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25 June 1944

25 June 1944


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General Marie Pierre Koenig is appointed to command the French Forces of the Interior (FFI)

Hitler's Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front, Robert Kirchubel. A 'unit history' written on the largest scale, tracing the campaigns fought by the four Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front, from their roles in the early German victories, to their eventual defeat and destruction in the ruins of the Reich. A very useful contribution to the literature on the Eastern Front. [read full review]


1950 : Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea, setting off the Korean War which lasted until 1953. The US becomes involved as part of the United Nations effort to help South Korea repel the invasion from the North and pushes back to North Korea beyond 38th parallel into North Korean territory and following US involvement China become involved on behalf of North Korea

1951 : The first commercial color television show was transmitted by the Columbia Broadcasting System CBS . While color television sets were generally not available it was estimated that about 40,000 people saw the first color program.


The Assault Begins

Before attacking Cherbourg, the Allies launched a heavy aerial bombardment, pounding the city’s defenses. Then, at 2pm on the 22 nd of June, the ground attack began.

It was a bloody and distressing business for the advancing American infantry. Machineguns stationed in concrete bunkers allowed the Germans to inflict heavy casualties on the Americans while remaining safe from small arms fire. The Americans had to take out these strongpoints one at a time, approaching in the open and under fire.

American soldiers in combat, Cherbourg, 1944.

Some of the attackers had already faced the Germans in a series of skirmishes on their way up the peninsula. Now they had to learn a new style of combat, as they engaged in bitter street fighting. They progressed house by house into Cherbourg, groups leapfrogging past each other. One group would cover the buildings opposite, watching out for enemy fire, while the other advanced. Then the roles would reverse.

The infantry were supported by tanks and artillery, but much of the hard work and most of the danger fell upon them.


Coventry, R. I. – June 25, 1944

On the afternoon of June 25, 1944, a flight of three P-47 aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a low altitude, cross-country navigational training flight to Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island. (Today Hillsgrove Field is known as T. F. Green Airport.) From Hillsgrove, the flight was to continue to Groton, Connecticut, and from there back to Bradley Field. The flight leader was First Lieutenant William H. Brookman, (27), an experienced pilot and flight instructor. The other two pilots were trainees.

During the first leg of the trip, Lt. Brookman supervised the other two pilots from the number 3 position. As the flight neared the Connecticut – Rhode Island state border, it ran into thick cloud cover. At that time Lt. Brookman ordered the flight to return to Bradley. After turning around, the other two pilots noticed that Lt. Brookman’s aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-27835), had disappeared from the formation. Attempts to contact Brookman by radio were unsuccessful. The other two aircraft made it safely back to Bradley and reported the incident.

Lt. Brookman was reported missing, but no reports of a plane crash had been received, nor had he radioed to the other pilots that he was having any problems with the aircraft. The wreckage of his P-47 was spotted from the air during a search the following day. His plane had crashed and burned in a heavily wooded area in the western portion of the town of Coventry, Rhode Island, just a short distance to the west of Pig Hill Road. The exact location is unknown.

Military investigators were unable to determine the direct cause of the accident due to the airplane being completely destroyed. However, the following excerpt is taken from the Army Air Force investigation report of the incident.

“The aircraft and engine were completely demolished, and the aircraft crashed approximately two and one half miles from the nearest house, thus, no person was found who had heard or seen the airplane.

The carburetor is the only evidence found that gives any clue to the probable cause and it was broken from the engine. The bolt holding the fuel strainer was loose and could be turned slightly by hand. The gasket was in good condition. The seat under the strainer cover shows signs of burning which leads one to believe that gasoline did escape at this point and caused a fire in flight prior to the airplane’s contact with the terrain. Picture 231 indicates a crack as well as picture 230 but these are only marks.

Although only the fuel strainer side of the carburetor was burned, it is possible that it could have caught fire as a result of the terrific impact and been covered with raw fuel during the crash, burning until it landed several yards from the engine as the grass upon which the carburetor was found was not burned.

The 41-B shows that the carburetor screen was checked on the 22nd of June, on the 23rd and 24th the ship flew fifteen hours during which no notation of gas fumes were reported by the pilots. This leads one to believe that the above assumption may be improbable and that the looseness was caused by the impact.”

Lt. Brookman enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January of 1942, and received his officers commission the following October. He was assigned to the 9th Air Force, and served in North Africa until the German surrender in June of 1943. He then returned to the United States to become a flight instructor, and after completing training in Stuttgart, Alabama, was assigned to Bradley Field in Connecticut.

Lt. Brookman is buried in Woodlawn – Hillcrest Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska. To see a photo of him, go to www.findagrave.com, see ID# 75022710.

