From the diary of Major George Miller, US Army, attached to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (with commentary)
Night, 10th June (D+4)
Any hope that Saturday would bring an improvement in the weather was gone before I opened my eyes. Steady drumming on the galvanised iron roof might have been passed off as heavy rain, but not the violent shaking as gusts of wind hit my “temporary” home or the occasional flashes of lightening that penetrated even the heavy black out curtains.
Arriving at the headquarters, the atmosphere was gloomy – no pun intended. Staff officers were looking sombre, and those responsible for organising the supply convoys for Normandy wandered around looking for something to do. The weather for the day was confirmed: storms were still sweeping up the channel from the Atlantic and would do so for at least the next 24 hours.
All that could be done was being done, but all we could get across to the divisions on the European mainland was a few replacement men and vehicles. Welcome no doubt, but nothing like what was needed. Meanwhile the camps and warehouses in southern England are bursting. Like everyone else, I have started to stand in front of the huge weather map that has been placed in a prominent position. Everyone is now an expert, but the real experts are stubbornly consistent: tomorrow should see a slight improvement, but fine weather might not arrive until Wednesday.
Scores of 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns wait for transport to France
Those high ranking generals who were hanging around, most of them looking anxious and hopeful at the same time, also had little to do. The generals in France had their orders (to do nothing risky) and conditions had not changed.
The news from Europe showed that those generals were doing as instructed. Barely a score of units moved position during the night, and no effort was made to push the Germans back. The most significant movement was on the Cotentin Peninsula where the airborne troops tried to hold their bridgeheads, even if it meant conceding some areas as indefensible. They are paying a heavy price: more men were lost as the Germans continued their push down the Montbourg-St Mère Église highway. West of the Merderet the paratroopers repelled the attackers, but Ridgway warns he cannot be expected to do so again without ammunition for his artillery. Both Ridgway and Taylor report the devastating effect of the German artillery. We have faced nebelwerfers before, but not in such concentration. At least a regiment of these weapons, supported by other artillery, make the German assaults deadly, even in bocage at night and in the pouring rain.
The bocage is perfect defensive terrain, but the German nebelwerfers are still effective
Carentan is a stand-off, though Barton has no doubt the enemy has moved plenty of fresh troops into the city. Why the Germans have not counter-attacked is a mystery, but Barton is not complaining. He too fears holding off a concerted attack while his artillery is effectively useless.
The two divisions that made the initial landings at Omaha are stretched thin, but are not under attack at the moment. 29.ID has been halted at the Veret and although 1.ID has taken the bridge over the Aure at Surrain, Huebner is worried about a growing number of enemy armour units approaching from the south.
The British retain their foothold in Bayeux and have been able to land two full divisions to add to those that landed on D-Day. Even so, they are under a lot of pressure to the west of Caen. The Canadians are still taking casualties: in heavy fighting overnight they were driven out of Secqueville-en-Bessin. 7th Canadian Hussars escaped thanks to their Humber Scout cars, but the two infantry companies holding the village were lost. The survivors claim several regiments of tanks and mechanised infantry supported by artillery carried out the attack, and it is now confirmed that they were from 130.PzD “Lehr”. Slightly to the west, the arrival at the front of the Cromwells of 7th Armoured Division did not deter the Germans. Units blocking the highway to Bayeux between St Légèr and Ste Croix Grand Tonne were hit by large numbers of motorised and mechanised infantry, with many tanks. Our tanks held them off, but some armoured cars were lost. Unfortunately, a squadron of Canadian armour holding the flank was the subject of an accurate artillery barrage which destroyed most of its tanks.
The situation between Bayeux-Caen
Thankfully that was all the bad news. The region north of Caen, as has been the case now for days, is still, but that is also the case over the Canal de Caen and Orne River. Rennie has decided that with no immediate threat to his positions, he can afford to send some commandos and their supporting armour across the Bénouville bridge to help 6th Airborne. It will take until midday for them to reach the river, but the paratroopers should be OK until then.
The results overall were bad, but bearable. But if the Germans are so active during the hours of darkness, how much more dangerous could they be during the day?
From the diary of Hauptmann Georg Müller, attached to Army Group B (with commentary)
Night, 10th June (4th day after the landings)
Smiling faces everywhere this morning, as the storm clouds sweep overhead and the rain falls in steady sheets. Surely not even the Americans could land men and supplies in this weather? And nobody would be foolish enough to send an aircraft over the channel. More divisions have been released from the south of France and are heading towards the coast, and our engineers have managed to repair the bridge east at Varaville. Unfortunately technical difficulties and lack of engineers have meant that the key bridges south of Carentan and east of Bayeux are still out of operation.
