Friday, 10 May 1940 - Invasion

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Map of the German invasion (may 1940)

At 3.55 hrs Dutch time [0535 German time] - as the first beams of light tickled the horizon - the German invasion of the west became a fact. A series of parallel events unfolded. We shall address them in an order from east to west, south to north.

At 10 May 1940 the German army opened the attack on the west. Operation Fall Gelb had been planned in 1939 and had been thoroughly modified during the winter of 1940. Part of the German plan was the invasion of the neutral Netherlands. The first hours of war in the west would show the first and unprecedented major airborne operation of history. The Germans would drop a force of about 12,000 men in the west of Holland. Apart from this major upsetting event, German assaults in the southeast, central-east and north-east would be launched simulteneously in those first hours. All of these events shall be addressed hereafter.

The events of this first day of the invasion are divided over four parts. The first part deals with the battle on the Maasfront in the east and southeast. The second part address the events in the Peel-Raamline. The third part describes the invasion in the northern provinces, at the Ysselline and at the Maas-Waalline. The fourth part is concentrated on the events within the main defense area: Fortress Holland. That shall also include the Air Force operations.