Catalogue ref: WO 179/2866
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This is an extract from a war diary of a Canadian unit involved in D-Day.
War diaries were official documents that recorded what a unit did. They were not the personal diaries of soldiers.
By late 1942 the tide began to turn against Germany. From 1943 to 1944, British Empire and US forces began a build up of troops and equipment to drive the Germans out of the lands they had invaded in 1940. The landings took place in June 1944.
It may seem obvious but one of the key factors in any battle is the quality and commitment of the troops who were fighting. Many of the German troops facing the Allies at D-Day were not German. They were conscripted into the German army from territories that the Germans had conquered.
There were major differences in terms of the quality of Germans troops the Allies faced on D-Day. American units faced SS Panzer Divisions on D-Day, for example, and these were well trained, well equipped, committed and very formidable opponents. However, not all German units were so committed.
By 1944 the vast majority of German soldiers in the German army were fighting on the Eastern Front against the USSR. Possibly, as many as five out of six German soldiers were not German. Recruiting from occupied lands made up the numbers.
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