June 6, 1944

     D-Day operations began the evening before H-Hour when the French Resistance were secretly warned that the long-awaited invasion was to cross over within 48 hours.

Emergency

    During the crucial night, all over France, people were alerted by radio, and men and women responded by blowing up telephone lines and poles, bridges and passes, and severing rail connections into Normandy; initial success was pending on resistance disruption. During that crucial night, luck and destiny were on the Allied side.  In its brief, but tiny interval, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the legend of North Africa, much esteemed by Hitler, was away for one of WW II's favorite pastime, “on a leave.”  He was to remain absent and away from the front and out of touch with his HQ situated in an elegant mansion in La Roche, Guyon, France. During the first hours of the battle of Normandy, he was asleep in Germany. 

75th Anniversary of June 1944

This June of 2019 marks the 75th Anniversary of when the events of so long ago took place, and to begin to mark the occasion it behooves us to interpret that eventful day, hour by hour from the first Allies who landed and dropped behind enemy lines until the nimble numbers grew and grew.  The entire invasion was code named: Operation Overlord.  

     You undoubtedly saw, modern history play up the events of D-Day.  Yet, as we also draw closer to summer, all that reminds me of the 50th Anniversary.  

      I was in Normandy 25 years ago with my brother and dad, a WW II veteran who landed after that tumultuous day, and thank God that he did or I might not be here...in between the sands of time, history took a stroll through numerous plays and interludes that form warm memories.  Yearly, Normandy, or as it is spelled Normandie in French, comes to life each year around D-Day the 6th of June.  Merci, Pernelle Pouteau.  I remember it was something like this in 1994, on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day but it was more crowded.  And, no one had cool little camera-phones. I discovered the next video so different and touching: D-Day: Ghosts in a Landscape Merci.  The cameras of today are quiet wonderful and help bring history to life; much better than just a static history book. You can also hear the audio much better if you use headphones; in fact, you can do one better by using Bluetooth and a mini speaker and connect it to any devise you may have.  I recommend these 2 excellent ones: the HAVIT M13 Speaker or the Antimi Speaker.   Youtube can also be a useful avenue in the studies of history, one that did not exist before. Paris when it was still under Nazi wings:  Germans of that era remembered this…but Europe was to change.   Imagine IT IS 1944 BEFORE THE INVASION.   France is occupied by the Germans.  An intrigue?, a capture?, black market? it is up to writers who hitch storylines with a WW II backdrop.  Writers have been providing storylines on WW II, that will probably never disappear.  But, the key, is to know your history in the first place.  Now, let us advance to that momentous day in history, or should we say, go back in time to 1944.  German central Time (1 hour before British Double Summer Time.)

 

11 p.m.  June 5

Little dinner night parties in progress which affect the course of D-Day.  One in St. Lo, a staff birthday party.  Another in La Roche-Guyon, in Rommel's headquarters.

11:30 p.m.

American parachutes in green, white and red nylon begin opening above a dark French countryside.  From these parachutes and the first to land, and ordered to avoid all trouble, these soldiers were the advance paratroopers known as Pathfinders who had to mark seven drop zones and lead the way for the following airborne; were equipped with some powerful flashlights and portable radar beacons. They were confronted by enemy fire and they had to fight for their lives.  Americans and British land in their sectors virtually simultaneously. Behind them are the airborne in gliders, flown by glider pilots; there were over 7,200 pilots overall, in the war, here is a nice website on the World War II Glider Pilots Association.

11:55 p.m.

The first house in France is liberated, just before the strike of midnight, by the Buckinhamshire and Oxfordshire units of the 6th British Airborne.

      It was not a normal tapestry in the day of war.  Victory in Europe depended on the successful execution of Overlord.  The most important aspect that first day from an Allied perspective was to get the foothold securely on the beachhead and to keep the German air force from attacking critical beach areas.  During the initial first days, the Luftwaffe did show itself, managing to knock-out D-Day balloons and fly 318 flights, but mainly, their endeavor was at night over Normandy.   Allied Armies who stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day had a force of 155,000 troops, 18,000 paratroopers, 13,175 aircraft, over 5,000 ships and 20,000 vehicles, initially.  One thousand nine hundred and 66 protective single-seated fighter aircraft provided escort protection.    

