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D-Day anniversary: ​​what the day before the 1944 invasion of Normandy was like during World War II

NORMANDY, France — This story was first published on June 5, 1944, hours before AP reporter Don Whitehead, known to colleagues as “Beachhead Don”, landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on the day J with the 1st Infantry Division. The AP is republishing Whitehead’s original report to mark the anniversary of the assault that began the liberation of France and Europe from German occupation, leading to the end of World War II.

American troop morale is high as the vast invasion fleet prepares to cross the canal to storm Hitler’s Fortress Europe.

There is no doubt about it. The Doughboys are ready and their morale is high. They can see the beginning of the end of war.

This is not false optimism. They know what awaits them, that many will die or be injured on the beaches of Normandy. They know the Germans are going to throw everything in the book at them to crush the invasion, but they’re still awfully confident.

D-Day anniversary: ​​what the day before the 1944 invasion of Normandy was like during World War II

They feel like it’s the way home, a home most of them haven’t seen for many months.

Most of them have never fought before, but their ranks are bolstered by a hard core of veterans who have learned to fight on the battlefields of the Mediterranean.

The quality, variety and quantity of equipment is almost unbelievable.

We boarded our ship at noon after all the troops were loaded.

In the lower hold the army had installed a miniature foam rubber model of the beach and countryside our troops were to attack. Spread around, soldiers studied their features. They were leaders of assault groups that will land on the first waves.

VIDEO: What Sainte-Mère-Eglise, Utah Beach and other Normandy D-Day invasion landmarks look like today

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