German Infantry at Omaha Beach
by Stewart Bryant
While much has been written about the Allied invasion on D-Day, very little had been known from the German side of this historical event, particularly the German 352nd Infantry Division (352ID), responsible for the defense of Omaha Beach.
Shortly after the end of World War II
, while a prisoner of war in the United States, Lt Col. Fritz Ziegalmann (Chief of Staff of the 352ID) wrote a history of the 352nd Infantry Division in Normandy. While most scholar draw upon the US Army's 1948 translation of Ziegalmann's work, their document lacked suitable translations for German military terminology and expressions.
After a five year search, I found Ziegalman's original works and made my own translation to English to gain a more accurate understanding of the content and to draw a clearer understanding of the German preparations and defense of the Omaha Beach Sector.
Building on Ziegalmann's narratives, I assembled, edited and expanded his narrative with additional materials and comments which I hope will provide the reader with new insights and a more complete understanding of the history of Omaha Beach. Below are excepts from this work.
Origin of the 352nd Infantry
Division , Lt Col. Fritz Ziegalmann
“With the loses suffered up through to October
1943 on the southern sector of the Russian front,
the 'Army High Command' (OKH), among other things,
called for the formation of new Infantry Divisions
in France and Belgium starting the 1st of December.”
Orders issued by OKH (German High Command) on
the 2nd of September 1943:
“21st Call-up: Ten infantry Divisions to
be formed and be combat ready by the 15th of May
They are to be organized in the form of the new
Infantry Division Structure ‘Type 44,’ utilizing
cadres from divisions disbanded on the eastern
front and filled out with recruits conscripted
in November 1943 (recruits born in 1926).”
“352ID is to be activated by the 7th Army
Command in Normandy, to be formed around cadres
of the 321ID in Army group Middle (Russia) which
by October 1943 had been decimated as a result
of the Soviet counter offenses following Operation
It is to be draw replacements from 'Wehrkreiss
XI (11th Defense District)."
“Having had served as a senior General Staff
Officer, on the 5th of December 1943, I now reported
to the staff, in St. Lo, of the just-forming 352nd
Infantry Division (Infantriedivison 352 , abv.
352.ID). By then, the Division's headquarters had
already been activated, (5th November), and by
the 14th of November, the 914th and 916th Infantry
Regiments (Grenadierregiment) were set up.”
“By the 29th of January 1944, the 352nd
Infantry Division (352ID) only had four infantry
battalions and four artillery batteries combat-ready.”
To fill out the Division's ranks, new recruits
were drafted from Wehrkreiss X(?-XI), which was
the ‘10th (11?) Defense Home-District’ within
Salzwedel-Dessau-Goettingen Hameln-Celle. In geographical
Terms it included Lueneburger Heide, Magdeburger
Boerde and the Harz Mountains. -SB
“As for the eventual date of deployment
after completing the formation of the 352ID (to
the Eastern Front, Italian Front, the Balkans or
remain in the West?), there were no clear orders.
It was generally assumed that we could count on
being sent to the Eastern Front after the 1st of
March1944. So training for the 352ID focused on
Eastern Front combat operations.
The building process itself went very slowly,
especially procurement. Since I had been, from
October 1942 to March 1943, Chief Quartermaster
for the Army High Command and at this time intimate
with procurement issues; it fell to me to providing
equipment to outfit the now forming 352ID.
For example, live-fire training school was not
possible until the end of February, because the
delivery of gun sights and sight mounting-plates
was not possible before mid-February. By March,
each soldier had thrown just two hand-grenades
and had only three live-fire training exercises.
The training of auxiliary drivers (French civilian
truck drivers) was not possible until the 1st of
May, because of fuel shortages.
During training, we also had our manpower problems.
