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Wireless communications from headquarters ships, which were so essential for control in the first stages of the assault, worked extremely well, and the use of crystal controlled wireless sets was largely responsible for the successful establishment and maintenance of wireless communication.

Once the army was established in the bridgehead, line communications generally were by field cable, but use was made of the German underground defence network which ran parallel to the coast some three miles inland. A cross-channel submarine telephone cable was in operation by 8 Jun. Although this line layout was extensive, wireless was very largely used.

Owing to the number of troops in the area, frequency congestion was considerable. This meant, firstly, that when a formation come out of the line it immediately went on to wireless silence - thus both preserving security and clearing the air. Secondly, when two formations had to share the same frequency list, with danger of mutual interference, the least actively engaged formation was ordered to "minimise and use wireless only when absolutely essential - and when the link was not duplicated by line.

The bad roads and heavy traffic load on despatch services meant that jeep despatch riders had to be employed almost exclusively.

Points of particular interest which arose in connection with the planning of the signal layout for the assault and during the establishment of the bridgehead are set out at Appendix "F".


The following extracts from Seventh German Army telephone diary for 9 Jun reflect the German situation:-

Conversation of Field Marshal ROMMEL, in Army
Headquarters, with the Commanding General,
and Chief of Staff.

1. "The Chief of Staff acquaints those present with the situation as just reported by the Commander General 84 Corps on the COTENTIN Peninsula. The essential point is that the enemy has not succeeded, until now, in effecting a junction with the CARENTAN bridgehead, by means of his attack from ISIGNY towards the West. 6 Parachute Regiment, which has fought better than expected, has been given the order to hold CARENTAN to the last man."

2. "Field Marshal ROMMEL . . . orders that the enemy must be prevented at all costs? from:

" (a) Getting the fortress of CHERBOURG, and harbour, in his hands.

" (b) Establishing the connection between both bridge- heads; that West of the R ORNE and West of the R VIRE."

3. "The Chief of Staff expresses the opinion that the enemy, because of the increased resistance South of MONTEBOURG, will commit more airborne troops in order to take possession of CHERBOURG rapidly. Field Marshal ROMMEL does not share his opinion, since the Supreme Command expects a large landing on the Channel coast within the next few days, and there- fore the enemy will not have more airborne troops available."

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr

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