Communique Number 37 – 24 June 1944
Fighting is heavy and resistance strong immediately before Cherbourg. We are making steady progress and are now within a short distance of the north coast on both sides of the fortress. West of Carentan enemy resistance has increased. Northeast of Caen our troops have made a local advance after fierce fighting. To the East of the Orne River warships have bombarded enemy troops and armor. Intermittent shelling of the Eastern anchorage continues and brief gun duels between Allied warships and mobile batteries ensue. The Allied air forces yesterday concentrated their attacks on enemy reinforcements attempting to move westward from Paris and up from southern France. Principal road and rail arteries and airfields from below the Loire estuary to the Oise River were bombed and strafed despite changeable weather and determined opposition by the enemy in some areas.
From noon till dusk, fighter bombers and fighters followed the main railways East and West of Chartres and to the South, hitting railway yards at Nantes and Château-du-Loir, cutting tracks in many places and destroying locomotives and freight cars especially at Quince, Saumur and South of Nantes. Bridges and viaducts at Chartres, Jussy, Nogent and over the Oise and the Somme were also attacked. At least, 11 enemy aircrafts were shot down, ten of them in combat over the Caen – Evreux area. Eight of our fighters are missing from the day’s operations. On their second mission of the day our heavy bombers, eight of which are missing, attacked airfields at Athies and Juvincourt near Laon. Their fighter escort hit rail and road and other targets east of Paris. Towards dusk medium and light bombers attacked military objectives in the Pas de Calais. Later, heavy night bombers attacked rail centers at Saintes and Limoges, losing two aircraft.
Communique Number 38 – 24 June 1944
Allied forces are steadily closing in on Cherbourg. Despite fierce enemy resistance each link in the chain of the defenses is being systematically destroyed. In the center of the semicircular front our troops are within two miles of the heart of the city. In the Orne River sector, a strong Allied attack has liberated the village of St Honorine after hard fighting in which infantry and armor were engaged. Some enemy tanks were knocked out. A convoy of seven small enemy ships, attempting to escape from Cherbourg to the west under escort, was intercepted early this morning by light coastal forces. Two of the enemy vessels were destroyed and three more are believed sunk. Rocket-firing aircraft and fighter bombers damages three 1000-ton motor vessels near St Mazlo and left one of them on fire. Our air forces continued their program of obstructing the flow of enemy supplies and reinforcements to the battle area. Key points in a semicircle West and South of Paris were under attack during the day by both heavy and fighter bombers.
Armed reconnaissance in some force was flown over a broad belt extending from the line Falaise – Argentan – St Germain in the North to the Aangers – Saumur line in the south to oppose military movements in this area. Railways East of the Falaise were bombed; a military train was attacked near Dreux and tank cars, ammunition cars, and armored vehicles were destroyed. In the Avranches – Coutances area aircraft on patrol attacked targets of opportunity. Gun emplacements North of La Haye du Puits were attacked by fighter bombers. Heavy day bombers bombed railway bridges at Saumur and Tours and airfields at Châteaudun and Orléans/Bricy. During the period, attacks were made on flying-bomb sites. Four ME 190’s of a formation of twelve which appeared in the Caen area, were destroyed by our fighters without loss. Reconnaissance shows that the bombing attacks on the night of 23/24 June on Limoges and Saintes were highly successful.
Communique Number 39 – 25 June 1944
Allied troops are in the outskirts of Cherbourg and the final assault has begun. On a 10-mile front extending East and West of the city, our forces have advanced to within 3 miles of the sea. The enemy continues to fight desperately but relentless Allied pressure is steadily overcoming the defenses throughout the entire length of the narrow coastal strip. In other sectors, local fighting has left the front almost unchanged. Taking advantage of the improved weather, our Air Forces were out in great strength yesterday afternoon and evening, concentrating largely on the enemy communication system. Fighters and fighter bombers attacked railway yards, tracks, bridges, tunnels and rolling stock in a belt at the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula ranging from Granville and Avranches in the West to St Lô on the Vire River. Similar attacks were made on targets more distant from the battle zone, including rolling stock in the yards at Dreux and at various points in the region of Chartres. Fighter bombers also bombed the steel works at Ijmuiden in Holland. Our fighters destroyed at least 30 enemy aircraft on airfields in the area of Angers.
