Fri 6 Jun, 2014 01:48 am
At this precise time (GMT) 70 years ago, G Company were just reaching the summit on Omaha, and taking control of 'easy red' sector.
The allies had actually had feet on the ground since just after midnight, with British and American Paratroopers landing inland and seizing Pegasus Bridge, cutting communication lines and marking out drop zones.
By now, it must be noted, 15000 French civilians had already been killed or injured in the 'softening up' bombing that preceded the invasion.
A further 3000 would suffer during the next few days.
This is a thread to simply honour those service men, women and civilians for what they went through on that day.
Please feel free to contribute, and all I ask is that people take part with good grace.
From the '6juin' website timeline, here is the story so far.....
From 0000 to 0100 hrs : The Pathfinders jump to mark the drop zones for the airborne troops. In the east, The 6th British Airborne Division (General R.GALE). Mission : Protect the left flank of the landing area and destroy the MERVILLE Battery.
In the West, the 82nd (General M.RIDGWAY) and the 101st (General M.TAYLOR) U.S. Airborne Divisions. Mission : Protect the right flank, cut the South of the Cotentin Peninsula and communication lines to the town of CARENTAN, seize the beach exits from UTAH BEACH and capture the town of SAINTE-MERE-EGLISE.
0011 hrs : The first Titanic team made of 3 men jumps from a Halifax above Cotentin and lands in a field 8km west of Saint-Lô. Lieutenant Norman Harry POOLE becomes the first man to jump over Normandy. A few seconds later, a second team under captain Frederick James 'Chick' FOWLES lands in the same area. In order to simulate a large scale assault, other planes drop 200 decoy paratrooper dummies which, upon landing, fire up flares and play rifles and machineguns recordings. POOLE, FOWLES and their men also install amplifiers to play combat noises, mortar explosions and the sound of soldiers cursing. 30 minutes later, quietness returns to the countryside and the men disappeared in the night. Similar operations are taking place close to Yvetot and Harfleur, near Le Havre; around Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët, Lessay, Villedieu-les-Poëles, near the Cerisy forest, the Ecouves forest and along the roads between Lisieux and Evreux.
The objective of the Titanic operations were to confuse the local german anti-paratrooper units and had them searching in vain while the real airborne landings were taking place.
0015 hrs : The first pathfinders of the 101st Airborne jump over Normandy, led by Captain F. LILLYMAN, to mark their division's drop zones. DZ "A" to the west of St Martin-de-Varreville for the 502nd PIR; DZ "C" north of Hiesville for the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 506th PIR and the 3/501st PIR; DZ "D" to the east of Angoville-au-Plain for the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 501st PIR and the 3/506th PIR and LZ "E" for the gliders of missions "Chicago" and 'Keokuk" scheduled between 0400 hrs and 2100 hrs. The C-47s carrying the division are supposed to arrive 30 minutes after the first pathfinders land.
0016 hrs : BENOUVILLE-RANVILLE :
A coup-de-main force, composed of 180 british soldiers (Major J. HOWARD), aboard 6 Horsa gliders lands near the Caen canal and Orne bridges. Mission: capture both bridges and hold them until relieved.
The gliders were released at 6000 feet above Cabourg, just after crossing the coast line. Due to pilot J. WALLWORK's skill, the first glider stopped only 40 meters from the Bénouville Bridge, while the second and third landed at about a hundred meters.
Two other gliders arrived 150 meters away from the Ranville bridge but the sixth one, released too late and facing east, landed 12km from the objective.
Both bridges were captured in less than 15 minutes and radioman E. TAPPENDEN was able to send the "Ham & Jam" victory message.
0020 hrs : 60 pathfinders of Major Lennox BOYD's 22nd Independent Parachute Company jump over Normandy to mark the three drop zones that will be used for the 6th British Airborne Division paratroopers. DZ "N" to the north-est of Ranville, DZ "V" west of Varaville and DZ "K" west of Touffréville.
Upon landing, the pathfinders will have 30 minutes to scout out and mark their assigned drop zone with beacons and radars, especially the "Eureka" transponders. The signals from these beacons are to be recieved by "Rebecca" receivers aboard planes carrying the paratroopers.
The jump does not go as planned due to strong winds and german Flak disorienting the Albermale crews scattering the pathfinders all over the countryside. The Varaville team make it relatively close to DZ "V" but all their beacons are either broken or lost in the nearby marshes. None of the Ranville pathfinders land anywhere near DZ" N" but one of the Touffréville team is dropped by mistake over Ranville. Thinking they are on the correct DZ they start emitting the "K" signal instead of the "N" one, which will cause great disorganization during the main jump. Only 4 men of the second stick planned for Touffréville jump near their assigned objective and, having no clue as to where they are, they decide to place their beacon in the field where they landed.
