Germany transfers troops to the ‘West Wall’

German officers in their bunker on the western fron

Hopes by the Poles that the French and British would launch an attack on Germany from the west were to prove groundless. As soon as the Polish campaign drew to a close the Germans transferred troops from east to west, to reinforce the ‘West Wall’. This series of fortifications along the border with France was by no means as comprehensive as the French Maginot line, although the Germans had sought to exaggerate its significance in their propaganda. General Mellenthin arrived there in early October:

I soon realized what a gamble the Polish campaign had been, and the grave risks which were run by our High Command. The second-class troops holding the Wall were badly equipped and inadequately trained, and the defences were far from being the impregnable fortifications pictured by our propaganda. . . the more I looked at the defences the less I could understand the completely passive attitude of the French.

Apart from sending some local patrols into the outlying areas (very “outlying”) of Saarbrucken, the French had kept very quiet and left the West Wall alone. This negative attitude was bound to affect the fighting morale of their troops, and was calculated to do much more harm than our propaganda, effective though it was.”

Major General F W Mellenthin: Panzer Battles

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