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Daily Chronicle of the Battle for Normandy

Wednesday, June 7th 1944


June 7th dawns with the allies securely in control of all five beach heads; even if the initial objectives have not yet been achieved. To the west of Utah and Omaha beaches, the American 82nd and 101st airborne divisions have established at least nominal control of large sections of land between Utah beach and the Merderet - Douve river. These units, having been parachuted in on June 6 in the dead of night, have suffered heavy casualties and are severely dislocated. By the morning of June 7th these units are operating at an average of a third of their original strength. Despite this, by evening, the paratroopers are able to fully link up with the 4th U.S Infantry Division; having landed on Utah Beach at dawn, of the previous day (without major problems).

At Omaha Beach, the situation of the 1st and 29th American divisions, having landed at dawn of the previous day, is more critical. By June 7th, these divisions control only a small amount of territory; as such, the risk of being pushed off the beaches from German counter attack remains high. To the east, at Sword, Juno and Gold, the British and Canadians, while their landings were also difficult, are having an easier time of things. The Canadians remain in control of Anisy and Cainet, having fought off a major counter attack by the 21st Pz Division the day before. By end of day, the 6th Airborne Division have managed to take bridges on the Orne river and have linked up with elements of the British 3rd Infantry Division at Sword Beach.

On the German side, things are in chaos; they have been taken completely by surprise. The storm, which reigned the day before in the English Channel, lulled the German high command into a false sense of security. To make matters worse, the superiority of Allied air power hinders German attempts at organized defense. With the exception of the 21st Panzer Division, all German panzer divisions are still enroute to the front, having been severely delayed the previous day due to problems with the German command structure. Of historical note, the only reason why the 21st was able to act so quickly was due to the personal intervention of Rommel; who personally phoned up all the battalion commanders of the 21st and implored them to disregard Hitler’s orders and act regardless. On June 7, Rommel is driving towards Normandy to take the things in hand.

The Germans launch a counter-offensive towards the north of Caen, which they believe to be of vital strategic importance, and towards Port-en-Bessin, north of Bayeux, where the American and British troops are trying to link up their beachheads. The 716th German Infantry division and the 21st Panzer division are chosen to counter-attack the Allied forces. Allied air forces, catch sight of the movements of these divisions and destroy great numbers of tanks and vehicles. By night fall, the Germans abandon their planned offensive. Meanwhile, paratroopers in the area of the village of Ranville, of the 6th Airborne division, located east of the landing beaches, desperately hold on to their positions against determined German opposition. Their efforts are aided in part, thanks to the recently landed anti-tank guns, and the assistance of the British 3rd Infantry division. Together, these forces push back the units of the 21st Panzer division, forcing them to withdraw to defensive lines in and around Caen.

Meanwhile, hundreds of American and British gliders land in Normandy. Some of these gliders, land behind enemy lines, forcing a number of German units to retreat.

 

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