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Ten Thousand Eyes

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Jim, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    This is a double edge post in a way that i am giving an insight of a book that i have read to making a post about the Resistance, it would fit in either forum but chose to add it in here, i would recommend this as a good read.

    The abstract below can be read in more detal in the book. :thumb:

    Ten Thousand Eyes: The Amazing Story of the Spy Network That Cracked Hitler's Atlantic Wall Before D-Day.

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    At the beginning of May 1942, Rene Duchez, a house painter in the Normandy city of Caen, was hired to refurbish the local offices of Organization Todt, Germany's public-works bureau, which was building Hitler's Atlantic Wall-the defences against the anticipated Allied invasion-along the whole west coast of occupied Europe. Duchez was 40 years old, a nondescript little man with a small moustache, a taste for the local apple brandy and a smile so persistent that some acquaintances thought him simple-minded. Duchez was also a member of a resistance network: the Confrerie Notre-Dame, set up by a BCRA agent, Gilbert Renault.
    Duchez seemed so patently harmless that when he arrived with his wallpaper samples and pots and brushes at Organization Todt, the Germans took very little notice of him. He was briefly left alone in an office with a pile of maps on the desk. Quickly Duchez grabbed the top map and stuck it behind a heavy, gilt-framed mirror on the wall. Five days later, when he had finished the job, he walked out with his prize hidden in the bottom of an old paint tin in which he carried his brushes.
    The map, 10 feet long and 2 feet wide, was a top-secret blueprint of part of the Atlantic Wall. It was passed along to Gilbert Renault, who soon thereafter received a warning from the resistance grapevine that the Gestapo was closing in on him. Renault decided to flee to England with his wife, three young children and the invaluable blueprint. He made arrangements for a fishing boat to smuggle him to mid-Channel, where a British trawler would pick him up.
    On the evening of June 16, Renault had a farewell dinner with friends at an inn in the coastal village of Pont-Aven. He left a biscuit tin containing the map and two parcels of equally incriminating intelligence dispatches on a bench at the entrance, just as if they were unimportant, store-bought packages. "I look care to sit so that I had them under continual observation," he later reported to the Free French in London. "We had Just begun our dinner when half a dozen German submarine officers came clattering in. They put their caps down on my boxes. After that I knew I need not worry-no one would touch them."


    When the meal was over, Renault retrieved his packages, and the next morning he and his family jammed themselves into the smelly, coffin-sized gear lockers of the fishing boat. The captain and crew of the tiny vessel knew that they might not make it out of the harbour; all boats had to line up for possible inspection before departure, although the Germans usually eased their own task by making spot checks rather than searching every vessel.
    Renault was squeezed into the forward locker, desperately feeding chocolate drops to his restless 18-month-old baby, Michael, when the boat approached the German checkpoint on a jetty at the harbour entrance. He felt the engine die, and then heard German voices and the sound of their boots on the stone of the jetty. Miraculously, the baby remained silent. Agonizing minutes later, the engine came to life again and soon the boat was pitching heavily in the swells of the Channel. As it happened, the French vessel just in front of the Renaults' craft had been turned inside out, but theirs had merely been glanced at and waved on.


    The map soon lay unfolded in the offices of the British intelligence chiefs. They were stunned by the importance of the document, which revealed all the planned German coastal defences along the entire coast of Normandy from Cherbourg almost to Le Havre-the strong points and the weak ones. Thus Rene Duchez, the house painter from Caen, and Gilbert Renault, the resistance chief, were instrumental in helping the Allies plan for their invasion on D-Day in June 1944.

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    The two French patriots who made off with blueprints of Hitler's Atlantic Wall went on to win more resistance laurels. House painter Rene Duchez (Above), who stole the plans from a German office in Caen in 1942, continued to pass onto the Allies detailed information about the Normandy area right up to the eve of the invasion. Gilbert Renault (Below), wearing a beret in the photograph, later rose through the ranks to become a colonel and a member of the nationwide resistance coordinating committee. The photograph was taken on the trawler that smuggled him out of France with the Normandy plans (and his wife and infant son).

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  2. Kelly War44

    Kelly War44 New Member

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    Only one thing to say, really. If it weren't for the Free French, maybe we'd be all speaking a different language today. New book for the Christmas list, me thinks:thumb:
     
  3. Jeannie

    Jeannie New Member

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    Not much of a book reader or at least not these types of books. But since my interest has been peaked recently I will have to check this one out. I think that I would be able to learn a lot from this book.
     

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