Army Air Force Crash Investigation Report 44-6-25-27

Town of Coventry R.I. Death Records, Registration #61, page 299.

www.findagrave.com, ID #75022710

Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The Unites States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony Mireles, McFarland & Co., 2006, via research library, New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Ct.


Operation "Overlord"

Operation “Overlord” was organized under the overall command of US General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On the ground, it was commanded by British General Bernard Montgomery. During the operation, Allied troops landed on five beaches on the coast of Normandy. The beaches were code named: Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Utah. On the night before the amphibious landings, more than 23,000 US, British, and Canadian paratroopers landed in France behind the German defensive lines by parachute and glider. The invasion forces numbered about 175,000 Allied troops and 50,000 vehicles. Some 5,000 naval craft and more than 11,500 aircraft supported the initial invasion.

At first, under the overall command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the Germans had held the advantage in battle positioning. They had deployed five infantry divisions, one airborne division, and one tank division along the Normandy coast. However, the Allies had an overwhelming advantage in naval and air power. On D-Day alone, the Allies flew 14,000 sorties. In contrast, the German air force managed only 500 sorties. Moreover, a successful Allied deception plan had led the Germans to believe the point of the attack would be further north and east on the coast near Calais and the Belgian border. Deceived, the Germans moved only slowly to reinforce the Normandy defenses after the initial landing.

"'This is D-Day,’ the BBC announced at twelve. ‘This is the day.’ The invasion has begun. Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don’t know yet. But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” —Anne Frank, diary entry June 6, 1944

By nightfall of June 6, 1944, some 100,000 Allied servicemen had come ashore . Despite Allied superiority, the Germans contained Allied troops in their slowly expanding beachhead for six weeks. The US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions made the most difficult landing on Omaha Beach. Stiff German resistance here caused over 3,000 casualties before the Allied troops could establish their positions by the end of the first day. On D-Day itself, Allied troops suffered more than 10,000 casualties, with 4,400 confirmed dead. Specifically, British and Canadian forces suffered around 3,700 casualties and US forces suffered about 6,600 casualties. German forces lost between 4,000 and 9,000 men.

On D-Day itself, the Allies landed 11 divisions on the French coast. Initially , they failed to reach their planned objective of linking the beachheads or driving inland to a distance of nine miles. On June 11, however, Allied troops overcame German resistance. They united the invasion beaches into one large beachhead.

On July 25, 1944, Allied troops broke out of the Normandy beachhead near the town of St. Lo. They began to pour into northern France. By mid-August, Allied troops encircled and destroyed much of the German army in Normandy in the Falaise pocket. Spearheaded by General George Patton's Third Army, the Allies then raced across France. On August 25, Free French forces liberated Pari s with Allied support. On September 11, 1944, US troops arrived in Luxembourg, which at the time was annexed to the German Reich. This meant that US troops had effectively crossed the German frontier.


Avro Lancaster III (JA899 VN-D) on a mission to Prouville on 1944-06-25

On Saturday, 24 June 1944, (a part of) the aircraft of the 50 squadron (RAF), took off for a mission to Prouville in France from a station (airfield) in or near Skellingthorpe.
One of the crew members was Flight Sergeant B D Beddison. He departed for his mission at 22:43.
He flew with a Avro Lancaster (type III, with serial JA899 and code VN-D). His mission and of the other crew members was planned for Sunday, 25 June 1944.

Information about aircraft who did not return from this mission can be found here. Information about the other crew members on this flight can be found at this website (Aircrew Remembered). This website also provides the flight information for this record.

This record can also be found on the maps of Back to Normandy with Google coordinates. You can find the maps by clicking on this link on this location.

There are several possibilities in investigating the flight records on Back to Normandy. All the flights are plotted on maps, sorted " day by day", "by squadron", "by type aircraft", "by year or month", "by location" and much more! Don't miss this.

If you have any information that you want to share, please add your comment at the bottom of this record. Or send your information to

Your photos and your information are very welcome! The young do care and with your help we keep up the good work.


12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by stoveb » 22 Oct 2019, 00:49

As part of my research into the 9th(Pi)/SS Pz Rgt 1, I have found that a former member of the unit ended up being in the 16. Kp/SS.Pz. Gren.Rgt. 25 and was killed on 17th June 1944. Although I have a vast amount of LSSAH related material I don’t have anything specific to 12th SS if anyone could please let me know what was happening on this day near Caen, and if the 16th Kp is mentioned anywhere.

