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Today in World War II History—June 8, 1944

US 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc after relief on D+2 (June 8, 1944), when American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved in after capture (US Army Signal Corps photo)

US 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc after relief on D+2 (June 8, 1944); American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved after capture (US Army Signal Corps photo)

Bridge over Loire River at Saumur, France (US Air Force photo)

Bridge over Loire River at Saumur, France (US Air Force photo)

75 Years Ago—June 8, 1944: In Normandy, British and US forces link near Port-en-Bessin.

The US 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoc is relieved by forces from Omaha Beach, having held the point since climbing the cliffs on D-day.

RAF first uses the 12,000-lb “Tallboy” bomb, destroying a train tunnel in Saumur, France on the only north-south rail line in the Loire Valley, impeding German reinforcement of Normandy.

On the Adriatic coast of Italy, the British advance after finding the Germans have retreated.

Today in World War II History—June 7, 1944

Military vehicles move ashore from Mulberry Artificial Harbor A, across a pontoon bridge, to Omaha Beach, Normandy, June 16 1944 (US National Archives)

Military vehicles move ashore from Mulberry Artificial Harbor A, across a pontoon bridge, to Omaha Beach, Normandy, June 16 1944 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—June 7, 1944: In Normandy, Allies have secured all five beachheads.

Emergency landing fields are constructed in Normandy at St. Laurent-sur-Mer and Asnelles.

Off Normandy, Allies begin construction of artificial “Mulberry” harbors to allow more supplies to be delivered.

Movie premiere of Days of Glory, starring Gregory Peck in his debut.

D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour

D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour

June 3-11, 2019

Welcome to the D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour! Seven novelists are commemorating the brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Thank you for joining us as we remember their heroism and sacrifice.

Our novels illuminate different aspects of the war—from the landing beaches of Normandy to Nazi-occupied Europe to the US Home Front. Each day, visit with a new author as we share about our stories, our research, and our unique settings. With each blog post, you’ll have the opportunity to win that author’s novel–plus a chance to win a packet of ALL NINE featured novels and a gorgeous signed hardback copy of Everything We Have: D-Day 6.6.44, the new commemorative book from the National World War II Museum!

Giveaway Details

For a chance to win ALL TEN books, please visit each blog, collect the answers to ALL SEVEN questions, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below or on the BLOG TOUR PAGE. The contest opens June 3, 2019 at 1 am PST and closes June 16, 2019 at 11 pm PST. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 17, 2019. *Note* Several of the titles will not be released until later—these will be mailed after the release dates.

To win the prize of ALL TEN books, you must have collected ALL SEVEN answers. The winner must be prepared to send ALL SEVEN answers within 48 hours of notification by email, or a new winner will be selected.

Sunrise at Normandy Series

by Sarah Sundin

The Sea Before Us

As D-day approaches, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton is teamed up with Dorothy Fairfax, a British officer. Once they piece together family and reconnaissance photos to map Normandy, will Wyatt’s bombardment plans destroy what Dorothy loves most?

Purchase links

The Sky Above Us

In 1944, fighter pilot Lt. Adler Paxton battles the Luftwaffe over Nazi-occupied Europe, numbed by loss and hidden sins. Violet Lindstrom serves in the Red Cross, where she arranges activities at Adler’s air base. Love blooms. But D-day draws near. And secrets never do stay buried.

Purchase links

The Land Beneath Us (coming Feb. 4, 2020)

Private Clay Paxton trains with the US Army Rangers, his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal. Leah Jones works as a librarian at the army base, hoping to find her lost sisters. But can her dream of love be fulfilled before his recurring dream of his own death in battle comes true?

Pre-order links

D-Day – Immense and Personal


Out in the living room, Mrs. Paxton sat by the radio. She looked at Leah, face stark.

It was today, and Leah sank onto the couch and tuned her ears to the announcer’s cultured voice: “Under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the coast of France.”

“That’s all the news they have.” Mrs. Paxton’s voice wavered, and she turned off the radio dial. “Naval forces—my Wyatt. Air forces—my Adler. Allied armies—my Clay. Our Clay.”

~The Land Beneath Us


When it came time for me to write my post for this D-day tour, I froze. For the past three years while writing my Sunrise at Normandy series, I’ve been immersed in this single momentous day. So immersed that I didn’t know where to begin to convey how immense and yet how very personal it was.

On a grand scale, we see the months of planning, the enormous volumes of plans, the hundreds of thousands of men and women working out the details of supply and shipping and logistics and personnel.

