Abilene Reporter News (Newspaper) - June 6, 1944, Abilene, Texas
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#/OL. LXU!, NO. 354
A TEXAS SmtLtf NEWSPAPER
ABILENE, TEXAS, TUESDAY EVENING, JUNE 6, 1944 -SIXTEEN PAGES
Associated Press (AP) . United Press (U.P.) PRICE FIVE CENTS
Allied Tanks, Infantry
Dig M lies Into France
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German Opposition Less Iffective Than Expected
By WES GALLAGHER SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, •June 6-(AP)-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 glider troops were fighting in Caen, nine miles inland, and had seized a number of important bridges in the invasion garea.
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 fond fighters who 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.
Sj Allied losses in every branch were declared to be far less than had been counted upon
In advau. v,.
The Germans said the landings took place from Cherbourg to Le Havre—a front of about IOO miles, and that a strong airborne force was fighting as far inland as Rouen, 41 miles east of Le Havre.
* Churchill (old commons:
“All (his, of course, although very valuable as a first and vitally essential step, gives no indication whatever of what may he 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.”
Thousands of highly-trained troops leaped down well behind Nazi lines from carrier sky trains boring through the rainy, stormy night, and a headquarters officer declared this “very large scale" operation was “carried out with great precision. Our losses in aircraft were extremely small. It was a fine job—very fine indeed.”
The airborne troops carried the brunt of early battle, creating a large diversion and Vmany demolitions.
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 htan had ben feared
Air borne troops who led the assault before daylight on a historv-making scale suffered ''extremely small losses n the air headquarters disclosed tonight, even though the great plane fleets extended across 200 miles of sky and used navigation lights to keep formation.
* The Germans were known to have probably 1,750 fighters and 500 bombers to meet the attack, why they did not use them *t the start was not apparent, but Allied airmen warned that a violent reaction might be expected soon noting hat Herman Goer.ng in an Order of the day had told his airforces, 'the invasion must be beaten off even if the Luftwaffe perishes.
An optimistic air pervaded this headquarter, over the smooth manner in which was launched the eros I crusade to liberate Nart-enslaved Europe, a rrusadr I,, which the supreme commander. Cen. II.,phi I). Eisenhower, told his men we will accept nothing less than full victory ”
* . Pr“V M!uSier ta!d romn,ons, ion}^1 tha* Allied troops had penetrated in some eases several
miles after their effective landings on a broad front, and happily asserted, “many dangers and difficulties
which this time last night appeared extremely formidable are behind us’* * antI aiII,cumes
Ile and all other sources agreed that the operation was going according to plan. The Air Forces, to which he paid high tribute for their work in smashing COASiSil defenses, estimated that between midnight and 8 a. rn. alone more than 31.000 airmen were o\>r France, not counting parachute and glider Hoods
The Paris radio broadcast a report that “a last-min „ash from tho b.UI,.fi,£"UnwGn£25ed tnvastonl,forces ' north of Rouen between pow,rflll Allied paratroop formations and German anti-
Rouen is 41 miles inland, east of Le Havre.
The absence of German aerial opposition was remarked by nearly all returning fliers and correspondents. The Germans are known to have about 1,750 fighters and 500 bombers available for the western
front, but it was supposed that they had chosen not to risk them in an
'*■ all-out first-day battle.
German naval opposition was confined to destroyers and motor torpedo boats which headquarters said succinctly were being “dealth with.”
The Germans, as expected, blared on their radios all sorts of claims of vast destruction done to Allied fleets and forces, but with no confirmation.
^ German broadcasts said the Allies though fierce in many respects, and
PRE-WAR BORDERS AS OF JAN. I, 1938
across the channel from England by 4,000 regular ships and additional thousands of smaller craft.
They were preceded bv massed flights of parachute and glider forces who landed inland during the dark.
Eleven thousand planes supported the attack.
The German radio said the landings were made from Cherbourg to Le Havre—a strip of coast roughly IOO miles long—and later said additional landings were .being made •'w'est of Cherbourg.” indicating that the Allies intended to seize the Normandy peninsula wdth its ports and airdromes as as first base of their campaign to destroy the power of Nazi Germany.
Tile initial landings were made from 6 to 8:25 am. British time (midnight to 1:25 a.m., CWT). The Germans said subsequent landings were made on the English channel isles of Jersey and Guernsey and I that invasion at newr poincs on the continent Wes’ expected hourly.
