NORTHERN HILLS — On June 6, 1944, American and Allied forces launched the largest amphibious operation in military history and not only changed the course of World War II, but that of history itself.
Today, on the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, ceremonies all over the world will pay homage to the brave men stormed the beaches of Normandy, France.
In 1944, people back home woke up to news of the invasion in their morning newspapers.
The Lead Daily Call ran the large headline across the top of the June 6 paper “EUROPE INVADED!”
With an eight-hour time difference ahead of the Black Hills region, news outlets and correspondents on the front lines were able to send word of the unfolding invasion to an eagerly awaiting home front.
Airborne drops began around midnight and the seaborne troops landed on Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold, and Sword beaches at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6. That marked 10:30 p.m. Monday, June 5 in the Black Hills, and within the hour area residents received word of the invasion.
Below are stories that ran in the Deadwood Pioneer-Times and the Lead Daily Call as they were published on June 6, 1944.
First News Here At 11:30 P.M.
The first flash of the invasion was received about 11:30 p.m. by The Pioneer-Times from the Associated Press. It was a report from three German news agencies that the invasion was underway but for almost two hours there was no confirmation from any allied or War Department source. The entire staff stood by for further developments.
Scarcely had General Eisenhower’s communique been read when The Pioneer-Times, in constant touch with Denver, received direct confirmation from the Associated Press.
A few minutes later, General Eisenhower broadcast to the underground in France ordering them to follow orders, proceed with caution, refrain from jeopardizing their own lives, that they would be needed later. Other broadcasts by leaders of invaded countries followed.
The invasion was announced in Deadwood by the fire siren which blew steadily for 15 minutes, and the ringing of bells.
Lead Daily Call
11,000 AIRCRAFT BOMB AND STRAFE MILES OF COASTAL AREA TO SUPPORT LANDINGS
GERMAN NEWS AGENCY DNB GIVES ITS VERSION OF INVASION THRUST; CLAIM 8 ALLIED TANKS DESTROYED
SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, June 6.---(AP)--- Through the rolling ocean of clouds 5,000 feet thick allied forces threw 11,000 aircraft of almost any type into the grand invasion of Europe today bombing and strafing miles of Normandy beaches and flying inland to break the enemy’s communications.
Two things stood out in the air offensive launched in support of the landings in northern France. The first was the mass of air planes the allies were able to put into the sky in weather described as “just fair.”
The other was the absence of German resistance. In a blasting herald to the invasion the British bomber command sent more than 1300 of its biggest ships roaring across the channel last night and early today in the heaviest aerial attack ever aimed at German batteries along the French coast.
Other British aircraft attacked the northwestern German railroad center of Osnabruck without loss.
German Version of Invasion
(By the Associated Press)
The German news agency DNB at 10 a.m. today gave this version of the allied invasion:
An Anglo-American large scale attack against the Seine Bay and Normandy began early in the morning of June 6 with the dumping of major airborne formations between the estuaries of the Seine an Orne in the area of Isigny.
While the parachutists dropped between the Seine and Orne as well as strong groups of parachutists near Barfluer were annihilated fighting in the area of Isigny and Caen is in progress still.
About two hours after the first parachutist landings large scale amphibious operations commenced on a wide front between La Havre and Cherbourg with the focal points again directed against the river estuaries.
Another focal point developed at dawn today in the district between Caen and Isigny where the attacking Anglo-American forces were favored by terrain conditions. They succeeded at two points in reaching the coast and in advancing with their tanks several kilometers southward.
According to the first reported received so far 8 of 35 enemy tanks already have been destroyed.
Further very strong disembarkments took place at the small coast place of St. Vast La Hougue where violent artillery duel developed between German coastal batteries and naval forces of the allied landing fleet. As already reported one cruiser and one major landing vessel, heavily laden with troops and heavy arms, were sunk by direct hits.
Grim fighting is taking place at the estuary of the Orne and Vire.
