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D-Day Countdown Diary 1944 January - April

January 1944 | February 1944 | March 1944 | April 1944 | For May & June see Diary homepage

April 1944

4 April 1944 General Charles de Gaulle appointed to head Free French Forces.

4 April 1944 Exercise Smash begins; six Valentine DD tanks of 4th/7th Dragoon Guards sink in bad weather off Studland Bay, Dorset - six killed.

25 April 1944 General Patton in trouble; making a speech at Knutsford, Cheshire he implies Britain and the United States will dominate the post-war world.

27 April 1944 British Government bans foreign travel.

28 April 1944 Exercise Tiger; German E-Boats intercept a landing operation off Slapton Sands, Devon. Landing Craft sunk and over 600 Americans killed.

April 1944 8,000 United States soldiers arrive in Dorset.

April 1944 Guards Armoured Division moves to Brighton area.

April 1944 General Montgomery visits Bovington Camp.


March 1944

3 March 1944. 101st Airborne Division visits Tarrant Rushton airfield for Glider Training.

6 March 1944. Royal Air Force start interdiction raids on communication centres in France.

20 March 1944. Lieutenant General Harry Crerar arrives from Italy to command Canadian forces in the Invasion.

20 March 1944. Sherborne Park, Dorset. 29 US Army Combat Engineers killed by mines during a training exercise.

25 March 1944. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth visit Guards Armoured Division in Yorkshire.

26 March 1944. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in a broadcast to the Nation says "the hour of our greatest effort is approaching'.

26 March 1944. Exercise Leapyear, a full-scale landing in the Moray Firth, Scotland, involving 22nd Dragoons with Sherman Crab flail tanks.

March 1944. PLUTO (Pipe Line Under the Ocean) laid across Poole Bay.

March 1944. 141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (7th Battalion the Buffs) convert their tanks to Crocodile flamethrowers.

March 1944. 79th Armoured Division (Hobart's Funnies) starts the process of linking specialised armour units to British and Canadian assault divisions for D-Day.

February 1944

1 February 1944 Combined Chiefs of Staff agree a date and initial assault plan for the invasion. Codename NEPTUNE adopted for the first phase of operations.

1 February 1944 Combined Operations Headquarters issues a comprehensive report on the condition of beaches along the invasion coast.

12 February 1944 Winston Churchill describes the force landed at Anzio as 'A Stranded Whale'.(not D-Day related)

13 February 1944 Allied conference on Landing Craft held in London.

15 February 1944 600 tons of bombs dropped on the Monastery on Monte Cassino.(not D-Day related)

24 February 1944 His Majesty King George VI visits 7th Armoured Division in Norfolk.

February 1944 11th Armoured Division in Exercise Eagle in Yorkshire.

February 1944 Generals Montgomery and Eisenhower witness amphibious operations at Studland Bay, Dorset.

February 1944 141 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps converts to Crocodile Flame-throwers.

February 1944 Field Marshal Rommel appointed to command Army Group B

February 1944 German engineers begin to erect beach obstacles below the tide line along the Channel coast.

January 1944

January 1944 General Sir Bernard Montgomery arrives in Britain.

14 January 1944 General Dwight D Eisenhower arrives in Britain.

14 January 1944 Operation Spook; major cross-country navigation test for Hamilcar gliders and tugs from Tarrant Rushton airfield.

20 January 1944 Tetrarch tank and Hamilcar glider trials at Tarrant Rushton.

22 January Operation Shingle; Allied landings at Anzio, Italy.

January 1944 Boatyards at Poole and other coastal ports build one Landing Craft per day.

January 1944 7th Armoured Division arrives in Britain from Italy.

January 1944 General Omar Bradley appointed United States Army Group Commander.

January 1944 Combined Operations pilotage parties take sand samples from Normandy beaches.

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