These 44 Pictures From The Atlantic Wall Show What The Allies Were Up Against On D-Day
In June 1944, the Western-Allies had a tough test to pass. They had to breach the formidable Atlantic Wall, defended by the mighty German army. Even though it was just a mere shadow of its former self – the Russians had seen to that – it was still one of the best-trained armies in the world and the success of the Allied landings was by no means a sure thing.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the German side of D-Day. Not many pictures were taken by the Germans on June 6th, so we had to use images from the period before and after the landings. It will give a good idea of the strength of the enemy that the Allies faced in their struggle to retake Normandy and then the rest of Western Europe from Nazi German occupation.
The Atlantic Wall
Aerial view of German beach defenses. Normandy, summer, 1944.
Beach fortifications with barbed wire and tank traps. Northern France, 1944. Photo Credit.
Rommel observes the fall of shot at Riva-Bella, just north of Caen in the area that would become Sword Beach in Normandy. Photo Credit.
Czech hedgehogs on the beach near Calais, Northern France. Photo Credit.
Such anti-tank obstacles were all over shores in France and Belgium. Photo Credit.
A German Soldier on a watch. A common sight on beaches of the Atlantic Wall, 1944. Photo Credit.
One of the many propaganda photographs of Rommel on inspection tours of the Atlantic wall. Photo Credit.
German soldiers in northern France, 1944. Photo Credit. Bunkers and Radars
German MG42 machine gun bunker at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France – 1944.
The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 A soldier poses next to one of the German coastal guns captured by the Canadians at Cap Gris Nez, 1 October 1944.
Part of the Atlantic Wall. Battery gun during setup, June 1943, Northern France. Photo Credit.
A part of the Atlantic Wall in Northern France, 1944. Photo Credit.
A German MG34 medium machine gun emplacement. Photo Credit.
Allied Soldiers Doing the Laundry in a Captured German Pillbox.
Damaged German radar near the beach in Normandy. Infantry Inland
Fearsome Fallschirmjager, considered elite soldiers. Photo Credit.
Heavy gunner with MG42, Caen, France, 1944. Photo Credit.
German soldiers on the lookout in Normandy, 1944. Photo Credit.
21 June 1944. Photo Credit.
During their first week of action in Normandy, these three soldiers of the Hitlerjugend Division earned the Iron Cross. Photo Credit.
Soldier of Wehrmacht with Karabiner 98k. 21 June 1944. Photo Credit.
German infantrymen scan the skies for Allied aircraft in Normandy, 1944. Photo Credit.
An abandoned Waco CG-4 glider is examined by German troops. Photo Credit.
Rommel inspecting 21st Panzer Division in May, 1944. Photo Credit.
German Fallschirmjager Trüppen in Normandy, the German Parachute forces fighting in an infantry role were very effective in the Normandy campaign. These machine guns would cause most of the casualties on D-Day and were one of the most feared weapons on the battlefields of World War Two. June 1944. Photo Credit.
Sounds of the destroyers of men -the murderous German MG34 and MG42 machine guns.
Heavily armed Fallschirmjager alongside a knocked-out Sherman. Note men with tank-killing Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust weapons.
Panzerknacker team hunts Allied armor with a Panzerschreck.
Instructors at a 59th Division school for potential NCOs at Vienne-en-Bessin demonstrate various German anti-tank weapons, including a Panzerschreck, two types of Panzerfaust and anti-tank mines, 1 August 1944 (© IWM (B 8540))
Hauptmann Peter Kiesgen, winner of the Knight’s Cross and former Hitlerjugend leader, helps train new recruits in the use of the Panzerfaust 60 in 1944. The Hauptmann wears five tank destruction badges on his right sleeve, each one awarded for the single-handed destruction of an enemy tank.
A Sherman burns in Germany. A common fate of many Allied tanks. Armour and Artillery
German tank commander Michael Wittman, photographed one month prior to Operation Overlord. This panzer ace, Waffen SS captain, single-handedly destroyed a British Battalion at Villers Bocage in his Tiger Tank. Photo Credit.
Wittmann’s company, 7 June 1944, on Route nationale 316, en route to Morgny. Wittmann is standing in the turret of Tiger 205. Photo Credit.
Most likely taken on 14 June this photo shows a camouflaged Tiger tank on the Ancienne Route de Caen (the old Caen Road), where Wittmann’s company spent the night of 12/13 June. Photo Credit.
The PzKpfw IV, backbone of the German armored defense in Normandy. Photo Credit.
Panzer IV of the 2nd Panzer Division during the Battle of Normandy, Northern France, 1944. Photo Credit.
German Panther tanks in France, June 1944. Photo Credit.
The Panther is considered the best medium tank in World War II and a source of unending terror for Allied tank crews. Photo Credit.
Jagdpanther in Northern France. Photo Credit.
Tiger IIs on the move in France, June 1944. King Tigers of Schwere Panzer Abteilung 503 fought in Normandy and on the Eastern Front. It achieved a kill ratio of 15:1 against Allied tanks. Photo Credit.
German armor and infantry of the 116th Panzer Division push past a disabled M10 tank destroyer of the 893rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.
A British soldier examines an abandoned German ‘Nebelwerfer’ near Troarn, Normandy, 20 July 1944. They were feared by all Allied troops in Normandy and caused a high proportion of casualties (© IWM (B 7785))
German 88 mm anti-tank/anti-aircraft gun and its crew in France, 21 June, 1944. Photo Credit.
The 88mm Flak was an anti-aircraft weapon that also functioned as a superbly effective anti-tank weapon. British and American armor was vulnerable to it. Photo Credit. Into the Jaws of Death – Landing
And all scenes from above were waiting for these men… That’s how this story began. Into the jaws of death…
Damian is a history geek that’s working for War History Online for almost a decade. He can talk about the history and its chain of events for hours and is 100% legit fun at parties. Aside of history, geography and etymology of all things are no less exciting for him! An avid video game player, meme distributor, and your comment section moderator all in one. Mythologies of all cultures are fascinating to him, Greek, Nordic, Slavic – you name it, and he’s in!
In his spare time, assuming he has some left, he gives it all to his family, enjoying morning walks, a good book, an exciting FPS, and a long nap…or a few. Definitely a cat person.