Protected by numerous light naval forces and artificial fog landing boats of various types entered the river estuary attempting to carry out major scale landing operations in the rear of the Atlantic wall.
German military circles assumed that invasion operations will be extended to a wider coastal strip before long.
In the Bay of St. Malo attempted major attacks against the Atlantic wall are expected.
It is also possible that the Anglo-Saxons will extend their invasion attempts to the coastal district betwen (sic) the Somme and Seine estuaries while an attack against the coastal zone of Boulogne and Calais is not expected for some time.
ALLIED INVASION STARTED
DENVER, Colo., (Tuesday), June 6---(AP)---General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters announced the landing of allied forces in Europe today.
Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force June 6.---General Eisenhower announced today that the allied troops began landing on the north coast of France this morning, strongly supported by naval and air forces.
The text of the communique said: “Under the command of General Eisenhower the allied force, supported by a strong air force, began landing allied armies this morning on the north coast of France.”
The German radio said the landings extended between Cherbourg along the south side of the Seine and along the Normandy coast.
Parachute troops landed in the Normandy peninsula, Berlin said.
Berlin first announced the landings in a series of flashes that began about 6:30 a.m. or 12:30 EWT.
The allied communique was read over a trans-Atlantic hook-up direct from General Eisenhower’s headquarters at 3:32 EWT or 1:32 MWT.
A second announcement by SHAEF said “it is announced that General B. L. Montgomery is in command of the army group carrying out the assault. This army ground is composed of British, Canadian, and United States forces.”
LONDON, (Tuesday), June 6---(AP)---Berlin radio said today “combined British and American landing operations against the western coast of Europe from the sea and air are scraping over the entire area between La Havre and Cherbourg.”
The broadcast declared that grand scale amphibious operations are underway over a broad front between the mouth of the Seine and an estuary of the River Bire.
The large number of all landing boats of various types and light allied naval forces were taking part. Six heavy allied warships and 20 destroyers are at the mouth of the Seine.
Fierce fighting against the allied forces at Caen inland from the north coast, 30 air line miles southwest of LeHavre was reported by the Germans.
LONDON, June 6---(AP)---DNB broadcast last night that the long awaited invasion of the French coast began with the first hours this morning. Paratroopers have landed on the Seine River, and the French port of La Havre is being shelled, the broadcast stated.
No allied confirmation of the alleged invasion has been received.
Three German agencies have broadcast the reports. Thirty minutes after the Germans broadcast the allied landings there was no confirmation from the allied headquarters and the War Department stated it had no information.
The German broadcast said that allied paratroopers were flowing out of the dawn sky to make landings over the Normandy peninsula and seaborne forces were landing in the LeHavre area. CBS in New York said that after a recheck of one German broadcast “there can be no mistake that allied troops have also landed at the mouth of the Somme river in Abbeville, 75 miles northwest of LeHavre.
CBS said it appears therefore, that allied troops have landed at two points in separate operations, according to the Germans.
LONDON, June 6---AP---A spokesman for General Dwight Eisenhower in a London broadcast told the people living on the European invasion coasts today, (June 6), that “a new phases of the allied offensive has started,” and warned them to move inward to a depth of 35 kilometers, about 22 miles.
In a special broadcast over the BBC directed to France and other coastal countries the spokesman said:
“A new phases of the allied offensive has started. It will affect the entire coastal zone situated not less than 35 kilometers inland from the French coast. The people will be advised by special announcement from allied planes.”
LONDON, June 6---(AP)--- A Luxembourg radio announced today that allied planes were over southwest Germany.
The German DNB commentator, Col. Ludwig Sertorious declared in a broadcast early today that “the great contest between the Reich and the Anglo-Americans has begun.”
“The allied landings in the West today has put German armed forces in the mood which they expressed with a laconic ‘they are coming.’
“We can only stress the small mindedness with which the German Wehrmacht is facing the coming onslaught for in war ethical values are at least as important as regiment of soldiers in the quality of their equipment.”
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