20:00 – June 6, 1944 (Last Update)

Later in the day, General Eisenhower authorizes release of communiqué announcing the commencement of the invasion:

Communique Number 2

 6 June 1944

Shortly before midnight on 5 June, 1944, Allied light bombers  opened the assault. Their attacks in very great strength  continued until dawn.

Between 0630 and 0730 hours this morning, two Naval Task  Forces, commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Philip Vian, K.B.E.,  D.S.O., flying his flag in H.M.S. Scylla (Captain  T.M. Brownrigg, C.B.E., R.N.), and Rear-Admiral Alan Goodrich Kirk,  U.S.N., in U.S.S. Augusta (Captain E. H. Jones, U.S.N.) launched
their assault forces at enemy beaches. The naval forces which  had previously assembled under the overall command of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, made their departure in fresh weather and were joined during the night by bombarding forces which had previously left northern waters.

Channels had to be swept through the large enemy minefields. This operation was completed shortly before dawn and, while minesweeping flotillas continued to sweep towards the enemy coast, the entire naval force followed down swept channels behind them towards their objectives.

Shortly before the assault, three enemy torpedo boats with armed trawlers in company attempted to interfere with the operation and were promptly driven off. One enemy trawler was sunk and another severely damaged.

The assault forces moved towards the beaches under cover of heavy bombardment from destroyers and other support craft, while heavier ships engaged enemy batteries which had already been subjected to bombardment from the air. Some of these were silenced. Allied forces continued to engage other batteries.

Landings were effected under cover of the air and naval bombardments and airborne landings involving troop carrying aircraft and gliders carrying large forces of troops were also made successfully at a number of points. Reports of operations so far show that our forces succeeded in their initial landings.

Fighting continues. Allied heavy, medium, light, and fighter bombers continued the air bombardment in very great strength throughout the day with attacks on gun emplacements, defensive works, and communica-tions [communications]. Continuous fighter over [cover] was maintained over the beaches and for some distance inland and over naval operations in the Channel. Our night fighters played an equally important role in protecting shipping and troop carrier forces and in intruder operations. Allied reconnaissance aircraft maintained continuous watch by day and night over shipping and ground forces. Our aircraft met with little enemy fighter opposition or anti-aircraft [antiaircraft] gunfire. Naval casualties were regarded as being very light, especially when the magnitude of the operation is taken into account.

 

07:35 – June 6, 1944

07:35 Update

05:30 H – Allied warships begin shelling German coastal fortifications
06:00 H – Sunrise. Aerial bombardment of German fortifications along Utah and Omaha Beaches
06:30 H – American landings begin on Utah and Omaha Beaches.
06:52 H – First reports of conditions on the beaches reach Admiral Ramsay. American forces on Omaha Beach meeting stiff opposition, and suffering heavy casualties.

Omaha Beach

07:00 H – German radio broadcast initial report of the landing
07:10 H – U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion begins assault on Pointe du Hoc

Pointe Du Hoc

07:25 H – British landings begin on Gold and Sword Beaches
07:35 H – Canadian landing begins on Juno Beach

British Troops on Sword Beach.

05:00 – June 6, 1944

Update of Overnight Operations

00:05 H – Allied air forces begin bombing of coastal batteries between Le Havre and Cherbourg.
00:10 H – reconnaissance groups dropped by parachute – Lieutenant Poole becomes first allied soldier to set foot on French soil.
00:20 H – British commandos under the command of Major Howard arrive by glider and begin attacks on Pegasus and other bridges over the River Orne.

Allied Glider

01:00 H – U.S. 82nd Airborne Division lands by parachute west of Saint Mere Eglise.

C47 Dakota

C-47 Dakota ( a military version of the DC-3) used to transport airborne troops to Normandy at: Musee des Troupes Aeroportees – Sainte Mere Eglise

01:11 H – First reports of American airborne assault reach headquarters of the German 84th Army Corps at Saint Lo.
01:30 H – U.S. 101ST Airborne Division lands by parachute near Utah Beach.
01:50 H – Main body of the British 6TH Airborne Division lands by parachute east of the River Orne.
02:45 H – Troops bound for Omaha Beach board landing craft.
03:00 H – Allied warships arrive at assigned positions for the assault.
03:20 H – Heavy equipment and reinforcements for paratroops arrive by glider.
03:25 H – German naval observers report presence of Allied task force off the coast of Normandy.
03:50 H – British paratroops begin attack on the village of Ranville.
04:30 H – Sainte Mere Eglise captured by 505th Regiment, U.S. 82nd Airborne Division. Marcouf islets off Utah Beach occupied by Americans.

“(American) paratroopers began jumping out by the hundreds. I saw one paratrooper land in the road but a German killed him before he could get untangled from his parachute. Another (paratrooper) was as killed near me. I will never forget the sight.” – Raymond Paris, resident of St. Mère-Eglise

04:45 H – Two miniature submarines drop off beachmasters and equipment for signaling landing craft. British knockout German shore battery at Merville.

22:00 – June 5, 1944

Commencement of Operation Neptune – Five fleets of assault ships cast off and depart their English port bases.

“We slipped anchor and headed into the Channel to overtake the grey columns of troops transports and landing craft, which now stretched to the horizon and beyond. They filled the scene as far as the eye could see. Overhead, the sky was filled with an aerial armada of bombers.”

John Gough, radio operator on board a destroyer.

LCI Convoy - D-Day

Timeline – December 8, 1941, 12:29

The President, still on his son’s arm, enters the Chamber of the House, is introduced briefly by Speaker Sam Rayburn, and receives a thunderous ovation. For the past nine years, Republicans have shown little enthusiasm toward the President when he has addressed a Joint Session of Congress. This time, the Republicans join in, signifying the nation’s sudden unity.

Solemnly, he begins his speech: 

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Timeline – December 8, 1941, 12:20

A heavily guarded black limousine pulls up to the south entrance of the U.S. Capitol.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gets out of the car and enters the Capitol, assisted by his son Captain James Roosevelt, who wears the uniform of the U.S. Marines.

The chamber of the House of Representatives is jammed with members of both houses of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, official guests, and onlookers in the galleries.