- From 0100 to 0200 hrs : On the east flank, thousands of britsh paratroopers land in the dark and regroup to accomplish their missions: clear and secure the glider landing zones, destroy the Merville battery, blow the 5 bridges on the Dives river and reinforce Major Howard's party at Bénouville. To the west, 13,000 US paratroopers descend on Normandy but units are scattered, men are drowning in the flooded areas and 70% of the heavy equipment is lost.
0121 hrs : The first pathfinders of the 82d Airborne jump over Normandy to mark the three DZs assigned to the division: DZ "O" north-west of Ste-Mère-Eglise for the 505th PIR, DZ "T" north of Amfréville for the 507th PIR and finally DZ "N" north of Picauville for the 508th PIR. The 369 C-47s carrying the units of the division will arrive 30 minutes after.
0155 hrs : The first bombers of the 8th US Air Force are taking off from England to support the ground forces. 1,198 aircrafts are bound for the coast line and 163 for the city of Caen. The take-offs will take place until 0529 hrs.
- From 0200 to 0300 hrs : The successive air drops are now over. Firefights errupt everywhere. To the east, Ranville is captured, to the west, General GAVIN regroups his scattered paratroopers and heads for Ste-Mere-Eglise.
0211 hrs : A german officer of the 716. Infanterie-Division phones General Marcks in St-Lô and reports that enemy paratroopers have landed east of the Orne river.
0215 hrs : Colonel HAMANN, officer in charge of the 709. Intanterie-Division phones St-Lô and reports that enemy paratroopers have landed around Ste-Mere-Eglise.
0215 hrs : Every german battalions, batteries and regimental headquarters are placed of full alert.
0229 hrs : USS Bayfield, flag ship of Rear Admiral Don P. MOON and carrying the commander of the Utah Beach assault force Major General Joseph L. COLLINS, drops anchor 11,5 miles off the coast.
0251 hrs : USS Ancon, flagship of the Omaha assault force, drops anchor 11 miles off the coast undetected.
- From 0300 to 0500 hrs : The 5,000 war ships and transports arrive to their lowering positions in front of Normandy. Protected by 2,000 aircrafts, they drop anchor 15 miles off the coast. Two midget submarines, arrived two days earlier, are surfacing to mark the british assault sector.
0330 hrs : The HQ of the 91. Infanterie-Division near Picauville reports being under attack.
0335 hrs : The Headquarters of the 6th British Airborne Division, aboard 55 gliders, lands on LZ "N" north of Ranville.
0335 hrs : The 716. Infanterie-Division reports ennemy paratroopers near Amfreville, Breville, Gonneville and Herouvillette.
0354 hrs : Mission "Chicago": 52 CG-4 (WACO) gliders towed by C-47s from the 434th Troop Carrier Group land on LZ " E" north of Hiesville. They bring 158 men, 16x 57mm antitank guns of the 81st AA battalion, 1 baby bulldozer, 1 advanced surgical unit, 1 radio jeep and 1 trailer carrying a SCR 199 for long-distance communications with England. All this materiel is for the 101st Airborne.
0400 hrs : Mission "Detroit": 52 gliders land on LZ "O" north west of Ste-Mere-Eglise. They bring A and B batteries, 80th AA Battalion and headquarters for 82d Airborne, artillery and signals.
0400 hrs : SAINTE-MERE-EGLISE :
3rd Battalion, 505th PIR under Lt.Col. Edward C. Krause capture the town.
0415 hrs : In front of OMAHA BEACH, assault units are transfered from transport ships to LCVPs and LCAs.
0430 hrs : 132 men from the 4th and 24th cavalry squadrons, under Lt.Col. Edward C. DUNN land of the St-Marcouf islands 3 miles off the coast from UTAH BEACH. Three weeks before D-Day, SHAEF believed the german might have built heavy batteries on them and did not want to take any chance.
Armed only with knifes, 4 men waded ashore to mark the beach for the incoming landing crafts. After the landing, the men did not find a single german soldier or battery but got trapped in the minefields covering the beaches. While the first men got killed or wounded by the german S-mines, Colonel DUNN was able to send the "mission accomplish" message. At the end of the day there would be 19 killed or wounded.
Sergeants Harvey S. Olson, Private Thomas C. Killeran (Troop A), Sergeant John W. Zanders, Corporal Melvin F. Kenzie (Troop B) became the first men to invade Europe by sea.
0430 hrs : Field Marshall von RUNDSTEDT orders the 12. SS Panzer Division and Panzer-Lehr to move immediately to Calvados. At OKW, JODL, angered by the order, cancels it at 0630 and decides to wait for Hitler to wake up.
0435 hrs : Gruppenkommando West orders reconnaissance patrols in the Baie de Seine with the 5th torpedo boats flottilla, the 15th patrol boats flottilla, the 38th minesweepers flottilla and, on each side of the cotentin pensinsula, the 5th and 9th speed boats flottilla.
