When Hitler appointed Erwin Rommel to study the coastal
defences of occupied Europe, and ultimately to command Army
Group B in the west, he handed his Field Marshal a knotty
Just like everyone else Rommel had no knowledge of where
an Allied invasion might come, or when come to that, but
the more he studied the matter the more he began to see
that Normandy was a serious possibility.
Thinking on the grand scale Rommel was particularly concerned
about the risk to Germany of fighting on two major fronts.
Discounting the Italian front as no great threat for the
present he saw that a successful Allied landing in France,
while Germany was fighting for its life against the Russians
in the east, could prove fatal.
Rommel's intention, therefore, was to create a situation
where all German forces in France would be immediately available
to push the invaders back into the sea. He was also fearful,
knowing the strength of Allied air-power, of the risk if
units had to be moved any distance by road or rail to the
Unfortunately, despite his experience and reputation Rommel
was unable to convince his colleagues, in particular Generals
von Runstedt, Heinz Guderian and Geyr von Schweppenburg.
They argued for a concentration of divisions close to Paris
but within easy reach if the coast. They played down the
threat from the air.
Tank Museum photo No. 2383/D/3
History shows us that Rommel was probably correct, although
whether it would have made any difference in the long run