Medium bombers attacked a railway bridge over the Seine River at Maison Lafitte, and the railway centers at Beauvais and Hazebrouck. They also bombed dumps in the Forêt de Conches and at Bruz and Bagnoles. Heavy bombers attacked a number of electrical switching stations near Boulogne. Attacks were continued on flying bomb sites. According to reports so far received 20 enemy aircraft were shot down. Nineteen of our aircraft are missing. Last night light bombers attacked railway and road transport behind the battle area including the railway yards at Mézidon. Our night fighters, one of which is missing, destroyed five enemy aircraft over Northern France.
Communique Number 40 – 25 June 1944
The Allies now hold high ground overlooking Cherbourg and are gradually pressing forward into the suburbs. The enemy is resisting bitterly, but is unable to stem our steady advance. Targets in the Cherbourg area were subjected to a bombardment from seaward this afternoon by a force of Allied warships. Local attacks have improved our positions in the Eastern sector of the bridgehead after fierce fighting. Air bombardment has given invaluable aid to ground units.
Continuing the obstruction of enemy movements towards the battle zone, our fighter-bombers today attacked a series of rail targets including bridges, fuel tanks and rolling stock in the Chartres-Dreux-Mantes area and the rail crossings at Cronches and Mézidon. On the railroad between Chartres and Mantes, the tracks were severed at four points, and direct hits were registered on a tunnel. The bridge at Maisons-Lafitte and a radio installation at St Sauveur were damaged. There was an increase in enemy air activity. On one occasion a formation of German fighters gave battle, and nine were destroyed; seven of ours are missing. Four airfields in southern France, at Francazal, Blagnac, Avord and Bourges were targets for our heavy bombers. Escorting fighters destroyed locomotives, freight cars and vehicles. Medium bombers operating closer to the battle line hit fuel dumps in the Forêt d’Écouves. Coastal aircraft attacked E-Boats in the Eastern Channel early this morning.
Communique Number 41 – 26 June 1944
The liberation of Cherbourg cannot be long delayed. Allied troops are fighting in the streets and by yesterday afternoon had reached the sea within a mile of the port on the East side. During a day of fierce fighting with the support of Naval bombardment, enemy strong points were reduced one by one and the town was entered at many points simultaneously. The mopping-up of other portions of the original outer defenses continues. In the Eastern sector our progress in the Fontenay area was maintained and our positions were further strengthened. Further enemy counter-attacks near Ste Honorine were beaten back.
Our Air Forces continued their attacks on the enemy’s supply system during the afternoon and evening yesterday and also gave immediate support to the land and naval forces assaulting Cherbourg. The railway network East and South of Normandy was subjected to many attacks. Targets included the railway yards at Dreux and Chartres and bridges and embankments in the same area. Air fields at Bretigny and Villacoublay were bombed and a large formation of medium bombers attacked supply dumps in the Senonches area with good results. Enemy opposition was on a limited scale yesterday though flak was intense at many points. Troop concentrations South of Caen were bombed last night.
Communique Number 42 – 26 June 1944
Street fighting continues in Cherbourg. The Germans are resisting desperately but the town is steadily being cleared. In the Northeastern tip of the peninsula little opposition has been met. To the Northwest in the Cap de la Hague area there is still some enemy strength. Progress has been made in the Fontenay sector, East of Tilly, after heavy fighting and out positions are improved. More than 20.000 prisoners have been taken in the beachhead since the landings. Dense cloud and fog over the continent today brought our air operations to a virtual standstill. Last night two enemy aircraft were destroyed by our patrols over Northern France.
Communique Number 43 – 27 June 1944
The fall of Cherbourg ends the second phase in the campaign on liberation. Twenty days after the initial assault, Allied Forces have established a firm beachhead which includes almost the whole of the Cotentin Peninsula and a major port. Cherbourg’S liberation came after a final day of fierce fighting in the Northwestern part of the city. In the battle, the enemy has lost the greater part of four Infantry Divisions, numerous naval and marine units and line of communication troops. Gen Karl Wilheim von Schlieben, commander of the Cherbourg Garrison, and KAdm Walter Hennecke, sea defense commander of Normandy, have been captured. A strong attack toward the Villers le Bocage – Caen main road has secured Cheux and Fontenay and has advanced several miles in the face of heavy German armor and infantry. Progress continues. Storms and defense clouds minimized air activity yesterday and throughout the night.
