Holland 1940

The Battle of the Netherlands saw one of the first major uses of paratroopers to occupy crucial targets prior to ground troops reaching the area. The German Luftwaffe utilized paratroopers in the capture of several major airfields in the Netherlands in and around key cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague in order to quickly overrun the nation and immobilize Dutch forces.

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Battle of the Grebbeberg

At 03:55 local time on 10 May 1940, the German Army Group B invaded the Netherlands. The 207th Infantry Division, commanded by Karl von Tiedemann, and part of the 18th Army had been tasked with overrunning the Grebbeberg within a day. Resistance at the IJssel Line near Westervoort was fiercer than anticipated and it was dusk by the time the Germans had occupied Wageningen, the city directly to the east of the Grebbeberg. The 207th Infantry Division, reinforced with the SS-brigade Der Führer — made preparations to assault the hill next morning.

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Blitzkrieg – Fall Gelb

In the campaign in Holland paratroopers of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 1 [Luftlande-Sturm-Regiment wikipedia] (FJR1) from the 7th Air Division [1st Parachute Division wikipedia] (Div) under Major General Kurt Student [Kurt Student (1890-1978) wikipedia] in a series of battalion strength jumps seized the two bridges at Moerdijk, and bridges at Dordecht and Waalhaven. The 2nd Battalion (FJR1) commanded by Captain Prager captured the Moerdijk road and rail bridge which at 1,554 metres (5,100ft) was the longest in Europe. This gave the tanks of the 9th Panzer Div [9th Panzer Division wikipedia] under General Ritter von Hubicki [Alfred Ritter von Hubricki (1887-1971) wikipedia] a fast route across rivers and flooded land into the core of the Dutch defences. The motorised units of the French 7th Army [Seventh Army wikipedia] under General Giraud [Henri Giraud (1879-1949) wikipedia] that had pushed through Belgium into southern Holland attempted to recapture the bridges and link up with the Dutch were driven back by the 9th Panzer Div.


Will Fowler
Taken from France, Holland and Belgium 1940-1941
Ian Allan Publications

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