Tuesday, 14 May 1940 - Capitulation
The 14th would be the last day of the hostilities in The Netherlands [with exception of Zeeland].
Although on the ground no major battles were fought this fifth day, many dramatic events took place. The internationally well-known surface bombardment of Rotterdam, the mystical bombardment of Den Helder [after the capitulation] and of course the capitulation of the [majority of] the Dutch forces.
The devastating German raid on the north of Rotterdam, where the ancient city heart would be bombed out out existance by a formation of 100 He-111 of KG.54, is a paramount event in those days, even well known beyond the Netherlands. The raid would demand the lives of at least around 800 civilians and, after the following inferno had stopped raging, cause a write-off of no less than 30,000 buildings and houses, with many thousands torn down later as an indirect consequence of the devastation. The raid would feed fear of the Luftwaffe in many countries, but most of all in the UK, where the next German invasion was expected. Some media would inflate the consequences of the raid to mythical proportion and speak of tens of thousands of casualties. The city had been under siege for days though, tempting many of the inhabitants to either take relatively save shelter positions or leave the most disputed areas. That saved many lives. The rumours of massive loss of lives would nevertheless survive and quite some foreign history books would show large numbers of casualties.
The fifth day also includes the departure of the only Ally that set foot within the Fortress Holland during the siege of May 1940. British Marines and Guards had taken a small perimeter around the Hook of Holland, where they had some British assets to protect and a demo-party to guard.
The journal of this last day has been split in three parts. In the first part we take care of the last skirmishes in the south as well as the dramatic events in Rotterdam. The second part shall address all the other events that took place the last day. The third part is totally dedicated to the capitulation [including 15 May events] and a recap of the five days' war.