      Evening: the Fr. Resistance hear the vital BBC broadcasts enumerating special sentences conveying secret messages for SABOTAGE.   German counter intelligence in the night picks up "Blessent mon coeur..." on BBC radio. Merci Jonathan Perrut.  Radio Londres was a radio station existing from 1940 to 1944 by the BBC in London, broadcasting into Nazi occupied France, but for the night before, June 5, we take the liberty, for educational purposes, to present history, dans la nuit.  It was repeated over and over, however, many in German High Command thought it could be some sort of trick.  German units in France were told to be on alert, however, not the second largest, the 7th German Army.   Many Abwehr officers however, see the intelligence warning as “nothing much anyway.”

 

MIDNIGHT  June 6, 1944

Happy Birthday

It is no longer storming in Normandy hence the first non-drenching midnight in a long time. Near a little birthday party, shortly after the hour an Allied bomber plummets toward earth as a “sparky dot” engulfed in flames.  Jubilant German AA gunners are heard cheering by the officers in the mansion having a party.

 

12:15

The first pathfinders of the 101st Airborne drop to guide the rest of the 101.

 

12:50 a.m.

British troops secure key bridges over Orne River.

by 1 a.m.

The main contingent carrying specially trained Americans from the 82nd and 101st Airborne, under Generals Matt Ridgway from Virginia, James Gavin from Brooklyn who hated segregation and Maxwell Taylor who knew Italian and saved the division from a suicide paratroop drop into Rome in '43, from Kansas City, begin dropping by parachute over France; eventually 369 C-47s carried the 82nd; 432 C-47s carried the 101.  First contingent of the 101 (507th Reg) did not arrive until approximately 2:30. In the first hours, the wind blows hard enough to scatter the jumpers of both divisions.  To add to this, only 2 out of every 5 C-47s had a navigator, some pilots complicate matters, flew in too fast and too high; to overcome overladen C-47s (normal safe wt: 27,900 lbs) where the planes had up to 34,000 lbs, they increased speed.  On the ground few land as in pre-determined units. Troops are built on little groups of people.  Our Allies specially trained British Commandos land near the vital Orne River bridge in one of the day's most accurate glider landings.  The crickets sound in the hedgerows.  The night has a moon, and it is foggy.  One guy remarked, “It looks like some werewolf movie.”  

     Many men from the U.S. 82nd fell into chapel bell ringing Sainte-Mère Église. These soldiers from the air are strictly volunteer.  The main job was to secure vital crossroads, bridges and demobilize key communications.  They had a special way of talking to each other, by sound of a click made from a metal cricket, an idea conceived by Gen. Taylor.  The first twenty-four hours after dropping behind enemy lines was a fight of tooth-and-nail in green hedgerows and muddy ditches.

2:30 a.m.

Far out at sea, the vanguard of the invasion fleet finished making their 100 mile voyage and began dropping anchor 12 miles to 14 miles offshore, with American forces opposite the sand dunes of Varreville and outside Colleville. The ocean water is anything but calm. Never spotted by German radar due to fake foil dropped that screwed up radar receivers. Convoy after convoy unwound from Britain all night long.  In a complex operation against inhospitable seas they proceeded to France. Invasion ships for Omaha were commanded by Rear Admiral John L. Hall, U.S. Navy, carrying 34,000 Americans.  Invasion ships for Utah were commanded by Rear Admiral Don, P. Moon with 30,000.  All naval forces are under over-all command of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Royal Navy.  French village Ranville becomes the first village to be liberated, very close to this time, by the 13th Lancashire unit of the 6th.

 

By 3 a.m.

Over 6 thousand able bodied American and British paratroops have already dropped in France's fields near bridges, near various villages and towns, near glider marks; they fell into no-man's land.  Confusion reigns.  Some objectives are in the process of being held. The German 7th Army and Rommel's headquarters are also confused but are now alerted to something.  Rommel's Chief of Staff refuses to believe this is the real thing. Rommel is away.  “No sign of an invasion,” they proclaim in official staff memos.

3:30

Sainte Mère-Église, in spite of shoots outs in town, is the first French town liberated by les Americans, though the night is still masked with fog.  

4 a.m.

