Allied troops are assaulting the defense wall believed to be the mightiest ever erected - a vast, miles-deep, coastal bulwark of steel, explosives and concrete, stretching from Norway to the Pyrenees.
Blocking the path of our invasion forces are miles of huge, rock-entrenched coastal guns, acres of supersensitive minefields, scores of great man-made swamps and countless mazes of anti-tank barriers, German sources have warned us.
The Germans have labored for two years to render their Fortress impregnable. All winter, Adolf Hitler's most trusted general, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, raced up and down the coast from Trondheim to Biarritz, patching and reinforcing their defenses.
In February, Rommel declared himself ready and challenged the Allies to shoot the works. Marshal Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt, charged with the defense of the French coast, also threw down the gantlet. He boasted his forces were prepared to "smash Allied attacks from many direction."
"Our Atlantic wall contains fortresses of steel and concrete in which all the experience gained in the battle for the Maginot line has been used," Von Rundstedt said. "They are protected against bomb attacks and they cannot be outflanked.
"Water obstacles against enemy landing-barges and broad mine-strips on the beaches will create difficulties for any attack; even in the first stages before the enemy can get a firm foothold."
Behind the immediate coastal defenses, Von Rundstedt said a vast system of field fortifications and strong-points has been built up, "including large-scale mining of the ground, flooding arrangements for artificially turning the ground into a swamp and diversified anti-tank obstacles."
Swedish reports from German sources said the mine-fields in some areas stretched a full day's march into the country. In the inland sectors, these reports said, the Germans have laid broad mesh mine nets with explosives of particularly sensitive priming, intended for defense against Allied parachute troops.
Dispatches in some Stockholm papers reported the Germans were using a new type of mine with a magnetic feature calculated to cause great difficulty for sappers equipped with ordinary steel detecting apparatus.