The War Illustrated No 38 Vol 2 May 24th 1940

May 24th, 1940 The War Illustrated 541 Onto the Meuse Swept the German Hordes Thus the enemy had only one bridge left at his disposal. Across this.they attacked our troops with an enormous mass of tanks and aircraft. In spite of the fierce resistance they offered our troops had to Withdraw as far as Tongres. In the afternoon we counter­attacked with our motorized forces and air­craft, but although severe losses were inflicted upon the enemy we could only succeed in retarding his advance. M. Pierlot went onto say that fierce enemy attacks were being delivered against the fortifications :“The glacis of these forts is covered with German corpses.” He .made no attempt at disguising the gravity of the situation, but lie concluded with a note of calm resolution. “Be confident of victory,” he said, “and with the help of our Allies we shall triumph.” “With the help of our Allies.” For by now it had been revealed that the appeal to Britain for aid which had been made by Queen Wilhelmina and King Leopold in the early hours of May 10 had been answered within half an hour and that before the day was over a great stream of French and British soldiers was sweeping across the Belgian frontier to help the men of the Low Countries in combating the flood of Nazi invasion. [The story of the forced capitulation appears in page 548], TheW aalhaven civil aerodrome, four miles south of Rotterdam ,was taken by tne Germans at an early stage of the fight for the city. It was re-captured and lost again. And in attacking the enemy forces stationed there it was considerably damaged by R.A.F. bombers, as the aerial photograph above shows. Only the smouldering framework of three of the hangars remains. Photo, British Official: Crown Copyright re,D rick ^Rubber boats l i f ted from hold -T roop s unloading boats, SSa». from k O n Friday, May 10, the Germans crossed the River Maas by means of rubber boats. Junkers 52 military transport ’planes swooped down onto the riverbank each carrying three inflated rubber boats and about 24 soldiers. As the aircraft came to rest the soldiers jumped out, unloaded the boats, and carried them to the river, where they launched them and paddled across to the opposite bank. The Germans have experimented with rubber boats since 1936, and quite recently, as shown in the inset drawing, they were rehearsing the launch­ing of such craft from shallow-draught river barges which could safely operate close to ‘a mine-infested coast. On two boats lashed together to form a raft, comparatively heavy loads, such as guns, can be transported. JBBER BOATS BEING /OPERATED FROM [FLAT BOTTOMED RIVER BARGES Junkers 5 2 Military Tran sport about t o /and 3 Rubber boats -24 men inside
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