Special Communique Number 3 – 27 June 1944
Cherbourg was liberated by Allied troops last night.
Communique Number 44 – 27 June 1944
Allied forces in the Tilly-Caen area have crossed the Caen-Villers le Bocage railway near Mouen. Our advance has been made in torrential rain and against determined resistance by enemy infantry and armor. In the Cherbourg Peninsula, we are continuing our attacks against the last remnants of organized opposition. Elements of the enemy’s forces are holding out in the Maupertus airfield East of the Cherbourg, and in the Northwest tip of the peninsula. Prisoners taken in the peninsula total at least 20.000 and more are being brought in. Bad weather during this morning severely curtailed air activity but fighter bombers attacked a train at Parennes (East of Laval) and road transport in the Laval and Alençon areas. Early this morning light coastal forces intercepted and engaged a force of enemy trawlers and minesweepers off Jersey. Considerable damage was inflicted on the enemy in a gun action in which coastal batteries from the island joined, and one minesweeper was hit by a torpedo. It is considered that this enemy ship may have sunk.
Communique Number 45 – 28 June 1944
In the battle Southeast of Tilly-sur-Seulles, Allied armor succeeded in widening the breach created by the Infantry on Monday. Advancing on a 4-mile front our forces have driven across the main Villers le Bocage-Caen road after particularly heavy fighting on the left in the area of Tourville. The enemy is resisting stubbornly but the advance continues to make good progress. In the vicinity of Cherbourg Allied forces made progress in cleaning out enemy remnants hemmed in the horns of the peninsula. After a two-day lull enforced by weather, the Allied Air Forces yesterday operated over a widespread area in Northwest France, ranging from Cherbourg and La Roche-sur-Yon in the West to Orléans, Paris and beyond in the East. Operations in support of our ground forces were largely carried out by fighters and fighter bombers. Attacks were concentrated on enemy reinforcements moving Northward along several routes.
Successful attacks were made on numerous trains carrying troops and equipment between Paris and Orléans. Other targets included marshalling yards at Artenay and Toury, and road and rail traffic and focal points near Rennes, Chartres, St Nazaire, Laval, Nantes, Parennes, Flers and East of Paris. The attacks were continued into the night by our light bombers. An enemy headquarters south of the battle area and a telephone center in the Brest Peninsula were bombed with good results. Other fighter bombers attacked airfields at Villeneuve-Vertus, Connantre and Coulommiers. Last night, our heavy bombers struck at rail centers in Vitry le François, and Vaire East of Paris. Others were over military installations at Pas de Calais, following up two daylight attacks on similar objectives. A small force of heavy day bombers attacked an aircraft at Creil. Twenty-three enemy aircraft were destroyed during the course of these operations. Thirteen of our bombers and eight of our fighters are missing.
Communique Number 46 – 28 June 1944
The Allied attack southwest of Caen is making steady progress in spite of more bad weather and intense opposition. The enemy was driven out of Rauray, Southwest of Fontenay, where resistance had been most stubborn. After further heavy fighting in Grainville and Tourville, our armor and infantry crossed the Odon River South of Tourville, on a front of about two miles. Our advance continues towards the high ground South of the river. In the Cherbourg Peninsula, enemy strong points East and Wwest of the city are being steadily cleaned up.
Early this morning two destroyers, the HMCS HURON and the HMS Eskimo encountered three armed enemy trawlers near the Channel Islands. Action was joined and two of the enemy ships were destroyed by gunfire. The third which made off during the action was believed to be damaged. Adverse weather this morning restricted air operations over the battle area to a limited number of patrols. In the Loan District, where better weather prevailed, our heavy bombers attacked airfields at Couvron, Athies and Juvincourt. They also hit the railway yards at Saarbrucken across the German frontier. Escorting fighters strafed and dive bombed locomotives, railroad cars and trucks.
