Thank you for your interesting email and SS Female Guard Link – which I will study with interest.
I have read two books by German author – Holger Eckhertz – who was a propaganda expert in Nazi Germany, but committed no crimes. Ten years after the War, he used his influence to interview German Veterans of D-Day so that they could give their side of the experience. As they knew of his work in the regime (he had visited the defences in Normandy just prior to the Allied-Landings). Indeed, all the Veterans he interviews he had met before in 1944. He understands now what Nazism was – which he did not know at the time. Most Germans viewed themselves as ‘saviours’ of Europe from the Jews and the Bolsheviks – and could not comprehend why the UK opposed this mission! As Hitler needed able-bodied and fully fit men for the Eastern Front – the young and the over 40s were placed in Normandy as ‘Static Infantry’ tasked with defending concrete bunkers to the last and never to retreat. Although well-armed – many of these men had been badly wounded on the Eastern Front (and elsewhere) and suffered from disabilities. Many had one-eye, one-arm, and one-leg, etc, and could not run or even walk properly to get out of trouble. The mentally deficient were also place in these frontline units as they lacked the ability to cope in ordinary military-life. One cognitively disabled German soldier was placed in the care of a relatively cogent soldier – sometimes manning a machine gun together.
This is a really cruel tactic employed by the Nazi German regime. It is cruel because these second and third-rate men were pitched against the best and most fired-up men the Allies could send against them – because the Allies quite rightly prepared to meet Hitler’s best troops – but Hitler did not have many left by the time the D-Day Landing occurred in June, 1944.The brutal SS Divisions were kept in the second and third lines of defence and they waited for the ‘sting’ of the Allied attack being absorbed before they moved to contact the invaders. In other words, Hitler ‘sacrificed’ those men in the front-line who probably wouldn’t even get into the British Home Guard on compassionate grounds! My grandfather – Alfred Wyles (Ox & Bucks Light Infantry) – was landed by Glider in Caen around 1am – on the morning of D-Day just behind these concrete Nazi German defences – and the German Veterans mention these landings and the brutal fighting between themselves and the incoming Airborne British soldiers! Although I applied for my grandfather’s War Record from the MOD – the MOD still insists on ‘redacting’ the records of our War Veterans for reasons I cannot comprehend considering the time that has passed. However, the German Veterans explain that the British Paratroops and Glidertroops were landed ‘behind’ the German frontline defences and attack these defences from the rear! I never understood this until I read these books!
The Germans described the British troops as young, fit and incredibly highly motivated to achieve their missions! Our troops closed with these bunkers despite the heavy fire coming from them – and the Germans were taken with their bravery – particularly as the British troops carried-out ‘bayonet charges’ to cover the final distances – and were merciless until the Officers and NCOs ordered them to stop – where they ‘stopped’ immediately. Many wounded German soldiers survived because they encountered the British and not the Americans or the Canadians! The Americans suffered terribly on the beaches – losing thousands to machine-gun fire – and as a consequence – they were not prone to granting mercy. The Canadians were very good as well. Often calm, disciplined and efficient. These stories are ad because war is terrible – but sometimes wars have to be fought. These German Veterans provide me with details of what my grandfather was trained to do – and what he went through. He was an anti-tank expert – but his Platoon made an early contact with a SS Division and was eventually wiped-out. He had to run for his life and avoid certain French people who were then killing British soldiers for the Germans! This really happened but is forgotten today! Anyway, following the D-Day Landings – he joined-up with incoming Gordon Highlanders.