21st Army Group
Personal message from the Commander-in-Chief
( to be read to all troops )
1. Today, 17 September, I want to talk to all the soldiers of the Army Group under my command.
2. What changes have taken place since I last spoke to you on 21 August. At that time we were advancing towards the Seine, having inflicted a decisive defeat on the German army in Normandy. Today the Seine is far behind us; the Allies have cleared almost all of France and Belgium of the enemy, except for a few places, and we are on the threshold of Germany. By the terrifying energy of your advance north of the Seine, you have brought swift relief to our families and loved ones in England - by occupying the launching pads of the flying bombs. We have come a long way in a very short time, and we have achieved a great deal. The total number of prisoners captured is close to 400,000 and there will be even more from the ports of Brittany and Pas de Calais still fighting. The enemy has suffered a great deal from its heavy losses of men and material; it is becoming problematic to know how much longer they will be able to continue the fight.
3. Such a sequence of historical events can rarely take place in such a short space of time. You have every reason to be very proud of what you have achieved, so let us say: It was God's achievement and it is wonderful to us.
4. Now the Allies are approaching Nazi Germany from the East, South and West. All the countries allied with Germany have thrown in the towel - they are fed up with the Nazis and now they are fighting on our side. Our American ally is fighting on German territory in many places; soon we will all be there.
5. The Nazi leaders have ordered their people to defend Germany to the end and to use every inch of ground. This is a very understandable order: we would do the same in a similar situation. But giving orders is not enough... it takes brave and valiant men to carry them out. Most of the German population knows that the situation is hopeless and will understand this even better when we advance into their country; they have little will to continue the struggle.
6. Whatever orders Germany gives and whatever they are carried out, no human power can now prevent the complete and total defeat of the German armed forces; their fate is certain and their defeat will be absolute.
The cry of triumph is now :
Forward to Germany!
7. Good luck to all of you and good hunting in Germany!
Commander of the 21st Army Group
Belgium, 17 September 1944.
Translation: Maria Sawicka / Steven Duda