Our 14 infantry companies were not set up until
February, and then they were trained for the Russian
Front as anti-tank companies. The replacements,
mostly teenagers, were physically unfit for all
but limited military duty, because of food shortages
As of May 1st, 50% of the officer corps was inexperienced
and 30% of the noncommissioned officer positions
went unfilled, because of the lack of competent
The total manpower of our ‘Type 44' infantry
division amounted to around 12,000 men of which
6,800 were combat troops, including around 1,500 ‘Hiwis’ (Russian
By the fall of 1944, after five years of war,
Germany had exhausted its manpower base while still
being pressed to provide fresh Divisions to the
Their solution was to reduce the manpower size
of their Division structure while beefing up their
firepower to maintain comparable combat strength
levels. This new Division structure model is known
as the ‘Type 44 Division.’
The ‘Old’ German Division model included
three infantry regiments (3,250 men each) having
three battalions in each regiment; with a Division
manpower total of 17,200 men.
The new ‘Type 44’ Division model consist
of three regiments (2,008 men each) organized in
two battalions. This, along with other cut-backs,
cap at a Division strength of 12,352 men. The 352ID
was constituted using the ‘Type 44’ model.
During this initial organizing period, the Division
was ordered to have ready, by January 1st., a special
combat team, on 'stand-by' for possible emergency
deployment in Holland, Belgium and France. This
team consisted of a infantry regiment, an artillery
and an engineer battalion with elements of signal,
supply and divisional staffs. The mobilization
and deployment of this force was possible, by foot
and rail, with 12 hours notice. From the 1st of
May 1944, the same readiness measures were applied
to the entire Division.
By the 1st of March 1944, the 352ID reached adequate
strength and was fully equipped. But, because of
diversions of men and material to the Russian Front,
the slow arrival of new men, ammunition and weapons
during the previous three months, delayed proper
training until now. Company and battery level training
was probably satisfactory, if not judged too harshly,
however battalion and regiment level training did
not take place.
Goals of the 352ID, “Type 44 Division”
| 333 Officers
||50% were without combat experience
| 70 army officials
| 2,164 NCOs
||a 30% shortfall reduced this to about
| 9,650 men
||mostly 17 year-old recruits
||Russian 'Volunteers' in non-combat support roles
Our monthly reports on these training
deficiencies were ignored by the OKW. My impression
was that they were only interested in delivering
'patched-up divisions' as soon as possible, leaving
training problems entirely to a division's command
to solve. This mistake often led to the destruction
of divisions during their first days of combat.
Of the goal of a total of having 12,772 personnel
by May 1st, there was in reality about 12,021 personnel.
Of this, 6,800 were actually combat troops, to
be responsible for defending a 53km long Divisional
Roster of Officers of
|| Lt. Gen. Dietrich Krais
|Chief of Staff (Sonst Ia)
|| Lt. Col. Fritz Ziegalmann
|Operations Officer (1a u)
||Maj. Paul Weller
||Maj. Paul Block
|Gren Reg 914
||Lt. Col (Oberstleutnant) Ernst
|Gren Reg 915
||Lt. Col (Oberstleutnant) Ernst Meyer
|Gren Reg 916
||Col (Oberst) Ernst Goth
||Col (Oberst) Karl-Williams Ocker
||Adj. Capt. (Hauptmann) Kersken
and Detachments Commanders
FusBtl.352 (352nd Mounted Rifle Battalion), CO
.......Rittm. Eitel Gert
PzJgAbt 352 (352nd Anti-Tank
Detachment) ........Capt. Werner Jahn
PzJgAbt 352, Adj.................................
PiBtl.352 (352nd Combat Engineers),
CO.............Capt. Fritz Paul
NachrAbt (Signals), CO...............
Capt. Karle Ehrhardt
NachrAbt., Adj. ...........................Lt.
Deployment to the Coast
“The lengthy La Harve-to-Vire River Coastal
Defensive Zone, which included Omaha, Gold. Juno
and Sword Beaches, was guarded only by the 716th
Infantry Division (716ID). This Division was classified
as a ' Static Division,' which means it was not equipped,
trained nor manned for maneuver and offensive capabilities
required of a normal infantry division.