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by eindhoven » 22 Oct 2019, 05:23

From the Kriegstagebuch of SS-Panzer Grenadier Regiment 25, no mention of 16 Kompanie

KTB SS-pz.Gren.Rgt.25 - 17.6.44
HQ Abbey Ardenne
Patrols conducted yielded the following results:
9./25: elements advanced 1,000 m northeast of the company HQ. 3 enemy antitank guns were firing in the direction on the fighting positions in front of 4. Zug of the 9.Kompanie.
The patrol observed that the British were training civilians, both women and men, in rifle and sub-machine gun fire and then shooting at targets.
Around 02:00, an enemy patrol was repulsed.
2 prisoners, 5 rifles, 3 machine guns,
1 rocket gun, 1 mine detector, 6
bags of explosives were brought back.
Patrol of the 10. and 11. Kompanie no encounters
with the enemy.
10:10: According to II./25.10 enemy gliders
landed southeast of 80. The gliders
were immediately fought by the
Ill./A.R.12.
During the morning, no aircraft activity
enemies or artillery.
13:30: Message from the SS-Flak-Abt.12: ,, 5 enemy tanks
observed north of Gruchy going back and forth. "
4:00 pm: Harassing artillery fire
heavy caliber on the I./25.
18:10: Harassing artillery fire on the HQ
of the Rgt. , Abbey Ardenne.
8:45 pm: The positions of the SS-Flak-Abt.12 were
attacked several times at low altitude by
Jabos.
9:05 pm: Small artillery harassing fire
on the Rgt's HQ. and on the observation post of
the III./A.R. 12, church of Ardenne.
The following operations have been planned for
the night: I./25: none, II./25: none, III./25: 9./25:
reconnaissance along the Buron Valley - Vieux-Cairon.
10./25: reconnaissance 200 m west of Les Buissons
along road and hedgeline of Le Buissons.
11./25: liaison patrol between the 10./25 and
the neighbor on the right, In the evening, weak shots
harassing artillery fire.
Losses
Killed: 2 men
Injured: 2 NCOs, 10 men
Missing
1 man
Weather: cloudy, rainy.
State of health: good

(Source, 'Sur Le Front De Normandie, Volume II:6/6-7/7/44 Invasionsfront', Autor Stephan Cazenave, Maranes Editions)

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by stoveb » 22 Oct 2019, 07:29

Hi, thanks so much for that, a very comprehensive answer!

I suspect that the 16th (Pionier) would have been near the Stab as it was a Regimental unit, it seems likely that he was caught up in the artillery fire.

Is there a source of maps for this period where the Kompanie might have been placed prior to the 17th June?

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by eindhoven » 22 Oct 2019, 18:07

Are you sure he was in 25 Regt? and not 26 Regt? Soldbuch entry perhaps confirms?

Given my sources are French, German, and English the first two require translation prior to posting here in English.

Established in January 1944

16. (Pio.) / SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26, map available 16.6.44
16. (Pio.) / SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25

("Chronik der Pioniereinheiten der 12. SS-Panzer-Division" Hitlerjugend ""by Kurt Imhoff, Selbstverlag 1966, u. wieder mal von Pionierkameradschaft Dresden, 1990.)

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by seaburn » 22 Oct 2019, 18:52

I have a record of a POW from the 16th Kp of the 25th Reg who was captured in Caen in July 1944. He was recorded discussing how they sorted out hidden mines on the EF - one method discussed is mentioned in Meyer's Grenadiers - the other is not but by the nature of the war there, is highly likely.
Won't put the doc up here as I need it myself for my own project but will send it you via the normal channels of needed. Will also check Hubert Meyer's div records to see if I can see anything for that day.

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by seaburn » 22 Oct 2019, 19:20

Re: 12. SS, SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25, 17th June 1944

Post by eindhoven » 23 Oct 2019, 03:04

Hubert Meyer can be aggravating at times either because of poor translation or simply his tendency for gaps despite his obvious access to primary source material.

Already in Feb 1944 we know from the Pionierkameradschaft itself which was taken from their KTB,

"16th (Pionier) /SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26 commanded by the SS-Ostuf. Trompke is subordinated to SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26.
SS-Mann Jonny Wrieden commits suicide on the night of February 3 to 4, around 0:15 while on guard duty at the Ausbildungskompanie.
16./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.25 is subordinated to SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 25 on February 7th and SS-Ustuf. Karl Werner, as it's commander , is officially transferred to the regiment as of the 10th.
On February 10th, the Pionier-Zug of III. (Gp.) / SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26 (lead by SS-Oscha. RFA. Buse) was subordinated to SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 26"

In other words 16 Kompanie was formed January, officially staffed in February, and its assets split out to support both 25 and 26 Pz.Gren.Rgt. going into the Normandy battle . Hence two very specific unit designator's in the KTB. NOT just 16 Kompanie. They are:

16. (Pio.) / SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.26, commanded by SS-Ostuf. Herbert Trompke
16. (Pio.) / SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.25, commanded by SS-Ustuf. d.R. Karl Werner

Throughout the KTB of their wartime daily you see the above two units referenced widely so when Hubert Meyer says 16. Kompanie was pulled from the line and placed between Rgt. 25 and <Rgt. 26 it makes no sense. Both grenadier regiments already had pioneer elements assigned to them from 16. Kompanie and were essentially covering each others flanks already, not operating as a single unit. They also did not re-consolidate into one Kompanie and sit between each regiment thereby leaving those grenadier regiments without any proper pioneer support.


