Friday, June 6, 2014

Jun

6

1944

2100: 21st Panzer abandon counter-attack

A battery of M7 Priest 105mm self-propelled guns from one of 3rd Division's Royal Artillery Field Regiments near Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.

From here the excellent anti-tank gunfire of the Allies knocked out eleven of my tanks before I had barely started. However, one battle group did manage to bypass these guns and actually reached the coast at Lion-sur-Mer, at about seven o’clock in the evening. I now expected that some reinforcements would be forthcoming to help me hold my position, but nothing came. Another Allied parachute landing on both sides of the Orne, together with a sharp attack by English tanks, forced me to give up my hold on the coast.

Jun

6

1944

2000: Second wave of glider troops depart

Troops of 6th Airlanding Brigade smile from the door of their Horsa glider on an RAF airfield as they prepare to fly out as part of 6th Airborne Division's second lift on the evening of 6 June 1944.

Later that evening, about 9.30 to 9.45 p.m. (I remember we had a marvellous sunset), I went up on the balcony by myself and listened to the lapping of the waves. Suddenly the drone of aircraft could be heard – the tugs were on their way home. It was a very poignant moment.
I remember tears pouring down my face as I thought of all those young men who were now in France – wondering what was happening to them – was my brother amongst them. It was a very sad moment and one I will never forget.

Jun

6

1944

1500: Omaha – the battle continues

Some of the casualties on Omaha beach, vehicles still burning , although it is quite late in the day after barrage gallons went up.

I worked my way up onto the beach and staggered up against a wall and sort of collapsed there. I spent the whole day in the same position. Eventually the bodies of the other guys washed ashore and I was the only live one among so many of my friends, all of whom were dead and in many cases severely blown to pieces. It was not a very pleasant way to spend a day.

Jun

6

1944

1200: Churchill – ‘a vital and essential first step’

Churchill practising with a US sub machine during one of numerous pre invasion visits to troops training in England. Eisenhower stands a little further back.

But all this, although a very valuable first step – a vital and essential first step – gives no indication of what may be the course of the battle in the next days and weeks, because the enemy will now probably endeavour to concentrate on this area, and in that event heavy fighting will soon begin and will continue without end, as we can push troops in and he can bring other troops up.

Jun

6

1944

1000: Stanley Hollis wins only D-Day VC

Stanley Hollis VC

Wherever the lighting was heaviest CSM Hollis appeared and, in the course of a magnificent day’s work, he displayed the utmost gallantry and on two separate occasions his courage and initiative prevented the enemy from holdng up the advance at critical stages.

Jun

6

1944

0945: Hitler has not yet been told

Albert Speer with Hitler and  Hermann Goring in August 1943.

At the situation conference in the Berghof salon a few hours later Hitler seemed more set than ever on his preconceived idea that the enemy was only trying to mislead him. “Do you recall? Among the many reports we’ve received there was one that exactly predicted the landing site and the day and hour. That only confirms my opinion that this is not the real invasion yet.”

Jun

6

1944

0840: Commandos land on Sword Beach

Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade led by Brigadier Lord Lovat (in the water, to the right of his men) land on Queen Red beach, Sword area, c. 0840 hours, 6 June 1944. Sherman DD tanks of 13th/18th Royal Hussars and other vehicles can be seen on the beach. Lovat's piper, Bill Millin, is in the foreground about to disembark.

Jun

6

1944

0830: Gallantry overcomes disaster on Omaha

His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army….courage, gallantry, and intrepid leadership…indomitable courage and personal bravery

Jun

6

1944

0800: Green Howards land on Gold Beach

German POWs being escorted along one of the Gold area beaches, 6 June 1944.

Cairns hit in leg. Stopped a few minutes at edge of beach. Woods hit in eye. Got on to coast road where things were unpleasant owing to mortars and shells flying around and minefield on both sides. Some logs on the side of the road provided welcome protection.

Jun

6

1944

0745: Heavy seas prevent DD tanks launching

Signals were exchanged: the minesweepers had completed their task and were wishing us Godspeed on our mission. The flotilla of LCTs began maneuvering for launching our DD tanks. This meant it was Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) with screens raised.

Signals were exchanged: the minesweepers had completed their task and were wishing us Godspeed on our mission. The flotilla of LCTs began maneuvering for launching our DD tanks. This meant it was necessary for them to head into the wind, showing a broadside to the enemy supposedly alert on the coast.