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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 5th, 2020, 11:25 pm
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AASF Attacks On The Meuse, 15 May 1940

Expecting another heavy British air attack, on the morning of the 15th the Luftwaffe concentrated forces over Sedan. Instead French reconnaissance aircraft were the only intruders from the west, discovering Stukas attempting to neutralise the French ground forces and Messerschmitt’s waiting for British bombers.
After dawn Bristol Blenheims of the AASF were tasked to attack the German forces massing further downstream at the German bridgehead at Monthermé, where heavy fighting the previous day had held the XLI Corps and prevented them from breaking out. The Germans were deploying flamethrower troops to burn out the French defences, and had started to gain ground as the Blenheims arrived overhead. The light bombers achieved little in their attack, and returned without any losses, but the report of massed German armour led to a redirection of the Manchesters from another attack on Sedan, to Monthermé.

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German reports of the reversal at Sedan led to the order for XLI Panzer Corps to advance at all cost, to still give Fall Gelb any chance of success. As the Manchesters arrived overhead no German defensive preparations had been made and the anti-aircraft guns were not deployed, still in tow behind their transports. With the Luftwaffe in action at Sedan, the AASF had complete control of the air and only light groundfire to consider. The XLI Panzer was massed to effect the river crossing with the French bunkers having just been neutralised, and their concentrated armour was devastated by the initial bombing. Using again the gunnery tactics deployed at Sedan, within an hour the Manchesters had destroyed any hope of further offensive capability for the Corps without any losses.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 6th, 2020, 1:55 am
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German Breakout, 14-15 May 1940

Further north at Dinant the Germans achieved a significant breakthrough on the morning of the 14th. General Rommel leading from the front with advance elements of the 7th Panzer Division now pushed westwards from the Meuse. In this sector the poor French communications led to confusion amongst the defenders, with orders to fall back and rumours of a massive German advance leading to absolute disorder that Rommel took advantage of to move forward, and by the morning of the 15th was approaching the town of Flavion 15kms from the Meuse.
In response to the advance, the French deployed the 1st Armoured Division south to Flavion on the night of the 14th. The French force was crippled by the major weaknesses of French infantry (as opposed to cavalry) armour; short range and slow speed, with the bugbear of poor mechanical reliability rendering the 1st Armoured of insufficient strength against the advancing Germans.
With their long transit times from the north, the French tanks are unfuelled and unprepared for the German attacked at 8am. Heavily outnumbered, the Char B1bis’s are able to absorb an enormous amount of damage from the German guns, and as they run out of fuel become fixed pill boxes, using their electric-powered turrets continue firing. Slowly the French forces are depleted, and by the evening the remaining French tanks are ordered to fall back. The German XV Corps had now broken through the French defences.

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 6th, 2020, 1:00 pm
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Battle Of The Netherlands, 15 May 1940