June 6, 1944: The Most Important Day of the Twentieth Century

On June 5, 1944, standing in his headquarters watching it rain, General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, pulled out a pencil and scribbled a short note he hoped he wouldn’t have to use.

Our landings in Normandy have failed, he wrote, and he had ordered their withdrawal. The decision to attack there and then had been his, so “if any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” He was so preoccupied with worry he wrote “July” on it instead of “June.” He folded the paper and put it in his jacket pocket. As things transpired, the landings did not fail and the whole war changed. The note stayed in his pocket.

Sometimes I’m asked by my students (alongside the perennial question “Who’s the worst president?”) whether there’s a most important day of the twentieth century. I always answer June 6, 1944: the day the Allies successfully put an army ashore in Northern France whose sole purpose was the total destruction of Nazi Germany.

From the beginning of the alliance against Germany, the U.S. and the British offered competing strategic visions of what should be done. The British—and particularly Prime Minister Winston Churchill—were wary of massive across-the-beach assaults into the teeth of heavily prepared positions. For a while, the British carried the debate and Allied operations against the Nazi army proceeded from North Africa, to Sicily, to Italy, and then crept northward up the peninsula toward Rome. American planners, however, knew that the forces needed to crush Germany couldn’t get to Berlin by slogging over the Italian Alps and that putting an army directly into Northern Europe was unavoidable.

Those of us who put some stock in movies as ways of keeping history alive were very encouraged by 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. The first half hour of that Academy Award-winning film portrayed the Normandy landings with an accuracy that astonished moviegoers and had more people talking about Operation Overlord than at any time since 1944. At the time at least, the movie gave D-Day a strong boost of cultural awareness that historians hoped might not quickly wane. B ut as time has passed, that movie, like the invasion it commemorates, has gradually faded back away from the attention of younger audiences. The invasion now rarely makes the cut for information about WWII that’s given to high school history classes. Students don’t know what it was all about.

The Normandy landings of seventy-one years ago transformed the generic military term “D-Day” into a proper noun. Actually, by the summer of 1944 there had already been costly D-day’s in Sicily and Italy the year before. And there was a hellish D-day on every Japanese-held island in the Pacific.

There was also a less well-known D-Day in the south of France, just two months after Normandy. This was the route, in fact, by which Audie Murphy, the most decorated combat soldier of the war, came to fight in France where he would gain his fame. Part of the invasion force included the storied 3 rd Infantry Division, and in August of 1944 Murphy was a staff sergeant in the division’s 15 th regiment. On the morning of August 15, Murphy came ashore in the first wave of soldiers, watching for enemy fire and picking his way gingerly across the heavily-mined beach. To his left, a soldier was killed instantly by an errant step. Later that afternoon on a hillside just inland, Murphy won the Distinguished Service Cross, the military’s second highest award for valor, when he charged headlong into German machine gun nests after his best friend, Private Lattie Tipton, died in his arms from a single sniper’s bullet.

But even so, it was at Normandy where the overall stakes were the highest, and the term “D-Day” is now inextricably linked with June 6, 1944. Considering its importance, the historic shorthand is not inappropriate.

No account of that day is more vivid than that of American journalist Ernie Pyle who was there to see it. “Now that it is over,” he reflected a short time later, “it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all.” Pyle couldn’t tell his readers back in the states all that he knew just yet, but “before long it will be permitted to name the units that did it. Then you will know to whom this glory should go.” His readers soon learned that glory belonged to the 1 st , 4 th , and 29 th Infantry divisions.

After all the intervening decades, all the attention of historians and Hollywood, it remains Pyle himself who best explained why people should always remember June 6. He described for his readers the sacrifices involved, “so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.” Today, faced with the dwindling numbers of WWII veterans, it falls to us to renew that gratitude while we still can.

David A. Smith is a senior lecturer in American history at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and is the author of The Price of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America’s Most Decorated Hero of World War II.


Aftermath

By the night of June 6, all five beaches had been captured, and the Allies had made progress in pushing their way inland. In total, about 156,000 infantrymen, 13,000 aircraft, and 6,000 ships participated in D-Day, and more than 4,000 Allied troops were killed.

Over the following 2 ½ months, the Allies fought their way through northern France. The Battle of Normandy was considered complete at the end of August, with the liberation of Paris and the retreat of German forces across the River Seine. The success of D-Day and the following Normandy campaign directly influenced the Allies ability to liberate Western Europe from German control.

Learn more about D-Day (Normandy Landings) through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Watch the video: The Lost D-Day Documentary 60fps (May 2022).