Invasion! Sie kommen! | Invasion! They’re Coming!
© 1960, 1963 Paul Carell
Invasion! is a German account of the D-Day landings and the battles that followed as the Allies worked to unite their separate beachheads and secure a foothold in Northern France. Given the perspective shift, readers find accounts of dogged defenders holding out an overwhelming attack force, rather than of valiant attackers dropping into darkness behind enemy lines, or hitting the beaches with visible Death there waiting for them. Oddly, Carell doesn’t mention the use of foreign nationals (including Russians) serving in the defensive line: his men are all good German boys, doing their duty and proving themselves superior soldiers on the tactical level despite mistakes made from the politicians up top (who believed for far too long that Normandy was merely a diversion from the real invasion at Calais) and Germany’s supply problems at the time, including the complete lack of any Luftwaffe support. I dislike the term ‘whitewashed’, but Carrel does clean the defenders up like they’re going to tea with the queen. Interestingly, he argues that Eisenhower was interested in striking a deal with the German military in the west: if they cooperated with the invasion and allowed the Allies to retake France, the Netherlands, etc. then a peace could be struck to protect Germany from the future threat of Bolshie domination. According to Carell, Churchill was mildly interested but deferred to the patrician Roosevelt, who was staunchly against it. This is not an aspect of the late war I’ve heard about, and I’m curious as to whether there’s any validity to it or just Carell (writing during Eisenhower’s last term in office, and amid the same Cold War mentality that led to the coup in Iran) attempting to argue that the West and Germany should present one front against Russia and the reds. Another surprise was learning that the Brits were aware of the V-1 program in 1943, and through persistent bombing were able to delay its launch until June 1944 — coinciding with the invasion! In all, this was an interesting read for the student of World War 2, but one to be read alert to biases and spin.
The Foxes of the Desert, Paul Carell. On the war in Africa.
Overlord: D-Day and the Invasion of Europe, Albert Marrin. Intended for teenagers, this is a detailed but storied history of the D-Day planning and execution.
Black Edelweiss: A Memoir of Combat and Conscience, Johann Voss. One of the more disturbing memoirs I’ve read, because it’s of a perfectly normal man from a successful, respectable family who chose to support the Nazi regime despite his criticisms of it, simply because he feared the presumed alternative — Russian-style bolshevism.
Interesting example of Cold War bias!
We did indeed ‘know’ about the V programme *long* before D-Day and, as a precaution, bombed the crap out of anything rocket like just in case. The V weapons then only became operational just after D-Day. I imagine if they’d been active before June ’44 the landings might have been a bit more difficult to pull off?
A more up-to-date (and presumably less biased as I haven’t read it yet – SOON!) is:
D-Day Through German Eyes – How the Wehrmacht Lost France by Jonathan Trigg (2019)
I’ve seen that one being advertised on Amazon! If you want to read it simultaneously, just let me know.
I’ll give you a heads-up. Presently reading a bit of a chunky one about the French Resistance.
Adding both of these to my list!
He has a trilogy set during the Russian invasion, but the first is hard to find.
I think reading about the war from the Germans’ point of view is an excellent way to look at the past carefully.
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