SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, SOMEWHERE IN GREAT BRITAIN, June 7, 1944 (UP) -- American, Canadian and British invasion troops, landed yesterday on the French Normandy coast, battled their way into the streets of ancient Caen within a few hours and German reports indicated early today that they had pushed inland between 7 1/2 and 10 miles at key points on a 60-mile front.
Under Gen. Sir Bernard Montgomery, the Allied troops -- many of them seasick after their channel trip in bad weather -- fought ashore through waist-deep mud and slime past under-water obstacles of concrete and wood, capped with deadly mines, to make good their landing against surprisingly light resistance.
There was no sign of an immediate German counter-attack. German broadcasts reported that Field Marshals Gerd von Runstedt and Erwin Rommel, the anti-invasion chiefs, were in command on the spot and there were unconfirmed reports that Adolf Hitler had assumed supreme command.
Unfavorable weather -- worse than in the Sicilian landings -- was the chief Allied hazard.
The first German prisoners and Allied casualties were landed in England late yesterday -- the wounded brought back by mine sweepers.
Stockholm reported that the Germans had thrown czarist Russian cossacks "volunteers" against American paratroops and that the Germans were using a "secret weapon" -- a so-called land torpedo.
Prime Minister Churchill paid a visit to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower Tuesday at the supreme commander's secret headquarters in a motor caravan in the English countryside to hear late reports.
Eisenhower, after announcing the invasion in one sentence in his first communique, issued a second one early Tuesday saying that the initial landings succeeded and that fighting continued.
Apparently effecting a complete strategic and tactical surprise by landing on a soft spot between the heavily defended ports of Le Havre and Cherbourg, the Allied force at remarkably low cost made good their landings in the "great crusade" and fought their way into the streets of Caen. German reports said our forces also were astride the Cherbourg-Valognes-Carentan road running along the east side of the Cherbourg peninsula nearly 10 miles inland.
There also were German reports that the Allies had seized an airdrome between Calais and Boulogne up the coast on the Dover strait and that a landing force threatened the Calais-Dunkerque area immediately to the east.
But the main attack, according to detailed German broadcast reports, was developing between the mouth of the Orne river, in the Caen area, and the east side of the peninsula below Cherbourg.
The Germans reported that Allied troops had landed in the channel islands of Guernsey and Jersey off the west side of the Cherbourg peninsula.
Allied leaders were astonished at the relatively low cost of the first phase of the operation, in ships and men, and at the weakness of the German opposition in the air and on the ground.
The greatest military operation of all time, carried out with the protection of 11,000 airplanes, 4,000 ships and thousands of smaller craft, was started despite unfavorable weather which, it was revealed, had caused its postponement by 24 hours.
So great was its success, apparently, in the first phase that it was understood Gen. Charles De Gaulle, who had come here from Algiers, might land on the coast of his motherland at any time.
Eisenhower's communique No. 2, a review of the first phase of the invasion, said:
"Reports of operations so far show that our troops succeeded in their initial landings. Fighting continues."
Allied night bombers opened the assault shortly before midnight Monday, Eisenhower said, and continued attacks in very great strength until dawn.
Between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. (12:30 and 1:30 a.m. E.W.T.) two naval task forces, commanded by Rear Adml. Sir Philip Viam, in the British cruiser Scylia, and Rear Adml. Alan Goodrich, U.S.N. in the American cruiser Augusta--President Roosevelt's former vacation ship -- launched the assault forces at the beaches, Eisenhower said.
Sinking one enemy trawler on the way and severely damaging another, the assault forces moved toward the beaches under cover of a heavy bombardment by destroyers and other support craft while heavier warships engaged the German batteries which the planes already had attacked.
"Some of these were silenced," Eisenhower said. "The Allied forces continued to engage other batteries. Landing were effected under cover of the air and naval bombardment and air-borne landings involving troops in carrying aircraft and gliders carrying large forces of troops were also made successfully at a number of points."
Allied heavy and medium bombers, which had dropped 11,120 tons of bombs in the 7,500 sorties in the first 8 1/2 hours of the assault continued their attacks in "very great strength" throughout the day with attacks on gun emplacements, defensive works and communications, Eisenhower said.
Fighter planes covered the beaches and the ships during the day after night fighters had covered the air-borne troop landings.
"Our aircraft met with little enemy fighter opposition or anti-aircraft gun fire," Eisenhower said. "Naval casualties were reported as being very light, especially when the magnitude of the operation was taken into account."
President Roosevelt said at Washington that up to noon Tuesday two American destroyers and one escort ship were lost. He said that the invasion was running "up to schedule," and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson said that it was going "very nicely."
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who revealed the gigantic size of the invasion, said that the airborne phase was the greatest ever.
