Hitler's Blitzkrieg Enemies 1940: Denmark, Norway, by Nigel Thomas, Johnny Shumate

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By Nigel Thomas, Johnny Shumate

The armies of Scandinavia and the Low nations bore the 1st crushing influence of Hitler's powerful Blitzkrieg battle laptop in Western Europe, in campaigns that astonished and terrified the world.

The German Wehrmacht was once thousands powerful, built with the most recent weapons, tanks and plane, and had the worthy good thing about having discovered the realities of recent battle in Poland the former September. The defenders of Scandinavia and the Low nations have been raised from small populations, and have been inadequately funded, knowledgeable, built and armed. Their modest numbers, inexperience, and mostly indefensible borders condemned them to fast defeat - in a number of hours (Denmark), a couple of days (Holland), a number of weeks (Belgium), and at so much months (Norway). hence they've got tended to be overlooked via heritage - in lots of circumstances, unjustly. tremendously outnumbered - and, in relation to the impartial Low nations, with their capability French and British allies reeling lower than simultaneous assaults - millions of infantrymen fought heroically within the hopeless defence in their homelands opposed to the Nazi juggernaut.

Tiny Denmark had in basic terms 6,600 troops whilst it used to be invaded on nine April 1940 through six instances as many Germans with air and tank help; resistance lasted merely 4 hours. at the comparable day, mountainous Norway, with 25,000 males frequently scattered in small numbers alongside its cliff-bound sea coast, used to be invaded through the 1st components of 7 German seaborne and airborne divisions totalling 100,000 males. A British, French and unfastened Polish strength landed to help the Norwegians, yet regardless of the intense casualties inflicted at the German forces the rustic used to be ultimately compelled to give up months in a while nine June 1940.

In the suggest time the big German Operation Yellow, undertaken by means of 2.75 million troops subsidized by means of robust air forces, had fallen at the impartial Netherlands and Belgium (10 May), and on France (16 May). The 250,000 Netherlands troops submit abruptly obdurate resistance, yet have been ordered to give up on 15 may possibly after the German bombing of Rotterdam. Belgium had mobilised a few 900,000 troops, and got a few support from Britain and France, however the resistance faltered as Panzergruppe Von Kleist outflanked them during the supposedly impassable Ardennes; Belgium asked an armistice on 26 may perhaps, and surrendered at the twenty eighth. among 26 may well and four June the survivors of the British Expeditionary strength have been evacuated from Dunkirk. On 10 June the Germans crossed the Seine; the French executive fled Paris at the twelfth; at the seventeenth Marshal Pétain asked an armistice, and France ultimately capitulated on 22 June.

Informed via the newest examine and drawing upon archival files and interval images, this soaking up research explains the association and strive against functionality and depicts the looks of the armies of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium as they sought to counter overwhelming German forces within the fateful spring of 1940.

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Officers wore greatcoat-collar rank insignia on their darker blue tailored overalls, with the M1923 belt, cross-brace and M1925 holster. E2: Luitenant-adjudant, 1st Anti-Aircraft Regiment; Utrecht, 10 May 1940 This battalion adjutant wears the officers’ and WOs’ service uniform, with M1928 kepi. The M1934 tunic has a collar piped in his red branch colour; it displays a gold wire branch badge, and silver and bronze rank and adjutant's stars. He wears officers’ trousers reinforced with black leather and piped red, M1912 leggings and ankle boots, and has a slung map case.

Oberst (Col) – Life Guards & Guards Hussars Regts 5. Oberstløjtnant (LtCol) – General Staff 6. Kaptajn (Maj) – Infantry. Cavalry rank = Ritmester 7. Kaptajnløjtnant (Capt, from 1932) – Field Artillery; AA Artillery (until 1941) 8. 1943) 9. Løjtnant af Reserven (Reserve Lt) – Jutland Dragoon Regt & Transport Bn 10. Reservelæge (2nd Lt) – Medical Corps. Infantry rank = Sekondløjtnant 11. Korpsofficiant (WO1 ranking after Capt) – Engineers & Signals (1941, 2 large, 1 small rosettes) 12. Stabsofficiant (WO2 ranking after Lt) – Administration (1941, 2 large rosettes) 13.

German infantry crossed the Albert Canal, forcing I–III and Cavalry Corps to the Dyle Line (13 May). French First Army elements were defeated at Hannut (12–14 May), abandoning Gembloux (15 May) as Allied forces retreated to the Scheldt river in north-west Belgium. Four Belgian corps reluctantly abandoned the intact Dyle Line (16 May) and Brussels (17 May), and VII Corps evacuated Namur (16 May). German armoured formations penetrated the Ardennes on 10 May, forcing back Keyaerts Group despite spirited counter-attacks by 1st Ardennes Light Div and French Second Army elements.

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