The German Perspective
Paris: Charles Braibant writes in his diary: "It really is the landing. Yet a concierge in my district remains sceptical. She told me, 'It's only a sideshow.' People hope, but are way of being too optimistic. They are remaining calm."
La Roche-Guyon (Rommel's Headquarters, in an old château belonging to the Duc de la Rochefoucauld). Rommel happen to be on holiday, so in the opening hours of the invasion Speidel has to make the crucial decisions.Seventeen Naval Aviators taken from aviation units on battleships and cruisers are assigned to bombardment duty as part of Cruiser Scouting Squadron Seven (VCS-7) supporting the Normandy invasion. They operate with units of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force flying gunfire supporting missions in RAF Vickers-Supermarine Spitfires over the Normandy beaches from 6 to 26 June.
The Allies mount their D-Day Invasion of NW Europe. They invade the Normandy Peninsula with these units.
US 82nd Airborne British 1st Airborne
US 101st Airborne British 50th Infantry
US 4th Infantry British 8th Armoured
US 1st Infantry British 27th Armoured Brigade
3rd Canadian Infantry British 3rd Infantry
2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade US 29th Infantry
40th and 48th Royal Marine Commandos
US 2nd Ranger Battalion
359th Inf. Regt., 90th Inf. Div.
They are directly opposed by:
711th Infantry Division 716th Infantry Division
21st Panzer Division 316th Infantry Division
91st Infantry Division 709th Infantry Division
352 Infantry Division
The Allies land over five major beaches. From east to west; Sword, British; Juno, Canadian; Gold, British; Omaha, US; Utah, US. Although successful the Allied forces fail to reach the predicted gains for the 1st day.
A portion of the mission of the British 6th Airborne Division and of the United States 82nd Airborne Division was to secure the flanks of the invasion area. The 6th Airborne Division assigned seizure of the bridges over the Orne River and the adjacent Caen Canal at the village of Benouville to D Company of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment. The Ox and Bucks was part of an airlanding brigade of the division and had trained in Horsa gliders. Company D, commanded by former Oxford police constable, Major John Howard, was loaded into six gliders. Just after cutting loose from their tug aircraft three of the gliders, on their down wind leg, saw the gleaming river and canal turned onto their base leg then onto their approach. The lead glider, piloted by Sergeant Jim Wallwork contained members of the 1st Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Den Brotheridge. It landed 50 meters from the bridge over the river. Brotherridge fired at one of the sentries and killed him.
In the ensuing fire fight Brotheridge was hit in the neck with a bullet and died. He had fired the first rounds on the ground and was the first Allied soldier killed in the invasion. Other members of Company D secured the canal bridge. Within five minutes of landing Company D had accomplished its mission The first mission for D-Day had been accomplished by 0021 hours.
To the northwest, the 82nd Airborne Division had assigned the seizure of Saint Mere-Eglise on the Cherbourg-Carentan road to the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Krause. By 0400 hours Colonel Krause had assembled 180 men and moved on his objective. The battalion quickly seized it, mines were placed and two anti-tank gun positions established.
That quickly the invasion flanks were secured.
Much of this material is from D-Day by Stephen E. Ambrose. (Jay Stone)
Two Lockheed P-38 Lightnings took off from Bovingdon, England to observe the D-Day landings. The pilots were Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle, Commanding General Eighth Air Force, and Major General Earle Partridge, Deputy Commander of the Eighth Air Force. Their intention was to fly with the heavy bombers attacking the Normandy area but because of overcast, the bombers had to bomb by radar. The two generals flew back towards England looking for a break in the clouds. Doolittle spotted a hole and dived through it emerging about 1,500 feet (457 m) above the ground. General Partridge's attention was diverted by a problem in the cockpit when Doolittle made his dive and he lost contact. (I can hear the agony when Partridge returned to England; DOOLITTLE IS MISSING!!!) Doolittle spent almost 1.5 hours flying over the beachhead observing the landings. It was probably a good choice to pick the P-38 which had a very distinctive shape because nary a shot was fired at him from the hundreds of ships of the invasion force.
Allied airborne soldiers have landed in Normandy. By 0021 Company D, of the Ox and Bucks has secured its objectives: bridges over the Orne Canal and Orne River, helping to secure the left flank of the Commonwealth and British forces. Other elements of the 6th Airborne Division secure most of their assigned objectives Further north on the Cotinten American parachute landings are widely scattered. At dawn the village of St. Mere Eglise is seized by elements of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry. The town is a vital crossroads in helping to secure the right flank of the American landings.
At 1110 elements of the 101st Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division which has come ashore at Utah Beach meet.. Jay Stone
The only Victoria Cross of the day was won by CSM Stanley Elton Hollis (1912-72), Green Howards, who displayed the utmost gallantry throughout the day, on one occasion seizing two pillboxes.
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