Yesterday          Tomorrow

June 5th, 1939 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The Royal Navy places an order for 20 "Tree" class minesweepers.

U.S.S.R.: German Ambassador Schulenberg, writes to the German Foreign Minister, "Japan would not like to see even the slightest agreement between us and the Soviet Union"

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Yesterday                  Tomorrow


5 June 1940

Yesterday     Tomorrow

June 5th, 1940 (WEDNESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - troops and transport, France. 10 Sqn. Five aircraft to Doullens, all bombed. 

51 Sqn. Six aircraft to Doullens, all bombed. 

77 Sqn. Five aircraft to Bapaume. Four bombed, one force landed at Finningley. 

102 Sqn. Six aircraft to Somme/Aisne. All bombed.

Strikes and lock-outs are now banned in Britain. Arbitration in industrial disputes is compulsory. Machinery in arms factories will run seven days a week, but workers can have one days rest in seven. It will be a criminal offence for an employer in certain vital industries - especially engineering - to engage a worker without government permission. Miners and farm workers will have to stay in their jobs. Plans are being prepared for possible large-scale transfers of population and communal feeding.

These decrees and emergency measures were announced today by Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour and National Service. He is rapidly becoming the most powerful member of the cabinet after Mr. Churchill himself.

In summing up the drastic changes in industrial relations and work practices Mr Bevin said: "I cannot have a peacetime economy in wartime. I do not want one soldier to come back and say ‘You sent me there ill-equipped’."

He advised people not to have holidays. When asked what workers were to spend any higher pay on when there was a shortage of goods in the shops, the Labour Minister said: "They should save part of their wages which might be useful when they have a week or two off after the war."

Mr Bevin gave an assurance that all the new controls and restrictions are for wartime only.

London: Many middle-class parents are planning to send their children abroad because of the danger of invasion. They are making private arrangements with relatives in Canada, other Dominions and the United States. The government is also planning an evacuation scheme of five to 16 year olds through the Children’s Overseas Reception Board. Offers to take British children are pouring in.

Broadcasting House: A new voice was heard giving the postscript to the BBC news tonight - the novelist J B Priestley, who talked of the Dunkirk evacuation in tones as downright and northern as Yorkshire pudding. "What was characteristically English about it was the part played by the little pleasure steamers. These ‘Brighton Belles’ left that innocent world of theirs to sail into the inferno to rescue our soldiers. Some of them will never return." He singled out the ferryboat ‘Gracie Fields’: "Now this little steamer, like all her brave and battered sisters, is immortal."

NETHERLANDS: Flight Lieutenant Jimmy James, the co-pilot of a Wellington, was on the way to a mission over Germany when his plane is shot down by anti-aircraft fire. He bails out about 25 miles south of Rotterdam but is captured and taken prisoner. (Richard Goldstein, New York Times and Birmingham Evening Post)

FRANCE: Three German Panzer Corps launch ‘Fall Rot’ [Plan Red], the attack on the Somme.

At 4 a.m. a heavy artillery and air bombardment fell on the sector between the sea and the confluence of the Ailette and Aisne. German infantry attacked on the Ailette, while tanks, followed by infantry, were pushing out from the Peronne and Amiens bridgeheads across the undamaged bridges, west of Amiens (between Picquigny and Longpre).

Weygand sent out an order of the day to the French Army: "May the thought of our wounded and invaded country inspire you with an unshakeable determination to hold firm. The fate of our country, our freedom and the future of our children depend on your resolution...."

This time the French Army responded to its Commander’s appeal.

The Germans soon realised that things were different. It was no longer a rout as on the Meuse. French troops, now seasoned and organised in "hedgehogs" [small squares of mutually supporting strongpoints, armed with 75mm anti-tank guns], held out stubbornly and took a heavy toll of Panzers.

15 Panzer Corps crossed the Somme west of Hangest without much difficulty, by means of a railway bridge which had not been demolished. They were then held up by French colonial troops until 4 p.m. Rommel was then held up at Le Quesnoy. By nightfall the Germans had only established a relatively small bridgehead west of Amiens, and had been stopped in front of the French Tenth Army’s second position.

At the Amiens bridgehead, 14 Panzer Corps ran into a spirited resistance by French 16 Infantry Division and only gained 6 miles.

16 Panzer Corps at the Peronne bridgehead only succeeded in gaining a small strip of land about 6 miles from its start-line.

Edouard Daladier, the Foreign Minister, leaves the government. Charles de Gaulle is appointed under-secretary to the Ministry of National Defence.

Captain Werner Molders, the leading German air ace, is shot down and taken prisoner by the French.

