0558: Daybreak – a cold grey day arrives

A Douglas Boston of No. 88 Squadron RAF, equipped with smoke dispensers, flies low over the English Channel to the Normandy landing areas, to lay a smoke screen in front of the Allied invasion fleet.

A Douglas Boston of No. 88 Squadron RAF, equipped with smoke dispensers, flies low over the English Channel to the Normandy landing areas, to lay a smoke screen in front of the Allied invasion fleet.

Day break on D-Day was 0558 and amongst those watching and waiting was Marie-Louise Osmont who lived in house overlooking the Sword beach area, which they shared with some of the German occupying troops. She had been awakened earlier by the sound of planes and gunfire:

Little by little the gray dawn comes up, but this time around, from the intensity of the aircraft and the cannon an idea springs to mind: landing! I get dressed hurriedly. I cross the garden, the men recognize me. In one of the foxholes in front of the house, I recognize one of the young men from the office; he has headphones on his ears, the telephone being removed there.

Airplanes, cannon right on the coast, almost on us. I cross the road, run to the farm, come across Meltemps. ‘Well!’ I say, ‘Is this it, this time?’ ‘Yes,’ he says, ‘I think so, and I’m really afraid we’re in a sector that’s being attacked; that’s going to be something!’

We’re deafened by the airplanes, which make a never-ending round, very low; obviously what I thought were German airplanes are quite simply English ones, protecting the landing. Coming from the sea, a dense artificial cloud; its ominous and begins to be alarming; the first hiss over our heads.

I feel cold; I’m agitated. I go home, dress more warmly, close the doors; I go get Bernice [a neighbor] to get into the trench, a quick bowl of milk, and we run – just in time! The shells hiss and explode continually.

Marie-Louise Osmont’s diaries are quoted by several sources. See “D-Day – June 6, 1944: The Civilian View,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000, revised 2010).

to those who were relying on the confused reports from France it was rather less obvious that the invasion was on, especially when they had been anticipating Allied deceptions.

0600: Telephone conversation between General Walter Warlimont, deputy chief, Armed Forces Operations Staff, and Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, reporting directly to Hitler:

Warliment: Blumentritt has just called and told me that in the judgment of OB West [High Command in the West] the real invasion has begun. He backs his opinion because of the several parachute landings and sea landings which have taken place in Normandy. Furthermore, OB West wants the OKW [German Supreme Com- mand] reserves immediately. He asks that they should be released at once so that they can be brought up to the immediate invasion areas to repel landing.

Jodl: Are you so sure of this? I am not sure that this is the invasion. According to all the reports I have received, this could be part of the Allies’ deception plan. In my opinion it is necessary to wait for more information.

Consolidated B-24H Liberators of 486th Bombardment Group, US Eighth Air Force, flying over part of the Allied invasion fleet gathered off the Normandy coast, 6 June 1944. They were part of a force of 380 aircraft of 3rd Bombardment Division despatched on the morning of D-Day to bomb villages through which access roads ran to the beachheads.

Consolidated B-24H Liberators of 486th Bombardment Group, US Eighth Air Force, flying over part of the Allied invasion fleet gathered off the Normandy coast, 6 June 1944. They were part of a force of 380 aircraft of 3rd Bombardment Division despatched on the morning of D-Day to bomb villages through which access roads ran to the beachheads.

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