Friday, June 7, 2024

80 Years Ago Tuesday 6 June 1944

Today, everyone remembers and commemorates the events of OVERLORD, as well they should.  But a lot more happened in the global struggle of the United Nations Allies against their Axis foes.  D-Day properly caught and retained the public's attention, but that attention blinded us to other significant events.  Who remembers the date of the first B-29 combat mission?  5 June 1944 striking the Bangkok rail shops.  The employment of the Very Heavy Bomber had just begun, its deployment in process since the Roosevelt Churchill-Chiang Kai-shek Cairo Conference and its development long before that.  



Submarine Harder (SS-257) attacks Japanese convoy in the Celebes Sea, and sinks destroyer Minazuki 120 miles east-northeast of Tarakan, Borneo, 04°05'N, 119°30'E; counterattacks by destroyer Wakatsuki prove unsuccessful.

TG 17.12's operations against Japanese convoy 3530 come to a close as submarine Pintado (SS-387) sinks cargo ship Kashimasan Maru and army transport Havre Maru west-northwest of the Marianas, 16°28'N, 142°16'E.

Submarine Raton (SS-270) attacks Japanese convoy, and sinks Coast Defense Vessel No.15 about 160 miles off CapeSt. Jacques, French Indochina, 08°57'N, 109°17'E. Raton is damaged by depth charges, but remains on patrol.

USAAF A-20s attack Japanese shipping off Manokwari, sinking motor sailships No.1 Asahi Maru, No.1 KasugaMaru, and No.5 Taifuku Maru.

Aircraft damage Japanese minelayer Yurishima southeast of Woleai, 07°46'N, 147°30'E.


Allied Expeditionary Force under the supreme command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, USA, invades Western Europe in Operation OVERLORD. Landings are made on the beaches of Normandy, France, following preinvasion minesweeping and bombardment by Allied warships, and under cover of Allied aircraft and naval gunfire. The invasion fleet of thousands of warships, merchantmen, and landing craft under the command of Admiral Sir Bertram H. Ramsay, RN, is divided into a Western (American) Task Force and an Eastern (British) Task Force. The Western Task Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk and composed of two assault forces, "O" under command of Rear Admiral John L. Hall and "U" under command of Rear Admiral Donald P. Moon, lands the First U.S. Army commanded by Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, USA, on OMAHA and UTAH beaches, respectively. Naval gunfire support groups commanded by Rear Admiral Carlton F. Bryant prevent the Germans from moving up reinforcements and cover the Allied troops advancing inland. After the beachheads are established, the primary naval responsibility is the landing of men and supplies. The success of the Normandy landings virtually assures victory in the European theater.

Off Normandy, mines sink destroyer Corry (DD-463), 49°31'N, 01°11'W; submarine chaser PC-1261, 49°30'N,01°10'W; tank landing craft LCT-25, LCT-197, LCT-294, LCT-305, LCT-332, LCT-364, LCT-555, LCT-593, LCT-597, LCT-703, and LCT-777; and infantry landing craft LCI-85, LCI-91, LCI-92, LCI-232, and LCI-497.

LCT-27 and LCT-30 sink after running aground.

LCT-362 founders and sinks. LCT-612 and LCI-93 and LCI-553 are sunk by shore batteries.

Destroyer Harding (DD-625) sends armed whaleboat in to shore, landing small arms to help the 2d Ranger Battalion; the destroyermen relieve a number of soldiers as guards for German POWs, permitting the rangers to reinforce their comrades.