On a small scale, we see a single Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service) typing up her dispatches in London and fretting about her sweetheart. We see Gen. Dwight Eisenhower chain-smoking in his trailer at Allied Battle Headquarters in Southwick, momentarily blinded to what’s happening to the armies he’s sent into battle.

Read more: Tour of Southwick House

The map room at Southwick House, with the giant wooden wall map actually used on D-day, Southwick House, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

The map room at Southwick House, with the giant wooden wall map actually used on D-day, Southwick House, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)


On a grand scale, we turn to the sea, where over 5000 vessels and 195,000 naval personnel are responsible for transporting soldiers, bombarding enemy positions, and guarding against enemy attack from the air and the sea. We see ships and sailors from the United States, Britain, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Greece.

On a small scale, we see a Coastguardsmen from New Jersey, seasick and homesick, trying to maneuver his bullet-ridden landing craft through booby-trapped beach obstacles as artillery blasts past him. We see a French naval officer, peering through binoculars at his own village on the Norman shore and giving the sickening order to open fire, knowing the only way to free his land is to fire upon it.

Read more: D-Day at Sea


The USS Oglesby bounded over the waves toward Omaha Beach. The forward guns pumped shells straight ahead at the shack, and the aft guns fired to starboard at the battery.

Acrid brown smoke filled Wyatt’s nostrils.

Although he hadn’t been named after Wyatt Earp, he felt like that famous lawman riding into town with his six-shooter. The wind buffeted his face, and his Texas blood galloped. “Yee-haw!” he yelled.

~The Sea Before Us


"Target of Opportunity" On D-Day, destroyer USS Emmons comes dangerously close to shore to battle with German gun battery on Omaha Beach. Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Dwight C. Shepler; 1944. (US Naval History and Heritage Command)

“Target of Opportunity” On D-Day, destroyer USS Emmons comes dangerously close to shore to battle with German gun battery on Omaha Beach. Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Dwight C. Shepler; 1944. (US Naval History and Heritage Command)


On a grand scale, we look to the sky, where 11,000 Allied aircraft flew, transports and bombers and fighters, many painted in black-and-white “invasion stripes” to avoid friendly fire from below. We see them dropping paratroopers and bombing enemy positions and strafing roads to prevent the Germans from reinforcing the beaches.

On a small scale, we see an RAF glider pilot from Manchester, cracking wry jokes as his aircraft drifts down in the darkness toward a bridge that must be secured, wishing he’d written one more letter to his son. We see a California boy flying a B-26 Marauder, bombing Utah Beach from an astonishingly low altitude while machine-gun bullets whiz past, praying for the first time in a decade and determined never to stop praying again.

Read more: D-Day in the Air


The clock read 0555, and Adler made another turn. Ahead of him, the clouds thinned.

Maybe he could see something on the ground and get his bearings.

He got his bearings all right.

Framed by the ragged hole in the clouds, the gray ocean below teemed with ships. Warships heaved shells—right over dozens of tiny landing craft. Everything aimed for the golden stretch of beach dividing gray sea and green land.

“Here I am, flying in circles, doing nothing.” If only Adler could help down there. His hand tightened around the stick, longing to tilt it forward and strafe behind the beaches.

~The Sky Above Us


US B-26 Marauder over Utah Beach, 6 June 1944. The medium bomber has been specially marked for D-day with black and white stripes on the fuselage and wings, which were to identify itself as a friendly aircraft to ground units. (USAF photo)

US B-26 Marauder over Utah Beach, 6 June 1944. The medium bomber has been specially marked for D-day with black and white stripes on the fuselage and wings, which were to identify itself as a friendly aircraft to ground units. (USAF photo)


On a grand scale, we turn to the land, the shores of Normandy, where 156,000 soldiers from Britain, the United States, Canada, and France land on five beaches stretching about fifty miles. We see tanks and rifles and machine guns, uniforms and helmets and gas masks. And we see tens of thousands of German soldiers, defending the land they’ve conquered and enslaved, knowing it ultimately means defending their own homes.

On a small scale, we see a farmer from Manitoba, pounding onto Juno Beach, roaring to prevent the fear from pooling in his stomach. We see a Virginia grocer crouched at the seawall on Omaha, urging his buddies forward after all their officers were killed, even as his own brother lies dead on the beach. We see a medic risking his life, over and over, to drag the wounded to safety.