Sky trains pulled by C-47s and C-54s draped in black camouflage begin landing their gliders, more than 400, in towed lines of 50 per train, initially. Incredible as it may sound, it was a principal story of glider misdirectinga huge percentage did not find drop marks, beacons, or overshoot and land disastrously on tall stakes, devised by Rommel.  [Some 3,500 gliders would be overall utilized by the Allies.]

4:15 a.m.

Field Marshal von Rundstedt comes to the conclusion the parachute drops are a prelude to a beach-landing, but no one in Berlin appreciates his orders.  On his own, secretly orders the 12th SS and the Panzer Lehr to the coast. From the miniseries Band of Brothers 2011 the dangerous night drop. Next is a modern parachute drop in 2014 someone also posted on the internet, including some real veterans watching, 18 mins, memorable.  Ste. Mère Église.  

 

4:55  a.m.  

The first 3,000 of the U.S. 1st Army head towards the French coast; took about 1 1/2 hour.

By 5 a.m.

German naval command warns 7th Army HQ in Le Mans, France, that for over an hour eerie radar blimps have been reported and are mounting in both the Pas de Calais and Normandy areas. Hitler's HQ in Berchestagaden, Germany, is warned via naval channels, but no one dares to wake up Der Fuehrer about the impending troubles.  Good fortunes beset the Allied troops. Large German garrison in the well defended Contention Peninsula have all their telephone lines cut before twilight by the French Resistance and paratroops of the U.S. 82nd.  German naval communications have teletype and hence remain uncut.  Neither the invasion fleet or other airborne, (nor London) know what each in France is doing, has done, or how close to accomplishment; in one sense that gave the perception the Allies were everywhere, and it forced the Germans to hold back their reserves.  The Stars and Stripes was flying from a little flagpole in Sainte Mère-Église.

5:50  a.m.  

Battleship Texas opens fire, Normandy sector of Omaha Beach.

5:55  a.m.

British B-24 Liberators begin to bomb German coastal installations.

 

5:58  a.m. Sunrise.

 

6 a.m. 

People on the German occupied coast of Normandy that live within 35 kilometers, 21.7 miles, of any part of the coast are warned repeatedly by BBC radio to evacuate as quickly as possible, and above all to remain calm.  The French civilians had been told before by the Gestapo that no damage would come to their towns if they stayed.   The gray dawn is showing. The continuous concussion of the guns are deafening. Heavy bombers fly over and bombard beach dispositions including 270 B-26 Marauders. 

6 a.m. 

People on the German-occupied coast of Normandy that live within 21.7 miles of any part of the coast are warned repeatedly by the BBC to evacuate. CBS radio.

NBC radio.

Actual Communiqué No. 1 released by the BBC to the public press and radio, 3:32 a.m. Eastern War Time.     

6:15 a.m.

German troops stationed in Sainte Mère-Église informs its HQ the town is occupied by paratroopers.

6:27 a.m.

End of naval barrage, except for destroyers USS Satterlee, HMS Talybont.

6:30 a.m.

American feet and hands begin touching French soil as the 16th and 116th Regimental 1st Inf Div Combat teams on Omaha Beach and the 8th Inf Regiment 4th Inf Div on Utah touch; the American invasion has landed on schedule. Heavy enemy artillery and machine gun fire on Omaha. The first waves on Utah Beach actually landed a mile too far south and Brig Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of former Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, signals the Navy to bring in followups to this new sector. On Utah minimal opposition; 28 out of 32 first wave tanks reach the beach, scattered explosions rock the troops, but in one, a man in front of Capt. George Mabry disintegrates in a flash, something small strikes Mabry in the stomach by a direct hit; it was a thumb.  Altogether 40 landing craft attempt the assault waves ashore.

6:45 a.m.

A smoke screen that protects the Allied armada is laid by RAF B-25's, including French crews in their B-25s (Lorraine group).

7 a.m.  