Eighth AF

Eighth reaches its top strength as 493d Bomb Gp (H) becomes operational, making a total of 40 Heavy Bomber groups now operational. Heavy Bombers fly 4 missions in support of the invasion of Normandy. 1,361 Heavy Bombers are dispatched on first mission of the day. 1,015 of the Heavy Bombers attack the beach installations, 47 bomb transportation chokepoints in town of Caen, and 21 bomb alternate targets. Overcast and inability of Heavy Bombers to locate (or absence of) Pathfinder leaders causes failure of some units to attack. The second mission strikes at transportation chokepoints in towns immediately around the assault area. Total cloud cover causes most of the 528 Heavy Bombers dispatched to return with their bombs but 37 bombers manage to bomb secondary target of Argentan. The third mission is dispatched against the important comm center of Caen. 56 B-24’s bomb through overcast skies. Transportation chokepoints in towns immediately S and E of assault area are the objectives of the fourth mission for the Eighth. 553 Heavy Bombers bomb targets including Vire, Saint- Lo, Coutances, Falaise, Lisieux, Thury-Harcourt, Pont-l’Eveque, Argentan, and Conde-sur-Noireau. In all, 1,729 Heavy Bombers of Eighth AF drop 3,596 tons of bombs during D-Day, suffering only 3 losses (to ground fire and a collision). VIII FC has threefold mission of escorting Heavy Bombers, attacking any movement toward assault area, and protecting Allied shipping. The fighters fly 1,880 sorties including Fighter Bomber attacks against 17 bridges, 10 marshalling yards, and a variety of other targets including convoy, railroad cars, siding, rail and highway junctions, tunnel, and a dam. Very little air opposition is encountered. The fighters claim 28 German aircraft destroyed and 14 damaged. Also destroyed are 21 locomotives and two carloads of ammunition. Numerous targets are damaged including locomotives, trucks, tank cars, armored vehicles, goods carriers, barges, and tugboats. Tgts attacked with unreported results include warehouses, radar towers, barracks, troops, arty, staff cars, 85 trains, and a variety of other targets. 25 VIII FC aircraft are lost.

Ninth AF

More than 800 A-20’s and B-26’s bomb coastal def batteries, rail and road junctions and bridges, and marshalling yards in support of the invasion forces landing in Normandy. Over 2,000 fighters fly sweeps, escort for Medium Bombers and TCs, ground support, and divebombing missions over W France. During the preceding fight and during the day over 1,400 C-47’s, C-53’s, and gliders deliver glider troops and paratroops, including 3 full airborne divs, which are to secure beach exits to facilitate inland movement of seaborne assault troops. A total of about 30 airplanes Medium Bombers, (fighters and transports) are lost.

Twelfth AF

Medium Bombers, Light Bombers, Fighter Bombers, and fighters all hit comm lines N of Rome to slow enemy retreat. Bridges, road junctions, rail lines, roads, and motor transport are continually attacked throughout the day, as British Eighth Army forces W of Tiber reach Civita Castellana and US Fifth Army forces push N and W toward Viterbo and Civitavecchia.

Fifteenth AF

Shuttle-bombing (FRANTIC) continues as 104 B-17’s and 42 P-51’s (having flown to USSR from Italy on 2 Jun) attack airfield at Galati and return to Soviet shuttle bases. 8 enemy fighters are shot down and 2 P- 51’s are lost. 570-plus other Heavy Bombers, with fighter escorts, bomb oil refineries in Ploesti area, marshalling yards at Brasov and Pitesti, Brasov wagon and armament works, Turnu-Severin canal, and marshalling yard at Belgrade.

Tenth AF

24 B-25’s attack Waingmaw, Wuntho-Hopin area, and Imphal-Tiddim road. Others maintain ammo lift into Imphal. 24 A-36’s, 11 P-51’s, and 45 P-40’s pound Myitkyina. About 40 A-36’s and P-40’s hit Mogaung, Mohnyin, Lachigahtawng, Pakhren-Sakan, and Kadu areas.

Fourteenth AF

50 P-40’s attack shipping, horses, and troops in Fulinpu Kweiyi vicinity, 10 P-51’s and 6 B-25’s pound Tayang Chiang, and 5 B-25’s bomb Pailochi airfield. 9 P-40’s hit road and rail targets of opportunity in Yellow R area. 2 others sink a junk and damage others at Kwangchow Wan.

