I came across an interesting note in a book on Operation Mulberry that I thought might jog some memories. It was on broadcasts from Germany apparently taunting sailors and soldiers working on the Whale and Phoenix units weeks before D-Day.
Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname for several English speaking broadcasters who would announce Allied losses on the ground, in the air, and at sea. The program was called Germany Calling and was often the only source for precious little information behind enemy lines. Although the broadcasts were generally considered propaganda, they still could be un-nerving in their accuracy. The broadcast cited in the book Force Mulberry by Alfred Stanford, Commander, USNR is chilling:
“To those USN CB’s and soldiers on the concrete caissons of Selsey Bill…we know exeactly what you intend to do with those concrete units. You intend to sink them off our coast inthe assualt. Well, we’re going to help you , boys. WE’ll save you some trouble. When you come to get under way, we’re going to sink them for you.”
The Partridge wasn’t towing a Phoenix unit when she was sunk — it was a Whale unit. But the ship did tow Phoenix units during training for the invasion. It’s not clear how much the Germans really knew about the operation is not known. Their slow reaction to the invasion itself indicates that they knew about plans to create an artificial harbor but details for a decisively counter attach did not exist.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Partridge was sunk but the Whale unit or floating pontoon bridge made it to shore and was used to offload precious men, tanks, and supplies to feed the invasion.
If anyone has any memory of these broadcast and wouldlike to share them please feel free to send an email or post it in the comments section.