The D-Day Landing Minute-by-Minute Revealed in Book

A comprehensive book tells the story of the D-Day landings in the order in which they occurred. D-Day Minute by Minute is written by British historian Jonathan Mayo and provides a complete, in detail debrief of the Allied invasion of France.

It is the story of D-Day as seen through the eyes of the people who were there – from soldiers, French villagers and journalists, to schoolchildren and nurses, who found themselves placed in often extraordinary situations on that historic day in June 1944.

Below is an example of one of the events as outlined in the new book.

The attack took place early in the morning of the 6th of June in 1944. One of the British Allied troops taking part was Bill Millin of the First Special Service Brigade; he was one of the first to arrive at Sword beach.

As the ramps of the landing craft were lowered one of the soldiers was immediately hit in the face with shrapnel and collapsed into the water. The men continued to disembark and move forward, the troop’s commander with his wading stick leading the way onto the shores of France. Bill, who was a piper for the Brigade, followed the troops and played as loudly and as proudly as he could, with his Scottish kilt wafting around his knees.

Meanwhile, on Gold Beach, Sergeant Major Bowers was leading the Hampshire Regiment onto the shores. He made it to the beach and up to a German pillbox full of Nazi troops who were shooting at his men. He released a grenade into the box and the Germans emerged with a white flag of surrender.

As the attack continued, Hitler was at his Bavarian headquarters, the Berghof. He had been notified of the invasion, but he thought it was a good thing that the Allies were invading since they were now in France where his German troops could annihilate them. Hitler also believed that the Normandy landings were merely a diversion away from a real, full-fledged invasion at Pas-de-Calais.

Canadian troops from the Second Canadian Armoured Brigade made their way to Juno beach and successfully overcame the German Soldiers holding the coast there. Meanwhile, back on Sword beach Lord Lovat, who led the troops onto the coast, greeted the troops as they continued to arrive. He made them feel calmer even though the bodies of his men were strewn across the sand. Yet Lord Lovat was smiling since Bill, the piper, had made it to the top of the beach and was playing his bagpipes loud and proud.

Captain Daniel Flunder of Canadian 48 Commando was at Juno beach and saw a tank out of control and running over injured men. He ran down to the beach shouting at the tank and trying to get it to stop. When it didn’t, he armed an anti-tank grenade and wedged it into one of its wheels. The explosive blew the tank’s tracks off, and the vehicle came to a sudden halt.  This action prevented the deaths of many injured men.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE