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May 11th, 1940 (SATURDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM:

London: The Air Ministry announced that the German report of Allied planes bombing the open city of Freiburg, was a pure fabrication.

Glasgow: 75,000 watch Scotland and England draw 1-1 at Hampden Park.

RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - road/rail communications in Monchen-Gladbach. 51 Sqn. 6 aircraft all bombed, one damaged by Flak. 58 Sqn. 3 aircraft all bombed, opposition severe. 77 Sqn. 3 aircraft all bombed, one FTR. 102 Sqn. 6 aircraft all bombed. 1 damaged by Flak.

This is the first attack by British aircraft on the German mainland.

2 Group ( Blenheim). 21 Sqn. 12 aircraft bomb bridges at Maastricht. Heavy Flak. Two aircraft lost, 1 Bf109 shot down.

Western Front:

The Wehrmacht High Command announced:

After crossing the borders of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, the German West Army has repulsed the enemy border troops everywhere in Holland and Belgium and, despite the [enemy's] destruction of countless bridges, and despite obstructions of every kind, is on the offensive and advancing rapidly. Paratroops and airborne troops have landed and are about to carry out their security missions. Luftwaffe units, flying in relays, are supporting the advance of the Army by bombing columns and troop camps, and by damaging or destroying roads, railway lines and bridges. Their sweeping reconnaissance has brought clear information about enemy army movements. Furthermore, on May 10, massed forces of the German Luftwaffe led the first grand assault on the root of the enemy air force in France, Belgium and Holland. 72 airfields were attacked, 300-400 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground, large numbers of airfield installations and hangars destroyed by fire and explosions.

 

BELGIUM:

German soldiers reach the Albert Canal causing the Belgian Army to begin to evacuate its positions on the Albert Canal. One armoured division of 16 Panzer Corps crosses the Meuse at Maastricht. On the "Gembloux Gap" the Cavalry Corps Commander is shocked to find "no defence works around the township, which was one of the key points in the defence line."

"The High Command is mostly in a state of confusion, and civilian refugees are blocking up the roads. The whole plan rests on the strength of the Gembloux position and the ability of the Belgian Army to delay the enemy. Neither has turned out as expected. If they act without delay before this evening, they can still prevent the Dyle plan from being carried out and adopt the Escaut Plan. Only the First Army’s three divisions of motorised infantry are on the move, the rest of the infantry has not yet crossed the frontier. They can still be held back," wrote General Prioux.

At 10 pm Billotte countermands Prioux and insists they stick with the Dyle Plan. Progress of 1st and 9th Armies is still slow although they have encountered no opposition and the Luftwaffe has had little or no effect.

The Belgian Air Force sends out 9 aircraft to bomb the bridges over the Albert Canal. They missed their targets; 7 of the planes did not come back.

18:00 12 French LeO-45 night bombers with fighter cover attacked three bridges west of Maastricht and German tanks advancing on Tongres. They inflicted almost no damage, and 1 bomber and 4 fighters were lost

NETHERLANDS:

The Hague: A daring plan to occupy the airfields around The Hague, seize the capital and kidnap Queen Wilhelmina has been foiled by Dutch forces. Recovering from their early disarray when parachutists landed, Dutch infantry, backed by artillery, have driven the Germans from the three airfields.

This has saved the Queen and the government, but it has tied down substantial Dutch reserves, which are badly needed on the Amsterdam and Rotterdam sectors. The German 18th Army, under General Georg von Kuchler, has taken intact vital bridges over the Meuse; one company actually splashed down on the river at Rotterdam in ancient seaplanes.

At 1300 hours the Germans, having penetrated the Dutch defences, made contact with General Henri Giraud’s Seventh French Army at Tilburg near the Belgian border. The French, who were to have linked up with the Dutch, found they had already retreated. Left to fend for himself and lacking air support and anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, Giraud has been forced to pull back to Antwerp. This has opened the way for the 9th Panzer division to thrust towards Rotterdam and relieve airborne troops holding the bridges across the river there. But the Dutch are holding firm and Hitler has ordered forces from the Belgian front to move against the Dutch. "Resistance must be broken speedily," he says.

The exiled German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, who lives at Doorn, was offered asylum in Britain by Churchill. He rejected the offer, and a few hours later Hitler’s Panzers overran his home.

 

 

FRANCE:

[Morning]

The French Army report stated:

During the night we continued our movements to Belgium. Despite a vigorous assault, the enemy was not able to continues his advance south of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Nothing noteworthy occurred in Lorraine and Alsace.

On Friday, the German Luftwaffe bombardment of French territory claimed countless victims among the civilian population. The French High Command regrets having to report that we have more than 100 dead and wounded to mourn, including (especially) women and children.

RAF AASF: 02.45: Pilots are woken to prepare to prevent the Luftwaffe knocking out Berry-au-Bac. A heavy raid took place in Rheims, but the airfield was not attacked.

05:00 Squadrons stood down in sections for breakfast.

