Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 257 May 14, 1940

Holland capitulates. 9th Panzer’s Corps commander General Rudolf Schmidt threatens to bomb Rotterdam unless the Dutch garrison surrenders. Although the surrender is agreed, Luftwaffe planes do not get the order to abort & drop 95 tons of bombs destroying most of the city (1000 civilians killed, 85000 made homeless). General Schmidt will be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 3 June 1940 for his role in the campaign in Holland.

Dutch Commander-in-Chief General Winkelman instructs his forces to lay down arms, although sporadic fighting continues for a few days. Dutch have 2300 dead, 7000 wounded (plus 3000 civilians killed). German lose 2900 killed and missing, 7000 wounded and 1300 airborne troops, captured on the first day, imprisoned in Britain.

Rommel secures his narrow bridgehead at Dinant by personally leading 30 tanks to drive French and Belgian troops back 3 miles to the Belgian border village of Onhaye (his tank is hit & a shell splinter wounds his cheek). 7th Panzer crosses the Meuse in strength. Further South at Sedan, Guderian also has his 3 divisions of Panzers across.

In central Belgium, General Erich Hoepner rashly sends 3rd & 4th Panzer Divisions in pursuit of Prioux’s Corps de Cavalerie. At Gembloux they come under fire from emplaced French artillery, losing many tanks.

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