At Sedan wave after wave of German dive bombers swooped on the French defenders of the south bank.
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The latter could not stand the nerve-racking strain, and the German troops were able to push across the river in rubber boats and on rafts. The tremendous air bombardment was the decisive factor in the crossings. Next day, after the tanks had been brought across, Guderian widened the Sedan bridgehead and beat off French counterattacks. On May 15 he broke through the French defenses into open country, turning westward in the direction of the English Channel.
On May 16 his forces swept on west for nearly 50 miles. When more German tanks crossed the Meuse between Givet and Namur , the breach of the French front was 60 miles wide. Giraud, who on May 15 had superseded Corap in command of the French 9th Army, was thus frustrated in his desperate plan of checking the Germans on the Oise; and Kleist, meanwhile, by lining the Aisne progressively with tanks until the infantry came up to relieve them, was protecting the southwestern flank of the advance against the danger of a counteroffensive from the south.
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The Occupation of the Netherlands
By April 19 th , offensive operations on the 1 st Corps front had virtually ceased. Flooding had already occurred, however, with the area around Utrecht suffering some of the most serious economic damage. On May 1 st , the Germans agreed to create a "truce" corridor for the passage of supplies, running from the railway linking Arnhem and Utrecht to the Waal at Ochten. The relief operation was in full swing within days. Following the German surrender on May 5 th , the 1 st Canadian Corps entered the western Netherlands on May 7 th , with the 49 th Division taking over the Utrecht region, from the Ijsselmeer to the Lek.
The 1 st Canadian Division took control in the remaining territory to the west. Their objectives took them through Amersfoort and Utrecht, towards Rotterdam. On May 8 th , the division reported, "Every village, street and house was bedecked with red, white and blue Dutch flags and organ streamers which in the brilliant sunlight made a gay scene.
The Dutch people had had a rumour of our arrival and were lining the roads, streets in thousands to give us a tumultuous welcome. After pausing in Arnhem to reorganize, the British 56 th brigade moved west on two axes toward Wageningen and Bennekom early on April 17, Facing light opposition, they made rapid progress along the right bank of the Rhine.
Mines and other obstacles slowed them in places, but the British troops frequently found alternative routes which the enemy had not had time to mine or block. By the end of the day both Wageningen and Bennekom were captured.
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Wageningen is also where the 25 th German Army officially surrendered in a battered hotel on May 5 th. The surrender was signed by the commander of German forces in the Netherlands, Col. Johannes Blaskowitz, in the Hotel de Wereld. The surrender was accepted by Lt.
Charles Foulkes, commander of the 1 st Canadian Corps. The street is now named General Foulkesweg 1. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was also present at the surrender ceremony, as was Major-General George Kitching, who at the time was Foulkes' senior staff officer. Over , German troops were in the western Netherlands at the time of the surrender. The 1 st Canadian Corps took over the area previously controlled by the Germans and entered the region on May 7 th to be greeted by ecstatic Dutch citizens.
Camp Westerbork was the site of a large transit and work camp in the Dutch province of Drente. Over , Jews, Gypsies and resistance members were taken to Westerbork. The camp consisted of an orphanage, school, industrial barracks, punishment barracks, housing barracks, a larger square for roll-call and a railway. While interned at Westerbork in , Bob Cahen described camp life in a letter:.
Anne Frank was among the thousands held at Westerbork and part of the wall of the hut where she stayed while at Westerbork remains intact. Anne died with her sister in Bergen-Belsen in April , just weeks before the end of the war. The last train left Westerbork September 13, carrying 77 young children who had been taken away from their hiding places by the Nazis. Westerbork was liberated April 12, and prisoners were set free when the Canadian Army came upon the camp.
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After the liberation, the camp remained in service and various activities took place there, but in the last barracks were torn down. Kamp Westerbork is now a commemoration centre. The Occupation of the Netherlands German forces crossed the eastern frontier of the Netherlands in several places early on May 10, , while additional troops landed on the beaches north of The Hague and parachutists dropped near Rotterdam and The Hague seizing vital bridges and isolating the capital. During the Occupation , Dutch citizens lost their lives, they died: in concentration camps in captivity by execution by acts of war from forced labour as a consequence of the "Hunger Winter" of by April , the official daily ration per person in the Netherlands was only calories from sickness, disease and a general decline in national health as a result of war conditions ie.
Groningen Groningen is the largest Dutch city in the northern part of the country.
Invasion of France and the Low Countries - WW2 Timeline (May - June )
Nijverdal Nijverdal is located just a few kilometres north of Holten War Cemetery , and was liberated by the 2 nd Canadian Infantry Division. Utrecht Following the liberation of Arnhem, the 1 st Canadian Corps' next objective was to clear the Germans out of the western Netherlands.
Wageningen After pausing in Arnhem to reorganize, the British 56 th brigade moved west on two axes toward Wageningen and Bennekom early on April 17, Westerbork Transit Camp Camp Westerbork was the site of a large transit and work camp in the Dutch province of Drente.
While interned at Westerbork in , Bob Cahen described camp life in a letter: "More and more new people have arrived in the camp. The barracks have become crowded, overcrowded.