Commander Heinrich HOFFMANN, commanding the 5th torpedo boats flottilla, leaves Le Havre with three boats: T28, Jaguar and Möwe.
0445 hrs : MERVILLE :
The 9th Para Battalion, under Lt.Col. T. OTWAY captures the battery. Initially composed of 700 men, only 150 and were able to regroup after a bad drop with a single heavy machinegun. The battery was assaulted at 0400 and 45 minutes later the german garrison surrendered, at the cost of 70 british paratroppers killed. Lt.Col. T. OTWAY can at last fire a yellow flare as a victory sign to HMS Arethusa only 15 minutes before the Light Cruiser was due to open fire on the battery.
(read the full account in the section devoted to Merville)
0445 hrs : Lieutenant G .HONOUR's HMS X-23 midget submarine surfaces a mile off the Normandy coast. 20 miles from here, it's sister ship, Lieutenant K.R. HUDSPETH's HMS X-20 does the same. Those two ships mark the limits of the anglo-canadian sector. Their task is to raise a mast equiped with strobe lights and to set-up optical and radio-electrical guiding devices. They would then lead the way for the invasion fleet. Since they got under way from Portsmouth on June 2, the crews had spent 74 hours under see, but now they were catching the morning breeze a mile off the coast, waiting for the first assault waves that would pass them by in less than 2 hours.
- From 0500 to 0600 hrs : 1,136 RAF aircrafts drop 6,000 tons of bombs of the coastal defences.
0507 hrs : 716. Infanterie-Division reports more and more gliders landing in the Orne sector.
0530 hrs : The three torpedo boats of Commander Heinrich HOFFMAN cross the artificial fog protecting the allied ships and emerges in front of the invasion fleet. HOFFMAN decides to attack immediatly, closing in despite the reaction of HMS Warspite and Ramillies.
The german flottila bore off and fired a salvo of 18 torpedos. The allied ships, taking evasive action, were able to avoid them except the Svenner, a norwegian destroyer, that was hit amidship and sunk instantly. The german flottila had already turned tail and disappeared in the fog.
0535 hrs : B and C Companies, 741st Tank Battalion are launched 6,000 meters from the beach. Of the 32 DD tanks, 27 will sunk in the rough sea and 3 can't be launched from their transport. Despite the risks, the 743rd Tank Battalion decides to land their DDs directly on the beach.
0537 hrs : The Longues-sur-Mer battery opens fire for the first time, firing ten shots at USS Emmons without result. The battery also fires on USS Arkansas, but the battleship returns fire with 20 rounds of 305mm and 110 rounds of 127mm. The battery then turns its guns east as closer targets enter it's fire zone.
0550 hrs : Task Force 125 warships open fire on the UTAH BEACH batteries. A few minutes later, 276 B-26 Marauders of the 9th Air Force drop 4,404 250lbs bombs on seven targets from les Dunes-de-Varreville to Beauguillot.
0555 hrs : B-24 Red Ass of the 446th Bomb Group drops it's first bombs above Vierville. 480 B-24 bombers carrying 1,285 tons of ordnance are supposed to obliterate the strongpoints on the coast between Port-en-Bessin and the Pointe de la Percée but because of the low ceiling and visibility, the mission is a complete failure. The OMAHA BEACH's WNs are intact and 117 B-24s return England with full bays.
0558 hrs : Day breaks. It is grey, cold and rainy. The wind stirs up 2-meter waves on the sea. Warships open fire on the coastal batteries.
0600 hrs : American aviators relieve the R.A.F. 1365 bombers drop 4000 tons of bombs while the navy continues shooting.
- From 0600 to 0700 hrs : Rocket launcher barges approach the beaches, spraying them with salvoes of rockets: 20,000 in the British sector (Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches) and 18,000 in the American sector (Utah and Omaha Beaches).
0630 hrs : UTAH BEACH :
All bombardment stops. The strong currents have scattered the 4th American division during the first wave of assault. By mistake, they have deviated 1800 meters to the south--a lucky error, because German defenses are less concentrated there and obstacles are less numerous. Brigadier General Theodore ROOSEVELT, Jr. decides to land the following convoys in the same place.
0630 hrs : OMAHA BEACH :
The 1st and the 29th American Divisions land over a 6.5 kilometer stretch of front. Out of 29 amphibian tanks put to sea, 27 sink. The German blockhouses resist bombardment, and the landing troops are subject to heavy fire. The survivors shelter behind rock levies or other obstacles on the beach. Troops continue to stream onto the beach despite enemy fire, and are blocked on the beach or massacred.
0658 hrs : The bombing over Gold Beach and the west of Juno Beach began. 385 B-17s of the 1st Bombardment Division strikes the coastal batteries and strong points between Longues-sur-Mer and Courseulles-sur-Mer. In the same time, 322 B-17s of the 3d Bombardment Division operate in the east of Juno sector as over Sword Beach, striking the batteries and defences between Bernières and Ouistreham.
