Need help? How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Book , Online - Google Books. Horne, Alistair, Includes index. One by one, the Allies fell under the onslaught until Britain had to retreat from the continent through Dunkirk and France surrendered in humiliating fashion to Germany the location France signed the surrender documents to Germany was the precise location where Germany surrendered to France at the end of World War I.
Afterwards, the consequences of the battle are discussed in which the fact that the conquest of Western Europe was indeed a spectacular victory by any standard. However, the victory would eventually lead Germany to defeat and utter ruin. Britain remained capable of fighting with the possibility of the United States eventually coming in. Furthermore, success in Western Europe persuaded Hitler to begin planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union, which would occur exactly one year after France signed its surrender to Germany.
For those who want a good look at the invasion of France, this book should be really considered and it is still a good read even when newer books have emerged onto the scene. Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Thank you. RSS Feeds. Please refrain from using strong language. Queen Wilhelmina established a government in exile in Britain. The Germans quickly established air superiority over Belgium. Having completed thorough photographic reconnaissance , they destroyed 83 of the aircraft of the Aeronautique Militaire within the first 24 hours of the invasion.
The Belgians flew 77 operational missions but this contributed little to the air campaign.
As a result, the Luftwaffe was assured air superiority over the Low Countries. The main approach route was blocked by Fort Eben-Emael , a large fortress then generally considered the most modern in Europe, which controlled the junction of the Meuse and the Albert Canal.
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Delay might endanger the outcome of the entire campaign, because it was essential that the main body of Allied troops be engaged before Army Group A established bridgeheads. To overcome this difficulty, the Germans resorted to unconventional means in the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael. In the early hours of 10 May, DFS gliders landed on top of the fort and unloaded assault teams that disabled the main gun cupolas with hollow charges.
The bridges over the canal were seized by German paratroopers. The Belgians launched considerable counterattacks which were broken up by the Luftwaffe. Shocked by a breach in its defences just where they had seemed the strongest, the Belgian Supreme Command withdrew its divisions to the KW-line five days earlier than planned. Similar operations against the bridges in the Netherlands, at Maastricht, failed.
All were blown up by the Dutch and only one railway bridge was taken. The Allies had been convinced Belgian resistance would have given them several weeks to prepare a defensive line at the Gembloux Gap. When General Erich Hoepner 's XVI Panzerkorps , consisting of 3rd Panzer Division and 4th Panzer Division , was launched over the newly captured bridges in the direction of the Gembloux Gap, this seemed to confirm the expectations of the French Supreme Command that the German central point of attack would be at that point.
Gembloux was located between Wavre and Namur, on flat, ideal tank terrain. It was also an unfortified part of the Allied line. They would provide a screen to delay the Germans and allow sufficient time for the First Army to dig in. The Battle of Hannut 12—13 May was the largest tank battle yet fought, with about 1, armoured fighting vehicles involved.
The net German loss amounted to 20 tanks of the 3rd Panzer Division and 29 of the 4th Panzer Division. On 14 May, having been held up at Hannut, Hoepner attacked again, against orders, in the Battle of Gembloux. This was the only occasion when German tanks frontally attacked a fortified position during the campaign.
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The 1st Moroccan Infantry Division repulsed the attack and another 42 tanks of the 4th Panzer Division were knocked out, 26 being written off; this second French defensive success was nullified by events further south at Sedan. They had insufficient anti-tank capacity to block the surprisingly large number of German tanks they encountered and quickly gave way, withdrawing behind the Meuse.
The German advance was hampered by the number of vehicles trying to force their way along the poor road network. Panzergruppe Kleist had more than 41, vehicles, which had only four march routes through the Ardennes. On the next night, a reconnaissance pilot reported that he had seen long vehicle columns moving without lights and another pilot sent to check reported the same and that many of the vehicles were tanks.
While the German columns were sitting targets, the French bomber force attacked the Germans in northern Belgium during the Battle of Maastricht and had failed with heavy losses. In two days, the bomber force had been reduced from to On 11 May, Gamelin had ordered reserve divisions to begin reinforcing the Meuse sector. Because of the danger the Luftwaffe posed, movement over the rail network was limited to night-time, slowing the reinforcement but the French felt no sense of urgency as they believed the build-up of German divisions would be correspondingly slow; the French Army did not conduct river crossings unless assured of heavy artillery support.
