The Tank Museum | D-Day - The German Perspective

D-Day - The German Perspective

Find out more about how the German's saw D-Day and the formidable force they faced.

17th June 2014

The German Army that met the Allied invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944 was very different to the one that had conquered France four years earlier.

bovtm_german_gun_dday (ID 52582)Many of Germany's best troops had been sent to fight in the invasion of Russia and the remaining soldiers - including foreign volunteers, Prisoners of War and 16-17 year old boys - were generally unfit for service. There were also shortages of vital equipment.

Immediately before the invasion, the German coastal defences were subjected to a massive bombardment from air and sea. Some soldiers were buried under collapsed bunkers and many survivors were too shell-shocked to fight.

Disagreement about how the French coast should be defended meant that Germany's formidable Panzer Divisions were poorly placed to react to the Allied invasion. Forced to advance by day, many armoured vehicles were destroyed by Allied aircraft before they even reached the coast.

"Dearest Lu,

It is a hard fight that the army is having to withstand. I was up at the front yesterday and am going again to-day. The enemy's air superiority has a very grave effect on our movements. There's simply no answer to it. It's quite likely to start in other places soon. However, we do what we can."

Letter from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel to his wife, 10 June 1944.