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Thread: Operation Overlord (D-Day, June 6th 1944)

  1. #11
    Senior Member schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    While I like reading the history of both WWI and WWII, I don't go for all the fake crap spread by the media. Without picking sides I still believe that the US should not have been involved in either war based on the simple fact that the founding fathers of the US warned about intervention in European wars. Now we have cemeteries full of the flower of our youth and our world has suffered huge amount of damage post war.
    That is the best comment so far on the D-Day story.
    The revisionist writers are busy to describe all the events of WW2.
    Having lived thru those times, I'm not even tempted to read some of their garbage.
    War mongers were busy those days and they are still busy in our times.
    The industrial military complex is still busy today...............and needs to be fed.
    I hope Trump gets it.

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  3. #12
    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    Now we have cemeteries full of the flower of our youth and our world has suffered huge amount of damage post war.
    The one at Omaha beach is very impressive. Some www photos here. It's right next to Widerstandsnest 62 and after having visited this I didn't have much time left for the US cemetery, sadly (..which I think shuts quite early).

    I've also paid 3 visits to the German cemetery at La Cambe. More www photos. I used to show my own pics on Germanic Worlds every year, including the gravestones of some famous Wehrmacht soldiers, but these now seem to have disappeared with the forum.

    I had about a 10-minute conversation with a couple of German chaps roughly the same age as me during my 2014 visit. It was in a secluded part of the field and in German ... we were all on the same wavelength

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    Senior Member Ravenrune's Avatar
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    I just can't bring myself to even check mainstream media's brainwashed opinion of history.

    There is just too much about World War II that is one giant biased brainwashing psy-op (news, books, TV shows, movies, video games, political ideas, history class, all war ceremonies, etc ,etc). The winners write the history and the losers have zero say in anything. Or as Napoleon supposed said 'history is a set of lies agreed upon'.

    You can't question some things or you'll be socially outcast or worse, put in jail for thought-crime.

    There wouldn't have been a World War II if the victors of WWI hadn't been such giant a$$holes! Yet nobody wants to even know anything. Do they want to know about the Treaty of Versailles or the starvation blockade kept up for many months after the so-called end of WWI to force Germany to "agree" to this (I was never told about this every in school .. just that WWI ended on November 11).


    Neither Britain nor the USA would have sat by if some foreign group took Scotland and Texas from them and gave them to other nations. Hell, Britian got in a big snit about the minuscule Falkland Islands in the 80's ... little island right off he coast of Argentina LOL.

    Sorry but I can't get on the bandwagon any more (I never did much anyway) and support a one-sided celebration and all the one-sided nonsense that goes with it.

    It is perhaps the most dangerous thing that we so-called "good nations" (UK, USA,Canada, etc) believe we are so good ... it allows us to continually attack and destroy many nations (since 9/11 especially) based on complete lies and propaganda. Then we pat ourselves on the back while sweeping all the inconvenient ideas of history under the rug.

    Well that rug has one giant bulge of covered-up truths under it now but if one points at it, you're told it's not really there.

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    Sound methods Chlodovech's Avatar
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    “Tradition anchors our experience of time in memory and projects it into the future through hope.” – Rein Staal

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    The Secrets of Overlord

    On June 6, 1944 the United States, Britain and Canada launched the largest force of warships in history across the English Channel. It escorted the largest concentration of troop transport vessels ever assembled, covered by the largest force by the largest force of fighter and bomber aircraft ever brought together, preceded by a fleet of air transports that carried tens of thousands of paratroopers and glider borne troops to Normandy.


    Not one German submarine, not one small boat, not one airplane, not one radar set, not one German anywhere detected this movement. As General Walter Warlimont, head of operations of the German Supreme Headquarters, later confessed, on the eve of Overlord the Wehrmacht leaders ‘have not the slightest idea that the decisive event of the war is upon them’.


    In World War I, surprise on a grand scale was seldom attempted and only rarely achieved – as with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the German invasion of Russia, both in 1941, and the German attack on the Ardennes in 1940 and again in 1944. One reason for the difference between the wars was that World War II commanders judged surprise to be more critical to victory than a preattack artillery bombardment. In the age of machine guns, other rapid-fire artillery, and land mines, the defenders could make almost any position virtually impregnable, no matter how heavy the preattack bombardment. Another reason for the increased emphasis on surprise was that the much greater mobility of World War II armed forces made surprise more feasible and more effective. Because of improvements in and more imaginative use of the internal-combustion engine (especially in tanks and trucks), the geographic area in which the conflict was fought was much larger in World War II. The preinvasion bombardment for Overlord, carried out by aircraft, was spread all across France and Belgium. It may have wasted a lot of bombs, but it kept the Germans from discerning a pattern that would indicate the invasion site.


