Battle of the Low Countries.

The Battle of the Low Countries lasted from May 10 of 1940 to May 28, 1940, or 18 days.

The Three 'Low Countries' -
The Netherlands, Belgium,
and Luxembourg.
The Battle of Belgium and the Netherlands, was included in Case Yellow, a German operation. Germany's armed forces, the Wehrmachtinvaded Luxembourgthe Netherlands, and Belgium under the operational plan Fall Gelb.

The Allied Armies attempted to halt the German Army in Belgium, believing it to be the main German thrust. After the French had fully committed the best of the Allied Armies to Belgium between 10 and 12 May, the Germans enacted the second phase of their operation, a break-through, or sickle cut, through the Ardennes.

They then advanced towards the English Channel. The German Army reached the Channel after five days, encircling the Allied Armies. The Germans gradually reduced the pocket of Allied forces, forcing them back to the sea. The Belgian Army surrendered on May 28, 1940, ending the battle. The decision for Belgium decision was not a necessarily military one, as King Leopold III of Belgium was known to harbor fascist sympathies. In fact, he met with Adolf Hitler to determine the place of Belgium in the Third Reich.

"At the last moment when Belgium was already invaded, King Leopold called upon us to come to his aid, and even at the last moment we came. He and his brave, efficient Army, nearly half a million strong, guarded our left flank and thus kept open our only line of retreat to the sea. Suddenly, without prior consultation, with the least possible notice, without the advice of his ministers and upon his own personal act, he sent a plenipotentiary to the German Command, surrendered his Army and exposed our whole flank and means of retreat." - Winston Churchill

In the Netherlands, the battle started on May 10 and ended on May 14. German paratroops captured major airfields around Rotterdam and the Hague. Zealand continued to resist until May 17. The German Luftwaffe bombed Rotterdam heavily, and with the threat of the destruction of other Dutch cities, the Netherlands capitulated.

Belgium, Netherlands, the UK, and France became allied against Germany. The battle ended in a German tactical and strategic victory, allowing them to sweep into France around the highly defensive Maginot Line spanning the border of France and Germany.

Belgian and Dutch governments-in-exile were then established in London.

This is part of the World War II series.

Back to the Winter War                                                                              Next to the Battle of Normandy

You Might Also Like