German barriers are above water; it is low tide on Omaha, LCM’s and LCI’s pictured overturned in ocean area at Omaha Beach. LCVP’s loaded with GI’s circle aimlessly, because the navy managing the boats can not find the gaps which they had been told would be blown in the barriers. They had not been blown because many demo experts were either killed or landed on the wrong sector; the marker poles that came in initially were to be placed to guide landing craft through the gaps were destroyed when the boat carrying them was hit by German fire. LC doors are opened prematurely. Tanks are let out. The rough waters slap the little landing craft like if they were nothing. The rough waters rip the air inflated canvas donuts covering amphibian tanks. These special Sherman tanks were sealed watertight. The tank crews had oxygen masks with ten minutes’ supply of oxygen. Of the first 32 launched, 30 become inundated. Sands from the higher elevated dunes to the bluffs are all mined. The Germans are holed in the bluffs, and from one high church tower, with telescopic binoculars, Germans are able to pinpoint fire. Along with the troops are brave American reporters and cameramen, 28 scattered in all: Don Whitehead, Associated Press; John O'Reilly, New York Herald Tribune; Jack Thompson, Chicago Tribune; John MacVane, NBC; Bob Capa, Life Magazine; photographer Bert Brandt, Acme Newspictures; Charles Wertenbaker, Life Magazine; Tommy Grandin, the Blue Network, foretunner to ABC; Richard Stokes, St. Louis Post Dispatch; Warren Kenneth, Newark News; Lou Azrael, Baltimore News Post; Tom Treanor, Los Angeles Times; and Ernie Pyle were at Omaha. On Utah Beach were Larry SeSueur, CBS; Charles Collingwood, CBS; Bob Dunnett, BBC; Henry Gorrell, United Press; Clark Lee, INS; Bill Stoneman, Chicago Daily News; Harold Austin, Sydney Morning Herald; and Bob Landry, Life photographer.  Airborne reporters were Will Walton, Time Magazine; Phil Bucknell, Stars and Stripes (who broke his leg near Sainte Mère-Église) and Wright Bryan of NBC. Colleague Peter Paris, Yank correspondent, was on Omaha; he was hit by a bomb and died instantly.  ABC’s George Hicks was on board the ship that also had Pyle and General Bradley. It was the general’s command ship, and he Hick’s made a famous recording on June 6, at 7:20 that became the only usable recording from the invasion fleet, however, it was not heard until midnight.

7:20 a.m.

End of naval barrage on Gold, Sword, Juno beaches after a 2 hour naval and air bombardment; 5 mins or so later, the first funnies (tanks) begin clearing obstacles on Gold, Sword, Juno. 

 

7:30 a.m.

In their sector from 7 miles out, British and Canadian assault troops fight for Gold, Juno, Sword beaches. Our Allies use an odd assortment of amphibious tanks, peculiar inventions (dubbed funnies): flail tanks had revolving drums with chains which went up and down, flailed the ground ahead detonating mines; roly-polies were tanks which rolled matting or steel mesh to form temporary roadways; crocodiles had flame throwers which threw flames farther than any man; fascine tanks carried huge bundles of logs that dropped into any deep antitank ditch so that following tanks can traverse the beach easier; and there were also bridging tanks which carried 30-foot bridges to help traverse monster craters.  The British offered them to the Americans, but U.S. command declined.  A little later a unique detachment of Commandoes, composed of troops from France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, Russia, Austria, and Poland fight their way into casino town of Ouistreham on Normandy. Thirty-one of 40 tanks reach Sword Beach. Six out of 40 Royal Marine tanks make it ashore. Twenty out of 24 landing craft in the Canadian sector are lost. Canadian 3rd Div. thrusts rapidly in the Courseulles area 3-6 miles inland; armored patrols shoot for the Bayeux-Caen highway at Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse. All key exits on Utah are secured by U.S. paratroopers.  Many gliders have landed on French soil.   Here is what pilot Mel Pliner remembers.  And, here is another account by George “Pete” Buckley on Flight Officer Erwin Morales and his story in Normandy. 

   For the most part, the pre-invasion air attack had resulted in knocking out 74 enemy radar stations from Cap d'Antifer to Barfleur which was critical.  Allied Armies stormed the Normandy beaches with a force of 155,000 troops, 18,000 paratroopers, 13,175 aircraft, 1,500 tanks and 5,300 landing craft and ships. One thousand nine hundred and 66 fighters provided escort protection.  The U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne were roaming behind the beaches between Ste Mère-Église, Carentan, and St Martin de Varreville when this color photograph aboard the Augusta was taken. 

8:25 a.m.  

The entire German-controlled Fr. radio network goes off the air. 

 

8:45 a.m.  