    None of the surprises achieved in World War II was more complex, more difficult, more important, or more successful than Overlord. To fool Hitler and his generals in the battle of wits that preceded the attack, the Allies had to convince them not only that it was coming where it was not but also that the real thing was a feint. The first objective could be achieved by attacking in an unexpected, indeed illogical, place, and by maintaining total security about the plan. The second required convincing Hitler that the Allied invasion force was about twice as powerful as it actually was.


    That there would be landings in France in the late spring of 1944 was universally known. Exactly where and when were the questions. To learn those secrets, the Germans maintained a large intelligence organization that included spies in Britain, air reconnaissance, monitoring of the British press and BBC, radio intercept stations, decoding experts, interrogation of Allied airmen shot down in Germany, research on Allied economies, and more.


    The importance of surprise was obvious. In World War I it was judged that to have any chance at success, the attacking force had to outnumber the defenders by at least three to one. But in Overlord the attacking force of 175,000 men would be outnumbered by the Wehrmacht, even at the point of attack, and the overall figures (German troops in Western Europe versus Allied troops in the United Kingdom) showed a two-to-one German advantage. Doctrine in the German army was to meet an attack with an immediate counterattack. In this case, the Germans could move reinforcements to the battle much faster than the Allies, because they could bring them in by train, by truck, and on foot, while the Allies had to bring them in by ship. The Germans had storage and supply dumps all over France; the Allies had to bring every shell, every bullet, every drop of gasoline, every bandage across the Channel.


    Allied intelligence worked up precise tables on the Germans’ ability to move reinforcements into the battle area. The conclusion was that if the Germans correctly gauged Overlord as the main assault and marched immediately, within a month they could concentrate thirty-one divisions in the battle area, including nine panzer divisions. The Allies could not match that buildup rate.


    In the face of these obstacles, the Allies managed to maintain a deception about their true intentions even after the battle began. How they did so is a remarkable story.


    Thousands of men and women were involved, but perhaps the most important, and certainly the most dramatic, were the dozen or so members of BI(a), the counterespionage arm of MI5, the British internal security agency. Using a variety of sources, such as code breaking and interrogation of captured agents, the British caught German spies as they parachuted into England or Scotland. Sir John Masterman, head of BI(a), evaluated each spy. Those he considered unsuitable were executed or imprisoned. The others were ‘turned’ – that is, made into double agents, who sent messages to German intelligence, the Abwehr, via radio, using Morse code. (Each spy had his own distinctive ‘signature’ in the way he used the code’s dots and dashes, which was immediately recognizable by the German spy masters receiving the message.) The British kept the double agents tap-tap-tapping, but only what they were told to send out.


    This so-called Double Cross operation, which had come into being in the dark days of 1940, managed to locate and turn every German spy in the United Kingdom, some two dozen in all. From the beginning the British had decided to aim it exclusively towards the moment when the Allies returned to France. Building up this asset over the years required feeding the Abwehr information through the spies that was authentic, new and interesting but either relatively valueless or something the Germans were bound to learn anyway. The idea was to make the agents trustworthy and valuable in the eyes of the Germans, then spring the trap on D Day when the double agents would flood the Abwehr with false information.


    The first part of the trap was to make the Germans think the attack was coming at the Pas de Calais. Since the Germans already anticipated that this was where the Allies would come ashore, it was necessary only to reinforce their preconceptions. The Pas de Calais was indeed the obvious choice. It was on the direct London-Ruhr-Berlin line. It was close to Antwerp, Europe’s best port. Inland the terrain was flat, with few natural obstacles. At the Pas de Calais the Channel was at it’s narrowest, giving ships the shortest trip and British based fighter aircraft much more time over the invasion area.