GERMANY: The two short legged torpedo boats, Falke and Jaguar, returned to Wilhelshaven while the rest continued Nort, Hipper and the destroyers refueling off the Loftens on the 6th. The initial plan had been to attack targets off opportunity in and around Narvik. However, the situation remained unclear, and finally, aware of several Allied convoys at sea travelling between Norway and England, Marschall opted to go for them. (Mark Horan)

NORWEGIAN CAMPAIGN: (Mark Horan): HMS Ark Royal is still tasked with covering the troop convoys partaking in the withdrawal of all Allied forces from Norway. Her air group is planning for four missions. Air defence Area missions ahead of (and sometimes behind) the carrier task force, A/S patrols over the convoys, weather patrols to Narvik, and fighter patrols over the embarkation points.

Ark sends off single plane A/S patrols (820 Squadron) at 0320 and 0540. However, at 0715 the carrier becomes immersed in a fog bank, forcing her to suspend further air operations until evening.

At 1935, in position 70.15 N, 16.20 E, operations commence anew with an A.D.A. patrol for the task force and a weather patrol to Narvik, the later reporting horrible weather inshore. Further A.D.A. patrols followed at 2047 and 2305 (all from 810 Squadron), another weather patrol going off at the later time as well, reporting the weather was at the minimal levels for operations.

Based on the report, at 2330, the first fighter patrol of the day takes off, three Skuas for 800 Squadron led by Lt. G. R. Callingham. The fighters were forced to stay under the cloud layer, saw no enemy aircraft, and further reported that the expected transports had yet to arrive!

HMS Glorious continues to wait for the weather to clear in order to embark 263 (RAF) and 701 (FAA) Squadrons from Norway. However, at the request of the Army, she is ordered to prepare a bombing mission for the early hours of next morning.


CANADA: Armed merchant cruiser HMCS Prince Henry commenced conversion refit at Canadian Vickers Montreal.

U.S.A.: First automobile drives across Lake Washington Floating Bridge.

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Yesterday            Tomorrow


5 June 1941

Yesterday            Tomorrow

June 5th, 1941 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Speaking at the Labour Party's annual conference, MP, Manny Shinwell says: 'Roosevelt">Roosevelt's statement on our shipping losses did not disclose all the facts. It was a triumph of understatement. The position is much worse than he said. Unless we can speedily repair our vessels ... and replace ships lost ... I do not know whether victory is within sight, because ultimate victory rests upon the inviobility of seapower.'

SYRIA: Three British Blenheims raid Aleppo airfield, where a number of Italian CR.42 fighters and SM.79 transport aircraft had been observed. One aircraft and a hangar were demolished. Three French Morane 406 fighters tried in vain to ward off the attack.

PALESTINE: General Wilson directs that Maj-Gen Lavarack and HQ 1st Australian Corps will take over the direction of the Syrian campaign after Damascus and Beirut have been secured. Until then, Wilson proposes to command the invasion himself from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Brig Rowell (Australian BGGS in Palestine) protests that this is not feasible and that 1st Aust Corps should command the invasion from the start. Wilson disagrees but later events will force the adoption of Rowell’s proposal. 

Anticipating this, HQ 1 Aust Corps moves to Nazareth. (Michael Alexander)

CANADA: Corvettes HMCS Buctouche and Sherbrooke are commissioned.

U.S.A.: Washington: The Roosevelt">Roosevelt administration asks Congress for $10,400 million for defence spending in 1942, in the army appropriation. [This is equivalent to US $ 122.4 billion in Year 2000 dollars ]

The first submarine is sunk by an RAF aircraft equipped with metre-wave radar and the new Leigh Light, a searchlight fitted beneath the wing. The pilot is PO W. Howell, a US citizen who had joined the RAF before the war. (Cris Wetton)

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Yesterday        Tomorrow


5 June 1945 5 June 1944 5 June 1940 5 June 1941 5 June 1939 5 June 1942

Yesterday Tomorrow

June 5th, 1942 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Bletchley Park: A new type of Bombe deciphering machine nicknamed the "Robinson" is installed to process data using paper-tape loops.

Operation HARPOON commences as convoy WS 19Z (Force "X") sails from the River Clyde enroute to Malta.

Submarine USS S-29 loaned to RN as HMS P-556.

Corvettes HMCS Galt and Wetaskiwin arrived Londonderry with Convoy HX-191.

FRANCE: Pierre Laval issues an eloquent radio broadcast on his vision for a new Europe. (Glenn Steinburg)

U.S.S.R.: German troops start a major operation to flush out partisans.

LIBYA: The British attack Rommel's defensive position at the "Cauldron".

Alam Hamza: Sgt. Quentin George Murray Smythe (b.1916), South African Forces, was wounded but led his men to take an anti-tank position. (Victoria Cross)

INDIA: The largest military convoy ever to leave Britain has reached India safely. It has reinforced the country's defences with thousands of soldiers, airmen, scientists and medical staff as well as vast quantities of military equipment.