Fifth AF

B-24’s and B-25’s bomb shipping near Efman and Waigeo Is. A-20’s hit airfield at Babo, and A-20’s and B-25’s hit Namber airfield and tanks near Mokmer. P-39’s, A-20’s, and RAAF airplanes continue to pound Wewak-Hansa Bay area, hitting supply dumps and hideouts. B-24’s hit islands in Truk Atoll.

Thirteenth AF

P-38’s bomb supply dump near Nordup. P-39’s and Navy aircraft hit vehicles near Hari. Other P-39’s pound pier and buildings in SE Kahili.

Seventh AF

B-24’s returning to Eniwetok from Los Negros (where they rearmed after bombing Guam the previous day) hit Ponape.


FRANCE—21 Army Group (Gen Montgomery, CG): Allied forces invade France, landing on coast of Normandy. Although OVERLORD is under supreme command of Gen Eisenhower, Gen Montgomery heads all land forces, Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory the air forces, and Adm Ramsay the naval forces. Powerful air and naval bombardment precedes and follows landings. Strategic aircraft join with tactical in pounding assault zone. Surprise as to time and place of invasion is achieved and casualties are extremely light on all beaches except OMAHA. Naval opposition is absent and air reaction is feeble. Seaborne assault—H Hour being 0630 for Americans and a little later for British—is preceded 4–5 hours by the largest airborne operation yet attempted. 3 divs are dropped to facilitate inland movement of seaborne assault forces. Drops are scattered, but paratroopers largely accomplish their mission of securing beach exits, advancing in small groups across hedgerow country.

In Gen Bradley’s U.S. First Army area, VII Corps (Gen Collins), on extreme right, lands W of Vire Estuary on UTAH Beach. Its primary mission is to seize port of Cherbourg as quickly as possible. 101st and 82d A/B Divs are dropped behind UTAH Beach in region between Ste Mère-Eglise and Carentan. 101st secures beach exits in St Martinde- Varreville–Pouppeville region and makes contact with seaborne 4th Div; blocks roads at Foucarville, which enemy surrenders night 6–7; takes lock at La Barquette, N of Carentan, but is unable to secure crossings of the Douve on either side of Carentan as planned. Enemy is resisting strongly in Carentan–St Côme-du-Mont area. 82d A/B Div, upon dropping astride the Merderet, takes Ste Mère- Eglise but fails to gain its other objectives—crossings of the Merderet and Douve, and making contact with 101st A/B Div in Beuzeville-au-Plain area— small groups are isolated W of the Merderet. At H–2, 4th Cav Gp detachment makes unopposed landings on Iles St Marcouf. 4th Div, reinf by 359th Inf of 90th Div, lands at H Hour, 8th Inf leading, and against relatively light opposition secures beachhead; 8th Inf gets some elements to Les Forges crossroads and others to Turqueville area, but enemy retains salient between these and 82d A/B Div units at Ste Mère-Eglise. Tank-infantry TF (from 325th Gli Inf of 82d A/B Div and 746th Tank Bn) arrives in Les Forges area but is unable to break through to 82d A/B Div. 12th Inf, 4th Div, reaches Beuzeville-au-Plain area to left of foist A/B Div, and 22d advances along coast to general line Hamelde- Cruttes–St-Germain-de-Varreville. V Corps (Maj Gen Leonard T. Gerow) lands to E of VII Corps on OMAHA Beach at H Hour but suffers heavy losses in men and equipment because of adverse surf conditions and raking fire delivered from sharply rising bluffs that command the narrow beach. 1st Div, reinf by 116th Inf of 29th Div, initially puts 116th and 16th Regts ashore; rest of 1st Div and 115th Inf of 29th land later in day. 2d and 5th Ranger Bns are attached to 116th Inf to clear Pointe du Hoe. 3 cos of 2d Ranger Bn, supported by fire from naval vessels offshore, scale steep cliff of Pointe du Hoe and take coastal battery, which enemy has abandoned; during next 2 days withstand series of sharp counterattacks against their isolated position. Other Rangers and 116th Inf ( — ) land between Vierville-sur-Mer and Les Moulins and overrun former. Elements of 116th Inf land E of Les Moulins and make futile effort to reach St Laurent-sur-Mer. On left flank of V Corps, 16th Inf and follow-up regts (115th, 18th, 26th) make maximum penetration of about 11/2 miles between St Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville; 3d Bn of 16th Inf, on extreme left, takes Le Grand Hameau.

