D-Day, A German Private's View
June 6, 1944
On that night of 6 June none of us expected the invasion any more. There was a strong wind, thick cloud cover, and the enemy aircraft had not bothered us more that day than usual. But then -- in the night -- the air was full of innumerable planes. We thought, "What are they demolishing tonight?" But then it started. I was at the wireless set myself. One message followed the other. "Parachutists landing here - gliders landing there," and finally "Landing craft approaching." Some of our guns fired as best they could. In the morning a huge naval force was sighted - that was the last report our advanced observation posts could send us, before they were overwhelmed. And it was the last report we received about the situation. It was no longer possible to get an idea of what was happening. Wireless communications were jammed, the cables cut and our officers had lost grasp of the situation. Infantrymen who were streaming back told us that their new positions on the coast had been overrun or that the few "bunkers" in our sector had either been shot up or blown to pieces.
Right in the middle of all this turmoil I got orders to do with my car for a reconnaissance towards the coast. With a few infantryman I reported to a lieutenant. His orders were to retake a village nearby. While he was still talking to me to explain the position, a British tank came rolling towards us from behind, from a direction in which we had not even suspected the presence of the enemy. The enemy tank immediately opened fire on us. Resistance was out of the question. I saw how a group of Polish infantrymen went over to the enemy - carrying their submachine-guns and waving their arms. When we tried to get through to our lines in the evening British paratroopers caught us.
At first I was rather depressed, of course. I, an old soldier, a prisoner of war after a few hours of the invasion. But when I saw the material behind the enemy front, I could only say, "Old man, how lucky you have been!"
And when the sun rose the next morning, I saw the invasion fleet lying off the shore. Ship beside ship. And without a break, troops, weapons, tanks, munitions and vehicles were being unloaded in a steady stream.