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why did the battle of france happen

The next problem was that this line was very vulnerable to the German main strength, their large tactical bomber force. Army Group C, composed of 19 divisions under Wilhelm von Leeb, was charged with preventing a flanking movement from the east, and with launching small holding attacks against the Maginot Line and the upper Rhine. However Halder had no intention of deviating from established doctrine by allowing an independent strategic penetration by the seven armoured divisions of Army Group A. In the original Von Manstein plan as Guderian had suggested it, secondary attacks would be carried out to the southeast, in the rear of the Maginot Line, to confuse the French command. On 15 May his motorised infantry dispersed in heavy fighting the reinforcements of the newly formed French 6th Army in their assembly area west of Sedan, undercutting the southern flank of the French Ninth Army by 40 km and forcing the 102nd Fortress Division to leave its positions that had blocked the tanks of XVI Army Corps at Monthermé. But that could only be achieved by massive artillery support, the gradual build-up of which would give Gamelin ample warning to reinforce. • Battle of Normandy This "Panic of Bulson" involved the divisional artillery, so that the crossing sites were no longer in reach of the French batteries. Von Manstein himself had to admit that in this special case however it might be just the thing needed. To compensate France had mobilised about a third of the male population between the ages of 20 and 45, bringing the strength of its armed forces to over six million men, more than the entire German Wehrmacht of 5.4 million. This plan was firmly based on the seemingly more realistic assumption that Germany's military strength would still have to be built up for a number of years and that for the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged, aimed at improving Germany's position to survive a long protracted war[1] in the West. • Holocaust [8] Much to the outrage of Guderian this element was at first completely removed from the new plan, Aufmarschanweisung N°4, Fall Gelb, issued on 24 February. Beside full divisions the Allies had many independent smaller infantry units: the Dutch had the equivalent of about eight divisions in independent brigades and battalions; the French had 29 independent Fortress Infantry Regiments. • Cryptography Neither the French nor the British had anticipated such a rapid defeat in Poland, and the quick German victory was disturbing. And this concentration of armour should not move to the north but to the west, to execute a swift deep strategic penetration towards the English Channel independently, without waiting for the main body of infantry divisions. [4] Hitler reacted in fact in two ways. It consisted of the First and Seventh Army. Guderian convinced him these could be prevented by launching simultaneous spoiling attacks to the south by small armoured units. It should prevent France from occupying them first, which would threaten the vital German Ruhr Area; it also should provide a basis for a successful long-term air and sea campaign against England. This made Army Group A very vulnerable to French air attacks, but these didn't materialise. The British, French, and Free Poles responded with an Allied campaign in Norway in support of the Norweigans. • Hungary Hoepner against orders tried on 15 May to break the French line, the only time in the campaign when German armour would frontally attack a strongly held fortified position; the attempt was repelled by the 1st Moroccan Infantry Division, costing 4PD another 120 tanks. • Africa Nevertheless Guderian immediately disobeyed, expanding the perimeter to the west and to the south. • Invasion of Denmark/Norway [7] Late January the troublesome Von Manstein was by instigation of Halder removed to the east by having him on 27 January promoted commander of an army corps in Prussia, to begin his command in Stettin on 9 February. About a quarter of the combat troops consisted of veterans from the First World War, older than forty. Germany's strength would then for 1940 be spent; only in 1942[3] the main attack against France could begin. His only reserves now consisted of individual divisions. The logical place to achieve this would be the Sedan axis, which just happened to lie in the sector of Von Rundstedt's Army Group A. Ironside had originally urged Gort to save the BEF by attacking south-west towards Amiens. The deeper positions were held by the 55th Infantry Division (55e DI), and this was only a grade “B” reserve division, but already reinforcements were arriving; in the morning of 13 May 71st DI was inserted to the east of Sedan, allowing 55th DI to narrow its front by a third and deepen its position to over ten kilometres. Ironside confronted Billotte, whose own headquarters was nearby, and found him apparently incapable of taking decisive action. However, the former only had to confront the eighteen divisions of 9th and 2nd Army and thus would have a large local superiority. That evening 7th Army crossed the Dutch border, finding the Dutch already in full retreat. The only armoured division still in reserve, 2nd DCR, attacked on 16 May. • Slovakia This defensive success for the French was however already made irrelevant by the events further south. • Japan The Allies believed that even without an Eastern Front the German government might be destabilised by a blockade, as it had been in the First World War.

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