While Allied leaders withheld specific information about their operation to increase the difficulties of the Germans, the enemy broadcasts contained many but unconfirmed details.
At first they had reported the invasion developing around the mouth of the Seine at Le Havre, but they said last night that it was being pressed to the west.
Caen, inland from the mouth of the Orne river, was one center. The mouth of the Vire river, around Isigny at the base of the east side of the Cherbourg peninsula, was the second center.
Tuesday night the Germans said that Allied paratroops were astride the Cherbourg-Valognes-Carentan road running along the east side of the peninsula.
Enemy broadcasts reported sighting reinforcement convoys, containing up to 200 ships, at points along the Seine bay between the mouth of the Seine and the tip of the peninsula.
Churchill said there was every indication that the Allied invasion forces, commanded by Gen. Sir Bernard Montgomery, had obtained a tactical surprise. He added that everything was going "according to plan -- and what a plan."
Military power of almost unimaginable magnitude, including many secret weapons never used before, supported the Allied attack.
In the first eight hours of the invasion operations, from midnight until after beachheads had been established, Allied planes in 7,500 sorties dropped 11,120 tons of bombs on the invasion coast.
Warships, including United States battleships, hurled death from 640 guns on coastal positions.
By the time the sun was sinking, the Germans had not yet used the secret rocket guns which, they had threatened, might devastate southeast England.
More than 1,000,000 British home guardsmen and the entire military defense forces of Britain watched for signs of a counter-attack on the British Isles by air-borne troops.
It was reported that Adolf Hitler had taken over personal command of the anti-invasion forces.
German Field Marshal Herman Goering an in order of the day to the German air force, hardly seen in the sky all day, said:
"The invasion must be fought off even if it means the death of the Luftwaffe."
German and Allied reports indicated that there were three main beachheads:
1--At the mouth of the Orne river. There the Allies had driven into the stone-housed streets of Caen, where William the Conquerer in 1066 assembled the fleet with which he invaded England, and where his crumbled bones lie in St. Etienne church.
2--At the mouth of the Vire river, about 40 miles to the west at the base of the east side of the Normany peninsula, near Isigny.
3--On the east side of the peninsula where the Allied troops according to the Germans straddled the Arentan-Valognes road.
The Allied radio France quoted an unconfirmed report, credited to a German radio, that air-borne troops had seized an airdrome 125 miles up the coast between Calais and Boulogne on the Dover strait.
Every type of weapon from the sheath knives of the troops to the 16-inch guns of the battleships; every type of plane from Flying Fortresses to reconnaissance flying jeeps; every type of soldier from paratroops to the infantry, engineers and auxiliary units, took part in the invasion operation.
Minesweepers by the hundreds raked channels for the invasion craft while guns of warships and bombs of planes hit the enemy defenses. Eye-witnesses who flew over the beaches reported troops landed in countless thousands. Invasion craft landed tanks, bulldozers, trucks, jeeps, prime movers, ducks.
The Allied troops include American Indian paratroopers wearing scalp locks -- their heads shaven except for the tuft on top which is an implicit invitation to a German to try to get it.
As the invasion started, Gen. Eisenhower in messages broadcast to the people of France and the Netherlands gave special instructions to the people.
French civilians along the coast were told that they must leave their homes for the country when Allied leaftlets told them an attack was coming. Patriots including the organized underground were told to obey instructions and not to rise prematurely.
President Roosevelt and King George asked national prayer for the invasion and Eisenhower, in an order of the day to the assault troops, invoked God's blessing on the Allied crusade.
President Roosevelt, in a prayer he wrote himself, prayed God to lead the Allies "straight and true" and expressed his faith that with God's grace and the righteousness of their cause "our sons will triumph."
"I solemnly call my people to prayer and dedication," King George said in a broadcast. "We shall not ask that God may do our ill but that we may be enabled to do the will of God."
Prime Minister Churchill made two statements to the House of Commons during the day, announcing the invasion and revealing developments.
He told the house that the air-borne landings were on a scale "far larger than anything seen so far in the world."
Everything was on a mammoth scale; everything but the remarkably low Allied losses in the first phase.
Churchill said, in his second statement, that the German defense batteries had been greatly weakened by the bombardment of warships and planes and that they did not affect the landing.
"The troops are well established and the landings and followups in the area are all proceeding with very much less loss than we expected," Churchill said. "Fighting is proceeding at various points and we have captured bridges which were not blown up by the enemy."
Gen. Montgomery in a personal message to assault troops said:
"The time has come to deal the enemy a terrific blow in western Europe...I want every soldier to know that I have complete confidence in the successful outcome of the operation that we are now about to begin."