We have at least another day to repair them before the Allied fighter-bombers can do more damage. The occasional weather reports from U-boats far out in the Atlantic give our meteorologists only a little of the information they need for accurate predictions, but they are adamant that the bad weather will last all today and probably tomorrow. The middle of the week will most likely see a return of sunny skies.
Collecting and transmitting weather information is an important function of our Unterseesboote.
Rommel is cheerful, but also warning his generals that they must take advantage of this gift from the heavens. When the clouds disappear, the planes will resume their attacks, and no doubt the Royal Navy is ready to both rush men and supplies across the Channel and get its big guns to pound everything within range. Nobody disagrees, but Rommel does not understand the problems this weather is causing us. Perhaps he spent too long in the desert: he just does not grasp how the storm has made organising attacks a nightmare. Divisional commanders have a choice of moving closer to their individual units and losing contact with their korps commanders, or vice versa.
That is the reason given by Klosterkemper for not being more aggressive in pushing the Americans back from Carentan. He has not launched an attack for days now, in contrast with his fellow generals to the north. Von Schlieben is obeying his instructions to clear Route nationale 13 all the way to St-Mère Église, slowly advancing south. He claimed to have driven back some paratroopers 4 kilometres south of Montbourg but has been unable to advance because of difficulties with movement in the hedgerows. 243.ID was less fortunate, wasting an heavy artillery barrage on an attack that achieved nothing.
Rommel himself inspected the converted French vehicles mounted with nebelwerfer: UE(f) Tankette APC Tractor PM Selbstfahrlafette w sWg41 schweres Wurfgerat 41 28cm – 32cm MLRS Rocket Launcher
The real action overnight however was between Caen and Bayeux. “Hitlerjugend”, finally having extricated most of its panzers from the countryside south of the highway, found its way blocked by British armour, but Meyer is sure that he can defeat them in daylight. He had better: von Funck is taking a personal interest in the drive to relieve Bayeux. (Mayer’s panzers and infantry may not have done too well, but his artillery are claiming success: Mohnke has reported his observers saw a unit of enemy tanks totally destroyed by a barrage to his north.
It was “Lehr” that got the glory however. Bayerlein concentrated most of his division for the assault on Brecqueville-en-Bessin. A whole regiment of Panthers and a regiment of panzergrenadiers stormed the village while the Jagdpanzers hit the enemy from the flank. The motorised enemy fled, and the infantry left behind soon surrendered.
The Canadians did their best, but with no anti-tank weapons and heavily outnumbered, further resistance was futile.
Little else of note. Rommel is not too pleased at the pause in clearing out the paratroopers east of Caen, but he accepts that the infantry divisions lack the artillery and armour necessary to avoid costly frontal assaults. 7.Werfer Brigade has been released to Heeresgruppe B and overnight passed through Argentan. It has been directed to assist Diestel: when it arrives the British will feel what real artillery bombardment feels like! It might be a while however as there is some hilly country to cross and the rain does not help.
Heavy artillery on the way to clear the paratroopers east of Caen
Further west, Ostendorff is closer to getting his whole force reunited. It is true that some of his infantry are yet to enter the Forét de Cerisy but most of his division is now clear of the woods and moving up the west bank of the Drôme River to block the Americans moving towards Bayeux. At some point during the day the SS will begin to attack the Americans – later rather than sooner given the ground conditions. It will be even longer for Ostendorff to be reinforced – originally it had been intended that 77.ID would follow 17.SS-PzGD up the highway towards Bayeux, but with the failure of the pioniere to repair the bridges over the Drôme it has been decided that it would be better to send that unit towards Isigny-sur-Mer and Carentan. It will be replaced by 275.ID which is still far to the south. The hope is that by the time Schmidt’s unit reaches the Drôme that the bridges might be back in operation.
