Following the Battle of France, the German 15th Army established its headquarters at Tourcoing. The 15th Army was deployed in Normandy and the Netherlands. The headquarters consisted of thirteen concrete blockhouses. These protected the occupiers against air strikes and chemical weapons. German soldiers with small arms and machine guns controlled physical access to the bunkers. During Allied planning for Operation Overlord, the actual date of D-Day needed to be kept secret, but the Allies depended on cooperation with the French Resistance. On 1 June 1944, a message was broadcast over Radio London to inform the Resistance that the invasion could be expected within 2 weeks. The first message consisted of the first three lines of Paul Verlaine's poem Chanson d'automne: Les sanglots longs des violons d'automne ("The long sobs of autumn violins"). More information...

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