2200: BBC ‘the dice are on the table’

Resistance member setting an explosive charge on a railway line.

Resistance member setting an explosive charge on a railway line.

Andre Heintz was a member of the French Resistance:

In early May 1944, my leader’s wife came to the school where I was teaching. She made me learn six sentences by heart, and also gave me their meanings. The messages would be broadcast just before the invasion, giving us a sign to start our acts of sabotage.

It seemed an awfully long time between the beginning of May and 1 June, when the first message was finally broadcast, signalling that the invasion would happen within the next week. That Sunday, 4 June, I went to a party at a friend’s house. As I stood there with people dancing all around me, I had this strange feeling that I was like a little god, because I could see into the future. I wanted to warn all my friends to go into hiding, but of course I couldn’t say anything, not even to my parents, because I was sworn to secrecy. I stood there wondering how many of my friends would survive.

The next day, Monday 5 June, we knew that something would happen soon, because the train from Paris didn’t reach Caen – the lines had been sabotaged. That evening I heard two messages – ‘the dice are on the table’, meaning we should sabotage railway lines; and ‘it’s hot in Suez’, meaning we should attack telephone lines.

Read the whole of his story on BBC People’s War

Get a full illustrated history of D-Day and the Normandy campaign, explore hundreds of contemporary images in the iPad App Overlord. The free iBook US Forces on D-Day provides a sample.

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