Communique Number 47 – 29 June 1944
More Allied forces have crossed the Odon River and the width of the bridgehead has increased. Allied armor has been heavily engaged South of the river. There has also been heavy fighting, including armored clashes, North and Northwest of Caen. Enemy resistance had ceased in the area of the Maupertus airfield East of Cherbourg. A few strong points remain to be dealt with in the Cap de la Hague area. Bad weather again restricted air activity during the afternoon and evening, but armed reconnaissance flights were carried out in the Caen-Lisieux-Mézidon area. Attacks were made on enemy road transport at several points and a railway bridge at Ste Honorine du Fay. According to preliminary reports 26 enemy aircraft were destroyed. Six of ours are missing. Last night our heavy bombers, 20 of which are missing, attacked the railway centers of Metz and Blainville in Eastern France. During the night two enemy aircraft were shot down over Northern France.
Communique Number 48 – 29 June 1944
Our hold on the crossings of the Odon River has been strengthened after further heavy fighting in the Tilly-Caen sector. Enemy forces which had been by-passed in the area of Moudrainville and Tourville were eliminated and counter-attacks against the base of our salient were firmly repulsed. North of Caen, Allied troops have achieved small local gains against fierce opposition. Fighting continues in the Cap de la Hague area. Since the landing in Normandy, 121 German tanks have been destroyed by our troops. Thick cloud and rain squalls restricted air operation this morning. Fighter bombers however continued the attacks on enemy troops and transport moving towards the battle area. Their targets included road and rail bridges near Monfort-sur-Risle, Sherisy and St Paul-Courtonne (West of Bernay), locomotives and trains at Orléans and near Flers, and rail junctions at Vierzon. Attacks were made on enemy R-boats and minesweepers off Le Tréport and on self-propelled barges at Caudebec near the mouth of the Seine River. In a series of encounters eleven enemy planes were shot down for the loss of four of our aircraft.
Communique Number 49 – 30 June 1944
The Allied bridgehead over the Odon River has been extended on both flanks. Elsewhere the situation remains generally unchanged. Fighting continued North of Evrecy, where the enemy brought up fresh troops. The forts in the Cherbourg breakwater have surrendered, and mopping up continues in the Cap de la Hague area. Rail and road transport, bridges, railway tracks and crossings behind the battle line were attacked by our aircraft yesterday afternoon and evening. Fighter bombers, on armed reconnaissance in the Dreux, Chartres, and Argentan areas, destroyed more than 100 railway cars. Other fighter bombers strafed junctions and rolling stock near Paris, at Evreux and at Bolbec, 20 miles East of Le Havre. The rail line at Vitry, 100 miles East of Paris, was severed. Medium and light bombers attacked the viaduct between St Hilaire and Vitré, and bridges in the Rennes area. Coastal batteries on the Cap de la Hague were attacked by medium bombers.
Communique Number 50 – 30 June 1944
Allied forces, driving their salient towards the Orne River in the CAEN sector, have completed the enemy to throw in strong armored reserves in an effort to halt our advance. In spite of repeated counter-attacks by these formations, our positions have not only been held, but improved. Farther West, ground has been gained near St Jean de Daye. Resistance in the Cap de la Hague area of the Cherbourg Peninsula has continued. Weather severely restricted air operations between midnight and mid-morning, but improving conditions over the battle area, and Southward, permitted Allied forces to complete some 1000 sorties by early afternoon. Flying through clouds or under low ceilings, small forces of medium bombers before dawn attacked main thoroughfares in use by the enemy in the Villers le Bocage area.
From first light, fighter bombers and fighters, based both in Britain and Normandy, harassed enemy movements in the area bounded by Dreux, Chartres, Alençon and Argentan, and carried out armed reconnaissance as far as South of Tours. Small forces of medium bombers attacked road and rail junctions between Mézidon and Falaise. Fighter bombers hit large warehouses at Arville, East of Le Mans, and an important bridge at Beaugency, as well as rail lines and machine gun emplacements in the Orléans area. One of our fighters is missing.
A special thank to the Archivist and Webmaster of the Digital Collection of the Brigham Young University, PO Box 26800, Provo, UT 84602-6800. Their work allowed me to find about 14 missing Eisenhower Communiques