When they learn about the D-Day landings, Erwin Rommel was in control for this defensive operation. He seeded the ground with special mines that goes up to air before exploding. At low tide, he sank a forest of wooden stakes. Now, any invader would have to choose between running the gauntlet at high tide, or landing at low tide and crossing 300 yards open the beach. He also stationed troops to inland to slow the Allied advance in prepariton for a Allied counter-attack. Atlantic wall stretch from Spain to Norway. Now,that kinda wall is huge and just German engineers is not enough. They take and force French men. If a French doesn’t want to go and work, French Resistance was the only chance. Plus forced labor is a great propaganda source which helped the French Resistance grow enormously. So huge, in fact, Allies couldn’t supply enough weapon and explosives. (Here is the picture that explains Atlantic Wall.)
Now, there was a debate going on between Erwin Rommel and Gerd Von Rundstedt. Rundstedt want the tank reserves held near Paris, in case Allies land somewhere unexpected. Rommel countered this argument saying long drive towards to coast make it vulnerable for air attacks, since Luftwaffe don’t have the capability to escort them. Both of them think they are right, so they put it to the Fuhrer. Fuhrer broke up the reserve, giving Rommel just 3 divisions and take other divisions under his own command which couldn’t moved without his personal command. So only one division was send to Normandy.
June 5, 1944
Weather is awful, making the German officers believe an invasion is impossible in this day. And that is when paratroopers start to land.
German army status in the western front
Nazi Germany had at its disposal fifty divisions in France and the Low Countries, with another eighteen stationed in Denmark and Norway. Fifteen divisions were in the process of formation in Germany. Combat losses throughout the war, particularly on the Eastern Front, meant that the Germans no longer had a pool of able young men from which to draw. German soldiers were now on average six years older than their Allied counterparts. Many in the Normandy area were Ostlegionen (eastern legions) – conscripts and volunteers from Russia, Mongolia, and other areas of the Soviet Union. They were provided mainly with unreliable captured equipment and lacked motorised transport. Many German units were under strength.
June 6, 1944 5:30 am.
German soldiers look out from their bunkers. Ship streching from horizon to horizon. Then, aircraft engine sound.
Massive Allied bombardment rocks the ground. Then, landing craft hit the ground. It was a scene from hell itself. Machine gun opens fire, Allied soldiers die as soon they hit the ground. Wounded soldiers are shocked by this scene, desperatly praying to God. Soldiers understand a thing: Things not go as easy they looked in the plan room. German bombardment looking to disorganize enemy infrantry, rather than hiting the landing grounds or ships. One American company at Omaha takes %92 casulties. But the good news is Omaha is an exception. British and Canada have broken through their own beaches: Juno, Gold and Sword. German generals argue about whether to commit reserves, or where.
While in this chaos, Hitler is sleeping, and there is a protocol about that Hitler can’t be awoken if there isn’t any super-anormal thing, and no one wants to break this protocol. When Hitler eventually wakes at noon, he is thrilled to hear news about invasion. He says that it’s a great time to crush the Allies back into the sea. Anway, he order Panzer divisions to move out, but there is one thing: Skys are clear, making the Panzer divisions vulnerable for air attacks. So instead of advancing, they must hide in the bushes. As Allies breakthrough the beaches and moving inlands, Hitler orders V-1 revenge strikes at London, instead of just bombing the Allied units. (What a great strategy…) By the end of all of this, D-Day was a new front for German army.
Picture sources: americangrit.com, weaponsandwarfare.com, militaryhistorynow.com