While they were aware that the German tank and infantry formations were strong, they were confident in their strong fortifications and artillery superiority. The capabilities of the French units in the area were dubious; in particular, their artillery was designed for fighting infantry and they were short of both anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns.
Deeper positions were held by the 55th Infantry Division , a grade "B" reserve division. The division had a superiority in artillery to the German units present. Instead of slowly massing artillery as the French expected, the Germans concentrated most of their air power as they lacked artillery , to smash a hole in a narrow sector of the French lines by carpet bombing and by dive bombing.
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The Luftwaffe executed the heaviest air bombardment the world had yet witnessed and the most intense by the Germans during the war. The morale of the troops of the 55th Infantry Division further back was broken by the air attacks and French gunners had fled. Even by then most of the infantry had not crossed, much of the success being due to the actions of just six platoons, mainly assault engineers.
The disorder that had begun at Sedan spread down the French lines. This "Panic of Bulson" also involved the divisional artillery. The Germans had not attacked their position, and would not do so until 12 hours later, at on 14 May. That day, every available Allied light bomber was employed in an attempt to destroy the three bridges but lost about 44 percent of the Allied bomber strength for no result.
At on 14 May, Rundstedt confirmed this order, which implied that the tank units should now start to dig in. Guderian continued the advance, despite the halt order.
Huntzinger considered this at least a defensive success and limited his efforts to protecting the flank. Success in the Battle of Stonne and the recapture of Bulson would have enabled the French to defend the high ground overlooking Sedan and bombard the bridgehead with observed artillery-fire, even if they could not take it; Stonne changed hands 17 times and fell to the Germans for the last time on the evening of 17 May.
On 15 May, Guderian's motorised infantry fought their way through the reinforcements of the new French Sixth Army in their assembly area west of Sedan, undercutting the southern flank of the French Ninth Army. The Ninth Army collapsed and surrendered en masse. The 7th Panzer Division raced ahead, Rommel refusing to allow the division rest and advancing by day and night. Rommel lost contact with General Hermann Hoth , having disobeyed orders by not waiting for the French to establish a new line of defence. The 7th Panzer Division continued to advance north-west to Avesnes-sur-Helpe , just ahead of the 1st and 2nd Panzer divisions.
The 5th Panzer Division joined in the fight.
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The French inflicted many losses on the division but could not cope with the speed of the German mobile units, which closed fast and destroyed the French armour at close range. By 17 May, Rommel claimed to have taken 10, prisoners and suffered only 36 losses. Frightened by his own success, he is afraid to take any chance and so would pull the reins on us He rages and screams that we are on the way to ruin the whole campaign. The French High Command, already comparatively ponderous and sluggish from its firm espousal of the broad strategy of "methodological warfare", was reeling from the shock of the sudden offensive and was now stung by a sense of defeatism.
We are beaten; we have lost the battle. Reynaud was, however, inconsolable. Churchill flew to Paris on 16 May. He immediately recognised the gravity of the situation when he observed that the French government was already burning its archives and was preparing for an evacuation of the capital. After the war, Gamelin claimed his response was "There is no longer any. Churchill asked Gamelin where and when the general proposed to launch a counterattack against the flanks of the German bulge.
Gamelin simply replied "inferiority of numbers, inferiority of equipment, inferiority of methods". Some of the best Allied units in the north had seen little fighting. Had they been kept in reserve they might have been used in a decisive counter-attack. Pre-war General Staff Studies had asserted the main reserves were to be kept on French soil to resist an invasion of the Low Countries and deliver a counterattack or "re-establish the integrity of the original front".
The Germans combined their fighting vehicles in divisions and used them at the point of main effort. The bulk of French armour was scattered along the front in tiny formations. Most of the French reserve divisions had by now been committed. The 1st DCr had been wiped out when it had run out of fuel and the 3rd DCr had failed to take its opportunity to destroy the German bridgeheads at Sedan.
The formation was overrun by the 8th Panzer Division while still forming up and was destroyed as a fighting unit.
The 4th DCr de Gaulle , attempted to launch an attack from the south at Montcornet , where Guderian had his Korps headquarters and the 1st Panzer Division had its rear service areas. During the Battle of Montcornet Germans hastily improvised a defence while Guderian rushed up the 10th Panzer Division to threaten de Gaulle's flank.
French losses on 17 May amounted to 32 tanks and armoured vehicles but the French had "inflicted loss on the Germans". On 19 May, after receiving reinforcements, de Gaulle attacked again and was repulsed with the loss of 80 of vehicles.