Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had
heard nothing from his superiors since 1am. He was cold, tired and
exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn't understand why there had
been no reports from either regimental or divisional headquaters. To
be sure, the very fact that his phone had remained silent all night
was a good sign; it must mean that nothing serious was happening. But
what about the paratroopers, the massed formations of planes? Pluskat
could not rid himself of his grawing uneasiness. Once more he swung
the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of
the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon.
The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of
shimmering moonlight, the same restless, white-flecked sea. Nothing
was changed. Everything seemed peaceful.
Behind him in the bunker his dog, Harras, was stretched out
asleep. Near by, Hauptmann Ludz Wilkening and Lieutnant Fritz Theen
were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. "Still nothing out
there", he told them. "I'm about to give it up". But
he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first
streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another
Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he
tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead centre of the bay.
The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.
Through the scattering, thinning mist the horizon was magically
filling with ships - ships of every size and description, ships that
casually manoeuvred back and forth as though they had been there for
hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. It was a ghosty armada
that somehow had appeared from nowhere. Pluskat stared in frosen
disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life.
At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling
apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and
surely that "this was the end for Germany".
He turned to Wilkening and Theen and, with a strange detachment,
said simply, "It's the invasion. See for yourselves".
Then he picked up the phone and called Major Block at the 352nd
Division's headquaters. "Block", said Pluskat, "it's
the invasion. There must be ten thousand ships out there." Even
as he said it, he knew his words must sound encredible.
"Get hold of yourself, Pluskat!" snapped Block. "The
Americans and the british together don't have that many ships.
Nobody has that many ships!"
Block's disbelief brought Pluskat out of his daze. "If you
don't believe me," he suddently yelled, "come up here and
and see for yourself.......It's fantastic!.......It's unbelievable!"
There was a slight pause and then Block said, "What way are
these ships heading?"
Pluskat, phone in hand, looked out of the aperture of the bunker
and replied "Right for me."
Longest Day" by Cornelius