D-Day invasion of France: See WW2 newspaper headlines (1944)

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France Invaded: Allied Troops Launch Mighty Offensive

Philadelphia Inquirer (Final) – June 6, 1944

France Invaded: Allied Troops Launch Mighty Offensive


We Crack West Wall, Secure Big Beachheads

Binghamton Press, New York

We Crack West Wall, Secure Big Beachheads


D-Day: Invasion Starts – Allied Troops Smash Ashore on North Coast of France

The Shreveport Times (Extra)

Invasion Starts - Allied Troops Smash Ashore on North Coast of France


Allies Invade Northern France

4000 ships supported by force of 11,000 planes / Beachheads won; Gains inland

St Louis Post-Dispatch (Final) – June 6, 1944

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Allies Invade Northern France


France Invaded

Allied Troops Land in Great Strength on North Coast; Battle for Beachheads

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky (Invasion Extra) – June 6, 1944

Allied Troops Land in Great Strength on North Coast; Battle for Beachheads


D-Day: Allies Hold French Beachheads; First Troops Slash Way Inland

Decatur Herald (8am Extra)

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Allies Hold French Beachheads; First Troops Slash Way Inland


Allies Advance into France

Nazi resistance to landing less than anticipated

Minneapolis Star Journal – June 6, 1944

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Allies Advance into France Nazi resistance to landing less than anticipated


Allies Pursue Shattered Nazi Armies

Wilmington (Delaware) Morning News

Allies Pursue Shattered Nazi Armies


D-Day: Allies Gain Hold in France – Smash Through West Wall

Oakland Tribune – June 6, 1944

Allies Gain Hold in France - Smash Through West Wall


Invasion: Allies Land in France, Smash Ahead; Fleet, Planes, Chutists Battling Nazis

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Invasion: Allies Land in France, Smash Ahead; Fleet, Planes, Chutists Battling Nazis


Invaders Drive 10 Miles into Nazis’ Coastal Wall

The Pittsburgh Press (Final Edition) – June 6, 1944

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Invaders Drive 10 Miles into Nazis' Coastal Wall


D-Day: Germans Say Allied Troops Pouring Ashore on Normandy Peninsula and at Le Havre

The Shreveport Times (Louisiana)

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Germans Say Allied Troops Pouring Ashore on Normandy Peninsula and at Le Havre


Invasion On: Crusade to Free Europe Begins in North France

Great Falls Tribune, Montana

Invasion On: Crusade to Free Europe Begins in North France


Allied Troops Invading Continent Land on North Coast of France

The Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut (Extra) – June 6, 1944

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Allied Troops Invading Continent Land on North Coast of France


Invasion Starts: US Paratroops, Infantry in Action on French Coast

Honolulu Advertiser (Extra)

Invasion Starts: US Paratroops, Infantry in Action on French Coast


Allied Troops Battering Way Inland; Casualties are Light

Muncie Evening Press, Indiana (Extra)

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Allied Troops Battering Way Inland; Casualties are Light


Invasion is Under Way: Allied Troops Land in France

Muncie Evening Press (Extra) – June 6, 1944

The Allies today sent their invading forces against Adolf Hitler’s occupied Europe.

The long-awaited invasion was announced by General Dwight Eisenhower with the promise that the high command would accept nothing short of victory.

Invasion is Under Way: Allied Troops Land in France


D-Day: Invasion Going Well with Beachheads Established

Corsicana, Texas Daily Sun

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Invasion Going Well with Beachheads Established


Allies Land in France

The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson (Extra)

Allies Land in France


D-Day: Allies Win Beachheads in Invasion of France

Asbury Park (New Jersey) Evening Press (Final)

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Allies Win Beachheads in Invasion of France


‘Invasion Underway!’ Germans Broadcast; Landings in France

Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi – June 6, 1944

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'Invasion Underway!' Germans Broadcast; Landings in France


Allies drive 41 miles on D-Day: Offensive rolls into Normandy

Beachheads in France are made secure in first rush

By Wes Gallagher, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force in the Benton Harbor News Palladium (Michigan) June 6, 1944

The Allies landed in the Normandy section of northwest France early today and by evening had smashed their way inland on a broad front, making good a gigantic air and sea invasion against unexpectedly slight German opposition.

Prime Minister Churchill said part of the record-shattering number of parachute and glidertroops were fighting in Caen, nine miles inland, and had seized a number of important bridges in the invasion area.

Four thousand ships and thousands of smaller landing craft took the thousands of American, British and Canadian seaborne forces from England to France under protection of 11,000 Allied bombers and fighters which wrought gigantic havoc with the whole elaborate coastal defense system that the Nazis had spent four years building. Naval gunfire completed the job, and the beachheads were secured quickly.

Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day 6 June 1944
Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day 6 June 1944. Source: Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives

Allied losses small

Allied losses in every branch were declared to be far less than had been counted upon in advance.

The Germans said the landings took place from Cherbourg to Le Havre, a front of about 100 miles, and that a strong airborne force was fighting as far inland as Rouen, 41 miles east of Le Havre.

Churchill told Commons: “All this, of course, although very valuable as a first and vitally essential step, gives no indication whatever of what may be the course of the battle in the next days and weeks, because the enemy will now probably endeavor to concentrate on this area.

“In that event, heavy fighting will soon begin and will continue. It is therefore a most serious time that we are entering upon.”

Invasion postponed day

The grand assault — scheduled for yesterday but postponed until today because of bad weather — found the highly-vaunted German defenses much less formidable in every department than had been feared.

