May 1, 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,


  1. It says "russian, poles, japanes and turks" not "tanks"

  2. Anon, you are absolutely right. Must have had a derp moment there.

  3. I don't have concrete information on the 'Japanese and Russians' mentioned in Monty's letter but they were almost certainly Hiwis ( - prisoners who volunteered in the German army. Essentially to avoid almost certain death. The same would go for the 'Poles' and 'Turks'. I doubt that nationality distinctions were Montgomery's strong point.

    The 'Japanese' were probably simply Russians from the far-east of the country. Though some ago I did read about some Koreans captured by the Americans on D-Day. The Koreans had been drafted by the Japanese (occupying Korea at the time) then captured in turn by the Russians and Germans before ending up in Normandy to be captured by American soldiers.


  4. Hi Mike,
    Very interesting information. I think you are correct in regards to the 'Japanese' troops - 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.
    Thanks for stopping by,


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