Many big liners with famous names sailed in the giant convoy which was escorted by a battleship and a strong force of destroyers. It was dispersed to different ports in the sub-continent when it arrived about a month ago. For security reasons news about it was delayed until today.


MIDWAY: Off Midway Island, the Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet is retiring westward while being pursued by carrier aircraft of Task Force 16 and Midway-based USAAF and USMC aircraft. USAAF B-17s make two attacks on three ships but do not hit the ships.

The aircraft carriers HIJMS Akagi and HIJMS Hiryu, which were damaged yesterday and left drifting, are scuttled by Japanese destroyers. While turning to avoid the submarine USS Tambor (SS-198), the heavy cruisers HIJMS Mogami and HIJMS Mikuma collide and are damaged. Later in the day, six SBD-2 Dauntlesses and six SB2U-3 Vindicators of Marine Scout Bombing Squadron Two Hundred Forty One (VMSB-241) attack HIJMS Mikuma but do not score any hits.

A salvage party of 29 officers and 141 enlisted men return to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) in an attempt to save her. Five destroyers form an antisubmarine screen while the salvage party boards the listing carrier.

TERRITORY OF HAWAII: Pearl Harbor: Admiral Chester Nimitz, USN announces the defeat of the Imperial Japanese Naval fleet at the Battle of Midway. (Denis Peck)

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: At 0920 hours local, Japanese Combined Fleet Operational Order Number 155 is issued, directing the 2nd Mobile Force, i.e., the light aircraft carriers HIJMS Junyo and HIJMS Ryujo which have been attacking Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands for the past two days, to join the 1st Mobile Force off of Midway Island and this temporarily postpones the invasion of the Aleutian Islands. At 2355 hours, the Midway attack is abandoned.

The US Army Air Forces 11th Air Force searches for the two aircraft carriers of the Japanese 2nd Mobile Force using ten Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, 18 Martin B-26 Marauders and two Consolidated LB-30 Liberators without success. One radar equipped B-17E locates the "targets" on radar and bombs; the "targets" were actually the Pribilof Islands.

Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogaya, the Naval Commander of Operation AL (the invasion of the Aleutian Islands), orders the 1,200 Japanese troops of the Adak-Attu Occupation Force to head for Attu Island.

CANADA: HM MTB 315, 15th MTB Flotilla is commissioned, and Minesweepers HMCS Digby and Truro are launched.

U.S.A.: Washington: The US declares war on Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

1,432 members of the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion depart Honolulu for San Francisco. (Gene Hanson)

CARIBBEAN SEA: U-68 sinks an armed U.S. tanker. All hands are lost.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-172 sinks an unarmed U.S. freighter.

Yesterday Tomorrow


5 June 1942 5 June 1943

Yesterday     Tomorrow

June 5th, 1943 (SATURDAY)

FRANCE: Pierre Laval issues an eloquent radio broadcast on his vision for a new Europe. (Glenn Steinburg)

U.S.S.R.: Moscow: The Luftwaffe has launched a series of heavy raids on Kursk, the pivotal point of the Russian salient which bulges dangerously into the German lines between Orel, in the north and Kharkov in the south.

Despite the withdrawal of fighter squadrons to face the growing threat of Allied bombers in the west, and the need to reinforce the Mediterranean, the Germans have been able to rebuild Field Marshal von Richtohofen's Luftlotte 4 into a powerful striking force. His Stukas and Me109s have been joined by Henschel 129 tankbusters and Focke-Wulf FW190 fighters.

However, the Luftwaffe, like the Wehrmacht, is devoting a significant part of its strength to containing the threat posed by the Russian partisans who now have their own airstrips behind the German lines. These are used to deliver supplies and evacuate wounded partisans and peasants. A report today on the current anti-partisan Operation Cottbus says that these airstrips take twin-engined aircraft.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: British ships keep up the heavy shelling of Pantelleria.

During the night of 4/5 June, Northwest African Air Force Wellingtons hit docks and the town area of Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean. During the day, B-25s and P-38 Lightnings extend the attack on the island, hitting mainly gun positions.

JAPAN: Tokyo: Admiral Yamamoto is given a state funeral.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: The submarine USS Nautilus (SS-168) lands 90 tons of supplies on Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands and an officer tasked with establishing a communications network.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: On Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands, seven B-24 Liberators, six B-25 Mitchells, and six P-40s of the USAAF's Eleventh Air Force, guided by a radar-equipped USN PV-1 Ventura, fly weather reconnaissance and attack Japanese radar installations. Meanwhile, the Japanese submarine HIJMS I-175 lands a ton of weapons and ammunition and 15 tons of food and then evacuates 56 sailors and four Japanese civilians. 

CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Cranbrook launched at New Westminster British Columbia.

Awarded CBE: RAdm George Clarence "Jetty" JONES RCN

Awarded OBE: Cdr Victor Percy ALLEYNE; Capt Eric Sydney BRAND; Cdr George Humphry GRIFFITS; Cdr Arthur Roddy "Bully" PRESSEY; all RCN;

b. LCdr Gerald Ormsby BAUGH; Lt Ronald James HERMAN; Lt Reginald Ray KENNEY; LCdr Robert Aubury Stewart MacNEIL; all RCNR. c. Surg/Capt Archie McCALLUM RCNVR

Awarded OBE (Civil): Capt John Bisset SMITH, CP 'SS EMPRESS OF ASIA'.

Awarded MBE: Cd/Shpt William Douglas LEACH; Wt/MAA. Wilfred PEMBER;

Wt(S) John James SHAW; all RCN William James THOMAS (FR); Ch/Skr James Watson WAGNER; both RCNR.

Awarded MBE (Civil): Capt Wiliam James BALCOM, Halifax; Capt L.C. BARRY, CP 'SS PRINCESS KATHLEEN'; Capt John Henry HUBLEY, Capt Duncan McLEOD, Capt Duncan McLEOD; all Montreal; Ch/Officer Walter OLIVER CN 'SS GATINEAU PARK'; Ch(E) H.J. OWEN Vancouver; Capt Frederick Steed SLOCOMBE Dept of Transport; Capt George William WALCH CN Steamship Co

Awarded DSC: A/LCdr(WHA) Desmond "Debbie" Williams PIERS RCN and LCdr Ronald Fraser HARRIS RCNR Awarded Associate Royal Red Cross: a. Matron Marjorie Gordon RUSSELL; Matron Evelyn Isabel STIBBARD; both RCN.

Awarded BEM: CPO/Sup Frederick Charles BINGHAM; AB Ernest Eric Walter BINNIE; PO Allen BRADBURY; Tele John Driver CAMPBELL; MAA Samuel James KENNARD; A/CPO John William PELHAM; CPO Horace George WOOD; all RCN, PO Victor BILLARD; A/LS Cyrene Milton CHAPMAN; CPO Walter Lemuel HARDING; A/CPO/ERA James PATERSON; L/Stwd Fred William PETERSON; PO Norman Clement Carl ROBERTS; CPO James Alfred TAYLOR; all RCNR. c. Stk/PO Douglas Carl FISHER; PO/Sup Alfred Ernest "Buck" TAYLOR; SPO

James Arthur WILSON; all RCNVR

Mention in Disptaches: ERA 3 James Patrick McGUIRE RCNVR, LS Frederick BIRD; A/PO George Edward COLES; PO/Tel William Edwin ELLIS; CPO/Stk Delamark Steven LOWE; PO/Tel Donald McGEE; PO/Stk Edward Alan PAVER; AB Francis ST. PIERRE; A/CPO Gaston Marcel THOMASSET; all RCN. b. A/LCdr Colin James ANGUS; PO Richard John COOK; ERA 4 Donald Allen FEAVER; A/LCdr Leslie Lewendon FOXALL; PO Michael Percy FURLONG; Skr/Lt Lester Anton HICKEY; Lt John James HODGKINSON; Lt Henry Ernest LADE; CPO/ERA Albert Joseph LALONDE; CPO/ERA Edward McALPINE; LCdr Alexander McAllister McLARNON; Stk 1 Harold Joseph McMAHON; Lt Arthur MOOREHOUSE; Lt Edward Middlemas MORE; Lt Roy Milton MOSHER; Lt John Buxton RAINE; Mate Robert Gordon ROBSON; CPO/ERA Charles Albert ROSS; LCdr George Hay STEPHEN; A/L/Stk Walter Edward Weir TITUS; all RCNR.

c. A/CPO Henry Edward AUSTEN; L/Stwd George CLARKE; L/Ck Charles Tupper CONRAD; Sidney Roy CORNS; A/CPO Wilfred Roy FRANKLIN; A/LCdr Thomas Maitland GOLBY; Lt Gerald Maurice GREENWOOD; A/LS Horace Bruce HABART; LS Francis David Weston HARTE; S/Lt James Mac Murray HAY; L/Tel Robert Graham HICKS; A/LS Basil Herbert HOLLINGWORTH; A/PO Wilfred Joseph MAHAR; A/LCdr Jordan Hamilton MARSHALL; OS John George MUIR; OS Richard Arthur REDDON; AB Leslie Alfred STANNARD; ERA 4 William Morris WRIGHT; all RCNVR.

ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires: An almost bloodless coup has overthrown the government of Argentina and replaced Dr. Ramon Castillo with General Arturo Rawson, who is known to be an Allied sympathizer.