08:00 12 He-111s are reported to be approaching Berry-au-Bac and 1 Sqn is ordered into the air. ‘A’ flight circles the airfield in defence while ‘B’ flight intercepts the raid. The bombers see the Hurricanes coming, turn and climb away into the sun at full speed.

Vincennes: Gamelin learns, to his astonishment, that Georges had delegated to Billotte the duties of liaison with the Allies with which he had been personally entrusted. Although this was "not at all to his liking" and he considered it an "abdication", he accepted it for, he says, "it is often better to accept an accomplished fact than to hamper a commander’s actions".

GERMANY:

The German News Bureau (DNB) reported:

Yesterday 3 enemy bombers attacked the open city of Freiburg-im-Breisgau, which is located completely outside our own field of operations and contains no military installations. From now on, any planned enemy bomb assault on the German population will be answered by 5 times the number of German aircraft bombing an English or French city.

U-81, U-356 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

 

Norwegian Campaign: (Mark Horan)

At Greenock:

While HMS Glorious completes the embarkation of 46 Squadron's Hurricanes, the reconstituted 263 Squadron, with 18 new Gladiator IIs, is moving to the Fleet Air Arm station at Cambeltown (on the Clyde) in preparation to joining HMS Furious, now repaired and ready for further service.

At HMS Sparrowhawk (RNAS Hatston):

Acting Captain C. L. Howe again unleashes 806 Squadron on Bergen, this time targeting a newly discovered oil tank farm on Asko Island. At 0510 the Lt.Cdr. C. L. G. Evans, RN led off six Skuas of 806 Squadron, each carrying 1x250lb SAP and 4x20lb Cooper bombs, escorted by three Coastal Command Blenheims of 254 Squadron, RAF, each carrying 8x25lb incendiaries. Several tanks were hit and all aircraft returned safely.

Off Narvik:

At 0540 HMS Ark Royal, in company with the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Curlew and destroyers HMS Inglefield, HMS Mashona, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Encounter at position 71.02N, 15.25 E, received a signal from Flag Officer Narvik requesting fighter patrols over HMS Penelope and convoy, HMS Aurora off Narvik, and HMS Enterprise and convoy bringing the Scots Guards to Mo. Determining that the distance involved precluded performing all three missions simultaneously, Ark endeavoured to cover the two convoys. At 1000 three Skuas of 803 Squadron were dispatched to HMS Penelope followed, at 1035, by two more from the same Squadron to HMS Enterprise. No enemy aircraft were encountered by either however. While the intent was to launch relief patrols, the weather deteriorated such that flying was suspended temporarily.

At 1630 the weather improved such that further patrols could be operated, and two sections left the ship, three from 800 for HMS Enterprise and two from 803 for HMS Penelope. Again no enemy was sighted, and the coming of darkness ended flying for the day

ITALY:

Rome: Despite constant urging by Hitler, Italy continues to pursue a course of neutrality - although many observers believe that, sooner or later, Mussolini will take advantage of Allied setbacks to enter the war. The Duce has never dropped his ambition to turn the Mediterranean into an "Italian Lake".

The bulk of the Italian press has become increasingly vociferous and pro-Nazi, with glowing accounts of German victories in France and Norway. Mussolini’s propaganda machine is claiming that Britain’s Royal Navy is largely obsolete and no match for his impressive array of battleships which are taking part in well-publicised exercises in the Adriatic.

For all his bombast, Mussolini is aware that his country - with a coastline as long as Britain’s - is vulnerable to invasion and that British domination of the Straits of Gibraltar in the west and Suez in the east could effectively blockade imports to Italy.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Pius XII publicly condemns the Nazi invasions of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg and laments a world "poisoned by lies and disloyalty, and wounded by excesses of violence." (Russell Folsom)

U.S.A.:

Washington: President Franklin D. Roosevelt plans to warn a special joint session of Congress next week that German advances in western Europe mean that even the Atlantic Ocean is no longer a protection for the United States. He believes that aviation, parachute troops and the "Fifth Column" now make the United States vulnerable to attack.

The President wants a mobile expeditionary force to be created as well as a programme to expand and modernise the US armed forces. At present the American Army is not one of the 12 largest in the world. Mr. Roosevelt would like the rate of production of military aircraft in US factories to be increased to 50,000 a year - and he will tell Congress not to interfere, as it did recently by the terms of the Neutrality Acts, with arms deliveries to the Allies.

Roosevelt also issues a proclamation (1) proclaiming American neutrality in the European war and (2) restricting belligerent submarines from using U.S. ports and territorial waters, excluding the Panama Canal Zone.

The Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao, part of the Netherlands Antilles in the West Indies, are occupied by British and French troops. President Roosevelt states that these actions are not contrary to the Monroe Doctrine.

WEST INDIES: A British force lands on the Dutch islands of Curacao and Aruba to prevent possible German attempts at sabotage in the important oil refineries of these islands.

ATLANTIC OCEAN:

SS Tringa sunk by U-9 at 51.21N, 02.25E.

SS Viiu sunk by U-9. (Dave Shirlaw)

 

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