- From 0700 to 0800 hrs : On the German side, there is consternation and exasperation. In the upper ranks, some officers believe what is happening, but others do not believe the landing has begun. General Alfred JODL refuses to send in Panzer reinforcements before receiving HITLER's approval. Yet he refuses to wake him for permission. HITLER went to bed at 0400 hrs and gave orders not to be awakened before 0900 hrs.
0700 hrs : The Supreme Commander, General Dwight EISENHOWER, receives an emergency transmission from Sir TRAFFORD LEIGH MALLORY, the Air Marshal. The message is brief: "Parachuting has gone well."
0700 hrs : The second assault wave at Omaha Beach begins.
0710 hrs : POINTE DU HOC :
225 Rangers under Colonel RUDDER attack the eastern face of the cliff at Pointe du Hoc, hoping to take out the German battery situated at its summit. It was necessary to take this 30-meter cliff because of the threat to troops on Omaha and Utah Beaches from the 155mm gun battery up on top. Twenty minutes after the beginning of the assault, the casemates are taken from the Germans, but unfortunately, in vain: the artillery had already been moved. They were later found camouflaged 1100 meters away and subsequently destroyed. For 36 hours, 155 able Rangers resist the violent German counterattack. Only 90 soldiers will come out of this heroic exploit unharmed.
0710 hrs : OMAHA BEACH. Sergeant Turner G. SHEPPARD's Sherman tank, one of the two tanks that haven't sunk, manages to come ashore on the beach near strong point WN61. The sergeant located in the turret gives the order to fire: a direct hit, and the 88mm of WN61 is taken out of commission.
0725 hrs : GOLD BEACH :
The 50th British Division under Major General GRAHAM lands on a 5-kilometer front of beach too far east of the chosen site. The German artillery and machine guns slow down the offensive.
GRAHAM's mission: establish a foothold in the cliffs at Arromanches and quickly take Bayeux.
0730 hrs : Rommel's Chief-of-Staff phones at Herrlingen to announce the arrival of paratroopers in Normandy. He ends the call with the remark that he will call back when there is more news.
0730 hrs : SWORD BEACH :
The 3rd British Division under the command of General T.D. RENNIE lands on time. The naval and aerial bombing on German defenses was effective, but heavy fighting slows down the soldiers' progress. The 177 French soldiers under Commando Group Kieffer land on the Orne River at Colleville, the easternmost point of the invasion.
RENNIE's mission: take the right bank of the Orne River, liaison with the 6th Airborne and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, take Caen and the Carpiquet aerodrome by nightfall.
0730 hrs : The men of the 3rd Battalion 502 PIR (101st Airborne) under Lt Colonel Robert COLE occupy Exit 3 of Utah Beach near Audouville-la-Hubert.
0745 hrs : JUNO BEACH :
The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division under General R.F.L. KELLER lands in two waves, at 0745 hrs and 0755 hrs. They are running fifteen minutes behind schedule. Seven amphibian tanks out of 29 sink. The German resistance is relentless.
KELLER's mission: direct troops to Caen and take the aerodrome at Carpiquet.
- From 0800 to 0900 hrs : At Utah Beach the offensive begins. Patrols advance behind the dunes to join forces with paratroopers from both American divisions.
At Omaha Beach the Americans are still halted by German fire. The rising tide forces reinforcement's to advance under fire. Destroyers and rocket launcher barges approach the beach to destroy the German blockhouses. Losses are enormous.
At Gold, Juno and Sword, the British and Canadians clear the beaches and begin their progress inland.
Great stuff, Lordy, thank you.
Thanks mate. A swift kick in the arse was all you needed.
The story behind Frank Capa's iconic D Day photos
"All but eleven of Capa's negatives were spoiled by an overly eager darkroom worker in the London office of Time Inc. who turned up the heat in the drying cabinet too high. When LIFE published the photographs, a caption disingenously explained that the 'immense excitement of [the] moment made photographer Capa move his camera and blur [his] picture.'"
– Aperture Magazine
D-Day is mostly seen as a major US-American operation.
General Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander, was American, but his deputy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder was British, as were all three service chiefs. Air Marshal Sir Arthur "Mary" Coningham, commander of the tactical air forces, was also British.
Gen. Bernard Montgomery was the one, who planned D-day (Operation Overlord ).
Operation Neptune, the naval plan, with 1,213 warships involved: 200 were American and 892 were British. Out of the 4,126 landing crafts involved, 805 were American and 3,261 were British.
D-Day is mostly seen as a major US-American operation.
Maybe in America, but knowledgeable students of history recognize that it was a British invasion aided by Canadians, Americans, Free French Poles,etc.
About half the troops were American.