D-Day Through the Archives: TIME’s Earliest Coverage of the Normandy Invasion

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Today marks the 67th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, France during World War II. NewsFeed takes a look at TIME’s June 12, 1944, issue for its earliest coverage of the massive military effort to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.

In this article, TIME illustrates what the Allies risked on the first day of the invasion:

“The Channel crossing was, unavoidably, the greatest military gamble in history. The significant fact was that in taking the gamble the U.S. and Britain had had the cold courage to make the stake as big as possible in order to improve the odds.” —The Invasion: Time, Place and Beginning

TIME describes the night of the attack in detail:

“Near midnight the first planes reached their objective near Cherbourg. Men snapped their rip cords over static lines, waited, crouching. The command came, and they leaped. White, yellow and red parachutes blossomed in the night. Men by the thousands, weapons by the thousands floated down upon captive France.” —The Invasion: June Night

TIME sums up the events and importance of D-Day:

“England was tied to the invasion coast at last. The Crusade was on. At D-day’s end little was known beyond that. Behind enemy lines U.S. and British airborne troops were fighting savagely, spreading damage, disrupting German communications, creating diversions. From the pebbled shores, the infantry and the armored columns were slowly pushing inland, clattering toward the roads and rails that link coast and interior. At day’s end the boats which had landed the greatest amphibious force in history began ferrying the wounded and the dead back to England.” —The Invasion: June Night

Paratrooper and TIME correspondent William Walton reports from the battlefront:

“Today is D plus three. Nobody has had his boots off yet. Until yesterday we were surrounded, under constant fire. There will be more of it. But the beachhead forces have joined up with us and now the shells are going in the other direction.”–World Battlefronts: Parachute Landing in Normandy

A Letter from the Publisher details how TIME reporters, writers and editors tackled the D-Day Assignment in the days before the Internet:

“Make-up Editor Bob Boyd had just put the regular edition to bed. The teletypesetter circuits were still open, so Boyd was able to flash the word at once to all our printers to shift over to their D-day plan. All work stopped on the old Battlefronts form; instead the electrotypers began rushing extra plates of the other news sections…All told, some 50 men and women were on the invasion team on the editorial floor.” —How TIME Covered D-Day