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June 6, 2014

D-Day: As it happened

WASHINGTON DC — Editor’s note: The newsflash came on a slip of paper in a red-and-white striped courier pouch: “EISENHOWERS HEADQUARTERS ANNOUNCES ALLIES LAND IN FRANCE.”

The Associated Press had some two dozen writers and photographers among the Allied forces as they landed on Normandy's coast on June 6, 1944. From Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's London headquarters, Wes Gallagher — who later went on to become AP's general manager — wrote up the first Allied official dispatches announcing D-Day and sent them in the sealed pouch to AP's London office by military courier, after the military censor authorized their release.

They arrived at 9:32 a.m. and were sent to the rest of the world by teletype one minute later.

Seventy years after its original publication, the AP is making Gallagher's original report available.

June 6, 1944

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE (AP) — Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast of France in tremendous strength by cloudy daylight today and stormed several miles inland with tanks and infantry in the grand assault which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

German broadcasts said the Allies penetrated several kilometers between Caen and Isigny, which are 35 miles apart and respectively nine and two miles from the sea.

Prime Minister Churchill told the House of Commons part of the record-shattering number of parachute and glider troops were fighting in Caen, and had seized a number of important bridges in the invasion area.

German opposition apparently was less effective than expected, although fierce in many respects, and the Germans said they were bringing reinforcements continuously up to the coast, where “a battle for life or death is in progress.”

The seaborne troops, led by Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, surged across the channel from England by 4,000 regular ships and additional thousands of smaller craft.

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