|Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr
|Extracts from Second Army History, 1944 Apr.
Compare this confident message with the gloomy review of events from D-day to 20 Jun as seen through the enemy’s eyes and described in a captured summary of‘ operations issued by RUNSTEDT'S headquarters. Extracts are:
"The proximity of ENGLAND and thus of all concentration areas and supply bases enabled the Anglo-Saxons to employ men, material and technical resources in unprecedented strength for the first large-scale amphibious attack on the Western end of the SEINE bay and CONTENTIN peninsula. Systematic, almost scientific, preparations for all phases of the attack were supported in every respect by a far-reaching net of agents extending all over the occupied West. The orders concerning preparations and the carrying out of the landing comprise books with numerous appendices.
"Four facts must be emphasised:-
Complete air superiority of the enemy.
Skilful and overwhelming employment of airborne troops.
Flexible and well-directed support of the ground troops by artillery fire from strong English naval units ranging from battleships to gun- boats.
Previous practice manoeuvres by the enemy landing troops, exact knowledge of the coast, its obstacles and defensive positions; quick establishment of the superiority of men and material at the beachhead after the first few days of landing.
Enemy Landing Methods in Broad Outline
"The enemy hoped to take us by surprise. In that attempt he failed. Airborne landings began at the Western end of the SEINE bay and in CONTENTIN on 6 Jun at approximately 0100 hrs in the morning, during cloudy, overcast weather, with a strong wind, partly showers and rough see up to 4. Simultaneously flights by strong formations of bombers were made over various sectors of the front and on rear areas.
"The real landing from the sea started four to five hours after the airborne landings. We had thought it probable that the enemy would land during high tide; but he had recognised the strong beach defences and had changed his methods accord- ingly by carrying out the landings at a period of low tide; this was found out by our own Intelligence from exercises on the English coast a few weeks before the landings. The new method made it possible for the enemy to spot gaps in the beach obstacles, to drive tanks round them and to have them partially removed by special troops who cleared paths through them.
"The landings started at 0600 hrs in full daylight. The landings were proceeded by a bombardment lasting a half-hour and carried out from the air and from the sea with weapons of all calibres. The effect was that the field works were more or less covered and 'ploughed up‘, so that not much more than the permanently fortified installations were left. Through the gaps between them the enemy started infiltrating without dealing - during the first phase - with the permanently fortified installations and the large strong points.
(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)