- Historical event
- 12 May 1940
- It is interesting to note that the Germans came to France from Belgium, and bypassed the famous Maginot Line, which covered the German-French border. The famous general Heinz Guderian organinized this operation.
On this day in 1940, the armoured troops of the German Wehrmacht penetrated into northern France.
It is interesting to note that the Germans came to France from Belgium, and bypassed the famous Maginot Line, which covered the German-French border.
Before World War II, the French had constructed this line because they had expected an attack. They thought the Ardennes (the Belgian-French border) were a sufficient natural obstacle.
But they were completely wrong. The German armoured units passed through the Ardennes, and came to the northern border of France, bypassing the Maginot Line.
First, the Germans invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Then, they penetrated France from the north.
It seems that the famous general Heinz Guderian had a successful strategy. His Panzer troops (i.e. armored troops) penetrated through the Ardennes towards the Atlantic Ocean, and encircled a large number of French troops stationed in Belgium.
On this day, Guderian’s troops reached the French city of Sedan, where were important bridges on the Meuse River (the river is approximately parallel to the nearby Belgian-French border).
Later, three of Guderian’s armoured divisions supported by the elite infantry division (“Großdeutschland”) crossed the Meuse River, and established something akin to bridgehead.
The Luftwaffe’s commander Hermann Göring promised to provide strong air support, and he did just that.
Near the Meuse River, the German aircraft launched probably the strongest bomber attack at the time.
The German breakthrough was successful, and continued until France was defeated.