The Castillo government was committed to what it called the "Policy of prudence", in reality dictated by fear of the powerful pro-Italian and pro-German forces in Argentine politics.

President Castillo fled from the presidential palace yesterday and sheltered on board the minesweeper DRUMMOND as General Rawson's men seized power.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-217 (Type VIID) Sunk  in the mid-Atlantic, at position 30.18N, 42.50W by depth charges from Avenger aircraft of the US escort carrier USS Bogue. 50 dead (all hands lost).

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Yesterday           Tomorrow


5 June 1944

Yesterday    Tomorrow

June 5th, 1944 (MONDAY)


The USAAF's Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions. 

Mission 392: 423 of 464 B-17s and 203 of 206 B-24s hit coastal defenses in the Le Havre, Caen, Boulogne and Cherbourg, France areas; four B-17s and two B-24s are lost. Escorting are 127 P-47 Thunderbolts and 245 P-51 Mustangs; one P-47 and one P-51 are lost.

Mission 393: Seven of eight P-51 fighter-bomber attack a truck convoy near Lille, France; the 8th P-51 bombs Lille/Vendeville Airfield. 

     Personal Memory: "Cherbourg Peninsula, France," my diary reads. "Heavy gun emplacements on invasion coast. Made three bomb runs. Meager flak, no damage. Four tenths cloud cover on target. Saw hundreds of ships near English coast. Things may pop open very soon now." This was to be a short mission so we traded fuel for bombs. Each of the nine planes in our part of the group carried sixteen, 500 pound semi-armor piercing bombs. We departed England at Selsey Bill at 23,000 feet and headed for our IP which was in the English Channel as determined by LORAN. This was a crude form of modern LORAN which uses three stations while ours was only two stations that could take us within a quarter mile of a given point. Due to clouds we were unable to see the target and after three tries, returning to the IP each time we finally dropped our bombs on a heavy gun emplacement near an air strip. They received our attention because of bad weather elsewhere. We dropped our 144 bombs and then  let down through clouds and returned to Molesworth. We saw two fighters but they were both ours. Score so far, Milk Runs: 5, Others: 4.(Dick Johnson)

In preparation for D-Day, three B-17s fly weather reconnaissance over the UK and the Atlantic Ocean.

During the night, eleven B-24s fly CARPETBAGGER missions; one B-24 is lost over Belgium.

The USAAF's Ninth Air Force in England dispatches 100+ B-26s to bomb coastal defence batteries in France; 100+ P-47s dive-bomb targets in the same area.

Overlord. D-1.
The second code word message is transmitted to French Resistance indicated the invasion is near. German units are again alerted, but the 7th Army in Normandy  is not.

Rommel leaves his HQ for Germany.

Rocket-firing Hawker Typhoons of Nos. 174, 175 and 245 Squadrons RAF destroy the Jouourg radar station. (22)

D-Day Countdown The German Perspective Monday, 5 June, 1944

The orders go out at once to the Allied fleets. Nearly 6,000 ships of all types begin to set sail once again from various points in England. Thousands of vessels will be leaving port all throughout the 5th. Spearheading the task forces are waves of various-sized minesweepers. There are some 255, Including the ones already working. They must clear wide channels through the German minefields so that the task forces can safely pass through them.


The central office for Professor Walther Stroebe, in charge of weather forecasting for the Germans in the West, has predicted that the weather for June 5th would be bad and it has turned out that way. It is generally assumed by the Wermacht that no invasion will come. Dr. Stroebe gives his staff members the day off. The weather will probably continue to be bad for a few days.


Late this morning, Adolf Hitler chairs a conference on Portuguese tungsten imports. He then attends his noontime OKW conference. Most of the time is spent discussing the withdrawal of the German 10th Army from  the Americans advancing up the Italian boot.

That afternoon, he has a lengthy talk with Speer and Jodl about the Rhine bridges. Speer, recently noting damage by an Allied air raid, and reading reports of the Seine bridges going down, has suddenly realized that the enemy could knock out all the Rhine bridges in one day. A landing in the North Sea would then become effective, and a blitz down through Germany could effectively neutralize all the units in France.

Jodl dryly comments, "I suppose you are now, on top of everything else, becoming an armchair strategist as well." Hitler though, finds merit in the argument, and they had spent some time making plans to set up smoke screens around the Rhine bridges.

Later, the Führer will undergo a faecal examination by his doctor for his meteorism.*

That evening, they will hear Roosevelt on the radio,  broadcasting the liberation of Rome.


Throughout the 5th, nothing unusual is reported to -Heeres- gruppe B-. There has been no recon flights this month, so no photo-intelligence reports have to be analyzed. There is, in short, nothing that plausibly indicates that an invasion  might be on its way. On the contrary, it is dreary outside, raining at times.


