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Along the Atlantic Wall Home
 Rommel's Last Battle
Introduction
The Truth Revealed
Rommel's Efforts
The Attack
Conclusion
 Reference
Author's Notes
Selected Bibliography
Footnotes

 Along the Atlantic Wall: Rommel's Last Battle

Along the Atlantic Wall: Rommel's Last Battle
by Jeremy Gypton

Introduction
During the small hours of 6 June 1944, three Allied Airborne divisions, two American and one British, dropped behind German coastal defenses across the Normandy region of Northwest France. The main thrust of the invasion, codenamed Overlord, would begin just after dawn with massive landings on five separate beaches, thousands of air sorties, and the support of naval artillery. More than 8 divisions and other attached units, comprised of over 150,000 men(1),..
 
The Truth Revealed
The Desert Fox, soon after beginning his tour, began to see past the façade of the Atlantic Wall, and recognized the need for sweeping changes. German troops had mostly been concerned with occupying France, and less so with preparing and training for fighting off an invasion. The true makeup of Wehrmacht forces defies the stereotype of the efficient, well-equipped army of Nordic supermen so often perpetuated in film and novels...

Rommel's Efforts
Upon taking his new post and setting up his headquarters in France, Rommel set to work attempting to implement the changes he saw as essential. Von Rundstedt’s desire to prepare for a decisive inland battle, coupled with Hitler’s demands for heavy fortifications at certain points along the coast had resulted in a disjointed series of efforts...

The Attack
The airborne drops and glider assaults were first, and the American drops were nowhere near as organized as hoped. Having flown a difficult course from England, once German flak gunners opened fire on the C-47’s the formations broke apart and troops were scattered over a huge area, mostly far off from their designated drop zones, and often times mixed with other units...

Conclusion
All in all the landings and the airborne drops that preceded them were successful, if unexpectedly challenging in some places and easier in others. “The overall result…was that the Allies had breached Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’ and won themselves a foothold on…Europe.”(41) Rommel’s fears of an Allied thrust through too-thin coastal defenses seemed to have come true. With some defenders along the coasts already overrun on D-Day, and others holding on until their ammunition ran out, the first line of defense – the beach – was compromised...

  Along the Atlantic Wall: Rommel's Last Battle by: Jeremy Gypton
Copyright © 2002 Jeremy Gypton
 

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