Encyclopedia of War

World War II
1940

German forces invades Norway-denmark surrenders.

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German warships attacked major ports in Norway from Narvik to Oslo, deploying thounsends of troops,while the also occupy Copenhagen and other cities around Demark. Britain had laid mines around Norway's coast but the Germans were fit to slip through. The fact that Norwegian garrison's were ordered to stand down and let German troops to land unopposed.

This order came from a Commander who was loyal to pro-fascist Vidkun Quisling. Not long after the troops had landed the German forgein minister asked for the surrender of Norways Government but the refused, the response from the Germans was to launch parachute invasion and took control of the government and install Quisling as a puppet regime.

Norways armed forces refusedto surrender and fought along with british troops until france was invaded nad troops were moved to help counter the threat, but the resulted in a German victory. Meanwhile in denmark,King Christain X,told his armed forces to stand down convinced they couldn't withstand a German onslaught surrendered.

On the right Adolf Hitler meets his puppet Vidkun Quisling
In office
1 February 1942 – 9 May 1945 as Norways Minister President of Norway.

May 10
Winston churchill is elected Prime minister of Britain replacing Chamberlain.
Hitler turns his gaze west and towards france but first belgium and holland stand in his way.
"DANZIG" was the code for the invasion of Holland and Belgium.
some 140 divisions and some 2'500 bombers would be the core of his mulit-pronged strike on his targets.
the bombers would target all airports giving them complete control of the air.

German paratroops in Holland

Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, known collectively as the Low Countries. on May 10, 1940. This attack took place as part of Germany's overall operational plan to attack France and the British troops in France. The Germans decided to invade France through the Low Countries.

Battle for France

The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and surround the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium. During the fighting, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and many French soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo..
The second part of of the operation was called Fall Rot(Case red)started on5 june.
German forces outflanked the Maginot line(The Maginot Line (French: Ligne Maginot, IPA)named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy) and advanced deep into french Territory.

On the 10 june Italy declares War on Britain and France,not long after the Goverment in france moves to Bordeaux,By the 14 june Paris was in German hands.
Philippe Pétain announces that the Goverment would ask for a armistice.
By the 22 of june the armistice was signed and would come into effect by the 25 june.


Battle of Dunkirk

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The Battle of dunkirk was battle fought on the western front of france. After the german troops moved acorss the low coutries and the BEF and french troops could not halt the German advance,at the same time Panzers tore through the Ardennes and pushed onto the English channel. six days later the Nazi's were at the coast and cut off the BEF with a large number of Allied troops. the germans turned north in a attempt to capture the Channel ports and try and stop the allies from evacuating.

Charleville was the headquaters for Army Group A,24 May Hitler urged the commander General Gerd von Rundstedt to attack, General Gerd von Rundstedt accesed the situation and advocated holding the armor to the west and south of Dunkirk, And sending Army Group B to finish the BEF,these tactics were agreed and they decided that Army Group B would attack with strong air support from Goering's Luftwaffe.

Above:German panzer divisions.: Right British troops under attack from the Luftwaffe

The next day General Lord Gort commander of the BEF made the decision to start to evacuate from France.

And so began Opertion Dynamo (The evacution of Dunkirk).

 

Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo

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The Dunkirk evacuation, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British. would be largest evacuation the world had ever seen.The evacuation was ordered on 26 May. In a speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill called the events in France "a colossal military disaster", saying that "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.while others had to take the chance a wade through shoulder-deep water and stood for hours waiting to board boats were they were ferried back to britain.

 

This was a massive boost to the Allies and was proclaimed as a small victory after the defeats on the low lands
Despite the success of the operation, all the heavy equipment and vehicles had to be abandoned. Left behind in France were 2,472 guns, almost 65,000 vehicles and 20,000 motorcycles; also abandoned were 416,000 short tons (377,000 t) of stores, more than 75,000 short tons (68,000 t) of ammunition and 162,000 short tons (147,000 t) of fuel.[25] 30,000-40,000 French troops were captured in the Dunkirk pocket.

There was also six British and three French destroyers sunk, along with nine large boats. In addition, 19 destroyers were damaged. Over 200 of the sea craft were sunk, with an equal number damaged.
Winston Churchill give a warning the House of Commons to expect "hard and heavy tidings". Subsequently, Churchill referred to the outcome as a "miracle", and the British press presented the evacuation as a "disaster turned to triumph"

German land forces should have pressed their attack on the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the Allies, especially having secured the ports of Calais and Boulogne.
For years, it was assumed that Adolf Hitler ordered the German Army to stop the attack, favouring bombardment by the Luftwaffe.
However, according to the Official War Diary of Army Group A,it was the order of General Gerd von Rundstedt to halt the attack for fear of having no cover for his flanks.
This was a massive mistake on his part which resulted in well over a quarter of a million Allied troops being rescued and able to fight in future battles.
Hitler just comfirmed the plan,also Hitler was urged by Goering to leave the birtish to the luftwaffe.
The only problem with using the airforce they were depentant on the weather and the had to deal with the british RAF
This pause in the action provided the Allies a few days to evacuate by sea.

When the order finally came for the German armour to continue the advance, It was to late and the delay had allowed the construction of defences vital for the following week's evacuation.
But for every seven troops rescued One was left behind and were captured or killed.
The solider who were captured were sent on forced marches back to Germany.
There were reports of civilians placing buckets of water for the POWs along the road-side,
Only for german guard's to kick them over, the POWs would get no mercy and were subjected to beatings starvation and even murdered.