A ide from confirming that Normandy was the general area of the assault, supreme headquarters of the Allied expeditionary force was silent concerning the location tor tactical reasons.
From Moscow came word that the Russian army was massing in preparation for another great att. ck
from the east as its part in debating Germany.
All reports from the beachhead meager thougli they were in spoon I-detail, agreed that the Allies had made good the great gamble of amphibious landing against possibly the strongest fortified section ol coast in the world
More than 40 naval Runs, ranging
from 4 to 16-inch, hurled many
tons of sheiks accurately into the | coastal fortifications which the Germans had spent four years preparing against tills day.
Prime Minister Churchill was able to tell parliament that the shore batteries had been “largely quelled.’ the underwater obstructions had proven less dangerous than fear;:,!,
and the whole operation was “pro-ccdlng according to plan.''
Allied planer preceded the landings with a steady 96-hour bombardment which reached its pinnacle in the hour before the troop hit the beal lies.
The air attack was thrust home through cloud banks 5,000 feet high.
In one defiant gesture, some of the German cross-channel guns opened a sporadic fire on Dover during the afternoon.
A superior officer at supreme headquarters said frankly he did not know- >et what amount of surprise there was, but Allied air forces were In control of the skies over the channel and the coast despite unfavorable flying weather
If the Germans were correct about the locations, the Allied plan apparently was to seize the Cherbourg peninsula and make Normandy the initial beachhead for a drive up the Seine valley to Paris.
Thp German radio began broadcasting a constant stream of invasion flashes almost as .soon as
the first troops landed, and continued with extensive reports on the gigantic naval and air bombardments that covered the assault.
Allied headquarters, however, kept silent until 9:32 a. rn. British time, (2:32 a. rn., CWT', when the following communique was issued:
"Under the command of General Eisenhower. Allied naval forces supported by strong air forces began landing Allied armies this morning on the north coast of France."
A high officer explained that General Eisenhower had kept resolutely .silent until lie was absolutely certain the landings had “taken hold.”
It was disclosed that a number of unannounced feints had taken place in the pre-invasion period, so that the Germans would not know when the real blow was coming.
It came tills morning as the climax of 96 hours of constant heavy air bombardment, which reached a crescendo at H-Hour.
Warships of both British and
United States navies, including British and American battleships, hurled shells into Hie coastal defenses which the Germans have been building for four years. Th* Germans acknowledged that this fire was tremendous and that it; had set the whole bay of the Seine area afire. •
The parachutists and viidermen went in after a personal farewell from General Eisenhower. The Germans said they landed at Caqji and made deep penetrations at many points, with at least four British parachute divisions employed beside tile Americans and Canadians.
Great flotillas of mlnesweepem led the way to the beaches for the Allied ground troops, and the .weeping operation alone was described by SHAEF as “the largest in history.”
Tile German Navy was represented only by a few destroyers and E-boats.
penetrated several kilometers in between Caen and Isigny, which are 35 miles apart and, respectively, nine and two miles from the sea.
German opposition apparently was less effective than expected, al-
the Germans said they were bringing reinforcements continuously up to the coast, where “a battle for life or death is in progress."
The seauome troops, led by Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery surged
INVASION CONTACT SPOT—Second largest seaport, Le avre, where one of the first Allied beachheads were gained early today stands on the Seine's estuary. Its harbor, foamed in part by a huge dam, is barely 300 feet wide and is believed
INVASION is SLRIOI s Bl MN FSS—Just how serious Wesley Eugene J HEADS BOWED IN PRAYER—With the break of dawn in Abilene this crowd gathered in Hargrove, renter, and his sisters, Patsy Eileen, left and Doris Bernell, , _ n .
right, don’t realize as they read the morning Reporter-News with the first the Heavenly Rest Episcopal church for D-I)ay prayer service. The Episcopal church was
Ifiinitinlrtngthentd hj f°rtS and baUerieS- ltS Pc,Pulation is prove, °i 534 *8outh' 81h. ald'han'a brotSer'lTorjr.^nd^ broThe'r-'ln-'uw, ,me ot ,he churches in Abilene opened immediately after local announcement of tile inca-iou,UUU. Lwn Baker, in service. aion.
SOMEBODY SPECIAL IN MIN’D—, Jeanne koncz.ik, left, and W'illetta Etheridge, both student nurses at Hendrick hospital, are pictured leaving the Sacred Heart Catholic church after early morning services.