading the 800 Squadron section, noted that he had missed the target on this occasion. Bulwark launched further strikes against the Port Said guns at 0740 ( four aircraft), 0950 ( four aircraft), 1055 ( eight aircraft), noon ( seven aircraft), and 1305 ( eight aircraft), 1410 ( four aircraft), 1515 ( four aircraft), and 1620 ( four aircraft), two of the strikes led by 810 Squadron's Lt Cdr Lamb and two by Lt Anson of 895 Squadron , Albion dispatched sea Hawks 1t 1115 ( eight aircraft), and 1220 ( six aircraft), although these were not successful, while five Sea Hawks which struck at 1500 claimed a radar aerial damaged and two huts left burning. By the end of the day the two six inch main battery guns, plus two twin-barrelled six ponders - one on each breakwater - an various light anti-aircraft guns had been rendered inoperable, as had their radars.....'

The Navy mounted a ten minute Air strike on the invasion beach and followed this with 45 minute bombardment which neutralised gun emplacements amongst the beach huts on the foreshore; when this lifted the Navy followed it with the final airstrikes on the beach, and the seaborne force was able to land without the casualties usually expected in an assault against a defended coast.

Royal Marine Commandos and 6 RTR Centurions
Tuesday 6th November 1956

Street positions of

RMC 40, 42, 45 and 6 RTR

Preceded by minesweepers, the assault force reached ist destination exactly on time. At 0650 hours local time (04.50 GMT) the landing waves of 40 and 42 Royal Marine Commandos went ashore and crossed the beaches in tracked landing vehicles ( 14 Buffalos) before disembarking. One SOne Squadron 'C' of the 6th Royal Tank Regiment (6 RTR) waded ist waterproof tanks ashore from landing craft (LST) which had touched down in 4 1/2 feet of water. At the same time, under the leading of General Jacques Massu, the French assault force comprising 1 Regiment Étranger Parachutists and three naval commando units, supported by a squadron of AMX-13 light tanks, made a near to unopposed landing on the beaches of the neighbouring Port Fouad.

To reach the two Bound areas set for the advancing troops within the Arab part of the town, meant encountering unpredicted and severe street fighting. BOUND II (Shari el Ghazi Mokhtar at 1600 hours ) set for 3 Para coming from east wards from El Gamil in the west and (BOUND I in Shari el Sherif at 1430 hours ) was set for troops X, Z, A and E of the 42 Royal Marine Commandos . This meant a long and dangerous 3 Para advancing from west and by passing by the Arab town. The 42 Royal Marine Commandos had to pass through the burning beach huts and the quantities of exploding ammunition. They came under small arms fire from buildings along the seafront. A dug in Egyptian SU-100 opened fire on one of the supporting destroyers in an effort to cause damage to the assaulting ship, but was silenced by hurriedly called aerial Strafing. The destroyers returned gunfire resulted in conflagration in the Shanty Town in the immediate neighbourhood of the SU-100.

The aim of 42 Royal Marine Commandos was to get through Port Said as quickly as possible with the aid of 6 RTR and to seal off the southern exits of the town in the vicinity of the Golf Camp while 40 Royal Marine Commandos, also with the aid of 6 RTR tanks, was to clear the vicinity of the harbour so that Vessels and LSTs and the rest of the Armadas could enter without coming under Egyptian opposing fire.

And this is how the following summary of street fighting described from both fighting parties have taken place within Port Said.

42 RMC and 6 RTR Centurion opposite Abbasi Mosque

Air Chief Marshal Sir David Lee confirms in his book 'Wings in the Sun' that 42 Royal Marine Commandos has met considerable resistance in Port Said and could only proceed after air strike was called down on strongpoint dominating their main axis of advance. They then had to move quickly along the Rue Mohamed Aly coming under fire from side streets and balconies. Eventually the supporting tanks, having silenced a number of guns en route. He documents that 42 Royal Marine Commandos emerged into the open south of heavily built-up area and the Commandos cleared houses, suffering some casualties in the fighting process.

No. 40 Royal Marine Commando was also clearing houses along the Quai Sultan Hussein in the Port Said harbour area, where they encountered strong opposition from Egyptian troops amongst the warehouses

MIG-15 over El Gamil airfield

The appearance of an Egyptian MIG-15 over Port Said El Gamil airfield is confirmed by Air Chief Marshal Sir David Lee. The Egyptian pilot has machine-gunned the airfield strafing 3 Para for seconds. Although a 6 Squadron pilot got to within 500 yards and gave chase, the Egyptian pilot easily outstripped the chase with his MIG-15 and disappeared. We have expected that the Egyptian Airforce would take the skies over Port Said and contribute with his share to defend the city. We were happy, but for a short time only. We never knew then, that President Nasser has saved Egypt ist experienced pilots by ordering them not to take off.

President Nasser explained later in press interviews and public speeches, that losing aircraft could be replaced in the shortest time, but losing the trained pilots will need years to compensate.

A situation, no one had ever calculated, after the operational reports of downing the EAF and destroying it for good. This accident has caused excitement and caution for days to come!