Br Second Army (Lt Gen Myles C. Dempsey) lands to E of U.S. First Army on 3 beaches (GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD) between Le Hamel and Ouistreham and presses inland toward Bayeux and Caen. In 30 Corps area, 50th Div, reinf by 8th Armd Brig, elements of 79th Armd Div, and 47th Royal Mar Cdo, lands on GOLD Beach in Le Hamel— La Rivière sector; against strong opposition at Le Hamel, drives inland toward Bayeux, reaching general line Vaux-sur-Aure–St Sulpice-Vaux-sur-Seulles– Brécy–Creuilly; makes contact with Cdn 3d Div to left. Preparations are made for attack on Bayeux at daylight. I Corps puts troops ashore on JUNO and SWORD and drives on Caen from NW and N. Well before the seaborne assault, 6th A/B Div ( — ) is dropped E of the Orne in Caen area; secures bridges over Orne R and Caen Canal at Bénouville and destroys coastal battery at Merville. Cdn 3d Div, reinf, lands on JUNO in Courseulles area and thrusts rapidly inland 3–6 miles; armored patrols reach Bayeux–Caen highway at Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse. Br 3d Div, reinf, lands to left on SWORD and drives inland to Biéville, within about 2 miles of Caen, but gap exists between it and Cdn 3d Div. Germans make their only major counterattack of the day through the gap but are forced back almost to starting line.

FRANTIC—104 B–17’s and 42 P–51’s of U.S. Fifteenth Air Force attack airfield at Galati (Rumania), staging from bases in USSR.

ITALY—AAI: In U.S. Fifth Army area, VI Corps races northward, CCB of 1st Armd Div reaching positions about 25 miles from Rome where it is passed through at 2200 by 168th Inf, 34th Div.

In Br Eighth Army area, 13 Corps progresses rapidly W of the Tiber; S African 6th Armd Div reaches Civita Castellana. Stronger opposition E of the river makes going slower, but Br 6th Armd Div reaches Monterotondo. In 10 Corps area, Ind 8th Div pursues enemy to Subiaco.

CBI—Because of Japanese offensive in China, Gen Stilwell increases Hump allocation to Fourteenth Air Force to 8,325 tons. 1,500 more tons from B–29 allocation bring total tonnage for Fourteenth Air Force to the 10,000 Gen Chennault requested.

NEW GUINEA—On Biak, upon orders from Gen Fuller to clear Mokmer airfield at once and drive on to coast S of there, 186th Inf of TF HURRICANE prepares to drive on the airfield instead of clearing heights commanding it as planned. Attack is postponed until 7th in order to amass sufficient supplies. After receiving supply of water, 3d Bn, followed by 1st, moves down W slope of ridge in preparation for attack on airfield. 162d Inf continues to meet lively opposition in coastal sector.

POA—TF 58 sails from the Marshalls for the Marianas.

U.S.—JWPC issues study, “Operations Against Japan, Subsequent to Formosa,” in which the following schedule for 1945 is suggested for planning purposes: Phase 1—take Bonins and Ryukyus and attack China coast (1 April–30 June); Phase 2—consolidate and exploit (30 June–30 September); Phase 3—invade Japanese home islands, Kyushu on 1 October and Honshu on 31 December.


Allied forces invade the continent of Europe at Normandy. Joint War Plans Committee issues study establishing 1945 Pacific invasion schedule for planning purposes.

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