Volume 3, Chapter 38
May 31, 1940. 1:30 PM, Dunkirk, East side of the German positions. Cerberus Corps command.
Muller and his staff were sitting in the room leisurely drinking wine brought in from Berlin. Their talks consisted of the dinner and other miscellaneous details.
For these officers the past few days have been incredibly boring. They can do nothing but sit around killing time. The soldiers were the same. Everyone was waiting for General Reinhardt’s order to start the battle.
In fact, army had not been completely idle the last two days. The arrival of a large number of heavy weapons had vastly increased the workload of the engineers. When Muller first received the batch of heavy artillery, he was shock at the sheer amount of them. He also received some specialized weapons, for use later. The troops commander of the escort brought him a letter from General Reinhardt. Briefing him on the next steps that need to be taken. So, he ordered the guns be towed to their positions and concealed. Half the infantry became engineers that day to quicken the pace. Finally, after a few hours it was all completed. But ever since then, they could only sit there and wait for the decisive moment.
A full ten hours have passed, the British still have shown no signs of movement. Yesterday, even in the terrible weather, the British sent two reconnaissance planes overhead. The air-defense teams got excited trying to shoot them down. Of course, the wreckage of the two planes were now piled on the beach. Since then, the teams have not seen anything. Without specific directions not to, they might have already started firing on the seagulls.
The British Expeditionary Forces were still busy disposing of the bombs. Gort finally figured out a (relatively) safe way of dealing with those bombs. Attaching a simple dirt plow on the remaining tanks and sweeping the beach and the port. At first, Muller’s artillery started to intervene. Knocking out more than a dozen or so tanks. After that, the British didn’t dare come out during the day. However, they still continued during the cover of night. While Muller continued shelling, it was hardly effective by then. Then Muller received an order from the Commander. It stated that he shouldn’t worry about the British movements, instead start building heavy entrenchments.
Thinking about the British situation, he noticed that most of the sporadic explosions have gradually disappeared. Signifying that the British have cleared away most of the bombs. The latest reports from a high-altitude reconnaissance plane shows a buildup of troops on the beaches. The British were naturally very covert, employing camouflage to cover portions of the beach and other open spaces near the port. It seems that the final retreat will begin within a couple of hours. Waiting before battle is really tough. Muller thought as he took another drink of wine.
All of the other division and regiment officers were sitting in their positions probably bored to death. Muller was wondering what they were doing to quell their boredom. He was eagerly waiting for the time to come. At least then, the soldiers could stop with whatever ruckus they’re doing outside.
“Colonel! A signal from the radar station!”
From the outside came a communications officer.
“Oh? Haha, let’s hope it’s something this time.” Muller jumped up from his seat and ran into the communications tent.
The two new radar equipment arrived two days ago. It seems General Reinhardt specially sent this directly from the factory. As for they specifications, it was still a prototype. Albeit, it seemed to be the most advanced version available. From what other information could be gathered, this was not set for military usage for another four or five months. The Cerberus Corps being the earliest unit to utilize it.
“Yes, this is Muller. What is the situation?” Muller picked up the phone and asked.
“What? Are you sure? … How many? … Current location? …. Understood, continue to closely monitor. If there is a change in the situation, report it immediately. You did well Lieutenant, a medal will surely be waiting for you.”
Muller put down the phone and looked at the rest of the staff with a look of excitement. “It has begun! The decisive moment has arrived. The British have come. Men! Start the operation!”
The staff rushed to the posts and quickly issued orders to the various unit leaders. Suddenly the entire corp swept away it’s carefree look and began the sophisticated actions required. Numerous soldiers rushed to their respective stations. The officers were briefing their units as they rushed through the entrenchments.
Now the terrible Cerberus had been awakened from its sleep. Withing with its terrible fangs awaiting the coming enemy.
“Yes, sir. Yes, understood. We will proceed as planned.”
Wolfe put down the phone, eyeing the squadron leaders assembled before him. Before seriously saying, “Men, the operation has begun. Follow the original plan, prepare for immediate departure! Captain, issue emergency alert! … Gentlemen, everything is for Germany!” Then he solemnly saluted the men gathered here. The squad leaders gave a serious salute before quickly running out of the command room.
May 31, 1940.1:45 pm. Coastal observation post, northeast of Dunkirk. Out to the sea, was the Royal Navy fleet. Small vessels followed by huge warships behind. Countless chimneys, both large and small jutted towards the sky.
Five minutes later, the XIX Panzer Corps observation post reported spotting another British fleet to the southwest. However, this fleet did not directly follow the previous fleet. The primary difference being that this fleet was comprised of only towering warships.
Muller stood in front of the solid concrete observation window with a pair of high-powered binoculars. Looking at the huge steel monsters slowly moving in his direction.
“Note that without my order no one is allowed to fire. Reconfirm that the officers are in position… Be ready to accept the enemy’s first round of shelling. Is the spotting team ready?”
“They are ready. The calculations are underway.”
“I only want the most valuable targets. We cannot allow any wastefulness.”
Muller was satisfied with his beforehand preparation. Then he picked his binoculars back up and looked at the magnificent overlords of the sea.