Rommel enjoys June 5th at home in Herrlingen, lounging around in relaxed attire with Lucie and Manfred. With them  was Hildegarde Kircheim, whose husband had been with Rommel early-on in North Africa.

During the day, Rommel checks in by phone with General Schmundt, Hitler's army adjutant, to arrange for a meeting with the Fuehrer. Schmundt tells him that the Fuehrer would probably have some time to see him in the next day or two - probably on Thursday, the 8th. Schmundt would call him back later to confirm this. 

In the meantime, Rommel enjoys his time at home, relaxing. He goes over what he will discuss with the Fuehrer.


At about 9:18 P.M., General von Salmuth, playing a boring game of bridge with his chief of staff and two other officers, is interrupted by his intelligene officer, Meyer.

"Herr General!" he exclaims. "The message! The second part - it's here!"

The second verse of the Verlaine poem. If the Abwehr was correct, the invasion would come within the next 24 hours.

Von Salmuth thinks a moment, then calmly orders the 15th Army to full alert. Later, he comments, "I'm too old a bunny to get too excited about this."

In the meantime, Meyer tears down the hallway to alert the other major commands. -----------

That evening, a strange event takes place at Rommel's head- quarters. His chief-of-staff, the overthrow plot foremost on his mind, has taken the liberty of inviting by phone a number of guests over for dinner. This included many co-conspirators  from the Paris section of the secret anti-Hitler resistance. With unusual Teutonic humor, he prefaces his unexpected invitations with the wry phrase "The Old Man's gone away".

There are a number of interesting guests. Among them is  Speidel's brother-in-law Dr. Max Horst, who works in military administration. There is of course author/philosopher Ernst Juenger, now a captain serving with the military governor of  France. There is `war reporter' and good friend Major Wilhelm von Schramm, who was a good friend .

Juenger brings with him a secret, 20-page document that he has written. It describes a detailed plan on how they intend to make peace with the Allies after the Fuehrer is either overthrown and imprisoned, or just killed. 

They spend an interesting evening in the château. There are a number of discussions about a variety of subjects, both before and during dinner. Closer to the main theme of the evening, they also talked about "the insufficient development of Hitler's future plans."

After dinner, the guests take a number of brief walks about the château. A number of them go over Jünger's written peace proposal, to be given to the Allies after Hitler's demise. Plans to involve the field marshal probably are  lso discussed. The plotters needed his name to give credence to their coup if and when it occurs. 

Just after 10 P.M., Speidel gets a call from Col. Staub- wasser at the Operations Desk. He tells Speidel about the second verse to the Verlaine poem.

Speidel excuses himself from his guests, walks down to operations, and discusses the message with Staubwasser. Speidel finally recommends that they call OB West. They do, and Operations Officer Bodo Zimmermann there tells them no alert is necessary. So they forget the matter.


At 7th Army headquarters, Chief of Staff Max Pemsel is concerned. There is a -Kriegspiel- scheduled for the next day at Rennes. Despite his recommendations, too many key officers have left that evening, citing the weather and  Allied bombing as excuses for leaving early. The number that are absent is alarming. Field Marshal Rommel, perhaps the key figure in the command chain, is at home with his family. So is his operations officer, von Tempelhoff.

Most of Seventh Army commanders are gone. General von Schlieben, commanding the 709th Division; General Hellmich, commanding the 243rd division; General Falley, with the 91st Air Landing Division

Max shakes his head. It is going to be a long night.**


Around 10:30 P.M. in England, hundreds of C-47's begin their motors. Destination: Normandy. ---------------

Field Marshal von Rundstedt enjoys a nice evening with his son. They had delighted in an exquisite Parisian dinner at the -Coq Hardi-, and are now back at the field marshal's villa. They are planning to leave his headquarters in the morning. Von Rundstedt wants to take his son on a tour the Atlantic Wall.

Around 10 P.M., after von Rundstedt's son has gone to bed, Blumentritt walks in on the old man with a special message. Their Intelligence Officer, Meyer-Detring, has received a message from 15th Army Intelligence. The second half of the Verlaine poem has just come in. If Intelligence is correct, the invasion is only one or two days away. Blumentritt wanted to know if von Rundstedt wanted to alert the armies along the coast.

Von Rundstedt does not even look at the message. He doubts that there was any truth to it. He does not believe in any of this covert cloak and dagger stuff anyway, and he sure as hell does not believe that the enemy would risk tipping the Germans off that they are coming, just to get some Resistance fighters active.

He looks at his chief of staff skeptically. "Blumentritt, do you think that a commander like Eisenhower would announce the invasion over the BBC?!?"

Of course, when he put it that way...