It is known the U.S. VII Corps had landed 2000 yards south of their original sector on Utah encountering light enemy opposition. Tiny German crawling electronic weapons that resemble midget tanks, try to blow up Yanks on Utah, but are dismantled. On Omaha, nothing is a piece of cake. Explosions are rampant. LCT’s of the 743rd Tank Battalion landed eight DD tanks which open fire on the Vierville stronghold. Bridge on the Dives river secured by British paratroops. Paratroopers of the 101st Airborne which are inland holding the vital sea locks at La Barquette (near Carentan) start falling prey to heavy artillery fire from enemy nestled e. of Ste. Côme-du-Mont. The cruiser USS Quincy responds with helpful shore work silencing the enemy. All through the day, in the Norman fields, pockets of the 91st German Division try cutting various lines of the 82nd. However, the 82nd meets and holds the front in the wilderness; overall, all para units prevented some 35,000 enemy units from rushing the beaches to attack the U.S. units. From the sea, U.S Rangers from the U.S. 2nd Ranger Battalion had scaled the lime cliffs at Pointe du Hoc. Germans rolled boulders over them, tipped over ladders and offered grenades and fierce gunfire.

 

 

8:20 a.m.

General Bradley receives a radio signal from Colonel Talley, U.S. Deputy Chief of Staff V Corps: Such vehicles and armor as have reached the beach cannot advance any further while the German guns remain intact.   They have to be silenced at any cost. U.S. and British Navies begin firing their superguns.

A great sense of death and struggle to live overcame them all.

9:15 a.m.

It is one nightmare on Omaha as the majority of soldiers and naval demo squads are pinned down by machine gun and overfalling mortar bombs. All but one howitzer of the 111 Field Artillery Battalion is destroyed or sunk. Omaha appears in peril. Many buldozers are blown up. A few of the 16 Regiment, 1st Infantry Division who came in too far east, perceive an opening farther eastward. Their CO’s have the men move away from the open heights of Fox Green towards the opening, a lightly defended ravine. Clearing it, the men scoot through and up for the plateau.  Away from all beaches were hidden nests of artillery.  From the contemporary photo where a modern drone snapped a pic, courtesy of World War 2 Foundation, we see where some guns were hidden in '44 at a place near Brécourt. It is said Hitler is awake, listens to music by Wagner.

Next 2 photos are included for their historical significance, a Liberty ship, and a drone flew over Brecourt, France.

9:32 a.m.  

A dozen FW-190 German fighter aircraft attack Gold Beach.

9:32 a.m.  

An American announcer: “This is Supreme headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In a moment you will hear the Supreme comnmander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower.” Eisenhower and the Great Crusade message

 

A world heard the electric confirmation of the invasion. Here it is in eight languages (below, CBS via pooled transmission.)

 

 

9:55 a.m.

The very few of the 16th who unbelievably reached the top of the cliff, fight their way to Colleville, Vierville. In the Utah Beach sector on orders by General Roosevelt, Jr, who used instinctive common sense, his Red Beach sector pushes through the southward exit. The seas are filled with mines.  About 3 miles inland, southwest of Utah Beach, 12 paratroopers led by a Maj. Winters of the 506th Parachute Reg. discover and overtake a hidden nest of 4 artillery guns, with a few words from the men who actually undertook the endeavor in  the battle of Brécourt Manor.  I could not resist this clip.  The enemy had a superiority in numbers, 12 guys vs about 60. There is a memorial marking the battle of Brécourt Manor. Winters himself also discovered a map which showed all the locations of the enemy artillery batteries in the Utah sector and proved invaluable.  “Wars do not make men great, but they bring out the greatness in good men”: Major Richard D. Winters. Historian Stephen E. Ambrose wrote a non-fiction book Band of  Brothers in 1992, based on the 506th, becoming a TV miniseries in 2001 winning Emmy and Golden Globe awards, a year before he died.  Executive producers: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.  

  

10 a.m.

Hitler commences breakfast, far way.  Dead men float in their inflated life belts all over the places off the beaches of Normandy.

10:30 a.m. 

The two 75mm guns of Pointe de la Percee finally ko'ed by destroyer McCook.

11 a.m. 

Pointe de la Percee radar station struck by shells from destroyer Thompson.  7 beach exists on Gold beach are cleared.

  

11:15 a.m.

Rommel receives mixed-up information by phone that an invasion fleet is approaching the Pas de Calais beach and one is already in Normandy.

