Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Private letter from Montgomery describing events during the landing on D-Day

Hello all,
I had the pleasure of visited a small war museum (Skagen Bunkermuseum) recently and while I was looking at their WWII memorabilia, I found a very interesting original letter from General Montgomery to Generalmajor Frank Simpson. According to the description Simpson was at army HQ, and Montgomery was writing from his tactical HQ, describing the events of the landing.

There are quite a few fascinating tidbits in the letter that I, at least, had never heard of before, and I thought there might be quite a few readers who are also interested in this aspect of the Second World War and D-Day in particular.

Just the opening statement is fascinating: "There is no doubt that the Germans were surprised, and we got on shore before they had recovered. The speed, power, and violence of the assault carried all before it." Excellent stuff!

I've uploaded some high quality pictures which should allow you to read the letter itself, but these are the things that fascinated me the most:

* The most feared enemies were female German snipers, suggested to be the wives of the German soldiers.  They apparently were primarily targeting officers. Four of these women were killed by Canadian troops.
* They took several hostages (ca. 6000), including Japanese and Russians. Wonder who they were and what they were doing there..
* This statement: "The Germans are fighting well; Russians, Poles, Japanese, and Turks, run away; and if unable to do so, surrender." gives a lot of information on morale etc.
* the First US Army apparently had "a sticky party at Omaha and its progress at Utah has not been rapid." There is a lot of casualties behind that sentence.


If you have any extra information on these points, I would love to hear from you.

Private letter from Montgomery describing events during the landing on D-Day

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Private letter from Montgomery describing events during the landing on D-Day


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All the best,
Kasper

3 comments:

  1. That's a fantastic find and thanks for sharing. Its always good to read source material that is contemporary with the events, not written months or years later. There's a freshness and frankness to these letters that is often missing in Montgomery's later accounts of the day.

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  2. The Japanese was probably the Korean Yang Kyoungjong who served in the Imperial Japanese Army, was taken prisoner by the Russians then pressed into the Red Army then captured by the Germans and pressed into the Osttruppen.

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  3. Hello Lee and Pat,
    Really glad you liked the letter. I was quite amazed that it was just hanging on a board with almost no explanation - the tone and content makes it an interesting read.
    @ Pat, I think you are absolutely correct in your identification. I looked up mr. Yang, and golly he had an 'interesting' career. If anyone is interested there is a recent Korean movie based on his life (havn't watched, but would love to) called My Way (or Mai Wei). Fascinating stuff.
    All the best,
    Kasper

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