D-Day Preparations…

by Dorothea

On May 17, 1944, Rommel and Eisenhower are pursuing their own agenda’s:

Rommel is on his last inspection tour of the Normandy Coast and General Eisenhower sets the ultra secret original date for D-Day: June 5.

Rommel2Field Marshall Rommel surrounded by his generals on the steps of Chateau Bernaville in Normandy – May 17, 1944

On the 17th of May, 1944, Rommel visited General Falley at the Chateau de Bernaville close to the future “Utah Beach” landing site, to review the defenses of Normandy in general and the Peninsula in particular. It must have been a cloudy, cold, overcast day, as Rommel (above) is shown with Falley on the steps in full overcoat. Many of the staff wore gloves and heavy dress uniforms.

That same day, in England, General Eisenhower decides on the date for D-day: June 5!

EisenhowerDwight Eisenhower reviewing troops just 2 days earlier in England – May 15, 1944

Rommel did a very thorough tour of the coast and its defenses, adding a lot of last minute improvements to stop or at least slow down a beach landing:

Erwin Rommel inspecting the defenses in Normandy, 1944Rommel inspecting the German defences on the Normandy Coast – May 1944

Chateau de Bernaville rests in the memories of those who fought and died there. It could have been the nerve center for the entire German defense. It could have been the chief cause of the destruction of the 82d and 101st Airborne divisions. It could have been the reason that the invasion of Utah Beach was a failure. More about what happened here on June 6, 1944 in a later post…

Bville copyChateau de Bernaville in Normandy today