Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 255 May 12, 1940

Holland. While Dutch defensive line holds German infantry in North and Central Holland, 9th Panzer Division races to Moerdijk bridges over Hollands Diep estuary (held by paratroops since the morning of May 10) 10 miles South of Rotterdam, preventing Allied forces reinforcing Fortress Holland. Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard leave for Harwich, England on HMS Codrington.

First Allied-German tank battle. 3rd & 4th Panzer Divisions attack through a 30 km gap between Dyle and Meuse rivers in Central Belgium (Gembloux Gap). At Hannut, they meet General René Prioux’s 2 French armoured divisions (confusingly, Corps de Cavalerie). French Somua S35 & Hotchkiss H35 tanks win the day with superior firepower and armour, destroying large numbers of German Panzer MkI & MkIIs.

Panzers emerge from the Ardennes forest and prepare to cross the River Meuse at Sedan, Monthermé and Dinant. Guderian’s Panzer Corps at Sedan are the first Germans on French soil.

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