Consequently, resources were not provided to equipped
or train for modern maneuver-warfare. They were armed
with captured weapons from Poland, France and Czechoslovakia
which compounded the munitions supply logistics.
Additionally, the 716th's ranks were largely filled
out with conscripted Polish nationals (of ethnic
German decent), Germans not physically fit for regular
service, and Russian volunteers (former POWs).”
716ID’s mission was solely to man a thin screen
of forward beach-front post along a 100km long Normandy
coastal. Before Rommel, preparations of coastal defenses
were under no particular panning authority and were
constructed in an ad-hoc manner, largely by Divisions
being rotated through France, for rest-and-recuperation,
before reasignments to other combat fronts in Russia,
Balkans and Italy. -SB
Under the High Command of the west (OKW), relying
on divisions on rest and refitting leave in France
did not provide the fixed long term uninterrupted
oversight needed to construct a comprehensive coastal
“To address his dissatisfied with the efforts
of OKW in preparing the 'Atlantic Wall,' in November
1943 Hitler appointed Field Marshal Erin Rommel as
Inspector-General of the preparations of the coastal
defenses in the west, reporting directly to Hitler
himself and by-passing OKW.
The new ‘Army Group B’ (Armeegruppe
B) was activated under the OKW in January 1944 with
Fieldmarshal Rommel's inspection tour. “
Later in January 1944, Rommel’s command was
given overall control of the 'tactical' preparations
of all costal defenses in the west as ‘Army
group B.’ Though administratively under Rundsted
(OKW Chief) Rommel’s Army Group B was still
under Hitler’s direct command as he was in
his earlier Inspector-General role. -SB
“In early March the 352.ID was ordered to
deploy our 1352nd Artillery Regiment (Artillerieregiment
1352 ) to bolster the existing defenses in front
of Bayeux and to the west. Though the 1352nd Artillery
Regiment (abv. AR.1352) now served tactically under
the command of the 716ID (716th Infantry Division),
its training was still managed by the 352ID.
General Rommel (center) on his inspection tour of the beach defenses in the 84th Army Corps Zone. General Marcks is seen standing
to the left.
Rommel found the 716ID's manpower and facilities
in bad shape and decided to strengthen this 100km
long coastal front by dividing it into two halves.
The 716ID retained a shortened 47km long ‘Caen
Zone’ backed up with 21st Armored Division
(Panzerdivision 21, 21PzD) as reserves under Army
21PzD was under Hitler’s direct command, through
Army Group B, not under 716ID command which was responsible
for the defense of their sector. -SB
"On the left, the 352ID took
over the 53km long 'Bayeux Zone,' taking over and
keeping in place the 716ID's 726th Infantry Regiment
(Grenadierregiment 726, abv. GR726) there."
The Bayeux Zone was broken into three command sectors,
with the GR.726 command keeping contol of the east
sector. As a trade-off for GR.losing some battalions
to other sector commands, the 352ID would have to
give up to the GR.726 command, the 1st Battalion
of its' 916th Infantry Regiment (I/GR.916) which
was then placed just east of Arromanches on the border
of the 716ID's Zone.
The German terms 'Abteilung' and 'Battalion' tend
to be used interchangeably by modern scholars But
'Abteilung' differ from Battalions. Battalion (abv.
Btl) is an 'Section' organic to a regimental command.
Abteilung (abv. Abt) is a battalion size 'detachment'
capable of operating independently, or conventionally
deployed under a regimental command. They can be
deployed and operated effectively under various assigned
commands without Division level supervision.
Though they may look the same on an organization
chart, employing a battalion in the manner of a Ablietung
weakens the Battalion's combat value when placed
under an unfamiliar command. -SB
“Up to now we still believed we would be sent
to the Eastern Front. But finally on the 15th of
March 1944, the 352ID was ordered by the Headquarters
of the 84th Army Corps (LXXXIV.Armeekorp, LXXXIV.AK),
to take over the 'Bayeux Coastal Defense Zone' (Calvados
Coast) from the 716ID The previous orders to keep
an emergency combat team on standby and to continue
unit training, remained in effect.”
