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D-Day and the invasion that never was.

Discussion in 'The War In Normandy' started by brianw, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    As more and more “secrets” about the D-Day invasion on the Normandy beaches come to light, there have been questions about what the German high command were seeing, knew and thought they knew.

    There were a number of mis-information campaigns running prior to D-Day, some of which are recounted on this forum.

    One such operation was the “invasion” on the night of 5/6th June targeted at an area well north of the actual landing beaches and towards the Pas-de-Calais. It was carried out by 617 Squadron at low level and with extreme precision in flying speed and navigation and using an innovative design by Joan Curran (nee Srothers), a Swansea girl who while working at the Telecommunications Research Establishment at Swanage developed a system of thin aluminium foil strips for disrupting radar which became known as “Window”; these days it’s known as “chaffe”.

    The “invasion” required a small number of Lancasters flying forward for a set distance (timed by stopwatch), dropping bundles of “Window”, turning 180 degrees at a set rate and backtracking for another timed leg before turning again to repeat the whole procedure.

    The idea was that the Germans would see a radar plot of a large slow moving radar response or target heading across the Dover Straits and towards the Pas-de-Calais.

    The timings of all the turns by the aircraft, their tracks, the horizontal spacing between them and all the other actions including being relieved by other aircraft from the squadron had been carefully calculated to give the German radar operators the impression of a large naval assault force heading their way.

    The success of the “phantom invasion” became apparent when after watching the approach of this invasion force on their radar screens all night, dawn broke, they looked out over the straits and there it was … gone!

    By the time they realised that they’d been had and the real invasion was happening in Normandy, it was too late.
     
    Kai-Petri and James Stewart like this.
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Great post Brian, i once had a driving job that had me on the road for many a day, i had a story book on CD called Nazi Occupation of Britain, obviously fiction of the Germans occupying Britain ... This post reminds me of this CD ... :thumb:
     
  3. bastonge2_101stairborne_

    bastonge2_101stairborne_ New Member

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    Very interesting

    I thought it was very interesting good job I didn't have a clue it began as early as Dunkirk!
     
  4. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Deception at its best.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    BTW, is there any info whether Rommel was informed of this? Just curious. The Germans seemed to have been certain the weather made invasion impossible and even Ike was unsure if they shoukd go??
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The Allies had a significant advantage in that weather patterns usually moved west-to-east, so they had far better information on developing systems. The Germans tried to set up weather stations in Greenland or to maintain weather ships on remote stations in mid-ocean, and U-boats were also tasked with weather reporting at time, but the Allies shut down most of their efforts (the US Coast Guard was involved in several actions against German weather ships and stations). So the Germans knew there would be bad weather those first days of June, but they did not get the critical bit of information that it would slack off a bit on June, just enough to make the landing possible.

    It was still a risky decision, which Eisenhower was fully conscious of as he wrestled with it. D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5 and was postponed - rightly, that day was horrible - but in the midst of the nasty weather, he made the decision to go on the 6th.

    Just as well, not only was the landing successful, but the next suitable landing time was around June 19, when an even worse storm hit the beaches; this was the one that wrecked the American Mulberry harbor.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Without the one Mulberry harbor was there any b-plan to bring forces and supplies enough to keep the troops moving inland?
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The b-plan was simply to use the other facilities and methods available: the British Mulberry, the Gooseberries at each of the landing beaches, and unloading over the beach from LSTs and the like, which proved more productive than anticipated. Except for the few days of the June storm, there was no shortage of supplies in the beachhead. The main supply problem came after the breakout, trying to keep up with the rapidly advancing armies.
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..a ''old' but great book on Greenland with a bit about the Germans is War Below Zero: The Battle for Greenland
    ..not that big, but authored first hand account
    ...also, Frozen In Time is a great book about survival, etc in Greenland WW2
    ..both talk about the Germans trying to set up weather stations
    ...the ''out of the way'' places in WW2
     

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