Read more: D-Day – Tour of Omaha Beach


Clay charged down the bow ramp and into frigid water up to his waist. His heart raced, and he plunged forward, his shins slicing the water, his boots fighting for traction.

Up onto the beach, maybe thirty yards deep. Pebbles scattered underneath his boots, hit his calves.

Clay scrabbled ahead, rifle and gaze high. Three grapnels disappeared over the cliff, and the ropes flopped against the earthen face. “Come on, boys!”

~The Land Beneath Us


Army Rangers of the US 5th Ranger Battalion in an LCA landing craft about to board their troopship for D-day, Weymouth, England, 1 June 1944 (US National Archives)

Army Rangers of the US 5th Ranger Battalion in an LCA landing craft about to board their troopship for D-day, Weymouth, England, 1 June 1944 (US National Archives)


On a grand scale, we see the nations wait with bated breath. If the invasion succeeds, the war may come to an end soon. If not, what will they do?

On a small scale, we see a wife in London who refuses to stop knitting until she hears word from her husband. We see a mother in Ohio who jumps whenever the doorbell rings, afraid it’ll be the telegram she dreads. We see a teenage boy in Vancouver skipping school so he can pray for his brother.

Seventy-five years later, it’s hard to see it all, to see the immensity of the largest amphibious operation in history and the intensity of the hundreds of thousands of personal dramas that played out that day.

So today, let’s remember and let’s be thankful.


Question

How many Allied aircraft flew on D-day?

Write it down or enter it in the Rafflecopter giveaway right away.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, enter your name and email address (we need these to notify the winner). Then select an author’s name and enter the answer to that author’s question. You only need to enter the Rafflecopter once to be entered in the giveaway, but you can earn up to seven entries by answering all seven questions in the Rafflecopter. But don’t forget…to win, you must have collected ALL SEVEN answers. You can enter the Rafflecopter each day, or you can enter all your answers at once any time before June 16, 2019 at 11 pm PST. US mailing addresses only, please.

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Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sky Above Us and The Sea Before Us. Her novel The Sea Before Us is a finalist for the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award and won the INSPY Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.

Bonus Giveaway

For a chance to win the entire three-book Sunrise at Normandy series, please share this post on social media (one entry) and/or be a current subscriber to my email newsletter or subscribe now – click the “subscribe to my newsletter” box in the upper right corner of this website (one entry), then leave a comment below telling what you did. You can earn a total of two entries. US mailing addresses only, please. The winner will receive the first two books now, and the third will be sent in February 2020 when it releases.

D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour Schedule

Make sure you visit all seven authors! Links will go live on the post date.

June 3: AMANDA DYKES, author of Whose Waves These Are

June 4: CATHY GOHLKE, author of The Medallion

June 5: LIZ TOLSMA, author of When the Heart Sings

June 6: SARAH SUNDIN, author of the Sunrise at Normandy series: The Sea Before Us, The Sky Above Us, and The Land Beneath Us

June 7: AMANDA BARRATT, author of My Dearest Dietrich

June 10: VALERIE LUESSE, author of Almost Home

June 11: MELANIE DOBSON, author of Memories of Glass

Today in World War II History—June 6, 1944

US troops approach Omaha Beach in an LCVP landing craft, Normandy, 6 Jun 1944 (US National Archives)

US troops approach Omaha Beach in an LCVP landing craft, Normandy, 6 Jun 1944 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—June 6, 1944: D-day—156,000 Allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy in the biggest amphibious operation in history.

On D-day, over 5000 Allied ships and vessels, manned by 195,000 naval personnel, transport troops and cargo, bombard enemy positions, and protect the fleet. (Read more: D-Day at Sea)

Over 11,000 Allied aircraft fly on D-day—bombing, strafing, patrolling, and dropping paratroopers. (Read more: D-Day in the Air)

Cover Reveal – The Land Beneath Us

The Land Beneath Us

Today, on the day before the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings, I’m pleased to reveal the cover for my upcoming D-day novel The Land Beneath Us, Book 3 in the Sunrise at Normandy series, which is scheduled to release on February 4, 2020.

The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and will be available on other sites soon. Pre-orders for the e-book and audiobook will be available at a later date.

Today I’m giving away six books—the winner’s choice of The Land Beneath Us paperback or audiobook (when released in 2020), The Sky Above Us paperback or audiobook, or The Sea Before Us audiobook.

Sunrise at Normandy Series

One fateful night drove three brothers apart.