Struggling to get north: 17.SS-PzGD and 275.ID
The problems of Ostendorff and Schmidt pale into insignificance when compared to those facing commanders moving to the Cotentin Peninsula. Schimpf has men in Valognes, La Hayes du Puits, south of Coutances and the bulk of his division in the far south, close to La Haye Pesnel. His orders are to move south of Cherbourg, probably in the Valognes area, but it will be days before he arrives there, let alone get organised to assist in dealing with the paratroopers. Although Stegmann does not have as far to travel and most of his division is concentrated west of St Lô, he does have a unit trailing more than 25 kilometres to the rear, and must make a detour to avoid the damaged bridges over the Taute. With luck he will reach Isigny sur Mer tonight. He is to await further instructions. If 91.ID can throw the Americans back over the Douve, he will probably be ordered east to reinforce 265.ID.
The long way to Cherbourg
Not an easy day ahead, but so much better than we anticipated just a few days ago. The risk of catastrophe seems to have been removed, and I think I detect in the comments of a few of the higher ranks the beginning of a belief that we might win this battle and throw the Allies back into the sea.
The Allies must suffer another day of delay in reinforcing the 5 US and 6 Commonwealth divisions in France. Inability to use their artillery and air power is allowing the Germans to retake ground and inflict losses. While the conditions are negatively affecting the Germans as well, those problems are comparatively minor. With bad weather predicted for the rest of the day and probably the next, the odds are starting to look less attractive for the success of the Allied invasion
Allied Losses (10th June Night)
101st Airborne Division: E/2/501/101
3rd Canadian Inf. Div: C/QOR/8 + C/RW/7
7th Armoured Division: A/1RB/22/7A
German Losses (10th June Night)
82nd Airborne: 3/505/82, 1/506/82, 3/507/82, 2/508/82
(10 + 10 PARA) C/1/505, G & I/3/508, A/2/505, D&E/2/507, A/2/235, A/1/507
101st Airborne: 2/501/101
(9 + 5 PARA) B & C/1/501, H & I/3/501, H & I/3/506, A/1/502, D/2/506, 2 x D/2/502, E/2/501/101
1st Inf Div: 2/16/1
(6 + 2 INF) A &B /2/18/1, B/3/16/1, A/3/26/1, A/1/18/1
4th Inf Div: 1/8/4
(3 + 6 INF) A/3/8/4, A/3/12/4, A/1/12/4, A/1/22/4, A/2/12/4, A/2/8/4
29th Inf Div: 1/116/29, 1/115/29
(8 + 7 INF) A(x2) & B/3/116/29, A /2/116/29, 3 x A/3/115, A/1/175, A/2/175
5th Rangers: A & B/5
Independent: 743/V, 741/V
10 x ARM A/70/VII (DD), A & B/745/V, A/899/VII
6th Airborne: 7/3/6, 8/3/6, 1st Canadian/3/6, 12/5/6, 1RU/6/6
(9 + 12 PARA+ D/2nd O & B/5, AARR/6 (1 ARM), A/13/5,
1 x ARM, 1 x AT) A/4/6 (AT), A & B/12DR/6, A/9/3/6, A/2O&BLI/6
3rd Inf Div: 1SL/8/3
(4 + 5 INF + 1 ARM) A & C/2EY/8/3, B/2EY/8/3, A/1RNR/185/3, A/3/3 Recon, A/1KOSB/9/3, A/1CS/7/3
7th Armoured: A/1RB/22/7A
50th Inf Div: 2 x A & B/1HR/231, A/6GH/231, A & C/5EY/69
(6 + 4 INF + 1 ARM)A & B/7GH/69, A/6GH/69, A/6DL/50, A/61/50
3rd Canadian: RRR/7, RW/7, QOR/8 (+ A),
(5 + 7 INF) C/NS/8/3, A/NNSH/9/3
4th Special Service Brigade: A/47RM, A/48RM, C/41RM, A/46RM
1st Special Service Brigade: A & B/4RM, C/3RM
(2 +1 COMM)
Independent A/NY/8 (DD), A/4/7/8 (DD), A/27SFR/2, A &B/1ERY/27
12 ARM 1&3 RMASG, C/13/18/27, A/1CR/1 (Recon), B/5/7/8, A&B/6H/2
Air Losses: Combat Support 2
Armed Reconnaissance 1
4 INF, 2 ARM A/PzPio, A/I/25, A/II/25, A/1/26
21.PzD: II/192/21.PzD, 1/192/21.PzD, 9siG/21.PzD
7 INF, 4 ARM A/II/121/21Pz, , A/200 PzJag/21.PzD, A/I/125/21.PzD
30.schnelle Brigade: 513/30, 51/30
7 INF A/518/30
91.ID: 191/Pio/91, 14.PaK/91, 13/6FJ/9, 111/1058/91(4Bns), I/III/6FJ
15 INF, 2 AT A/1/919/91, A/13.schw/91, A/II/1057/91, /I/6FJ, B/II/6FJ, B/I/6FJ