“Ah, they really are great. The British shipbuilders truly are remarkable to build such beasts. Sigh, what if we had those warships in Germany?” Muller lamented.
“Colonel, it’s no use behaving like that. The fall of kings are determined by man. They will soon become scrap anyway.”
Another staff officer said: “I didn’t expect that General Reinhardt guess right. They really did send a warship. Not only that, they sent such a large fleet. No doubt it’s a sizable portion of their naval power.”
“Of course, the General’s strategic visions and tactics are unparalleled. He is God’s gift to Germany, haha.” Another officer said, full of worship.
“Don’t mention that right now. We have more important matters. What ships have you recognized?” Muller interrupted.
“We’ve identified six battleships, three battlecruisers, twenty destroyers, no cruisers.”
“It seems they have deployed the main force of the British Navy. What is the situation from the other observation post?”
Muller turned to the communications staff officer and asked.
“The XIX Panzer Corps reports at least four battleships present. From the models, it should be the Mediterranean Fleet.”
“My, my the elite of the British Navy are all being concentrated here. This should be no small amount of fun. Anyways, has the radar stations detected the British Air Force yet?” Muller asked.
“Please wait, I’ll ask immediately.” The staff member immediately picked up the phone and asked.
“Colonel, the enemy has stopped!” An observer shouted.
Muller quickly picked up his binoculars and pointed it towards the distant fleet. The huge fleet was stopped 20 kilometers from the coastline. Those warships began turning their broadsides toward the coast. The destroyers formed a protective ring around the battleships.
“It seems they are about to start shelling. Order the troops to prepare for bombardment! Let’s hope that our fortifications can withstand the immense firepower. Tell the spotters to finish up with their calculations. But, make sure they have the orientation and distance correct… Also, tell the gunner teams to prepare to fire once they are re-positioned. But not without my order!”
“Reporting to the Colonel, we have confirmed that the battleships are: the HMS Rodney, HMS Nelson, HMS Royal Sovereign, HMS Warspite, HMS Revenge, and the HMS Resolution. The battlecruisers are: HMS Hood, HMS Renown, and the HMS Repulse. The destroyers are from the British 11th, 12th, 15th, and 16th Destroyer Flotillas.”
An observer from the Kriegsmarine excited ran into the room to report. “Colonel Muller, those warships are the elite of the British Home Fleet!”
“Is that right? It’s up to you to choose the most valuable targets. I’m not very familiar with naval vessels. You decide and relay the decision to the spotters.”
The Kriegsmarine officer bolted away.
“Colonel, the radar station just reported that the British aircraft has entered their detection range. They will arrive in fifteen minutes.
“What about our planes?”
“They have already arrived and fully prepared.”
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
From the sea came a burst of rolling thunder, interrupting Muller’s words. The sound was preceded by the dull blast of the shell pounding into the German entrenchments.
Suddenly, the entire German front positions trembled and roared. The heavy wave of artillery shells smashing into the ground sent tremors through the concrete walls into the bunkers even a few hundred meters away.
“It is much more powerful than I expected.” Muller was completely stunned by the sheer power behind every round. He had never witnessed a bombardment with shells larger than two hundred millimeters. Much less on the receiving end of four hundred millimeter guns.
” …Have the soldiers in the forward positions withdrawn?”
“They already left a while ago. Colonel, are we going to fight back?”
“Hold on! The enemy has not yet sent their boats. When we initially engage, we must be sure to hit them hard.”
Ten minutes later, the British carried out a second bombardment. This time, the range was furthered by 50 meters. The initial volley left seventy huge craters in its wake. The whole front became a huge ruin. Everywhere one looked, it was only destruction and debris.
But Muller had made preparations, the soldiers in the forward position had long since moved back. The result was that the British volleys were hitting nothing but the French coast. The German casualties were nil.
Muller was deeply impressed by the destruction of the power of the guns. Even the strongest of fortifications were fragile like glass in the face of such terrible power.
He suddenly felt the urge to retaliate. If the British continued then sooner or later they would eventually reach the German positions. If they constantly retreated then they would soon run out of defenses. But he still resisted the temptation. He must be patient. He must wait until the enemy has fully entered the trap. There is no other way.
Muller clenched his teeth as he ordered. “The soldiers on the second line of defense are to evacuated their positions and retreat to the third line of defense.”
“Colonel! The calculations have been finished. It has been reported to the artillery teams.” A staff officer said.
“Alright, tell them to hold until the order is given.”
“Colonel, those small boats have begun to move out. They are approaching Dunkirk. Their air force also arrived! They are making their way to the port… God, they have hundreds!” A staff member shouted out as he look through his binoculars.
“Let me see.” Muller rushed to the window and looked.
A mass of small boats began to neatly enter the direction of Dunkirk. And a large group of British fighters was hovering over them as their escort.
Muller shouted to the others. “Issue the order for the teams to prepare. Five minutes, in five minutes we shall begin. Now it’s time for them to have a taste of our power, haha…. Shit, they’re firing again.”
Muller could see the flash of a muzzle out to sea and Muller quickly left the window. His hands covering his ears.
A while later, the observation post was shaken again with a violent explosion.