With the surrender of Rotterdam, Fortress Holland, parts of Utrecht Province, and Zeeland still remained under Dutch control, particularly the main Dutch naval base at Den Helder in the north, and the port of Flushing in the south.
German forces had not been able to attack across Ijsselmeer, and with no boats or barges North Holland and the Wadden Islands suffered German air attacks, but no ground attacks. The aircraft based in the north performed well in combat scoring more victories than loses, but most had been destroyed on the ground during raids by German Bf 110’s.
With the surrender of Rotterdam and the retreat from Utrecht, Dutch forces in South Holland province were in disarray. Caught between Rotterdam and the sea, units to the west pulled back to Hoek van Holland, while the those in the east were caught up in the move to Amsterdam. German troops advanced hesitantly towards Utrecht to discover it was undefended and with most of the population having fled westwards. The inundation of the Waterline was largely ineffective, particularly as the city of Utrecht marked the main road line through the defences and was designed to be above any inundation, but off-road movement of vehicles became more difficult. With the consolidation of their positions in Rotterdam and Utrecht there was little further German advance in the sector.
Advancing west from North Brabant Province, German infantry attempted to cross onto Zuid-Beveland in Zeeland. Connected to the Dutch mainland by a narrow isthmus, the only crossing was over a narrow dike through the inundations, forming a natural defensive location. A single Dutch platoon manned a position to the west at the Bathline, mainly as a collection line for other retreating troops, and three Dutch platoons manned prepared defences 15km further east at the Zandijkeline.
The Hurricanes of 32 Squadron RAF had been prepared to deploy to Schiphol AFB on the morning of the 15th, but with the surrender of Rotterdam they were redirected to Souburg AFB, where the contingent of Welsh Guards were disembarking. The Hurricanes arrived overhead armed and in formation, and with word of a German push in to Zeeland, were airborne again quickly to provide support to the east of Zuid Beveland.
The small Dutch force manning the Bathline were quickly overrun, with SS infantry troops moving towards the Zandijkeline. Being forced to advance through the inundations, the German force was very restricted in movement, and caught between Dutch artillery on the road, and minefields in the soft ground beside. The German advance was quickly pinned down, and supported by the French destroyer “L’Incomprise” the Dutch defenders successfully fought off the initial attack. To dislodge the defences, and assuming total control of the skies, unescorted Stukas were deployed against the artillery. In a very one-sided engagement, the newly arrived Hurricanes successfully intercepted and repulsed the dive bombers without casualties.

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During the day the British forces disembarked at Flushing, and advanced to reinforce the Dutch position. By day’s end the Germans pulled back to the Bathline, while French forces had formed a second line of defence further west at the Canal Through Zuid-Beveland.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 7th, 2020, 11:27 pm
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German Turn To Antwerp, 16 May 1940

With the reversals of the 14th and 15th, the German General Staff saw the success of their planned southern pincer now in doubt, and an alternate attack plan had to be formulated to put new pressure on to the Anglo-French forces in Belgium. On the evening of the 15th new orders were given for XXVI Corps pushing through Rotterdam towards Amsterdam to instead shift focus and advance to assault Antwerp with all speed, leaving only small covering groups to protect the flanks. The X Corps holding Utrecht were to move west to take their position in Rotterdam, and continue the advance on Amsterdam.
German units having just crossed the Moerdijk Bridge heading north, now reversed themselves and crossed back south. At the Bathline the Germans started digging in to prevent harassment of their flank from Zeeland, leaving only a small contingent of SS troops with no heavy weapons to hold the position.
With no German attacks on the morning of the 16th, Welsh reconnaissance advanced to the Bathline and determined that the SS had adopted a defensive position there. Defending British troops and with a static target, Manchester Mk.I’s were finally deployed in action as day bombers against the German position, receiving fighter cover from the Hurricanes deployed in Zeeland. In positions prepared overnight to hold against an infantry attack, without AA artillery or Luftwaffe air cover, the SS troops suffered heavy casualties. A late afternoon advance by Dutch and British troops recaptured the Bathline from the demoralised defenders.

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X Corps units advanced virtually unopposed to Rotterdam, as most Dutch units had pulled back to Amsterdam. The attempt at flooding had been left too late, and little inconvenience was made to the German advance.


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Vossiej
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: October 8th, 2020, 1:14 am
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So this is where the AU starts to take off :shock: I am eager to hear the next installment good sir :arrow:

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“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 8th, 2020, 10:17 pm
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Battle Of Philippeville, 16 May 1940

Having broken through the French armour at Flavion, the German XV Corps was now the only armoured force having achieved success. With no significant opposition the panzers raced westwards towards the town of Philippeville, leaving the wreckage of the French 1st Armoured Division burning behind them.
The breakout of Rommel’s panzers into undefended country at the rear of the BEF was very concerning to the British, so the AASF Blenheims and remaining Battles were sent to locate the panzers. Once located the British light bombers engaged from the air, but with no success against the fast moving armoured vehicles. However, once their locations had been radioed back, the Manchesters were scrambled to intercept. The Manchester crews had now tactics for combat against armour, and with the Germans in line abreast on the roads they were able to slow or stop the columns with an initial bombing, and then concentrate cannon fire on the exposed vehicles. By noon, the surviving panzers were in retreat back to the German lines, with Rommel’s leadership from the front making him the highest ranked German casualty.