One fateful day thrusts them together…D-Day.

The Land Beneath Us

(Book 3, coming February 4, 2020)

A dream as dangerous . . .

A love as solid . . .

As the land beneath them.

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for—fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family—the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance—but can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true?

Return to the shores of Normandy, this time on the ground, as the third Paxton brother faces the past—and the most fearsome battle of his life.

Cover Reveal Video

If you’d like to see the video I did on Facebook Live, telling about the history behind the story, it’s posted to YouTube:

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post and enter the Rafflecopter below (US mailing addresses only, please). Giveaway ends Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 11 pm Pacific Time. I’ll announce the six winners here on Monday, June 10, 2019 and by email.

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D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour

ALSO…don’t forget to join in the D-Day 75th Anniversary Blog Tour! Seven authors of historical novels set in World War II are commemorating the brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago. We’re also giving away TEN books, including the entire three-book Sunrise at Normandy series.

Today in World War II History—June 5, 1944

American tank destroyers at the Colosseum, Rome, June 1944 (US Army photo)

American tank destroyers at the Colosseum, Rome, June 1944 (US Army photo)

B-29 Superfortress (USAF photo)

B-29 Superfortress (USAF photo)

75 Years Ago—June 5, 1944: Countdown to D-day: at 4:15 am, a more favorable weather report leads Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to order the invasion of Normandy to proceed for June 6: “Okay, let’s go.”

At night, RAF Bomber Command flies 1200 sorties, hitting ten gun batteries in Normandy before dawn on D-day.

US Fifth Army secures Rome; Gen. Mark Clark gives victory speech on Capitoline Hill, and Pope Pius XII addresses GIs in St. Peter’s Square.

First combat mission is flown with B-29 Superfortresses: US 20th Bomber Command sends 98 B-29s from India to bomb Japanese-held Bangkok.

Today in World War II History—June 4, 1944

US Navy boarding party on captured German U-boat U-505, 4 June 1944 (US National Archives)

US Navy boarding party on captured German U-boat U-505, 4 June 1944 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—June 4, 1944: Countdown to D-day: at 5:15 am, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower postpones D-day from June 5 to June 6 due to unfavorable weather: Force U, ships already en route to Utah Beach, return to ports in England.

US Fifth Army enters Rome and secures bridges over the Tiber.

Off West Africa, escort carrier USS Guadalcanal and 5 US destroyer escorts capture German submarine U-505 and its Enigma machine, the first intact ship captured by the US since 1815. Read more about the capture of the U-505 and see pictures of the U-boat from my visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago: U-Boat Tour, Part 1 and Part 2.

Today in World War II History—June 3, 1944

No. 4 Squadron RAAF pilots posing in front of Boomerang aircraft, Nadzab, New Guinea, 5 Oct 1943 (Australian War Memorial)

No. 4 Squadron RAAF pilots posing in front of Boomerang aircraft, Nadzab, New Guinea, 5 Oct 1943 (Australian War Memorial)

75 Years Ago—June 3, 1944: Countdown to D-day: Loading of all troops for D-day is complete; Force U (bound for Utah Beach) departs ports in Devon for Normandy.

Germans declare Rome an open city and evacuate as the Allies advance.

Last major air combat by Royal Australian Air Force in WWII as Australian fighters shoot down nine Japanese planes off New Guinea.

Today in World War II History—June 2, 1944

The actual wooden wall map used on D-day, showing the landing beaches, set for D-day at H-hour, in the map room at Southwick House, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

The actual wooden wall map used on D-day, showing the landing beaches, set for D-day at H-hour, in the map room at Southwick House, England, September 2017 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

75 Years Ago—June 2, 1944: Countdown to D-day: Gen. Dwight Eisenhower moves his headquarters to a trailer at Southwick House in Hampshire. (To read about Southwick House and see photos from my tour: Tour of Southwick House)

US Fifteenth Air Force flies first shuttle mission to Russia: 130 B-17s & 70 P-51s from Italy bomb Debreczen, Hungary then fly to Poltava.

Today in World War II History—June 1, 1944

US troops on Hwy 6 to Rome. (US Army Center of Military History)

US troops on Hwy 6 to Rome. (US Army Center of Military History)

75 Years Ago—June 1, 1944: Countdown to D-day: BBC sends first coded message to warn French resistance of the coming invasion.

US Fifth Army opens final offensive for Rome.

Bob Hope’s best-selling book about his USO tour, I Never Left Home, is published.