 

12 Noon

French village Vierville is cleared by U.S. 5th Ranger Battalion and 116 Inf Regiment.  At Pointe du Hoc, the last 6 defenders in their observation post are captured.  Col. Rudder sends message that mission completed at Pointe du Hoc but are in urgent need of ammunition and reinforcements.  Winston Churchill delivers his speech to House of Commons on the liberation of Rome and the beginning of the Normandy landings.

12:20 p.m. 

The first barage balloon was floating in the breeze at H-plus 225 minutes. Inland, the first yards of metal netting are laid on the sand to help the vehicles drive off the beach. German counterattack at Vierville repelled by the advance “remnants” of the U.S. 1st Battalion, 116 Regiment.  American troops inside Colleville-sur-Mer.

Bombers continued their assault over Normandy in this special 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy invasion color photo.  It is not colorized, this is the real deal.  In the actual picture is a B-26 med bomber on a historic morning flight on June 6, 1944.   Richard C. Huttlelut reporter flew over in a B-26.  Below, looking like ants, are troops and ships moving to gain their objectives.  This photograph was sharpened and enhanced in Photoshop  by the author and saved on thermo-magneto technology.  Of 742 B-26s that flew overall on June 6, only 6 were reported missing in action.

New radar ground control is first used in Normandy (Microwave Early Warning, MEW). U.S. 8th A.F. in England reaches peak strength; over 200,000 men, 40 1/2 Heavy Bomb Groups, 15 Fighter Groups, and 2 Photo-Recon Groups. A sky train fifty miles long helps resupply Allied troops on Normandy; 2,876,000 are part of the entire D-Day Allied invasion. Blood donors stampede into Red Cross in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn) producing an increase of 300% in appointments over the normal.  Radio Londres.

Bulletin from N.Y. Don Goddard, NBC.

Gliders that landed on soaked fields.  Gliders were without armor protection and were towed at the end of a nylon leash. Some landed intact others were not so fortunate.  How many had their necks broken before they even saw the ground and had a chance to fight?  In the battlefield existed the traceable odor of dead flesh.  There was no time to bury the dead the first day.  President Roosevelt issued a D-Day prayer.

1:15 p.m. All five beaches extremely packed with all maner of humanity and machine. At Omaha, GI’s of the 1st and 29th Divisions are slowly moving inland, but most are still trapped. Operations are hampered by the unexpectedly quick rise of tide. On Sword, Juno and Gold, English scientific inventions looking like tanks are used to the utmost. These armored vehicles build for D-Day were as yet unknown to the enemy. Evacuation is contemplated by General Omar Bradley.  Over six thousand airborne troops are roving in France, some are lost in an astounding area some 25 miles by 15.  In the first 24 hours, 1,662 troop carrier aircraft were send in.  And, they kept coming.  In 1994, there was a reenactment of a drop of 500 parachutists, although these are not C-47s you get the gist.  500 is awesome but imagine hundreds and hundreds.  As we did for Guadalcanal, we would like to present 2 drone vistas over Normandy.  There were so many good ones out there it was a tough choice to pick, so we picked 1 in Francais and 1 in English.  Mr. Valentine wishes to thank all who constructed their own posts and shared them so that historians can have a reference for the general public.  Merci beaucoup to everybody.  At Utah, the beach is clear, but long-range artillery still raining down.

1:30 p.m.  Air bombardment of the city of Caen.

2:15 p.m.  Naval destroyers have come dangerously close to shore. Dan Whitehead American reporter wrote, “We saw the destroyers come racing toward the beach and swing broadside, exploding a chunk of concrete from the right of the blockhouse. Another nicked the top. A third ripped off a corner. And then the fourth shell smashed into the gunpoint to silence the weapon.” Army engineers completed blasting a hole which is large enough for a sherman tank. With the word passed along, many GI’s on Omaha, including tanks, began escaping through. In 101st sector, enemy is resisting strongly in Carentan-St. Come-du Mont area.  21st Panzer Div tanks on the outskirts of Caen find it impossible to enter city of Caen as it had been subjected to a murderous aerial bombardment by U.S. 9th A.F. medium bombers which plastered the hell out of the city.

2:58 p.m.  Dreadful news comes from Colleville-sur-Mer: the Germans have retaken it. 

by 3 p.m.  

Nazi Gestapo murdered 80 French Resistance captured in Caen prison.

by 3:40 p.m.  