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 9th, 2020, 10:41 am
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Digging In, 16 – 17 May 1940

All along the Meuse the German assault had been halted. The panzer force had been reduced to less than 25% of the vehicles that had started the campaign a week before, and was now no longer capable of being a strategic offensive force. The only German advance at Sedan, at Marfée Ridge, had been pushed back by the depleted French armour, and withdrew under fire back across the river. From Sedan to Dinant the Germans were digging in to hold the eastern bank of the Meuse, and protect themselves from a now continuous pounding. French artillery had advanced and had been brought to bear on the German troops, while bombing raids from both the RAF and Luftwaffe hit both sides.
The only German pocket with any strength was that at between Flavion and Dinnant where the remains of 5th and 7th Panzer held their bridgehead across the Meuse, where Luftwaffe air power prevented any consolidation by French infantry.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 9th, 2020, 10:43 am
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Siege Of Amsterdam, 16 – 17 May 1940

As the lead elements of X Corps reached Rotterdam, the final units of XXVI Corps left to head south for Antwerp. Spread out now from Utrecht to Rotterdam further movement westwards by X Corps to Hoek van Holland was not within the strategic orders for capturing Amsterdam and effecting a Dutch surrender, so leaving the small Anglo-Dutch force there as an isolated pocket of resistance.
While the inundation at Utrecht had had little effect on the German advance, those to the south of Amsterdam at the Stelling van Amsterdam defensive line created an effective boggy moat around the city. The Germans were able to advance directly north from Utrecht over open roads toward Amsterdam, but were held at the waterline. From Rotterdam troops also advanced on Amsterdam, but met the same obstacle. Forming up along the defensive line’s southern perimeter the German forces moved to encircle and lay siege to the city. Although the Dutch defenders were within a defensive series of forts protected by the waters of the Amsterdam Defence line, ammunition was now in critically short supply, and with no air support little sustained resistance could be made to the cautious German advance. With complete air superiority Luftwaffe attacks by Stukas and Ju 88’s were flown against the individual Dutch forts, but the results against the emplacements were as inconclusive as elsewhere.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 10th, 2020, 12:14 am
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Push On Antwerp, 17 May 1940

German forces from the Netherlands advanced on Antwerp from two directions, IX Corps having advanced along the southern Dutch border pushed into the northern edge of the Belgian defensive line, while XXVI Corps pushed down from the north after having been relieved in Rotterdam. The Belgian defensive plans had not taken into consideration an attack in force from the north, and XXVI Corps’ advance outflanked the Belgian defensive preparations. With the withdrawal of the French mechanised vanguard from the Netherlands back towards Bruges, the only armoured units remaining to counter the German advance were tankettes of the Belgian Cavalry. An attempted counter attack by the Cavalry was repulsed, with the German units continuing to Antwerp – these units now being the last German force actively advancing.

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 11th, 2020, 5:15 am
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Westminster, 18 May 1940

With the Germans and French having dug in along the Meuse, the spectre of the return of endless trench warfare in Europe brought absolute horror the people of Britain.
On the morning of the 18th, Churchill made a speech to Parliament, extoling the efforts of the AASF in stopping the German advance, claiming that “never was so much owed by so many to so few …”, but then going back to his bellicose rhetoric with a quote from the Apocrypha “… it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation …”. Committing Britain to another pyrrhic war was too much for Labour members, who started clamouring for a vote of no confidence in Churchill. Never popular to start with, members of his own party also knowing the mood of the general public, joined the commotion. Always one to keep fighting Churchill refused to step back, forcing the House to a vote, with a result even more damning than that against Chamberlain not even two weeks earlier. With Churchill now relegated to the political wilderness again, Edward Wood, the Earl of Halifax, agreed to the King’s request to form a new coalition government and became the Prime Minister.
One of his first tasks that afternoon was summoning the Italian ambassador, to relay through channels to Berlin that Britain was willing to discuss an end to hostilities.


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