From The Archives
Continuing the Overlord theme, this issue's blast from the past first appeared in number 50 of Despatches, back in April 1985. This was the first (and last) issue of Despatches to be professionally printed. One hundred copies were run off at great expense (this was before the advent of powerful home computers) to celebrate a half century of publication.
D-Day: June 6 1944
by Joe Weiss
a.m.: 1,136 RAF bombers fill the sky between
Thousands of paratroopers tumble out of waves of
British paratroopers, the 6th Airborne Division, float to earth
east of the
Battleships bombard German positions;
The first ships of the American First Army reach shallow water; supply-laden
men spill out and make for shore under heavy supporting fire.
The 4th Infantry Division winds up at the “easy”
At Pointe du Hoc another blood bath is under way as 225 members of the
The British Second Army wades in at the eastern end of the Calvados coast -
the 50th Infantry Division tackles
: Canada’s 3rd Infantry Division works the wind-whipped waters off Juno Beach. Their boats tossing atop six-foot-high whitecaps, the troops manage to destroy most of the enemy machine-gun nests within hours.
Although battles on other beaches take many casualties, by evening all five sea borne forces are firmly on French soil.
June 7: The Allies announce their troops have “cleared all beaches of the enemy.” Having broken through the formidable Atlantic Wall, Americans, Britons and Canadians flood the interior fields and farmlands, storming German defences - fewer and weaker than on the coast.
8: The British capture historic
June 9: The British continue southward toward , but are repelled before they take the town by panzer divisions poised to protect this coveted link in the German defence line. The piecemeal enemy efforts elsewhere are less successful.
June 10: Allied liaison operations begin as Americans work their way east to rendezvous with the Anglo-Canadian beach-head, and west toward Carentan.
11: The Allied bridgehead now stretches
uninterrupted for 60 miles - from the
12: A bitterly contested Carentan falls,
capping the first phase of Supreme Commander Eisenhower’s “great
crusade”. Ten months later,
the eastward-moving Allies, having recouped