Almost all accounts of D Day are told from the Allied perspective, with the emphasis on how German resistance was overcome on June 6th 1944. But what was it like to be a German soldier in the bunkers and gun emplacements of the Normandy coast, facing the onslaught of the mightiest seaborne inva
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Shortly before D-Day (June 6, 1944) the author’s grandfather, a military journalist writing for widely read German military magazines such as Signal and Die Wehrmacht, interviewed soldiers stationed along the Atlantic Wall. A decade later he tracked down some of the troops he had visited and spoke again with those he had interviewed. Then, in the following year 1955, he died. Holger Eckhertz has assembled his grandfather’s material and presents it here in this book. We are given interviews with
These are eyewitness accounts from German soldiers and officers who fought on D-Day and were lucky enough to survive. The author’s grandfather posed questions and the men replied.
Here follow some of the questions posed:
1. Did you feel an invasion was imminent?
2. What do you recall of the events of the day, June 6th?
3. How did the day develop and end for you?
4. Were you involved in the combat?
5. Was this the first time you had been in hand-to-hand combat?
6. What was the experience of being under flame-thrower attacks like?
7. What were your emotions?
8. Were you confident of victory?
9. What were your relations like with the French?
10. What medical help was available?
11. What happened after D-Day?
12. How did you feel having been captured and taken as prisoner?
13. How were you treated as a prisoner?
The replies are frank, clear, concise and very, very explicit. No wishy-washy answers ever!
The five interviews are followed by a short postscript summarizing conclusions that can be drawn. The Germans were highly motivated; clearly German propaganda had succeeded. They felt they were defending a “United Europe” under Reich leadership against invaders. Surprise was what they felt when confronted by Allied troops’ aggression and determination. It was lack of resources that led to their inability to defend the Atlantic Wall. Luck determined if you lived or died.
The audiobook is very well narrated by P.J. Ochlan. He employs a German accent that is crisp and clear, though I could not decipher the names of French towns.
I am not giving this more than three stars because at times I found it difficult to follow. For two reasons. It is not exactly pleasant to read descriptive renditions of battle. Secondly, I have a limited military vocabulary so I had trouble with some of the terms employed. The book does not go into military tactics, and this I did appreciate.
I am glad I read the book. Now I know what has happened in the bunkers I see on the walks I take along the beaches in France. What is told leaves sharp vivid pictures I will not soon forget.
D Day through German Eyes is an excellent short book comprising five accounts from men who were actually on the front line on June 6th. 1944.
The recollections of the men, a mixture of junior officers and other ranks, were collected by the author’s grandfather, a military journalist who had visited the Atlantic Wall before D Day, who tracked down some survivors in 1954 and recorded their memories of D Day.
Each of the survivors was stationed on a different landing beach and their recollections cer
David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen and Two Families at War, all published by Sacristy Press.