Omaha Beach - Commemorative

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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 routine sweep.
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."
("The Longest Day" by Cornelius Ryan)

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