    Because the Pas de Calais was the obvious choice, the Germans had their strongest fixed defences there, backed up by the Fifteenth Army and a majority of the Panzer divisions in France. Whether or not they succeeded in making the position impregnable we will never know, because the supreme Allied commander, Dwight D Eisenhower, decided not to find out. He choose Normandy instead. Normandy had certain advantages, including the port of Cherbourg, the narrowness of the Cotentin Peninsula, access to the major road network at Caen, and proximity to the English ports of Southampton and Portsmouth. Normandy’s greatest advantage, however, was that the Germans were certain to consider an attack there highly unlikely, because it would be an attack in the wrong direction: instead of heading east, towards the German heartland, the Allies would be heading south into central France.


    The second part of the trap was to make the Germans think, even after the attack began, that Normandy was a feint. Geography reinforced Eisehower’s choice of Normandy in meeting this requirement, too; if there were major Allied landings at the Pas de Calais, Hitler would not keep troops in Normandy for fear of their being cut off from Germany – but he might be persuaded to keep troops in the Pas de Calais following a landing in Normandy, as they would still stand between the Allied forces and Germany.


    The deception plan, code named Fortitude, was a joint venture, with British and American teams working together, it made full use of the Double-Cross system, dummy armies, fake radio traffic, and elaborate security precautions. In terms of the time, resources, and energy devoted to it, Fortitude was a tremendous undertaking. It had many elements, designed to make the Germans think the attack might come at the Biscay coast or in the Marseilles region or even in the Balkans. Most important were Fortitude North, which set up Norway as a target (the site of Hitler’s U-boat bases, essential to his offensive operations ), and Fortitude South, with the Pas de Calais as the target.


    To get the Germans to look towards Norway, the Allies first had to convince them that Eisenhower had enough resources for a diversion or secondary attack. This was doubly difficult because of the acute shortage of landing craft – it was touch and go as to whether there would be enough craft to carry five divisions ashore at Normandy as planned, much less spares for another attack. To make the Germans believe otherwise, the Allies had to create fictitious divisions and landing craft on a grand scale. This was done chiefly with the Double-Cross system and through Allied radio signals.


    The British Fourth Army, for example, stationed in Scotland and scheduled to invade Norway in mid-July, existed only on the airwaves. Early in 1944 some two dozen over-age British officers were sent to nethermost Scotland, where they spent the next months exchanging radio messages. They filled the air with an exact duplicate of the wireless traffic that accompanies the assembly of a real army, communicating in low-level and thus easily broken cipher. Together the messages created an impression of corps and division headquarters scattered all across Scotland: ‘80 Div. request 1,800 pairs of crampons, 1,800 pairs of ski bindings,’ they read, or ‘VII Corp requests the promised demonstrations in the Bilgeri method of climbing rock faces.’ There was no 80th Division, no VII Corps.


    The turned German spies meanwhile sent encoded radio messages to Hamburg and Berlin describing heavy train traffic in Scotland, new division patches were seen on the streets of Edinburgh, and rumours among the troops about going to Norway. Wooden twin-engine ‘bombers’ began to appear on Scottish airfields. British commandos made some raids on the coast of Norway, pinpointing radar sites, picking up soil samples (ostensibly to test the suitability of the beaches to support a landing) and in general trying to look like a preinvasion force.


    The payoff was spectacular. By late spring, Hitler had thirteen army divisions in Norway (about 130,000 men under the German military system), along with 90,000 naval and 60,000 Luftwaffe personnel. In late May Field Marshal Erwin Rommel finally persuaded Hitler to move five infantry divisions from Norway to France. They had started to load up and move out when the Abwehr passed on to Hitler another set of ‘intercepted’ messages about the threat to Norway. He cancelled the movement order.


    To paraphrase Winston Churchill never in the history of warfare have so many been immobilized by so few.


    Fortitude South was larger and more elaborate. It was based on the First US Army Group (FUSAG) stationed in and around Dover and threatening the Pas de Calais. It included radio traffic, inadequately camouflaged dummy landing craft in parts of Ramsgate, Dover and Hastings; fields packed with paper-maché tanks; and full use of the Double-Cross setup. The spies reported intense activity in and around Dover including construction, troop movements, increased train traffic and the like. They said that the phony oil dock at Dover, built by stagehands from Hollywood and the British film industry, was open and operating.


    The capstone to Fortitude South was Ike’s selection of General George s Patton to command FUSAG. The Germans thought Patton the best commander in the Allied camp (a judgement with which Patton fully agreed, but which Eisenhower, unbeknownst to the Germans, did not) and expected him to lead the assault. Eisenhower, who was saving Patton for the exploitation phase of the campaign, used Patton’s reputation and visibility to strengthen Fortitude South.