Two weeks before D-Day, Allied Intelligence officially
confirmed that the 352.ID had moved up to reinforce
the Omaha Beach areas. According to __??__, this
move was formally published on June 3rd in the 21st
Army group weekly Neptune Intelligence Review and
circulated to all senior American Cammanders. -SB
“The 352ID” now
had three duties:
1. First, to defend the Bayeux Coastal Zone.
2. Second, make improvements in the combat area.
3. And third, train combat units for battle.
These duties were quite agreeable to an untested
Division that thought it would end up on the Eastern
Front were it is not so easy.
As to our preparations for the Defense of the Bayeux
Coastal Zone, we assumed control of 716ID’s
existing ‘Reinforced’ GR726 forces in
the Bayreux sector, excluding its 2nd Battalion (II/GR.726).
The term ‘Reinforced’ means that additional
heavy weapons have been added to the standard regiment
The 716ID’s three formerly designated 'Battalion
Command-Sectors' now became our three ‘Regimental
The staffs of the 352ID's 914th and 915th Regiments
(GR.914, and GR.915) took command of the 'left' and
the 'center' Battalion (now Regimental) Sectors respectively.
The right Sector remained under control of the GR726
HQ staff which now reported to the 352ID's command,
not it's parent Division 716ID. GR.726 's beach front
battalions (III/GR.726 and I/GR.726) in the new Left
(GR.914) and Center (GR.916) Regimental Command Sectors,
were kept in their existing positions but now came
under the appropriate 352ID Regimental command.
Evidently II/GR.726 (now under GR.916 CP control)
phone lines at the Omaha Beach positions remained
connected to GR.726's CP (now the 'right' Regimental
Command Sector) near Bayreux, and then had to be
routed back to the GR.916 CP Post (Center Regimental
Command sector) behind Omaha beach alongside the
rad from Forigny to Tevieres. -SB
Col. Ernst Goth
Originally, the GR916 (Col. Ernst
Goth) itself, along with the 352nd Rifle Battalion,
(Fuesilierabteilung 352, abv. FusAbt.352) was assigned
under the direct command of Gen. Marcks, Commanding
General of the 84th Army Corps. But on May 20th ,
the 915th Regiment (GR.915) exchanged roles with
GR916 and, along with the 352nd Rifle Battalion.
GR915 was now the new 84th Army Corps’ Reserves.
The GR.915, reinforced with the FusAbt.352 becomes
refered to as 'Reinforced GR.915.' It will eventually
be employed on an independent mission on June 6th
1944 and be referred to as ‘Task-Force Meyer,’ named
after its commander Lt. Col Ernst Meyer. -SB
The GR916 command now had the Center Regimental
Sector but had relinquished its' 1st Battalion (abv.
I/GR916) to the right GR726's Sector, to serve as
reserves under GR726's command.”
“The plan for our preparations
resulted from this exacting terrain study, influenced
by the previous Allied landings in Sicily and Italy
as well as General Marcks’ detailed map war
game exercises and conferences.
German Deployment Plans
On the basis of these detailed, persuasive discussions
and table-top war game exercises conducted by Gen.
Marcks, I too agreed with his opinion that the Invasion,
at least a part of the invasion, would be targeted
against the Cotentin peninsula; from which a breakout
to the east and south would follow with the ultimate
goal then to thrust at the chief communications hub
Major General Marcks, Commander of the 84th Army
Corps, including the 352ID, lost a leg in the invasion
of Russian earlier and was killed June 12th in the
St Lo area as his artificial leg slowed his escape
from a staff car being attacked by fighter aircraft.
