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Invasion: They're Coming by Paul Carell
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Invasion: They're Coming (1960)

by Paul Carell

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English (5)  French (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Doubly historical: as a history of the Normandy invasion and also as a historical comment (the book was published in 1960) on the rehabilitation of Germany during the Cold War. Author Paul Carrell needed a little rehabilitation himself, as he was an Obersturmbannführer. in the Allgemeine SS, It’s interesting enough as an account of things from the German side – you get exactly the same slice of life stories that you would in, say, The Longest Day, except instead of being from Yorkshire and Ontario and Oklahoma and Wales and California and Manitoba and Sussex and Georgia, the boys are from Westphalia and Saxony and Bavaria and, well, Georgia (the Georgians in the Wehrmacht didn’t do that well; one German general commented “We really couldn’t expect Russians to fight Americans in France for Germany.”)


As an account of the Normandy campaign, it is pretty good; in particular, it has better coverage of the Battle of Mortain and the Battle of the Falaise Pocket than anything I’ve read from the Anglo-American- Canadian side. (Hmmm. Keagan’s Six Armies in Normandy might be as good for the Falaise Pocket). Carrell, of course, blames everything on the materiel superiority on the Allied side; instead of using tactical skill the Americans simply obliterated anything in their path with high explosive. Well, we could.


In rehabilitation mode, Carrell is always ready to point out that this or that German soldier is now (i.e., 1960) an officer in the Bundeswehr or an official in some European organization or another. This also might explain Carrell’s admiration for Montgomery – emphasizing Germany’s new relationship with England. The only American general Carrell has any sort of praise for is Patton; Bradley is “too cautious” and Eisenhower gets acknowledged but neither praised nor criticized.


There are a couple of trivia items; I was surprised to find that tank commanders in the Wehrmacht were often corporals; I believe a tank commander in the Allied armies would be at least a sergeant or lieutenant. German defensive positions in Normandy often had what Carrell describes as “remote control mortars”; I’ve never heard of these anywhere else and can’t quite imagine how they would work. My best guess is something like a long distance minefield; perhaps the mortars were zeroed on a particular patch of terrain and could be discharged when something entered it? In any rate, there’s no account of the things actually being used in action; they were always disabled by shelling or bombing before they could be employed. The Germans were heavy users of captured ordnance; French R35 and H35 tanks were dug in as pillboxes and several artillery units are described as being equipped with “122mm guns”, which I assume came from the Russians.


Accounts like this always bring up the question of whether acknowledging that some WWII Germans were brave and honorable is somehow a validation of Nazi Germany. I suppose anybody who’s reasonable about it will accept that, and anybody who isn’t reasonable is by definition beyond argument anyway. It’s still a little creepy, though; kind of like playing the German side in a WWII wargame and winning. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 12, 2017 |
This is a journalistic and colourful account of the campaign in Normandy up to the battles around Falaise in 19th August in 1944. Now, he calls it a breakout, as many German soldiers escaped with small arms by leaving their tanks, etc..behind. the English speaking writers call it a massacre. Be prepared for several such changes in terminology. But if the reader is interested in the ideas from "the other side of the hill" this is a valuable book. Carell did similar books on the invasion of the USSR, and North Africa. Good stuff well served by the translator. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 11, 2016 |
Excellent account of D-Day from the German's perspective. I gained much insight into the actual happenings and myths regarding D-Day. Many small details I would never have considered without reading the book. Must read by historians and period collectors. ( )
  Taurus454 | Dec 17, 2010 |
This book was translated from the German and the syntax shows it. It was also biased toward the Germans which, I suppose, is natural. It was somewhat troubling however as the book ignores anything beyond the strictly military.

The author blames the German defeat on Air superiority, Naval superiority, Economic superiority and the mistakes of the German General Staff and Adolf Hitler. No credit is given to Allied ground forces. In fact, their general incompetence is highlighted. If you are interested in the history of World War II then read the book but don't expect to agree with the point of view.
  xenchu | May 1, 2010 |
1108 Invasion--They're Coming! by Paul Carrell translated from the German by E. Osera (read 26 Mar 1971) I have no post-reading note on this book, but it is an account written from the German perspective of the time before and during the Normandy invasion. As I recall, I was not much taken by the book, maybe because it was 'for' the bad guys. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 24, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
Paul Carell has to be taken fairly carefully, when he states that not one Luftwaffe fighter arrived to back up the operation Lüttich Panzer Divisions and goes on to emphasise the fact that not a single one got there, he is wrong. At least two Me 110 g4's were shot down there that night, one was piloted by the minor ace Helmut Bergmann. He and his crew were later identified and finally buried Marigny German Military Cemetery - block 3 Row 31 grave 1182. When Carell says that an enemy fighter bomber was shot down and landed on the lead 1st SS Panzer Division tank, thus blocking the entire division for some hours Paul Carell/ Karell/ Paul Karl Schmidt (ex chief Press spokesman for von Ribbentrop) may well be correct. However, he is certainly inaccurate in other ways and I've yet to have it absolutely confirmed that it wasn't Helmut Bergmann that the SS shot down and who crashed onto the lead SS tank. Given the positions, weather and time, that also seems to be a strong possibility (no more than that). If that was so, it would certainly be something the SS would have wanted to cover-up.
added by Paris7 | editHelmut Bergmann's official Luftwaffe papers, Nimmo Stuart
 
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author's real name is Paul Karl Schmidt; he used the pseudonyms Paul Carell and Paul Karell
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0887407161, Hardcover)

On the 50th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy: a revised and updated edition of Paul Carell's great classic. June 6, 1944 - D-Day. The day when, after years of preparation, Germany's opponents in the west - the USA and England - began the second front, long demanded by Stalin to take pressure off the Red Army. What really happened on that day? Why was the German command reluctant to believe in an invasion at this hour and on this coastal sector? Where was the German counterattack? Why were the panzer divisions, which were ready for action, not allowed to strike? What was going on with the Luftwaffe? Carell answers these questions convincingly, factually and in his typically gripping style. Furthermore, in this new revised and expanded edition he has taken into account the most recent results of historical research, especially the successful allied deception effort achieved by agents, phoney radio transmissions and sophisticated disinformation operations, details of which have only recently been revealed, and which led to fateful false estimations by Hitler and the German generals. Paul Carell is also the author of the highly successful Foxes of the Desert; Hitler Moves East; Scorched Earth; Operation Barbarossa in Photography; and Stalingrad: the Defeat of the German 6th Army. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:34 -0400)

From the human hell of D-Day to the fall of Paris--the German account of the battle for France.

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