Nazi forces are still puzzled by continuous radar (phony) movement in the Pas de Calais a region about 369 km north, like 203 miles (about 5 hours away) where Germans believed “the real invasion” could come, however, the Panzer Lehr and 12th SS tank divisions, released by Hitler, are moving towards Normandy.  21st Panzer Div mounts main attack on Caen shortly after 4 pm but in a short 10 mins Allied planes attack, destroy 5 tanks and the Germans halt their drive to the beaches. The deadlock on Omaha is broken. The 18th Regimental Combat Team of the 1st Div is ashore.  No live news transmission. Voice broadcasts began only on June 16, relayed to N.Y. via London.  On D+1, Bert Brandt brought his photos to London.  Of all the special radio and mikes that were supposed to have landed on Omaha, all were lost at sea.  

John MacVane, of NBC, found a radio for a broadcast and around 1 a.m. next day did a 15 min talk, but nobody picked it up.   British control entire port of Ouistreham.  

 

Calling London (actual circa 4:30 pm Eastern War Time.) 

5:30 p.m. 

The speech by Gen. Charles de Gaulle The Supreme Battle is Engaged is broadcast on the BBC.

6 p.m. 

The strongest and most fully equipped German armor division on the Western Front is ordered out of its bivouac immediately around Paris, toward Caen; in broad daylight. Allied fighter bombers attack it.  An umbrella of 10,585 friendly sorties was provided. The Luftwaffe had little chance of reaching the beaches.  At least 49,000 Americans had been landed by nightfall. By midnight, Allied armies had over 130,000 troops in France. Eight hundred and thirty-two injured were evacuated from France the first day; the remainder laid stretched behind cover. By nightfall, 1465 Americans were dead.  A radio report from one of our Allies the British (involving Waco gliders and larger British Horse gliders) : Alan Melville in a surprising report coming from the sea off Beach 13 at 9 pm, near small port city of Ouistreham; about 2 mins.  Next, the report from CBS correspondent Charles Collingwood Utah Beach on June 6, introduced by famous Edward R. Murrow.  Several times Murow reported on D-Day but he was in London only.  Note: this recording of June 6 did not hit the air waves until June 8, but due to the content, we bring it here.  Charles Shaw from London played a recording between 9 and 10 a.m. Eastern War Time of Collingwood aboard an LST interviewing soldiersthey were not on the French Coast, yet. 

by 11 p.m.

The weather is closing in.  The five valleys holding the key exits and only exits from the beaches, through which must pass all troops and supplies, are controlled by the Allies.  The British 50th Inf Division reached the perimeter of Bayeux, in perspective the best lead Allied unit to extend to an objective.  German Army Intelligence officers have on hand unpiled a nasty bit of information detailing the attack units that had landed, and were deduced as the best and the most veteran units that the Alies possessed.  Lt. Col. Alfred von Olberg, military correspondent of the German Overseas News Agency had said: “D-Day has dawned and the invasion has begun.  It remains to be seen whether this...attempt marks the beginning of the great invasion.  It is quite possible that the enemy is planning a feint or else holding the attack in order to deceive the German High Command and to cause premature German troop movements.”  Finally, a report from CBS correspondent Larry LeSueur on Utah Beach on June 6.  Note: we could have waited until June 18 when this recording of June 6 was actually aired, but instead, also due to the content, brought it up.  He would spend the next few days covering the brutal hedgerow fighting and saw a lot of combat.   Back home, folks were still basically in the dark but it was still daylight in the States. Remember, this was a world without television.  I think whoever did this video hit the nail on the head. To this day, I am grateful for what all the WW II generation did and I am also grateful for all those young people who took their time and effort to not only post something, they did so with such gallant and ingenuity, a creativity expressed with captivating sound.  A good website to visit on the Normandy invasion would be this one organized by the D-Day and Battle of Normandy Encyclopedia, presented by Marc Laurenceau.  A tough guy who escaped the jaws of death is Capt. Kenneth L. Johnson, with cigarette, of the 82nd Airborne. I end this educational report with these final tidbits of D-Day, ABC special Honored but not forgotten (2 mins 26), part of the massive reenactment with restored airplanes on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and an answer to why we live free in our world (3 mins 56).   Till we meet again.   In the days to come.

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