Airborne troops who led the assault before daylight on a history-making scale suffered “extremely small” losses in the air, headquarters disclosed tonight, even though the great plane fleets extended across 200 miles of sky and used navigation lights to keep formation.

Naval losses for the seaborn forces were described at headquarters as “very, very small,” although 4,000 ships and several thousand smaller craft participated in taking the American, Canadian and British troops to France.

Enemy guns silenced

Coastal batteries were virtually silenced by the guns of the British, American and allied fleets, including beside their allies, they will play a worthy par; in the liberation of their homeland. Because the initial landing has been made on the soil of your country. I repeat to you with even greater emphasis my message to the peoples of other occupied countries in western Europe, Follow the instructions of your leaders. A premature uprising or all Frenchmen may prevent you from being of maximum help to your country in the critical hour. Be patient. Prepare.

WWII D-DAY NORMANDY
U.S. paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump before dawn over Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, in France. (AP Photo/Army Signal Corps)

“As supreme commander of the allied expeditionary forces, there is imposed on me the duty and responsibility of taking all measures necessary to the prosecution of the war. Prompt and willing obedience to the orders that I shall issue is essential. Effective civil administration of France must be provided by Frenchmen. All persons must continue in their present duties unless otherwise instructed. Those who have common cause with the enemy and so betray their country will be removed. As France is liberated from her oppressors, you yourselves will choose your representatives and the government under which you wish to live.

“In the course of this campaign for the final defeat of the enemy you may sustain further loss and damage. Tragic though they may be, they are part of the price of victory. I assure you that I shall do all in my power to mitigate your hardships.

“I know that I can count on your steadfastness now, no less than in the past. The heroic deeds of Frenchmen who have continued their struggle against the Nazis and their Vichy satellites, in France and throughout the French empire, have been an example and an inspiration to all of us.

“This landing is but the opening phase of the campaign in western Europe. Great battles lie ahead. I call upon all who love freedom to stand with us. Keep your faith staunch — our arms are resolute — together we shall achieve victory.”


Behind-the-wall account of D-Day invasion (1944)

Writer tells Airborne troops’ perilous job in D-Day success

by Leonard Mosely, representing the Combined Allied Press

Behind the Atlantic wall on D-Day — I parachuted into Europe at 2 minutes past 1 am today, 6-1/2 hours before seaborne forces began their invasion of France, and I have experienced a lot since then.

I was near the shore hiding from a Nazi patrol as I watched the first Allied forces go ashore from the sea at 7:15. I have seen a few thousand paratroops and glider-borne troops, whom I nominate now as the bravest, most tenacious men I have ever known, hold a bridgehead against Hitler’s armies for over 16 hours despite overwhelming odds.

I believe the things they have done are almost solely and completely responsible for the great success the invasion has had in this sector.

There is a helluva battle going on here as I write, and bullets and mortar bombs, not to mention a couple of snipers, are producing conditions in my vicinity not conducive to consecutive thinking. My typewriter got a bad bashing when I rolled on it after a hard landing when I parachuted into France with it strapped to my chest.

Our job was to silence a vital coastal battery which if still in operation might have blown our ships to bits as they came in to shore. We silenced it. Our other just as vital job was to secure two important bridges over a canal and river north of Caen to prevent them being blown up.

USD Navy Seabees WWII D-Day
Image courtesy U.S. European Command (USEUCOM)

This story began in a great bomber C for Charlie on the biggest airfield in Britain. There were Lancashiremen, Yorkshiremen, and Northumbrians in the “stick” of paratroopers. Preceding them by half an hour were gliders and planes of paratroopers who were going to make a do-or-die attempt to take those vital bridges. The gliders were going to crash themselves on the buttresses of the bridges and then aided by paratroops were to capture the bridges and surrounding land.

It was our job to come in half an hour later to “infest” the whole area for 100 miles around to prevent the Nazis from counterattacking. The general had said the other day: “Only a fool would invade in bad weather and on a heavily-guarded stretch of enemy territory like this. Well, I am going to do it.”

Our plane, third in the formation, headed for France. We doodled for an hour, then from the pilot came the signal “up hook your chutes.” It was 5 minutes to 1 when the light snapped off and a hole in the plane opened. Under it we could see the coast of France. A garish sight it was for flak from the coast defenses was spouting flame everywhere.

WWII D-Day Normandy invasion photos from June 11 1944 (5)
WWII D-Day Normandy invasion photos from June 11 1944 (5)

A light flashes green, and we were all madly shuffling down the hole into space. The tremendous roar of the slipstream and then the blissful peace of the soft night as your chute develops. But this time we were not going down to a safe landing on the dropping ground, but to enemy territory covered with poles and holes and thick with enemy looking for us.

I came down in an orchard outside a farmhouse. As I stood up with my harness off and wiped sweat off my brown-painted face, I knew I was hopelessly lost. Dare I go to the farmhouse. Suddenly there was a rip and a tear in my flapping jumping smock and I flung myself to the ground as a machine gun rattled. There were two more smashing explosions — hand grenades this time.

At 20 minutes past 3 am, every paratrooper breathed a sigh of relief as he heard bombers coming in slow, towing gliders. We watched them unhook and dive steeply for earth. We saw one caught by ack-ack catch fire and fly around for three or four minutes a great ball of flame. We heard the crunch of breaking matchwood as gliders bounced on rocks and careened into still undestroyed poles.

It was hard to restrain an impulse to cheer, for out of every glider were pouring jeeps and anti-tank guns and field guns. We knew if the Nazis came now, we could hold.

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