PARIS – Today is the day when we commemorate the D-Day in Normandy. Allied soldiers fought so hard on the beaches of Normandy to attain freedom that NAZI took from European countries such as France. June 6, 1944 is the D-Day of WWII.
“Allied armies land in France in the Havre-Cherbourg Area,” the banner headline on the new front page said. “Great Invasion is Under Way.”
The news gave a composite mazelike map of the landing area in northern France. However, it was announced in a very simple sentence: "The invasion of Europe from the west has begun."
The article detailed how “in the grey light of a summer dawn,” a great force under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and comprising troops from the United States, Britain and Canada had begun landing on the northwest shore of Europe.
The invasion report noted that Eisenhower’s first communiqué was purposely “terse” to avoid alerting the enemy. “Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning,” the communiqué said, without saying exactly where. Only later, the paper reported, was it made clear that the landing beaches were in Normandy.
The news of the long-awaited invasion was reported in Britain as “war-weary Londoners” were Britons caught by surprised that no announcement was made of the attack in the BBC’s daily 7 a.m. news broadcast.
Raymond Daniell, who covered the story for The Times, from the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, normally reporters were summoned about the attack. Eventually, the German news agency DNB reported the attack. “To maintain the initiative in battle, it was necessary to surrender the initiative in the war of words,” Mr. Daniell wrote.
Despite the tight schedules of its deadline on special edition, The Times still managed to capture its drama of the battle, including German reports that Nazi’s shock troops had been dispatched to confront Allied airborne units as they landed behind the beaches. The first eyewitness, of the invasion, was provided by Wright Bryan of the National Broadcasting Company. Mr. Bryan, who was accompanied airborne troops, said the first arriving paratroopers were met with only light enemy fire as they landed in “dark and quiet” fields.
“In the navigator’s dome in the flight deck of a C-47, I rode across the English Channel with the first group of planes from the United States Ninth Air Force Troop Carrier Command to take our fighting men into Europe,” Mr. Bryan was quoted by the paper as saying. He said he had seen 17 American paratroopers jump with their weapons, ammunition and equipment into German-occupied France.
He said he had been living with a squadron of airmen as they prepared to fly the transport planes that would carry paratroops for the invasion. Their mission was heralded on Monday evening, June 5, he said, with the shrill sound of a whistle blown by their commander, Maj. Kenneth D. Richardson of Salina, CA. After he summoned his pilots, co-pilots, and radio operators asked them, “Do you know your stuff?” and said, “I think this is it – Good luck,” according to Mr. Bryan’s story.
At briefing room, Mr. Bryan related, the major said to his men: “You want get back, don’t you? Then dammit, get in there and fight.”
The Times, citing a BBC broadcast, reported that Eisenhower’s objective was to bomb French towns first. In order to give civilians warning on the ground, they received dropped leaflets, an hour prior to bombing. People on the ground were advised to stay away from roads, railways and bridges, as the main targets.
The Times made their war report on its front page, by The Associated Press, relating that Rome had fallen to the Allies without major damage, after a 25-day assault. The article described, in agonizing detail, how Allied forces in the Italian capital, with the support of fighter-bombers, were destroying the battered and beleaguered German defenders. Italy no longer fighting on the German side when they signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943.
The enemy was “tired, disorganized and bewildered,” the report said, as Allied aircraft raked the highways around the city to prevent German troops from escaping. Blazing vehicles blocked the roads and dead and wounded Germans littered the surrounding fields, the article said.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt hailed the capture of Rome, the first of the three major Axis capitals to be liberated, as a “great achievement” on the road toward victory in the war. “One up and two to go,” he was quoted.
The Times noted that the president’s speech, broadcast on the radio, was devoid of triumphalism as Mr. Roosevelt detailed the difficult challenge still ahead to defeat Germany and Japan. However, despite the challenge and difficulty with combined forces of the United States and its Allied went victorious.