D-Day Countdown Diary 1944 January - April
January 1944 | February
1944 | March 1944 | April
1944 | For May & June see Diary
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
April 1944 Guards Armoured Division moves to Brighton
April 1944 General Montgomery visits Bovington Camp.
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
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.
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 General Sir Bernard Montgomery arrives
14 January 1944 General Dwight D Eisenhower arrives
14 January 1944 Operation Spook; major cross-country
navigation test for Hamilcar gliders and tugs from Tarrant
20 January 1944 Tetrarch tank and Hamilcar glider
trials at Tarrant Rushton.
22 January Operation Shingle; Allied landings at
January 1944 Boatyards at Poole and other coastal
ports build one Landing Craft per day.
January 1944 7th Armoured Division arrives in Britain
January 1944 General Omar Bradley appointed United
States Army Group Commander.
January 1944 Combined Operations pilotage parties
take sand samples from Normandy beaches.