Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality, and Hitler's Lightning War: France 1940

Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality, and Hitler's Lightning War: France 1940

by Lloyd Clark


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From a leading military historian, a riveting and richly detailed reassessment of one of the most shocking military victories of all time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802127211
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/19/2017
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 513,925
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Lloyd Clark is one of the UK’s leading military historians. He is is Professor of Modern War Studies and Contemporary Military History at University of Buckingham, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the British Commission for Military History, and historian to the Airborne Assault Normandy Trust. The author of several books, and he has lectured on military history all over the world and is a frequent guide to battlefields on four continents.

Read an Excerpt

In the early hours of 10 May, a proclamation was issued by Hitler which was to be read by officers to all personnel the Western Front. Nervous and already tired, their minds in a whirl of imagination, the Reich’s warriors listened intently. The last sentences were poignant: “The battle which begins today will decide the fate of the German nation for the next thousand years. Now do your duty. The German people give you their blessing.”

Most remained silent when the message ended, but those in the SS cheered. The opening of Fall Gelb was a momentous moment after seven months of the Phoney War as the posturing, planning and preparation came to an end. Europe would never be the same again and those involved felt it, some that were privy to Fall Gelb because they had no faith in it, others because they did. The opening moves, they understood, would be critical. Would the Allies fall into the trap or was Germany inviting disaster? Gefreiter Otto Gull, an engineer in 1st Panzer Division, was at the vanguard of the attack and later recalled:

I had no real sense of the general plan—that was for the generals—and only an outline of what our division had to achieve. We had been told the night before that all our training had been done to push us through the Ardennes and across the Meuse. That was our objective. We were given a vague that what we were doing was vital to the operation and that speed was vital. No time wasting!

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Maps xi

Prologue 1

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Ingredients 7

Chapter 2 Plans 41

Chapter 3 Final Preparations 72

Chapter 4 10 May - Forward 102

Chapter 5 11-12 May - To the Meuse 129

Chapter 6 13 May - Crossing the Meuse 159

Chapter 7 14-15 May - Counter-Attacks and Exploitation 191

Chapter 8 16-20 May - Crisis of Command and the Coast 231

Chapter 9 21-24 May - Arras, Weygand and the Halt Order 260

Chapter 10 25 May-4 June - Withdrawal and Evacuation 288

Chapter 11 5-8 June - Fall Rot and Resilience 317

Chapter 12 9-22 June - Driving South, Paris and Armistice 341

Epilogue 377

Conclusion 380

Order of Battle 392

Endnotes 399

Select Bibliography 420

Acknowledgements 437

Index 440

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