Waiting for the landings
At the end of 1942, the most impressive work was begun along the coastline of Pas-de-Calais to build the "Atlantic Wall", with which Hitler hoped to prevent an Anglo-American landing in Europe:
Defence network installed by the Germans on a beach in Pas-de-Calais.
Mined obstacles were placed on the beaches; bunkers housing cannons and machine guns were built on the coast; batteries of superguns were installed. The ports of Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne were transformed into fortresses. Everyone, both the Germans and the inhabitants of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, was convinced that the Allies would land near Calais.
From 1943, the intensification of the Allied bombings seemed to confirm this hypothesis. There were numerous targets in the region: coastal fortifications, giant bunkers deigned for the new weapons, factories working for Germany, marshalling yards.
From April 1944, the attacks were almost daily; some causing great bloodshed among civilians: 500 people were killed in Lille on Easter Day.
The population’s fears were reinforced by the massacre committed in Ascq, near Lille, on 1 April 1944, by a unit of the SS Hitlerjugend division (86 dea