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Tanks have penetrated deep inland: bitter fighting against paratroopers.
According to latest reports, the Atlantic Wall has been breached in several places after the amphibious landing by Anglo-American armoured units on the French channel coast two hours after dawn this morning.
Bitter fighting is being reported from the Seine estuary and from Normandy. Large paratrooper units and airborne troops equipped with their own artillery and light armoured vehicles had been dropped in advance last night where they successfully secured a number of Luftwaffe airfields in surprise attacks. They have joined forces in several places with the armoured units now driving inland from the coast.
The German defenders in the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall are now being attacked from the sea, the air and the land.
The naval artillery of the English and American battleships and cruisers now has the whole area covered. The harbour installations on the coast are now also under bombardment. The first port to come under attack was Le Havre.
The fortifications and defensive fighting positions from Normandy through to Calais are now being attacked from high and low-level by vast bomber formations protected on all sides by fighters. The few Luftwaffe fighters and other armed aircraft are powerless in the face of this overwhelming air superiority.
To the rear, paratroops and airborne troops have made contact with groups of the French resistance.
The overwhelming air superiority is making it impossible for the German command to get a complete picture of the situation due to the lack of any aerial reconnaissance. Communication with the various coastal sectors is also problematic. Alert state 3 was called for the complete Atlantic Wall and the military command shortly before midnight yesterday as the first airborne landings were being reported.
The actual invasion however began just after dawn.
Long lines of assault boats and landing craft, escorted by countless numbers of destroyers, gunboats and escort ships of all types approached the coast under cover of smoke and a naval bombardment from cruisers and battleships.
Fast patrol boats from Cherbourg, Le Havre and Ijmuiden were heroically sacrificed after being sent up against the superior allied force.
The 5000km of Atlantic Wall from the North Cape to Bayonne is being held by 60 German divisions. That is ¾ of a million men spread all over the occupied West to defend attacks from all directions. On average there are 18 aircraft for each division in the West (during the campaign in France each division had 80 aircraft). The Anglo-Americans recently had 160 aircraft per division for Rome. Anglo-American air superiority in the west is reckoned to be 12:1. The main responsibility for naval defence on the high seas falls on the U-boats. The North Sea, the Channel and the Atlantic are defended by 60 torpedo boats, the same number of minesweepers and a few forward flotillas. No large German warship is situated further west than Kiel.
German soldiers have never had to endure what Kesselring's army is going through today during the retreat from Rome. Thousands of Anglo-American bombers and fighter aircraft are relentlessly attacking the scattered battle groups of the Italian army. Their positions are being carpet bombed and the pilots are firing at anything that moves. The roads are filled with hundreds of burning, bombed and shot up vehicles. Tightly packed convoys, in some cases 100km and more behind the front line, are being attacked by rocket-firing fighter planes. The flat terrain of the roman Campania offers no cover. The collapse of Rome has split the retreating Italian army into two parts with no common means of communication. The remains of four divisions: 3rd Panzer Grenadier, 4th Fallschirmjäger, 65th Infantry Division and 334th Infantry Division are retreating along the coast as best they can. The Anglo-Americans are following them with tanks and fast-moving troops.
The remnants of nine German divisions are pouring into the mountains east of Rome. A retreat to the north has already been blocked. They too are under relentless attack by Anglo-American fighter aircraft and from paratroops attacking from ambush positions. Neither here nor on the coast has it been possible to organise the scattered units into a defensive line and to establish communications. The respective units are operating autonomously. Regiments and divisions are jumbled together.
Reconnaissance reports of a heavy build-up of troops and material on the eastern front indicate that the Soviets are accelerating their preparations for the summer offensive. The Germans are also pressing full steam ahead with their own build-up in anticipation of a soviet offensive. Ever more Organisation Todt units and construction battalions are being employed on the building of fortifications for the Carpathian wall. The only fighting is being reported in the area north-west of Jassy in Romania where German and Romanian troops advanced against Russian positions.
The Chief of the general staff of the army, Generaloberst Zeitzler, is currently on a tour of inspection of the eastern front. Some of the units inspected by Generaloberst Zeitzler are units recently posted to the eastern front such as the SS Panzer Divisions 'Hohenstaufen' and 'Frundsberg' and the 349th Infantry Division.