Today’s Illustration: That Great & Terrible Day Of Shock

What: D-Day

  • World War II — 1939-1945
  • The Battle of Normandy / or D-Day / or Codenamed — Operation Overlord
  • Began June 6, 1944
  • The Allied Invasion ran from June to August 1944
  • The beginning of the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.
  • “156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.”
  • “The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history.”
  • 11,000 aircraft and 50,00 vehicles were deployed
  • 200 yards of beach before any natural ground cover
  • A fascinating deception preceded the invasion, designed to mislead the leadership of the German army as to where the invasion was going to take place.
  • large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target.”
  • General Dwight Eisenhower was in charge of the invasion (Dwight Eisenhower 1890-1969)
  • 4,414 dead, 10,000 casualties
  • The Allies controlled 5 Normandy beaches by night time on June 6.
  • “The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.” [1]

What: “D-Day Through the German Eyes,” by Holger Eckertz.  Holger Eckhertz is the grandson of Dieter Eckhertz

Who:  Dieter Eckertz was a German military writer during World War II for the German military.  Ten years after the war — in 1954 —  Dieter Eckhertz interviewed German survivors of the Normandy Invasion.

Interview by Dieter Eckhertz in 1954 of Herr Gustav Winter: Winter was Private First Class of the German 726th Infantry Regiment defending Omaha Beach

The intensity of that bombardment was more than anything I had known on the Eastern Front. When one of these naval shells exploded near us, the shock wave came through the ground and travelled through the panzer, which felt like a punch in the stomach. These blows came again and again, every time a kick in the belly, and making my ears ring horribly.

The Czechoslovakian lad who was my loader got down on the floor of the panzer and began sobbing. . . I told him to shut up, but he was only seventeen, and had not been in action before. What a way to start! 

I opened the side hatch of the turret a tiny bit and looked out. What a sight that was.

The light was fully up, and a drizzle was coming down, which damped down all the smoke and dust. I wiped my eyes and tried to look out at the sea through the periscope binocular. And so, at that moment, like thousands of other German soldiers, I saw the number of ships that the Allies were bringing against us. I was staggered at the sight, even though I could only see it dimly. I was absolutely stunned.

Out on the sea … well, the horizon was like a solid wall of ships. As if someone had put a steel curtain across the horizon, that’s how many there were. The warships that were firing on us were lighting up the whole array of ships with the flash of their guns. I looked up out of the hatch, and saw that overhead there were vast numbers of planes, which I couldn’t hear because my ears were deafened, but I could feel the vibrations of their engines in the air … probably nobody can understand that sensation unless they have been under an air fleet like that, not with the modern jet engines, but the propellers from those days. The air itself was vibrating around us.

This was a great shock to me, as I didn’t think it was possible for the attackers to come off the beach, but I fired on that panzer immediately.  It was a Sherman class panzer, which was very high in profile, and made an easy target – especially with the big, white star they had painted on the front. I aimed straight at the star, but my shell bounced off the armour and went off over the beach behind. This Sherman fired on me very quickly, and I imagine that the crew had studied plans or photographs of our positions, because they seemed to know their way around the plateau.

It was a nightmarish moment, because the Sherman’s warhead came through the turret front plate, and hit my loader fully in the chest where he stood. It shattered his whole chest at once, and passed straight through him, and ricocheted around on the floor of the hull without hitting me. The bulk of his body had slowed the shell down, just enough to stop it bouncing off the walls and hitting me, I think.

So this poor boy, who barely needed to shave his chin, saved my life in that way. He died instantly, standing next to me. That was the end of the concrete panzer as far as I was concerned.

One of the American infantry had a flamethrower, and he got close enough to use it on the PAK. The flames were enormous and they shot out very fast, like a fire hose but full of burning liquid. The whole PAK position was covered in these flames; the burning stuff was dripping off it and malting a pool of fire on the sand.

At that moment, something awful took place … it was almost like a sign from God that we were doing wrong. A strange, circular wind blew up on the dunes, some kind of small tornado, and it whirled around and it fanned the fires from the burning Sherman and the burning PAK … there was chaos all around me in this whirlwind. Ammunition was exploding, men were screaming, both German and American and in Russian too. All the time, the planes were racing over us through the smoke, firing their cannons inland. It was absolute hell on that sand. Absolute hell.

I wish I could say that I was a hero, but I was drained and finished by all of this. I remained crouching behind the concrete panzer turret, and when those American soldiers began running past me towards the inland area, I didn’t do anything to attract attention. It was only when the first dozen troops had charged right past me that a soldier noticed me there. He hit me in the face with his rifle stock … those American rifles were much heavier than ours. He had a bayonet fixed on it, and he was going to stab me with it, I think, but an explosion close by diverted his attention.

Full PDF of Excerpted Text

. . . . . . 

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • judgment
  • war
  • life and death
  • a fallen world marked by violence
  • a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God
  • “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time”
  • fear
  • judgment day
  • the Lord of the Host
  • the rapture of the church
  • the four horsemen

. . . . . . 

Sermonic Example: [2]

Much has been written about D-Day from the American vantage.  D-Day marks one of the greatest days of both casualties and lives lost — by American military troops.

However, a very different vantage is recorded in the book “D-Day Through German Eyes.”   The book chronicles the thoughts of German soldiers who were still alive 10 years later.  It brings together the vantage of those fighting for Germany on the front lines of the Normandy invasion.   What they were thinking and recounted is unexpected and eye-opening!

Here is just a short excerpt of what Herr Gustav Winter, a Private First Class German in the 726th Infantry Regiment, who was defending Omaha Beach, said years later . . . .

The light was fully up, and a drizzle was coming down, which damped down all the smoke and dust. I wiped my eyes and tried to look out at the sea through the periscope binocular [of his Panzer tank]. And so, at that moment, like thousands of other German soldiers, I saw the number of ships that the Allies were bringing against us.

I was staggered at the sight, even though I could only see it dimly.

I was absolutely stunned.

Out on the sea … well, the horizon was like a solid wall of ships. As if someone had put a steel curtain across the horizon, that’s how many there were.

The warships that were firing on us were lighting up the whole array of ships with the flash of their guns. I looked up out of the hatch, and saw that overhead there were vast numbers of planes, which I couldn’t hear because my ears were deafened,

but I could feel the vibrations of their engines in the air … probably nobody can understand that sensation unless they have been under an air fleet like that, not with the modern jet engines, but the propellers from those days. The air itself was vibrating around us.

This was a great shock to me,
as I didn’t think it was possible for the attackers to come off the beach!

There is another day which is coming that will be even more staggering — says Matthew 24.   That day will be a great shock to all the world.  Today, many think that it is not possible for such a day to happen.  No one today can imagine what that day will be like, except those who will have been under such a day of judgment!  The universe will vibrate around the world.

The Lord Himself states . . .

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.


Other Information & Links:

1. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/d-day

2. Whether or not we are in the end times, what we are seeing is what those days will reflect.  Even though Hitler was not the antichrist (nor were others who have been suggested), Hitler an example of the kind of person who will seek world domination.  Likewise, some of what we see today gives us a glimpse of what will occur during the Great Tribulation.  I, for one, still believe, teach, and point to both the rapture of the church and this great and terrible day of the Lord.  This is a good time to speak about future prophecy, whether or not we are that generation who will here to witness its beginnings.

https://www.dday.org/overview/

https://www.history.com/news/d-day-casualties-deaths-allies

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