The three men crouched behind a small rowing boat and listened to the sound of German voices coming from the kitchen of a fisherman's modest home. They were about 500 yards from the center of the village near the edges of cliffs overlooking the English Channel. The roar of the waves on the still cold night made it difficult to hear what the voices were saying.
Suddenly the three men crouched low as the front door of the house swung open and an SS officer stood on the front porch. He looked around thoughtfully, then up to the clear sky and took a deep breath. Then he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a flat silver case, slowly opened it as though his mind was elsewhere, took out a cigarette and hit the end of it against the palm of his left hand.
When he put the cigarette into his mouth and lit it, Jacques slowly lifted the binoculars that hung around his neck, up to his eyes. From the uniform he could see that this was "top brass"--a General. As the glow from the cigarette lighter illuminated the man's face Jacques whispered,
"It's Carl von Schlieben!" After smoking only half of the cigarette, the infamous General dropped it onto the wooden floor and put it out with his foot as though he had suddenly thought of something important, and walked back into the house.
Jacques longed to get closer, but the place was alive with activity, and two soldiers stood guard at the entrance. Pierre took hold of the glasses and moved to one side so that he could see through a window, almost choking Jacques as he did so with the strap that was still around his neck. He smiled as he lifted it over his head.
The General was leaning over something on the table in front of him. From what Pierre could see, two other Generals and four or five top SS officers stood around him. When one moved to one side he could see that they were looking at a map that was spread out on a table. It was obvious, with such an elite gathering, that this was the defensive strategy for the Ally invasion. Pierre said,
"From the information we have, and by the look of what's happening here, I would say the Allies will land in this area either tomorrow or the next day, on June 6." Jerry found out later that this was known as “D-Day.” The term "D-Day" was the date on which operations began. The day before D-Day was known as "D-1", while the day after D-Day was "D+1". This meant that if the projected date of an operation changed, all the dates in the plan did not also need to be changed. This was the case of the Normandy Landings. The Allied landing was originally intended to be on 5 June 1944, but at the last minute bad weather delayed it until the following day.
Pierre knew the area well and said that if it were where the Allies had chosen to land troops, they would be sitting ducks under the artillery on the cliffs. The men decided to wait until morning and see in the light of day the extent of the German military.
During the night, the three men made their way to a high area about two miles along the coast. From there they would be able to see the cliffs overlooking the Bale de la Seine.
To be continued.