130.PzD “Lehr” A/10.SiG/130, A/II/901, A/130.Auf
1 INF, 2 ARM
346.ID: A/Füsilier/346, A/III/858/346. A/I/858/346
352.ID: 14.PaK/352, Pio/352 (3Bns), 13.schw/352 (4Bns)
15 INF, 2 AT B & C/II/916/352, 2 x A&B/II/914,
2 ARM A & B/Füs, A/II/915/352, A/PzJag, A/I/916
709.ID: B & C/1/919, A/795/739, A/III/739, A/II/729, A/I/6FJ, A/561/739/709
716.ID: II/726/716, I/736/716, 642/736/716 Ost, 14.PaK/716, PzJag/716, 439/726/716 Ost, II/736/716, 441/716/Ost, III/726/716, 1/736/716 I/726/716,
26 INF, 4 AT A &B/III/735/716, A/Pio
Independent: II.1/III Flak, A/I.1/III Flak
Independent: Abt 989
Strongpoints: 10 x (4), 11 x (3), 6 x (2), 4 x (1)
Static Artillery: 1/AR 1716, 2/AR 1716, 3/AR 1716, 7/AR 1716, 1/HKAR 13 1261, 6/ AR 191, 2/HKAA, 6/AR 1716, 2/HKAR 1251, 5/AR 1716, 3/HKAA 1250, 10/AR 1716, 4/HKAA 1260
 Major General Matthew B Ridgway, 82nd Airborne
 Major General Matthew D Taylor, 101st Airborne
 The intelligence was correct: the units were the three battalions of 101.Stellungs Werfer Regiment equipped with 18 x 28/32 Nebelwerfer 41launchers each. Although identified as a “Stellungs” unit, the entire regiment was motorised, mainly with converted Renault UE Chenillette light prime mover and carriers.
 Major General Raymond O Barton, 4th Infantry Division
 The Allies failed to realise the damaging effect the weather had on German communications, making planning attacks difficult. In the Cotentin Peninsula, one Armeekorps (LXXXIV, commander General der Artillerie Erich Marcks) was responsible for the whole area from Cherboug to Carentan. It was impossible for Marks to keep in contact with General Major Bernhard Klosterkemper, 91.ID, who was in charge of the defence of Carentan.
 Major General Clarence R Huebner, 1.ID
 These were the lead elements of 17.SS-Panzergrenadierdivision “Götz von Berlichingen”
 These were the last operational units of the Queens Own Rifles and Royal Winnipeg Rifles, 3rd Canadian Division.
 “B” Squadron, 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade. Only “C” squadron of the regiment remains.
 Major General Thomas Gordon Rennie, 3rd Infantry Division.
 Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, Heeresgruppe B
 Generalmajor Bernhard Klosterkemper, 91.ID
 Generalleutnant Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben, 709.ID
 This barrage was provided by 102 and 103 battalions of 101.stellungs werfer Regiment.
 SS-Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer, 12.SS-Panzerdivision “Hitlerjugend”
 General der Panzertruppen Hans Freiherr von Funck, XXXXVII Panzerkorps. At the time he was moving his headquarters west from Caen,
 SS-Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Mohnke, commander of 26.SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment, which held the north flank of the attack towards Bayeux.
 These were the tanks of “C” Squadron, 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade
 The barrage was from 1st Battalion, SS-Panzerartillerieregiment 12, equipped with the 105mm SdKfz 124 “Wespe”
 Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein, 130.PzD “Lehr”
 Generalleutnant Erich Diestel, 346.ID
 SS-Gruppenführer Werner Ostendorff, 17.SS-Panzergrenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen”
 Barely 6 months old, 275.ID was based around the divisional staff of 223.ID which was destroyed in the Battle of Kiev.
 Generalleutnant Hans Schmidt, 275.ID
 Generalleutnant Richard Shimpf, 3.Fallschirmjäger Division
 Generalmajor Rudolph Stegmann, 77.ID. That division, less than 9,000 men, was formed from what remained of 355.ID (destroyed in the South Ukraine) and what had been intended to be 364.ID.