"Well, sir," the chief replies, "Even so, von Salmuth is alerting the Fifteenth Army." 

The field marshal snorts derisively. "Idiots," he quips.

He looks up. "Well, pass the information on to OKW and to Blaskowitz."

"Shall we order a general alert?"

"No," the field marshal barks. "Especially not in this weather."


Thousands of Resistance fighters, alerted by certain prepared, coded messages broadcast that evening by the BBC (including the Verlain verse), prepare to execute dozens of different missions against their 4-year oppressors. They carefully uncover hidden explosives, guns, knives, and other weapons or equipment that they will need in the next 48 hours.

Each of their missions has some significance to the upcoming invasion. Many of them will have to do with cutting communication links, while others will attack transportation routes. They will damage bridges, block roads, or cause breaks in rail lines, including the Avranches, Cherbourg, and Caen rail lines into St.Lo.

All of these missions are designed to further isolate western France.


Admiral Hennecke at Cherbourg, has spent a relaxing day, bolstered by the forecast his staff had given him that the weather would continue to be foul for several days.

"Then that means," Hennecke had replied with a grin,  "that the next date on which all the conditions of tide, moon and overall weather situation necessary for a landing would coincide would not be until..." He consults his chart. "Until the second half of June, right?"

The weather officer had nodded.   "Excellent," Hennecke had replied.

So he had enjoyed an informal day. That evening he attends a small social function. He had gone to a concert given by a German "USO" troop, and has asked a number of performers back to his villa. He is now listening to the wife to one of his senior lieutenants playing Schumann's "Papillons".

One of his lieutenants is called to the phone. It is the battle headquarters in the tunnel below the villa.  "They report," he whispers, "Very heavy air raids on towns and roads in the coastal area, Herr Admiral.  Other strong bomber formations are reported from the Calvados coast."

The admiral, his eyes never leaving the musicians, gently nodds his head in acknowledgement and looks at his watch. It is 11:30 P.M.


General Marcks at his 84th Corps headquarters in St Lo is resigned to spending the rest of the night there. He too would probably have left for Rennes that evening, had he not become so engrossed in planning for the next day's exercise to be held there. And besides, his staff wants to give him a small party. After all, he will be 53rd birthday on Tuesday. So he decides to delay his departure until the next morning.

As 12 A.M. approaches, he studies map after map for the upcoming exercise. He is to be the enemy, and the theoretical invasion site will be Normandy.


* Equated to tympanites, which is a flatulent distention of the stomach; the presence of gas in the stomach intestines.

** Other commanders missing include: General Edgar Feuchtinger, commanding the 21st Panzer Division,  somewhere in Paris; Waffen SS General Sepp Dietrich, commander of the 1st SS Panzer Corps, is in Brussels; Admiral Krancke, down in Bordeaux; Von Rundstedt's intelligence officer, Col Meyer-Detring was getting ready to leave; even Grossadmiral Karl Doenitz, is united with his family in their home in the Black Forest.

Pete Margaritis


ITALY: The Allies stage a triumphal entry into Rome.

The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches 440+ B-17s and B-24s to hit targets in Italy; B-17s hit railroad bridges at Pioppi and Vado; and B-24s hit marshalling yards at Bologna, Castel Maggiore, Forli, Ferrara, Faenza and four railroad bridges; P-38s and P-51s fly escort; 53 P-38s strafe Ferrara and Poggio Renatico Airfields and 40 strafe and dive-bomb airfields at Bologna and Reggio Emilia.

INDIA: The USAAF's Twentieth Air Force flies its first B-29 Superfortress combat mission. 77 of 98 India-based aircraft bomb the primary target, the railroad shops at Bangkok, Siam between 1052 and 1232 hours local. Because of a heavy undercast, 48 bomb by radar. Five B-29s are lost to non-battle causes.

PACIFIC OCEAN: N. D. COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 522, Pacific and Far East. 1. U. S. submarines have reported the sinking of sixteen vessels in operations against the enemy in these waters, as follows:

1 large transport

1 large cargo vessel

7 medium cargo vessels

2 small cargo vessels

4 medium cargo transports

1 small cargo transport

2. These actions have not been reported in any previous Navy Department communiqué.

N. D. COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 523, Atlantic. 1. The Escort Carrier USS Block Island was sunk in the Atlantic during May, 1944 as the result of enemy action.

2. The next of kin of casualties, which were light, have been notified.

CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 433, Several enemy patrol-type vessels were sighted west of Truk Atoll on June 2 (West Longitude Date) and attacked by a single search plane. One was probably sunk and all were heavily strafed. On June 3 another search plane sighted the disposition and made an attack which resulted in the sinking of one of the auxiliaries and severe damage to another.