After a study of the analyses of the landings on
Sicily and in Italy proper, it was clear to me, that
as soon as possible upon landing, the enemy would
attempt to capture ideal harbors such as the large
harbor of Cherbourg and the harbors near Caen and
Afterwards they would develop larger bridgeheads
with the necessary elements (build-up of reserves
and breakout) that assured continued success of the
Invasion. Consequently the large harbor of Cherbourg,
because of its favorable short distances to the south
coast of England, had the greatest importance.
At these conferences General Marcks developed a
scenario were the Allies would aim at taking Cherburg
harbor by first cutting off the Carentan Peninsula
through a massive airborne landings at the base of
the peninsula along the Lessay to Carentan line.
So, the deployment of our forces
was guided by the high probability that the enemy
will seek the spacious Cherbourg harbor, by first
cutting off the Cotentan peninsula. After strengthening
his bridgehead with additional forces, he would then
break-out to the south and south-east (through the
352ID's left wing) and push on to Paris.
Therefore the focus in the 352ID’s sector
was to both reinforce the left wing from the mouth
of the river Vire to the south-east of the Cotentin
peninsula with GR.914 and to use the 2nd Battalion
from GR.916 (II/GR.916) as a Division reserve to
strengthen the areas around St. Laurent (Omaha Beach)
and send its 1st Battalion (I/GR.916) to Arromanches
(what would become the Gold Beach area). These areas
had beaches most likely threatened by enemy landings
The 84th Army Corps Reserve (Reinforced GR.915)
was kept in readiness on the Division's right-wing,
south of Bayeux, to deal with a possible withdrawal
of the 21st Panzer Division, situated as counter-attack
reserves just to the east. There was some concern
by Gen. Marcks that the 21st Panzer Division would
be pulled out by the High Command leaving the right
wing leaving him without reserve forces to back up
the 716ID Zone.
The 84th Army Corps (AKLXXXIV) had no forces of
its own which was the normal custom, to be available
as reserves. The lack of Corps reserve manpower-strapped
84th Army Corps and forced Gen. Marks to appropriate
352ID battalions. This not only reduced 352ID ability
to perform its own mission (defense of the 352ID
Zone) but assignment of battalions out side their
home regiment, affected their ability to coordinate
operations with their new regimental commands.
The deployment of I/GR916 under GR.726 and the deployment
of I/GR915 under GR.916 are examples of Corps level
intervention and micro-management of Divison level
“Eventually It became clear to us that the
invasion was liable to happen by summer and directly
involve our zone. This was supported by press reports
about Russia's call for decisive intervention by
the Western Powers, by a new stricter censorship
in England and the curbing of diplomatic privileges,
by the presence (according to the Army newspaper
Wehrmacht) of enemy landing crafts gathering on the
south coast of England and by the cancellation, from
March-on, of all furloughs for every commanding and
general staff officers. The way the High Command
(OKW) carefully monitored the tides also suggested
that they expected an invasion soon.
Then, there started a very lively enemy carrier
pigeon traffic in all sectors of the 352ID from 20th
of March to the 20th of May 1944. 27 carrier pigeons
A French resistance cell in Cricqueville behind
Point du Hoc, operated the carrier pigeon operation.
“However, it then seemed that my Division
Commander was lead to expect the invasion in early
August from a conversation with Rommel whom he personally
knew. Rommel was on leave by June 6th, having left
for his home in Germany early Sunday on June 4th.”
Originally Rommel confided that the invasion could
occur as early as late-May and he remarked to the
assembled garrison at strong point Wn.62 that “this
section of the coast resembles the Bay of Salerno
in Italy and there fore we should be on special guard
against hostile landings!” Allied troops landed
in the Bay of Salerno in September 1943. -SB
"The employment of reserves was Fieldmarshal
Rommel's specialty. He believed with all heavy weapons
(the Division's field strength) incorporated into
existing beach strong-points or added to new fortifications,
the enemy could be destroyed in the water in front
of our 'Main Line of Resistance' (MLR).
Lt. Gen Dietrich Kraiss, Commander of the 352nd Infantry Division. He was killed during the final bombings of St. Lo which also shattered the 352nd.