    FUSAG contained real as well as notional divisions, corps and armies. The FUSAG order of battle included the US Third Army, which was real but still in the United States; the British Fourth Army, which was imaginary; and the Canadian First Army, which was real and based in England. There were in addition, supposedly fifty follow up divisions in the United States, organised as the US Fourteenth Army – which was notional – awaiting shipment to the Pas de Calais after FUSAG established its beachhead. Many of the divisions of the Fourteenth Army were real and were actually assigned to General Omar Bradley’s US First Army in southwest England.


    Fortitude’s success was measured by the German estimate of Allied strength. By June1, the Germans believed that Eisenhower’s entire command included eighty nine divisions (of about 15,000 men each) when in fact he had forty seven. They also thought he had sufficient landing craft to bring twenty divisions ashore in the first wave, when he was lucky to manage five. Partly because they credited Ike with so much strength, and partly because it made such good military sense, the Germans believed that the real invasion would be preceded or followed by diversionary attacks and feints.


    Security for Overlord was as important as deception. As Ike declared, ‘Success or failure of coming operations depends upon whether the enemy can obtain advance information of an accurate nature. ‘ To maintain security, in February he asked Churchill to move all civilians out of southernmost England. He feared there might be an undiscovered spy who could report the truth to the Abwehr. Churchill refused, he felt it was too much to ask a war weary population. A British officer on Ike’s staff said it was all politics and growled, ‘If we fail there won’t be anymore politics.’


    Ike sent Churchill an eloquent plea, warning that it ‘would go hard with our consciences if we were to feel, in later years, that by neglecting any security precaution we had compromised the success of these vital operations’. In late March Churchill gave in, the civilians were put out of all coastal and training areas and kept out until months after D Day.



    Eisenhower also persuaded a reluctant Churchill to impose a ban on privileged diplomatic communications from the United Kingdom. Ike said he regarded diplomatic pouches as ‘the gravest risk to the security of our operations and to the lives of our sailors, soldiers and airmen’. When Churchill imposed the ban, on April 17, foreign governments protested vigorously. This gave Hitler a useful clue to the timing of Overlord. He remarked in early May that ‘the English have taken measures that they can sustain for only six to eight weeks.’ When a West Point classmate of Ike’s declared at the bar in Claridges Hotel that D Day would be before June the 15, and offered to take bets when challenged, Ike reduced him in rank and sent him home in disgrace. There was another flap a week later when a US Navy officer got drunk and revealed details of impending operations, including areas, strength and dates. Ike wrote Chief of Staff George Marshall, ‘I get so angry at the occurrence of such needless and additional hazards that I could cheerfully shoot the offender myself.’ Instead Ike sent the officer back to the States.



    To check how well security and deception were working, SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) had another asset, the Ultra system. This involved breaking the German code, Enigma, enabling SHAEF to read German radio signals. Thanks to Ultra, the British Joint Intelligence Committee was able to put together weekly summaries of ‘German Appreciation of Allied Intentions in the West’ one or two page overviews of where when and in what strength the Germans expected the attack. Week after week, the summaries gave Ike exactly the news he wanted to read: that the Germans were anticipating an attack on Norway, diversions in the south of France and in Normandy or the Bay of Biscay, and the main assault with twenty or more divisions , against the Pas de Calais.


    Bur Fortitude was an edifice built so delicately, precisely, and intricately that the removal of just one supporting column would bring the whole thing crashing down. On May 29, with D Day about a week away, the summary included a chilling sentence: ‘The recent trend of movement of German land forces towards the Cherbourg area tends to support the view that Le Harve-Cherbourg area is regarded as a likely, and perhaps even the main, point of assault.’


    Had there been a slip? Had the Germans somehow penetrated Fortitude?


    The news got worse. The Germans, in fact, were increasing their defences everywhere along the French coast. In mid-May the mighty Panzer Lehr Division began moving towards the Cotentin Peninsula, while the 21st Panzer Division, which had been with Rommel in North Africa and was his favourite, moved from Brittany to the Caen area – exactly the site where the British Second Army would be landing. More alarming, Ultra revealed that the German 91st Division, specialists in fighting paratroopers, and the German 6th Parachute Regiment had moved on May 29 into exactly the area where the American airborne divisions were to land. And the German 352nd Division moved forward from St Lô to the coast, taking up a position overlooking Omaha Beach, where the US 1st Division was going to land.


