Anthony Beevor wrote the bestseller Stalingrad in 1998. Now he comes up with D-Day: The Battle for Normandy. His book brings out many interesting, hitherto little known facets of that part of the Second World War.
Courage of the German soldiers: They fought well. The allies had 5000 landing ships and assault craft, 6 battleships, 23 cruisers, 104 destroyers, 152 escort vessels, 277 minesweepers that cleared the waters of mines. Despite all this the German soldiers fought well and earned the bitter admiration of the allied soldiers.Major general Barton had to urge his men, "we have got to fight for our country just as hard as the Germans are fighting for theirs." He also talked of the overwhelming superiority in number of arms and fighting men. "We outnumber them 50 to
1 in artillery, 10 to 1 in infantry and infinite number in the air."
Military analyst Sir Basil Liddell Hart opined that the allied soldiers were not willing to make sacrifices. The Germans were, in contrast, very well motivated.
Allied disregard for property and lives of French civilians. The American and British soldiers used to blast everything to smithereens before they came into the scene so as to avoid casualties. 70,000 french civilians died in Allied action in the war.
French Resistance: General George Patton said their contribution was "better than expected and less than advertised". Beevor says they did much. They loaded ammunition, cleared snipers,secured bridges, provided intelligence and generally hurt the Germans.
French mobs in liberated towns behaved badly. in epuration sauvage, 14,000 alleged collaborators were killed. Specially targeted were women whose heads were shaven, faces tarred black and they were stripped half naked and paraded in the streets.
This was done by Frenchmen who had partied and made merry during the occupation and turned patriotic suddenly as the Allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches.
Source: The Economist