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German Coastal Defenses
Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 15, June 15, 1943
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Special Series publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



For a proper evaluation of the types of fortifications described in this study, they must be thought of as being integrated into a deep zone of mutually supporting strongpoints, based on key terrain features and capable of all-around defense.

The depth of the zone of fortifications varies according to the depth of the useful beach terrain and its vulnerability to attack, and depends also on the limitations imposed by the length of the coast line which must be defended.

The Germans adhere to the principle of seacoast defense by concentration of the main fires on and beyond the beaches. This follows from the fact that an invasion from any expected direction must be seaborne, and that the attacking forces will be most vulnerable to defensive fires just before and during the attempted landing.

The German organization of defensive positions into strongpoints follows the familiar "hedgehog" (Igel) principle of grouping complementary works, each work contributing predetermined fire for the defense of its own ground and for covering the dead spaces of neighboring positions. The strongpoints in turn are similarly arranged to form a deep, irregular pattern of defenses commanding all critical terrain. Minefields, wire, and other obstacles are freely used, both tactically and protectively. The complete arrangement is designed to absorb penetration, and to wear down, restrict, and impede the attack until the counterattack can be launched.

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