I’ve had a few long haul flights lately and have been catching up on some reading of various WW2 books that have been languishing on my iPad for a while. “D-Day through German eyes”, parts 1 & 2. Basically, interviews with various German soldiers who were defending Normandy. The interviews were conducted both before D-Day and several years after the war. The interviewer worked for the Nazi media during the war, and sought to reinterview as many of the same soldiers after the war as possible. But he died before publishing his memoir and his notes were lost until his grandson discovered the notes a few years ago, translated them to English and published them. Some interesting takeaways.... The German soldiers really didn’t understand why the hell America and the Brits didn’t join the Nazis in fighting the Russians. Germans generally felt the Allies were cousins of Germany, of the same race, culture, history and values as Germanic people. They also thought Hitler screwed up by declaring war on the US. Japan attacked the US. Let them fight over there; not here. After the fall of France, Germany was done expanding westward. “Germany united Europe! That’s a good thing! Why would Britain not want a united Europe? Why would the US even care?” (Ironically, 50 years later, it would be France pushing for a united Europe) I was also surprised that several of the soldiers interviewed, after they were taken prisoner, were shocked to see the Allies’ complete lack of horses. Everything was mechanized. The German Army traveled with horses for performing all the menial heavy moving and logistics. Several soldiers said they knew they were destined to lose the war when they saw the American logistics machine. All the American army’s needs were supplied from the rear, by truck; nothing needed to be taken from conquered lands to feed, house, fuel or equip the army. The German army, by contrast, was designed to consume what it conquered. This got me to thinking....The ‘eat what you kill’ design of the German army made the Russian retreat strategy of ‘scorched earth’ particularly effective. As the Germans advanced, there was nothing to feed the army, no housing, no horses, oil, coal, timber....nothing. The German horse-drawn logistics couldn’t meet the supply demands from the rear, and the army ground to a halt, without food or shelter in the Russian winter. I would argue that the Russian retreat played a bigger factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany than any single offensive. Both Parts 1 & 2 are easy reads of a few hours each, and are pretty eye opening. Next up, “Germans in Normandy”. Only a few chapters into it, but I have a trans-Atlantic flight this afternoon....so maybe some thoughts on that later.