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6th June 1944

WWII Timeline




Events On This Day

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of Wehrmacht occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 12,000 plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving almost 7,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June 1944 more than three million troops were in France by the end of August.

Eighth Air Force. Eighth reaches its top strength as 493d Bomber Group (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 choke points 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 choke points 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 command centre of Caen. 56 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers bomb through overcast skies. Transportation choke points in towns immediately South and East 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 Air Force drop 3,596 tons of bombs during D-Day, suffering only 3 losses (to ground fire and a collision). VIII Fighter Command 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 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed and 14 damaged. Also destroyed are 21 locomotives and two carloads of ammunition. Numerous targets are damaged including locomotives, trucks, tank cars, armoured vehicles, goods carriers, barges, and tugboats. Targets attacked with unreported results include warehouses, radar towers, barracks, troops, artillery, staff cars, 85 trains, and a variety of other targets. 25 VIII Fighter Command aircraft are lost.

Ninth Air Force. More than 800 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) A-20 Havoc light bombers and B-26 Marauder medium bombers bomb coastal defence 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 troop carriers, ground support, and dive-bombing missions over West France. During the preceding fight and during the day over 1,400 C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft, C-53 Skytrooper transport aircraft, and gliders deliver glider troops and paratroops, including 3 full airborne divisions, which are to secure beach exits to facilitate inland movement of seaborne assault troops. A total of about 30 aeroplanes medium bombers, (fighters and transports) are lost.

Twelfth Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) medium bombers, light bombers, fighter-bombers, and fighters all hit command lines North 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 West of Tiber reach Civita Castellana and United States Fifth Army forces push North and West toward Viterbo and Civitavecchia.

Fifteenth Air Force. Shuttle bombing (FRANTIC) continues as 104 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and 42 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers (having flown to USSR from Italy on 2 June 1944) attack airfields at Galati and return to Soviet shuttle bases. 8 enemy fighters are shot down and 2 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers are lost. 570 other heavy bombers, with fighters 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 Air Force. 24 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-25 Mitchell medium bombers attack Waingmaw, Wuntho Hopin area, and Imphal Tiddim road. Others maintain ammunition lift into Imphal. 24 A-36 Apache dive bomber, 11 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers, and 45 P-40 fighters pound Myitkyina. About 40 A-36 Apache dive bomber and P-40 fighters hit Mogaung, Mohnyin, Lachigahtawng, Pakhren, Sakan, and Kadu areas.

Fourteenth Air Force. 50 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) P-40 fighters attack shipping, horses, and troops in Fulinpu Kweiyi vicinity, 10 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers and 6 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers pound Tayang Chiang, and 5 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers bomb Pailochi airfield. 9 P-40 fighters hit road and rail targets in Yellow River area. 2 others sink a junk and damage others at Kwangchow Wan.

Fifth Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and B-25 Mitchell medium bombers bomb shipping near Efman and Waigeo Islands. A-20 Havoc light bombers hit airfields at Babo, and A-20 Havoc light bombers and B-25 Mitchell medium bombers hit Namber airfield and tanks near Mokmer. P-39 fighters, A-20 Havoc light bombers, and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aeroplanes continue to pound Wewak Hansa Bay area, hitting supply dumps and hideouts. B-24 Liberator heavy bombers hit islands in Truk Atoll.

Thirteenth Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) P-38 Lightning fighters bomb supply dump near Nordup. P-39 fighters and Navy aircraft hit vehicles near Hari. Other P-39 fighters pound pier and buildings in Southeast Kahili.

Seventh Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-24 Liberator heavy bombers returning to Eniwetok from Los Negros (where they rearmed after bombing Guam the previous day) hit Ponape.

R221 R-boat
Sunk 6 June 1944

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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