The Miracle of Normandy (Kindle Single) by Alex Gerlis

The Miracle of Normandy (Kindle Single) by Alex Gerlis

Author:Alex Gerlis [Gerlis, Alex]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Amazon: B00KB2JO7M
Goodreads: 22307572
Published: 2014-05-11T23:00:00+00:00

Chapter 5

Fortitude South – Post-D-Day

It is arguable that even without the D-Day deception, operation of the disposition of German forces in Northern France may not have been markedly different from what they were on 6th June 1944. Despite all the intelligence and their own instincts pointing to the Pas de Calais, the Germans could never have known with any degree of absolute certainty what the real Allied destination would be. In those circumstances it was always likely that von Rundstedt would hedge his bets, at least to some extent.

After all, we do know that notwithstanding the German High Command expecting the landings to be in the Pas de Calais, von Rundstedt still placed a quarter of the 58 divisions at his disposal in Normandy. The German High Command never discounted the possibility that there would be two invasions, with the first one intended to be a diversion from a subsequent, larger scale landing. Therefore, without the considerable benefit of hindsight, von Rundstedt’s splitting his forces in the way that he did and having some kind of flexible reserve, probably made military sense.

Nor should the timing of the invasion have come as a complete surprise to the Germans. More than one captured French Resistance fighter had revealed under torture that the Resistance had been told to listen out for a sequence of messages to be broadcast on the BBC alerting them to the invasion. The first message – the opening line of a Paul Verlaine poem – was broadcast on 1st June: Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne. This was to let the Resistance know that the invasion would take place very soon. The second message would be the second line of the poem: Blessent mon coeur d’une langeur monotone. That second message was broadcast by the BBC at 11.15 on the evening of the 5th of June, just a few hours before the start of the invasion. The Resistance – who were to play a very significant role in the coming weeks – would now know that the invasion was imminent.

The message was certainly heard at the headquarters of the 15th Army in the Pas de Calais. The 15th was put on alert and the headquarters of Rommel’s Army Group B in La Roche-Guyon was contacted. Rommel was back in Germany, celebrating his wife’s birthday, having been assured by the Wehrmacht weather forecasters that the conditions in the Channel would be totally unsuitable for an invasion. In Rommel’s absence, his deputy General Hans Speidel was in charge and he decided that they need not bother the 7th Army in Normandy. As the historian Andrew Roberts says “… it was assumed it must be mere disinformation, as the Allies would hardly have announced the invasion over the BBC.”

The following chapter discusses the conspiracy theory surrounding D-Day in more detail, but it is important to mention at this point that not only would General Hans Speidel be one of the conspirators in the July bomb plot, but that he had also


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