The War Illustrated No 38 Vol 2 May 24th 1940

The War Illustrated May 24th, 1940 First Days of ‘Total War’ on the Western Front In these two photographs are shown scenes in Holland during the first few days of the German invasion. Left, in the streets of Amsterdam a Dutch soldier is examining the papers of passers-by during the round-up and internment of all the Germans in the city. Right, are barbed wire entanglements and tank barriers submerged by the waters of the River Yssel. nize May 10 as one of the most amazing days in the whole panorama of history. Nothing was too fantastic to be performed by the Nazis in their attempt to captuie Holland in the course of a few short hours. Mr. Van Kleffens, the Dutch Foreign Minister, when he arrived in England on May 11, said that the German parachutists descended on Holland like rain, many of them dressed in British, Dutch, Belgian and French uniforms. “Other Germans were hidden in river barges. Others were landed in seaplanes. They used the harbour bays and docks with great daring. Armed with heavy machine-guns they .established them­selves everywhere infields and behind dykes.” One of the first places to be seized by the Nazis was Rotterdam aerodrome, and the Dutch suffered many casualties before they were able to recap­ture this vital spot. Another detachment of parachutists had descended at Delft, four miles south of The Hague, charged A mechanized unit of the French Army halted -,i ,1 j ,1<•,,• rvYt in a village of Luxemburg. with the desperate plano i cutting oil the These British soldiers are examining a German Heinkel brought down by their own anti-aircraft guns in Belgium. Besides fighter aircraft the columns of tanksand artillery of the British force in Belgium were accompanied by lorries carrying A .A .guns, and dotted along the roads there were more A .A .guns and observation posts, manned day and night. Photos, World,Wide Keystone and British Official :Crown Cobvrigiti Dutch capital from the rest of Holland and of capturing the Queen and the Government. Here again the Dutch were fortunately able to muster sufficient force to put the parachutists out of action. Many other parachute landings were reported throughout the day, and t-ha wireless station at Hilversum was kept busy in informing the local authorities of the approach of Nazi ’planes believed to be carrying troops. Allover Holland isolated detachments of the foe were doing their utmost to hamstring the Dutch advances and to weaken the morale of the Dutch people. In both these objects, however, they failed, for after the first shock of the invasion the traditional stubbornness of the Hollanders was abundantly manifested.“ I saw them crying,” said one English observer, “but they were tears of rage and not terror.” With undaunted courage the gendar­ merie and police, aided by the regulars, mopped up the parachutists and destroyed the armed nests organized by German sympathizers. It was fortunate that the Dutch had been forewarned by the extent of a few hours, and had already arrested some of the potential Quislings—many persons whose names appeared on the letters of introduction with which the parachutists had been 'so considerately furnished at their depots. How the battle was going at the front was revealed in a communique issued by the Dutch General Headquarters on the evening of May 10—the first commu­nique, it maybe noted, since Holland was last at war, in 1831. It announced that following the crossing of the frontier by German troops at several places at 3 a.m., Dutch frontier troops had blown up the bridges over the rivers Maa's and Yssel. Aeroplane attacks on aerodromes had been made, but the army and navy were ready. Flooding, it continued, was being carried out according to plan. •An account of the opening day’s fighting on the Belgian front was given by M. Pierlot, the Belgian Prime Minister, on a broadcast on the evening of Sunday May 12. “On Friday,” he said, “the enemy were hot able to penetrate into our territory at any point on any consider­able scale. Thorough demolitions were immediately carried out everywhere along the frontier, and checked the advance of the enemy.” On Saturday, however, went on the Premier, the enemy succeeded in crossing to the north of the Albert Canal. The officer charged with the destruction of the two bridges next to Maastricht was killed by an aerial bomb. This caused a delay in carrying out the order, which was used by the enemy to occupy the two bridges and to cross them with motorized forces. Later on, however, one of our officers pene­trated into the German lines, reached the mine chambers, and blew himself up with the bridge, thus heroically sacrificing his life in the accom­plishment of his duty.
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