After the completion of the planning, the headquarters concerned returned to their normal stations and continued to mobilize, to train, to improve technique and to observe most carefully all enemy reactions to preparations.

On 23 May 44 the Army Commander held an important conference of senior commanders and staff officers. Since January he had been keeping a careful analysis of our own and enemy potentialities and the purpose of his address was to sum up the situation as he saw it on that date.

The following is a resume, and reference should be made to Map 1:-

"It is only 14 days before D day and the time has come to take careful stock of the forces which the enemy can bring against Second Army during the early days of the invasion. It is necessary to consider how the enemy proposes to fight the battle during the first stages; What reserves are readily available, and the most likely routes by which he will move them.

"There are in HOLLAND, BELGIUM and FRANCE at this date thirty-four lower establishment and training divisions, which have little or no transport and which must be used in a purely static defensive role - mainly on the beaches. Those which concern Second Army are:-

711 Division disposed from exclusive R ORNE to inclusive HONFLEUR L 51 with five or six battalions forward and three reserve battalions - close up behind the beaches. 716 Division disposed from inclusive ISIGNY T 58 to inclusive R ORNE with six battalions forward and three reserve battalions; of these nine battalions, three and a half occupy the sector to be assaulted by Second Army, and two are in immediate reserve. Apart from their knowledge of the ground, and of the defences which they have constructed themselves, these two divisions suffer from all the disadvantages which normally attach to formations which have been in a static role for a considerable time.

"In reserve there are the following mobile field divisions: twelve infantry, two parachute and ten panzer type. Of these, three infantry divisions, two parachute divisions and six panzer typo divisions vitally concern Second Army. Some of these will probably be directed at the First United States Army, but it is necessary to be prepared should the enemy first concentrate his main effort against Second Army - while sealing off the CHERBOURG Peninsula.

"The recent move of 21 Panzer Division to the woods South of CAEN and the character of ROMMEL, the man at the head of affairs, make it reasonable to suppose that the reserves will start to fight immediately in the rear of the beaches, and that it is there that ROMMEL will try to defeat us.

"352 Infantry Division is just as close to the benches as 21 Panzer Division, and it is anticipated that both these divisions will be met early on D day.

"Of the remaining two infantry, two parachute and five panzer type divisions, the following estimate is made of how they will arrive in the battle:-

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr

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