NEW YORK — A flood of copy from correspondents who actually went into France with the invasion forces hit American newspapers Thursday giving a detailed picture and the price the Allies paid in cracking it.
The most dramatic eye-witness account came from a reporter with the paratroopers, Leonard Mosely, of the London Daily Sketch. Under the dateline "Behind the Atlantic Wall," Mosely described the savage fighting that occurred immediately alter the landing until conisolidation could be obtained. He also named the objectives of his particular. British unit — to seize and hold two bridges and to silence vital coastal batteries.
Mosley announced tersely, "We silenced it." As for the bridges: "We're still holding them and they're still intact."
With realism born in battle, Mosely didn't hide the fact that the price paid was not light. Landing with the second wave of paratroopers who were to infest a 100-mile area around the bridges, Mosely told how on the ground he watched the third wave of gliders, this time coming in to reinforce the tightly-pressed attackers:
"We watched them unhook and dive steeply to earth. We saw one caught by ack-ack fire and fly around for three or four minutes in a great ball of flame. We heard the crunch of. breaking matchwood as the glider bounced around the rocks and careened against the still undestroyed poles."
American newspapers were playing up this type of report today, assured that pre-invasion warnings of heavy casualties had steeled the home front for the cold facts of war. Pictures of Allied wounded and dead and of German prisoners dominated the war art.
Another top-line eyewitness piece today came from Richard McMillan of the United Press. He was in Bayeux. first important town to be captured. McMillan's dispatch indicated that bitter and intense fighting was still going on while he was writing.
"On the roadside bodies of German and Allied dead lay unburied," he wrote. "For a moment every man was needed for fighting."
These word pictures are not new to soldiers in the Mediterranean Theater, but the home front has never been treated to such realism.
The first pictures of the actual beach landings were brought back yesterday by Bert Brandt, Acme photographer, well known at Anzio and Cassino. Brandt told how resistance had been spotty but severe in places. Casualties among the first wave of attackers were heavy, he said.
TOLL AT SEA
John Moroso, III, Associated Press naval correspondent who had witnessed all the Mediterranean landings. said weather conditions also had taken a toll. "Roughness of the weather capsized landing craft and ducks broke up drowning soldiers and sailors who were seeking to reach shore through heavily-mined areas, which also were studded with underwater obstacles," said Moroso.
He pictured vaunted German defenses, describing six-foot concrete pillboxes disguised as rocks and batteries as heavy as 155 howitzer: hidden in the cliffs.
Other comment in the reports is that there is much talk of secret weapons on both sides but the war still seems to be fought the same old way.
The Allies, however, are using invasion craft not seen in the Mediterranean landings. It's the "Rhino ferry," a self-propelled version of what Italian veterans know as a floating bridge to span the gap from LSTs to the beach. "Rhino ferries" today are shuttling troops across the Channel, according to captions released with pictures.