    Ike’s commander, British Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, was so upset by this news that he recommended to Ike that the airdrops be cancelled. Ike refused, but the German movements and Leigh-Mallory’s reaction badly stretched his nerves.


    Eisenhower did not, however, give up on Fortitude. At about midnight on June 5-6, even as Allied transport planes and ships began crossing the Channel for Normandy, the supreme commander played the ultimate note in the Fortitude concert: he had the spy the Germans trusted most, code named Garbo – actually a resourceful spy for the British from the start – reported that Overlord was on the way, named some of the divisions involved, indicated when they had left Portsmouth, and predicted they would come ashore in Normandy at dawn.


    The report had to be deciphered, read, evaluated, reenciphered, and transmitted to Hitler. Then Hitler’s staff had to decide whether to wake him with the news. They did, but when the whole encoding and deciphering operation had to be reversed to get the word to the German forces in Normandy. By the time it arrived, the defenders could see for themselves- there were 6,000 planes overhead and 5,000 ships off the coast, and the first wave of troops was coming ashore.


    In short, Garbo’s report, the most accurate and important of the entire war, arrived too late to help the Germans. But it surly raised their opinion of Garbo – and this was vital. For now that Fortitude had helped the Allies get ashore, the question was, could the deception be kept alive long enough to let the Allies win the battle of the build-up that would follow?


    Garbo was key. On June 9 he sent a message to his spy master in Hamburg with a request that it be submitted urgently to the German High Command. ‘The present operation, though a large scale assault, is diversionary in character,’ Garbo stated flatly. ‘It’s object is to establish a strong bridgehead in order to draw the maximum of our (German) reserves into the area of the assault and to retain them there so as to leave another area exposed where the enemy could then attack with some prospect of success.’ Citing the Allied order of battle as the Germans understood it, Garbo pointed out that Eisenhower had commanded only a small number of his divisions and landing craft. He added that no FUSAG unit had taken part in the Normandy attack, nor was Patton there. Furthermore, ‘the constant aerial bombardment which the sector of the Pas de Calais has been undergoing and the disposition of the enemy forces would indicate the imminence of the assault in the region which offers the shortest route to the final objective of the Anglo-Americans, Berlin.


    Within half a day Garbo’s message was in Hitler’s hands. On the basis of it, the Führer made a momentous decision, possibly the most important of the war. Rommel had persuaded Hitler to send two Fifteenth Army Panzer divisions to Normandy. The tanks had started their engines, the men were ready to go, when Hitler cancelled the order. He wanted the armoured units held in the Pas de Calais to defend it against the main invasion. He also awarded the Iron Cross, second class to Garbo.


    The deception went on. On June 13 another spy warned that an attack would take place in two or three days at Dieppe or Abbeville. A third spy reported that airborne divisions (wholly fictitious) would soon drop around Amiens. In late June a fourth agent, code named Tate , said that he had obtained the railway schedule for moving FUSAG forces from their concentration areas to the embarkation ports, thus reinforcing from a new angle the imminence of the threat to the Pas de Calais. One Abwehr officer considered Tate’s report so important that he said it ‘could even decide the outcome of the war’. He was not far wrong.


    The weekly intelligence summary on June19 read: ‘The Germans still believe the Allies capable of launching another amphibious operation. The Pas de Calais still remains the expected area of attack. Fears of landings in Norway have been maintained.’
    July 10: ‘The enemy’s fear of a large scale landing between the Seine and the Pas de Calais has not diminished. The second half of July is given as the probable time for this operation.
    July 24: There has been no considerable transfer of German forces from the Pas de Calais, which remains strongly garrisoned.’



    By August 3, when Patton came onto the Continent with the U.S. Third Army most German officers realized that Normandy was the real thing. By then, of course, it was too late. The Germans had kept hundreds of their best tanks and thousands of their finest fighting men (a total of fifteen divisions in France ) out of this crucial battle in order to meet a threat that had always been imaginary.




    From Stephen E Ambrose, ‘The Secrets of Overlord’, in Robert Cowley (ed) Experiences of War (New York: Norton & Co., 1992 472 -9 )

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    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    In short, Germany had by far the best army but in terms of intelligence the Allies were vastly superior.

    The breaking of the Enigma Code in 1941 was arguably the turning point of the war. Even if Hitler had guessed correctly at a Normandy landing, the Allies would almost certainly have been aware of this and could have adjusted their plans accordingly.

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