On Rommel's visit in May, I was reproached for not
bringing reserves (rifle companies without heavy
weapons) up close to the coast. In response, I questioned
Rommel on how enemy infiltration in the rear of our
zone could be countered with-out reserves well behind
the lines. This question remained unanswered. I clearly
felt that with an attack on our beach positions the
whole area would be under heavy naval fire and air
attacks, making any counter-attack by assault-reserves
impossible during the daylight. He did not respond
but he did feel that every soldier had to be able
to concentrate his fire on the water's edge.
Gen, Kraiss, my Division’s
chief, agreed with me but he also felt we must find
a compromise solution. Therefore, some reserves (rifle
companies) were ordered nearer to the ‘MLR’ (Main-Line-of-
Resistance, the line of beach-front ‘Resistance
Nest’), so that they could fire directly onto
the shore. Yet a counterattack would still be possible
by having the remaining reserve held back in depth.
Though tactical reserves were moved up strategic
reserves, including relocation of supply depots closer
to front, where held back. Anyway, it was necessary
to conduct an exact terrain reconnaissance and do
more emplacement work.
To deal with the threat of a cross channel operation,
Germany lacked a maritime-operations doctrine. So
they drew upon two land-operations doctrine to define
The First held that widely separated forward strong-points
(a false MLR) would screen a main mobile force hidden
in reserve (real MLR) ready to counter-attack the
enemy's newly exposed flacks as the enemy turn to
envelope these forward post. A successful tactic
on the eastern front.
The Second, was the River-Crossing doctrine, where
all forces are massed on the river bank to annihilate
a crossing before a bridgehead is established.
Rommel felt the second doctrine best fit the channel
crossing scenario. This is because, once established,
a bridgehead can not be out-flanked and could hold
off attacks up to five times their strength during
its 'build-up' phase. This would allow a build up
of Allied forces and eventual breakout with overwhelming
From his experience in Africa, Rommel was also one
of the few German Generals to fully grasp the threat
of massive Allied ground-attack aircraft to interdict
any German counter attacks, movement of reserve forces,
and re-supply units and thus deny the ability of
German forces to develop decisive local superiority
and employ the First doctrine. -SB
The types of combat positions organized within the
Division's sector were Widerstandsnester (Resistance
Nest) manned by one or two squads of roughly 20 men,
Stutzpunkt (Strong-points), a grouping of several
mutually supporting Resistance Nest manned by a platoon
to company, and Verteidigungsbereich (Defense Complex)
manned by one to two companies.
Hitler gave orders to “hold
each position to the last man and last bullet.” Abandoning
a defense position during battle was now impossible.
For instance, could a strong-point crew leave
their fortification to help a neighbor?
By this order. Hitler denied German forces their
one strength, that of their superior mobile warfare
“Would an artillery battery under bombardment
be allowed to take up a new firing position?
The High Command (OKW) could not resolve this issue.
But a novel solution was provided by Rommel declaring
the whole military region, including the Division's
zone, as a single Festung Kreis (a military base)
with a sea-front facing the beach and a parallel
l0-15 km deep land-front facing south to the rear.
The entire Division along with supply troops could
to be stationed in this 100km long ‘Position.’ Besides
dealing with logistics, the supply troops would defend
the land-front against enemy airborne troops.
As it turned out though, this did not work because
the army supply depots were too far to the south,
out side the designated 'Fortress Area.' Considering
that the 352ID (except for the fixed facilities)
had only one-issue of ammunition, because of their
'special' (construction and training) duties, both
rear defense and logistic support by supply troops
could only be described as insufficient throughout
the ensuing campaign.
To capture bailed-out enemy air crews and deal with
any local unrest, ‘search patrols’ on
bicycles or motorcycles were organized within each
regimental sector. Through their efforts, a small
number of air crews would be delivered to the Air
Force interrogation services in Caen.