UN cease fire Resolution November 7th a past United Nations Action

As of today (October 30, 1956), the UN has never sent a peacekeeping mission. There has been no precedence set for UN involvement in such a situation. Because the situation is in the Cold War nothing has been passed. During the Cold War, many countries vetoed other countries' resolutions for political reasons. The Anglo-French resolution was divided; the first half passed, while the second half was vetoed by the USSR. The Security Council has met extensively regarding this topic but has proved itself unsuccessful in regards to providing a solution. The USSR vetoed a draft resolution submitted to the council by France and Great Britain, on October 13th. .

The main movements on the diplomatic parquet in the General Assembly were characterised by two blocks which in turn influenced their voting for the cease-fire resolution.

Those for nationalization and against military aggression: When Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal on July 16th 1956, it was doing what was both best for the nation and within their rights. Article X of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 states that the other provisions in the document would not impair the power of Egypt's leader to rule and keep order in his nation. It also states that the contention will not in anyway lessen the powers of the Egyptian government (Article XIII). Egypt was depending on the aid from the US and Great Britain to begin work on the Aswan High Dam project. It was Egypt's only alternative to nationalize the Canal, thus giving them the revenues to proceed with the project. Egypt has also agreed to give shareholders what is due to them, as stated in article 1 of the Egyptian law nationalizing the Suez Canal Company (passed July 26, 1956). As for the allegations of Egypt buying communist arms, it is within Egypt's sovereign right under article 1 of the United Nation's Charter to buy arms from its allies. The weapons bought from the USSR by Egypt were both legal and within Egypt's right. Therefore, an independent country should not be attacked militarily

Against nationalizing the Canal: Under the Constantinople Convention of 1888, Egypt could not nationalize the Canal. Another discrepancy is the issue of the toll that will be charged to all passing nations. The Suez Canal is an international waterway, so those using it should not be charged a toll at all. The Constantinople Convention of 1888 clearly states that the Canal shall be open to all nations of the world in times of peace and war, regardless of political affiliations. There is also a good reason for the nations around the world to be distraught over the nationalization, because Egypt has proved that it does not abide by the Constantinople Convention of 1888, seeing that it does not allow Israel to use the Canal. Justifying all military actions against Egypt.

The third part of ( following nations ) was irrelevant. They either opposed the Resolution or refrained from voting.

Under the pressure of USA, USSR and the Block of Neutral Nations in UN, the cease-fire was ordered at 2345 on 6th November. To gain time, both General Stockwell and General Andrée Baeufre wanted it interpreted as GMT, which meant winning two additional hours to proceed advancing southwards and capture as much ground as possible. The cease-fire has become into effect on Wednesday 7th November 1956. at 0245 instead of Tuesday 06th November at 2345 hors as supposed by the UN. The Anglo-French massive campaign could only reach a point 23 KM south of the town.

The British has driven along the very 5 meter narrow street limited from the west by the Manzala Lake and from the east by 200 meters salty and damp ground ( unsuitable for any halt), followed by the sweat water Canal which limited and movement towards the Suez Canal waterway. The French were not in a better situation, the used the narrower road (ca. 4 meters wide) named as the Suez Canal Company road. The were limited from the west by the sweat water Canal and from the east by the broad and deep Suez Canal water way which surface was about 5 meters below the streets level. Where both British and French Centurions stopped did not allow any manoeuvrability or even deep trenching. It was more a torture to be stationed at this humid area with ist salty damps. Meanwhile, only Port Said, the north entrance of the Canal was taken by British-French troops.

The de facto stop of shootings on a bigger scale, occurred in the early hours of Wednesday 7th November, the single shootings stopped effectively as of the afternoon. Many persons have continued to shoot here and there during the day. They either ignored the cease-fire or they did not hear of it. But once we saw that the British troops accompanied with Centurions or AMX tanks patrolling the streets, every where, we knew that the City fall and that we were under Siege. We have stopped to aim at them openly. The will for opposition and resistance was born. But this is another story

French Marines and AMX-Tanks

General Jacques Massu landed at Port-Fouad with the following French units, accompanied by additional French Marines and the AMX-13 Light Tanks. Carried out the first AMX Tanks assault wave
- The 2nd Battalion arrived by sea landing in the fishing harbour
- Advance party of 1st (Guards) Independent Company (in addition)
- Possibly a similar number of troops came along with the 3rd Battalion

Two French AMX TanksBlocking Sultan Hussein street

The 1st Battalion landed a short while after the cease fire and advanced west down the coast before digging in, which a lot of publications over look this Fact. The French troops used the following Amphibious landing Ships to disembark and dock at the Port Fouad Shipyard and the Port Said fishing harbour.
The Agony of declination, to be former two Super Powers has begun, but the Agony for Port Said to be under Siege was more hurting......

A new era of fighting for Freedom has begun in history of Liberty

You are my today's


Dr. Yahia Al Shaer
The following two maps, assistent to Unverstand the Invasion developments and the Egyptian countering battel's developments. A Summers of the Bartels, that counted, will be publisher later.

The third map is designed by me for my Boo "The Other Side of the Coin, Suez War 1956"...

I shall try to repaint it in English, nevertheless, the arrows, document the Advancing Troops to surround and peneterate Port Sais (by the British troops) and Port Fpouad ( sister city on the eastern side of the Suez Canal) ,
give an idea about the many battels/fightings that took place bot on Monday and FIERCELY as of Tuesday 06th
and 07th .November 1956 (prior to imposed UN Cease Fire, which took place as of t Wednesday 7th. Nov. afternoon)


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