Archives: Timeline Posts

2100, 4 June 1944

Allied forecasters predict a 36-hour improvement in the weather. It will not be perfect but should be good enough to allow air, airborne and naval operations to take place. It seems possible that D-Day can be on 6 June.

1300, 4 June 1944

An Associated Press report mistakenly announces that the invasion has begun. A teletype operator is practising and doesn’t realise the machine is connected. The news is then broadcast around the world, until Associated Press issues a correction five minutes later.

0600, 4 June 1944

Erwin Rommel, the German commander in Normandy, goes to Germany for his wife’s birthday which is on 6 June. He plans to return to France on 8 June, and believes that the weather is too bad for the Allies to land in the meantime.

0415, 4 June 1944

The Allied commanders meet again to consider the weather forecast, and decide to postpone the invasion, which would otherwise take place the next day. Ships already at sea are recalled.

30 August 1944

German resistance to the south of River Seine comes to an end. Allied troops are now advancing rapidly to the north of the river, as the Germans continue to fall back.

26 August 1944

The first British forces (43rd Division) cross the River Seine. They make more crossings over the next few days.

25 August 1944

French troops of 2nd Armoured Division, under US command and with the support of the Resistance, liberate Paris.

22 – 25 August 1944

British and Canadian forces continue advancing towards River Seine. This wide river is a major obstacle in the way of the German retreat and the Allied advance.

20 -21 August 1944

On 20 August 1st Polish Armoured Division and Canadian forces are isolated from other Allied troops. They try to close up the mouth of Falaise Pocket while retreating Germans struggle desperately to break through. The next day Allied reinforcements arrive and close off the German escape route. Thousands of German troops are killed or captured.

19 August 1944

American and Anglo-Canadian troops finally meet up. The German army in Normandy is nearly encircled in what becomes known as the Falaise Pocket. Many German troops attempt to fight their way out. Further east, 79th US Division are the first Allied troops to cross the River Seine. In Paris the French Resistance begin an uprising to eject the German occupiers.

8 – 15 August 1944

A pair of Canadian-led attacks (Operations Totalize and Tractable) advance towards Falaise with the aim of meeting up with General Patton’s US forces advancing from the south and cutting off the German retreat.

7 – 9 August 1944

German forces launch a major counter-attack (Operation Lüttich) towards Mortain, in an attempt to halt the US advance. After some initial localised successes, the attack fails. The Germans are left weakened while Allied forces began to encircle them.

30 July – 7 August 1944

As the Americans begin to break through the German forces in the west, in the east British troops launch Operation Bluecoat. The British drive back the Germans and on 6 August British troops capture Mont Pinçon, the highest point in Normandy.

20 July 1944

Over the previous few days, German forces have started to crumble in the face of the American advance. Today the first US troops enter Brittany, under the command of General George Patton.

25 July 1944

Starting near St Lô, US forces launch Operation Cobra. This offensive aimed to break through the German defenders and the confined terrain of the ‘bocage’ countryside.

18 – 19 July 1944

British troops launch another major attack, Operation Goodwood. This time it is to the east of Caen. After some advances, the attack did not achieve its final objectives. However it did ensure that many of the strongest German troops remained pinned around Caen rather than heading to the US sector.

18 July 1944

US forces capture the town of St Lô, opening the way for the next big American offensive a week later.

10 – 17 July 1944

Anglo-Canadian forces engage in a series of exhausting battles to the west of Caen. These include the fierce fighting over the high ground known as Hill 112, and the Second Battle of the Odon which is fought across the valley of the River Odon.

8 – 10 July 1944

British and Canadians forces launch Operation Charnwood, aiming to liberate Caen. They reach the northern part of the city on 8 July, but Caen has been heavily damaged by Allied bombing raids.

4 July 1944

After fierce fighting the Canadians capture Carpiquet airfield, just west of Caen (Operation Windsor).

27 June 1944

The German garrison at Cherbourg surrenders to US forces who have gradually fought their way north from Utah Beach. Cherbourg has an important harbour, although the Germans sabotage its port facilities before surrendering.

26 – 30 June 1944

British and Canadian forces attempt to outflank the city of Caen to the west (Operation Epsom). The attackers advance slightly but there are several days of attack and counter-attack before the battle ends.

19 – 22 June 1944

A major storm lasts for several days and slows the rate at which Allied reinforcements are arriving in France. Many landing craft are wrecked or damaged. The American Mulberry Harbour (artificial harbour) at Omaha Beach is destroyed, but the British Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches survives.

13 June 1944

A week after D-Day, the Allies have landed 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 102,783 tons of supplies in Normandy. An attempt by 7th British Armoured Division to advance through Villers-Bocage and exploit a gap in the German lines is unsuccessful.

12 June 1944

US troops capture the key town of Carentan. This means that for the first time all the Allied bridgeheads in Normandy are joined up. Also today, the first V-1 flying bombs are launched against the UK. German leader Adolf Hitler hoped that their use over the coming weeks would weaken the Allied landings in France.