The Silent Attack: The Fallschirmjager capture the bridges of Veldwezelt, Vroenhoven and Kanne 1940

The Silent Attack: The Fallschirmjager capture the bridges of Veldwezelt, Vroenhoven and Kanne 1940


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Much has been written about the capture of Fort Eben Emael Belgium by German paratroopers, on May 10, 1940. This operation marked the first use of gliders and shaped charges, while proved possible drop paratroopers behind enemy lines. The training, secret, accuracy and speed, in addition to the element of surprise, these men became lethal, causing chaos among Belgian soldiers.

However, it should be stressed that these paratroopers were part of a larger group: The Sturmablteilung Koch (Koch Assault Group), the elite of the Luftwaffe in 1940, whose mission was not only to take Eben Emael, but also the three bridges over the Alberto canal near: Veldwezelt, Vroenhoven and Kanne. The success of the attack on Belgium and France would depend on the rapid conquest of those bridges.

The aim of this book is to show how it was planned and carried out the assault on the Albert Canal bridges. All this not only through a supported text documents, records and evidence, but also by many photos never published until now. Every detail, from the creation of the Koch Assault Group, until the final attack, has been closely scrutinized by reference to the best sources, as well as testimonies of Belgian and German soldiers.

About the authors: Óscar González López has a degree in Philosophy and teaches History and Philosophy. As a military historian his research has focused on the Fallschirmjäger as well as the Spanish volunteers in the German Army during the Second World War, through close contact with many former veterans. Amongst other books, he has published Fallschirmjäger at the Gran Sasso and German Paratroops in Scandinavia. He lives in Spain.

Thomas Steinke studied at the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany. He takes part in the 'Volksbund Dr. Kriegsgräberfürsorge', being involved in the search and care of German War graves of the Second World War, as well as in educational activities whose main goal is to improve the mutual and peaceful understanding amongst the European people. The focus of his studies has long been German paratroopers, in particular the members of the Sturmabteilung Koch and the LL-Sturmregiment.

Ian Tannahill holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Queensland, Australia, and is a registered patent and trade mark attorney. His interest in the Fallschirmjäger was sparked by an article he read as a teenager on the fall of the fortress of Eben Emael. His contact with former German paratroopers ignited a desire within Ian to tell the world about the capture of the Albert Kanal bridges by the Fallschirmjäger and glider pilots of Sturmabteilung Koch.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781593851
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 06/19/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 804,156
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Óscar González López was born in 1969 and is a professor of History and Philosophy. He alternates teaching with historical research, collecting the oral memory of Second World War veterans. He has published several books and articles on German and Allied paratroopers, as well as on Spanish volunteers in the Wehrmacht (Blue Division). Several of his works have been translated into English, German and Norwegian.

Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Introduction in 1940 ix

Translator's Note (German Ranks) xi

Chapter 1 Belgium - Shortly Before The War 1

Chapter 2 The Training of the First Military Glider Pilots 23

Chapter 3 The German Planning for the Attack 43

Chapter 4 The Belgian Planning for the Attack 71

Chapter 5 The Attack on Veldwezelt Bridge - Group Stahl 81

Chapter 6 The Attack on Vroenhoven - Group Beton 169

Chapter 7 The Attack on Kanne-Group Eisen 229

Chapter 8 The Allied Air Attacks Against the Bridges, 11/12 May 1940 287

Chapter 9 The Men Of SA Koch Decorated 299

Chapter 10 "There Is Nothing Left For Us To Do But Give In" - An Epilogue 311

Appendix I SA Koch Personnel List 325

Appendix II Certificates Awarding EK I And EK II to Various Recipients 349

Appendix III Maastricht and Arrival in Cologne 358

Bibliography 370

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