Liberators of the Eleventh Army Air Force bombed Ketoi Island in the Kuriles before dawn on June 4. No opposition was encountered. A single search plane of Fleet Air Wing Four bombed Paramushiru Island before dawn on June 4. All of our planes (Denis Peck)

TERRITORY OF HAWAII: 37 P-47s of the 73rd Fighter Squadron USAAF are loaded onto the USN escort carrier USS MANILA BAY. Another 37 P-47s of 19th Fighter Squadron are loaded onto USS NATOMA BAY.

CANADA: Mention in Dispatches: Lt Alan GARDNER RCNVR Tug HMCS Heatherton commissioned Examination Vessel HMCS Listowel ordered from Chatier Maritime de St.Laurent, Province of Quebec.

Frigate HMCS Jonquiere arrived Halifax from builder Quebec City, Province of Quebec.

An extract from Jim Verdolini's diary: 
June 5, 1944.

Well, she is still afloat behind us. . Guess, they think if the Germans know we captured her, we would have all the wolf packs in the Atlantic after us, and we would go the way of the Block Island, our sister ship sunk just north of us. Our Com officer was sent back to the States on our fastest DE with around 12 duffle bags of loot we got off the sub. I saw some manuals with a big German swastika on the cover. I think they are the code books. 

If the Germans knew we had one of their subs, wow! They keep telling me we are always one mile from land. Straight down. We are towing the sub back to the states.

The captain put up big signs " Keep your bowels open, and your mouth shut, when we get into port". (footnote: No one ever let it leak out, and a year later, they sent me a letter, saying I could write home about Junior( our nickname for U 505). 

The skipper of U 505 was Capt. Lange. A decent sort of guy. We put the German crew under the flight deck, in caged walkways. We let them out during the day, to play volleyball, when we lowered the elevators, and gave them good food, and gedunk(ice cream). Of course our boatswain's mate kept a tommy gun on them at all times. 

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5 June 1945

Yesterday            Tomorrow

June 5th, 1945 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: Churchill rejects de Gaulle's accusation that the British incited civil war in Syria.

HMCS New Glasgow completed refit at Rosyth.

GERMANY: Berlin: The Four-Power Commission for the control of defeated Germany met today amidst the ruins of Berlin and issued its first proclamation. Germany is to be divided into four occupation zones and Berlin into four occupation sectors. The city will be administered by an inter-Allied governing authority whose decisions will have to be unanimous.

Eisenhower, Montgomery, Zhukov and de Lattre de Tassigny met in a riverside club which is the Soviet delegation's HQ. In a lengthy document containing 15 articles the four powers reaffirm the complete defeat of Germany, "which bears responsibility for  the war", and assume authority over all aspects of life in the country.

Details of the exact zones to be occupied by the armies of the four powers have still to be worked out, but the general outline has been agreed. Russia takes the eastern zone, Britain the north-west, the US the south-west and France the western zone. Germany's frontiers are identified as those which existed on 31 December 1937.

JAPAN: Okinawa

- Task Groups 30.8 and 38.1 battle a typhoon which causes damage to four battleships, two aircraft carriers, two light aircraft carriers, four escort aircraft carriers, three heavy cruisers, four light cruisers, eleven destroyers, three destroyer escorts, two oilers and an ammunition ship.

- Kamikazes are again active damaging the battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) and crippling the heavy cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28).

On 4 June, Pittsburgh began to fight a typhoon which by early next day had increased to 70-knot (130 km/h) winds and 100-foot (30 m) waves. Shortly after her starboard scout plane had been lifted off its catapult and dashed onto the deck by the wind, Pittsburgh's second deck buckled, her bow structure thrust upward, and then wrenched free. Miraculously, not a man was lost. Now her crew's seamanship saved their own ship. Still fighting the storm, and manoeuvring to avoid being rammed by the drifting bow-structure, Pittsburgh was held quarter-on to the seas by engine manipulations while the forward bulkhead was shored. After a seven-hour battle, the storm subsided, and Pittsburgh proceeded at 6 knots (11 km/h) to Guam arriving on 10 June. Her bow, nick-named "McKeesport" (a suburb of Pittsburgh), was later salvaged by the tug Munsee (AT-107) and brought into Guam.

With a false bow, Pittsburgh left Guam on 24 June bound for Puget Sound Navy Yard, arriving 16 July. Still under repair at war's end, she was placed in commission in reserve on 12 March 1946 and decommissioned on 7 March 1947. (Gordon Rottman)

The USAAF's Twentieth Air Force based in the Mariana Islands flies Mission 188: 473 B-29s attack the city of Kobe, with incendiaries and eight others hit targets of opportunity. Eleven B-29s are lost and the airmen claim 86 Japanese fighters. This attack burns over 4 square miles (10.4 square km) and damages over half of the city.

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