Preparing the Bayreux Coastal Defense Zone
Before March 20th 1944, improvements in the Bayeux
Coastal Defense Zone was considered 'below average.'
But with the arrival of Fieldmarshal Rommel, activity picked up in our zone, providing work to many 'local
administration offices.' Despite hasty orders and
a lack of experience and material during this period,
improvements were actually made which later made
the invasion more difficult.
The installation of obstacles along the shore area
(coastline cliff and beach areas) depended first
on barricading those beaches which were most in danger
of enemy sea-borne landings
Assuming these landings would only take place at
high tide, obstacles of all kind were erected on
the tidal plate of the beach so that their upper
parts projected just above the water surface at high
tide. Pile driven stakes of metal and concrete as
well as wooden trestles, and steel anti-tank obstacles
called “Tschechen” (“Czechs”)
were installed; some armed with under-water or surface
mines and high explosives.
They were iron anti-tank obstacles
set up on the Czechoslovakian-German border before
After awhile the work had to be done over. These
obstacles silted up and had to be dug out of the
sand. And during the storms in April, most of these
obstacles were torn out and the mines detonated.
Even though cutting new logs in the Cerisy Forest
was allowed only after permission had been secured,
they had to be transported at least 30km by horse-drawn
vehicles because of fuel shortages. And since they
had to be logged by hard-to-get circular saws and
rammed in position by hand, it took a considerable
time, particularly on the rocky shore at Grandcamp.
Yet our results were surprisingly good.
In the second half of May, the possibility of a
landings at low tide was discussed. So work on additional
obstacles out beyond the tidal flats was begun but
it was impossible to plant these obstacles at a proper
We also assumed properly equipped enemy commandos
could scale the steep cliffs around St. Pierre du
Mont (area of Pointe du Hoc) and at Longues.
Here, the Engineer Battalion (Pionierabtielung)
prepared old 24cm shells, with an effective shrapnel
range of 600m, to roll down on the beach and explode
when triggered by a trip wire. By June 1st, we had
placed one of these shells every 100m on the cliffs.
In his refernce to 'Combat Engineers' above, it is
safe to assume that Ziegalmann referred to the 352nd
Combat Engineers (Pionerabtielung 352, abv. PiAbt.352).
A final innovation was the employment of 'Goliat'
(Goliath), a small remote controlled tank packed
with explosives, but these weapons arrived on June
5th and were not used.
It became evident that Rommel's authority was not
enough to complete the construction of concrete fortifications.
The availability of cement and dealing with four
independent construction authorities were decisive
issues. Air force workers, Navy, Organization Todt
(the prime construction contractor), personnel and
our own 'Fortress Engineers' worked side by side,
often duplicating the work. Once again over-organization
proved to be a menace.
Almost half of the battle installations were out-moded
and, at most, poorly reinforcement. In the Division's
sector alone, analysis showed that only 15% of the
cement fortifications were bomb-resistant, 45% were
shrapnel-proof. Uneven distribution of building material
was the order of the day.
In our sector the Air Force built concrete positions
while our infantry with their heavy weapons were
in poor earth emplacements prone to flooding. On
June 6th , the Air Force's concrete shelters were
never used, while with earth emplacements it was
impossible for our soldiers to defend them for long.
The existing mines, laid two years previously, were
no longer reliable. To realize the Fieldmarshal's
plans, an installation of a mine belt 5km deep consisting
of 10,000,000 (150 mines every 100m) would had been
needed for the Division's 53km wide zone. The new
allotment of mines (effective against tanks) simply
did not arrive. By June 1st we laid about 10,000
anti-personnel ‘S’ mines. In general,
we did not achieve Rommel’s plans for even
one divisional zone of the ‘Atlantic Wall.’”
In May 1944, under the pressure of OKW, Army High
Command (OKH) in Berlin convinced Hitler to restrict
Rommel’s power, restoring tactical control
back to Rundsted’s OKW. -SB
(C) 2002, by Stewart Bryant , All Rights Reserved; Omaha-Beach.org