The Nazi's Push south

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With the conquest of Flanders and the BEF pushed into the channel the germans regrouped and looked southwards. As the luftwaffe disrupted rail lines and slowed the French movements The French Air force was no match for the luftwffe they were porly equipped and outnumbered. Also the french strategy was very defensive and relied on te Maginot line. But the Germans with there push through the Ardennes they were able to ignor the massive defensive line.

The french could not match the Gremans out in the open battlefield,German soliders were better equipped and more determined.
Frensh morale completely collapsed and by the 9 of june Panzer Divisions raeched the river Seine just West of Paris,
As frech forces fought bravely to repell the German advance with counter-attacks,but had little or no chance of stopping the Nazi war machine.
SO on the 13 june Paris fell and French Goverment moved to Bordeaux.On the 21 of june the armistice was signed by france's general huntziger,
He met hitler at the very same railway carriage in the compiegne forest that the aristice was signed and agreed in 1918.
To the germans it was sweet revenge and so hitler had the carriage destroyed.

In less than a month French forces were knocked out of the war and it was a very hard pill to swallow,
Even greater than the defeat in the Franco-Prussian war,it also protrayed the German War machine as invincible.
But to become masters of the west of Europe they would have to defeat the British and to move eastwards to Soviet Russia.

Right Paris citizen is clearly distressed at the sight of the german troops marching through his city

.left Germans parade through the streets of paris.

Battle for Britain

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The battle of Britain was a aeriel battle in which Goering Luftwaffe took on the British RAF. Goering plan was to bomb britain into submission and make way for a full on invasion. But the RAF had other ideas and hadn't got a better chance to show the Nazi's what there spitfires could really do. Winston churchill declared the battle for britain would their finest hour of the british people. It would also give the British armed forces time to regroup and strike back at the Nazi's.

Britain was facing the prospect of being invaded which they hadn't seen in more than Two Hundred years. And faced the most effective war machine since Napoleons time,And must have looked like just a matter of time before the German's would cross the channel to mainland Britain. But before the panned invasion could happen Hitler would need to controll the skies above the channel and Britain. This was left to Goering who promised victory after the failure of Dunkirk. With airfields captured along the coast he could move aircraft within range of British targets.

The RAF could only gather 650 fighter aircraft and were outnumbered four to one but the RAF had the Spitfire to call upon with its and its eight mavhine guns it was truly a force to be reckoned with. Although at Dunkirk ground forces complained about lack of aircovver during the evacution and had a case to be heard, But now they were the only real defence to stop the invasion,the Spitfire was more versatile than the Me109s and the Me110s. Now the for the frist time the luftwaffe faced a real battle in the skies.

At dunkirk Raf pilots gain vital battle experience that will serve tham well in the coming battles over Britain. Goering campaign was in prepartion for Operation Sealion (The invasion of Britain) so on the 10 july the frist stage of Kanalkampf(Channel Battle)began. German aircraft attcaked coastly towns and merchant ships in a attempt to draw the RAF into a killing zone. Raf shot down twice as many palnes as the lost showing great skill and professionalism. Hitler was hoping with the show of airpower the luftwaffe had that the would encourage the British parliment to accept peace on his terms. With the help of radar and the victorys that the Raf gain,It only encouraged Churchill. so hitler ordered a massive assault on british targets the luftwaffe had over 850 bombers 250 dive bombers and 850 fighters.

Eagle Day on the 13 August is when the luftwaffe sent a total of 1,485 aircraft sent to destroy RAF airfields and catch aircraft on the ground. But a radio message was sent to the fighter escorts that the raid had been called off so the returnde to base, But the bombers didnt recive the message and carried on without there escort,The RAF shot down 45 bombers and lost 13 aitrcraft. Day two 70 German planes were shot down for a loss of just 27,this continued for two mre days but with even the lose's the Germans were suffering alot of bombers did get through. But the RAF knowing the were fighting for theirs and the Nations survival.Churchill would say some famous words about the RAf and ther brave acts 'Never has so much owed by so many few.


The Blitz

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With britain being islolated from the rest of europe the nazi started a bombing campain which was called the Blitz, the germans would take a new approch to their campain agiants the island with bombing raids on major cities and try and break morale within the population,After seeing how the RAf handling the luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain churchill was confident that they could hold out and give them time to perpare their forces for the invasion if it ever came.

The Blitz would test britains air defences to the max but even with radar and the RAf most cities were still subjected to heavy bombing and later V2 rockets,but with all the attacks and relentless aeriel bombardments it had the oppiste effect and pulled and united the people together.The luftwaffe made a massive mistake they stop attacks on raf airfields which gave them time to build more aircraft and made it easier for them to intercept the raids.
The first major raid took place on the 7 september with 650 bomber aircraft dropped more than 670 tonnes of high explosive on londons docks killing at least 458 civilians,these raid's reached its climax when more than a thousand bombers laucned a tremendous attack but it came at a cost and the raf shooting down 56 aircraft with the lose of 26.
Enough was enough and the luftwaffe refused to take part in day time raids switched there focus on night raids and have the cover of darkness to help protect them from the Raf.

On the 17 september with the lose's mounting hitler had enough and called off Operation Sealion for ever,
so the battle of britain was over but the people of britain would get no rest-bite and the bombing continued far into 1941
A total of 43'000 civilians would lose their lives in this period.

 

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1941