9) The reason why the German high command didn't react the previous days and during the night of June 5/6
- Verlaine's message the days preceding June 5
A first element that should have put on alert the German High Command was the message of Verlaine. The first part of it is broadcasted on June 1 at 9pm. Hellmuth Meyer, the intelligence officer of the 15th Army, captures it and understands its meaning. Indeed, a member of the French resistance paid by the Germans explained it to them. Meyer then sends it to Admiral Canaris, head of the German counter intelligence. The 15th Army is immediately put on alert.
Meyer then sends the message to the OKW, the HQ of Rundstedt, and that of Rommel. But even if Jodl sees the message, he doesn't do anything. He orders no warning for the 7th Army. The explanation is that he has assumed that Rundstedt had sent an alert message. Except that the latter had not done so because he thought the HQ of Rommel had. And about Rommel? Well, there is no official reason advanced. In any case, it seems he didn't take the message seriously; which is very strange, since he had said a few days before he thought that the landing would happen in the next 3 weeks.
The nights of 2 and 3 June, the message is transmitted again by the BBC.
June 4, nothing is done either. So for three long days, we have this extraordinary thing that the 15th army is put on alert, but the seventh is not due to malfunctions in the high command.
On June 5, at 9:15 pm (in European time, 10:15 pm UK time), the second part of the message is transmitted. Meyer immediately warns General von Salmuth, who is at the head of the 15th Army. This one puts the 15th army on maximum alert.
Rundstedt's HQ is informed immediately after. But Blumentritt, the Chief of Staff of Rundstedt does not believe in the veracity of the information. According to him, the allies would not be as stupid as to announce the radio landing. What about Rundstedt himself? We do not know. But in any case, the 7th Army is not put on alert by Rundstedt's HQ.
Near 10 pm, Meyer warns almost everyone (OKW, headquarters of Army Group B, etc ...) with the following message: "Teletype No 2117/26. Urgent. Message of BBC, 21.15, June 5 has been decoded. According to our available records it means "Expect invasion within 48 hours, starting 00.00, June 6".
One would think that he would also warn the 7th Army and 84th corps. But this action depends on the HQ of Army Group B (Speidel). This said, as this one was better disposed than Blumentritt, there was a hope that via the headquarters of Army Group B, the 7th Army be put on alert. But Speidel doesn't give them the information in question.
And so, during 5 days, the 7th Army wasn't put on alert. And not only that, but neither Rundstedt's headquarters in Saint-Germain en Laye, nor Kriegsmarine in Paris, nor Rommel's headquarters at La Roche-Guyon, nor OKW shows any reaction. It's a little too extraordinary to be true. This kind of thing doesn't happen, unless it's wanted.
And suddenly, the absence of various generals becomes even more suspicious. There is a warning that is given about an imminent landing, and yet, Rommel goes to Germany, the generals of the 7th Army leave to make a war game, and Admiral Krancke goes to Bordeaux? The least they should have done would have been to stay, just in case; especially since it's not as if they were unaware that the landing was going to take place soon.
Moreover, for the first part of the message, ok, there was a malfunction in the transmission of orders; but for the second, no putting the 7th Army on alert comes from the choice of Rundstedt's HQ. However, if he felt the need to put on alert the 15th army it is because he thought that despite the bad weather, a landing was possible. So why put the 15th Army on alert and not the 7th? Well, because it was essential to avoid that the 7th be; because then it could have caused the failure of the landing. So even if it introduced a big inconsistency, Jewish leaders preferred to do like that. They probably thought that anyway, it would suffice to say that the entire German high command didn't believe that the invasion would happen the following days, and that this explanation would go off without a hitch. And also, it would only be a nth detail which wouldn't be noticed and would only be known by a few specialists.
Blumentritt is supposed to have said it was ridiculous that the Allies announce the day of landing by radio. Except that it wasn't absurd at all, since it was necessary to warn the resistance as soon as possible so that they begin to sabotage the railways and the German communications. As if a general with the experience of Blumentritt could ignore it. And indeed, that's what has been going on for several days. Sabotage actions had multiplied in Normandy and Blumentritt was well placed to know it. And also, if the message is encrypted, no matter it is read by the enemy. But Blumentritt was certainly in the conspiracy and voluntarily played the naïve.