|The Rotterdam Blitz|
|Part of the Battle of the Netherlands|
Rotterdam's city centre after the bombing. The heavily damaged (now restored) St. Lawrence church stands out as the only remaining building reminiscent of Rotterdam's medieval architecture.
|Commanders and leaders|
|P. W. Scharroo||Albert Kesselring|
Marine Luchtvaartdienst (MLD)
|No remaining operational fighter aircraft|| 80 aircraft directly involved|
700 involved in concurrent operations
|Casualties and losses|
| 884 civilians killed|
LVA and MLD virtually destroyed
The German bombing of Rotterdam, also known as the Rotterdam Blitz, was the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance and force the Dutch to surrender. Even though preceding negotiations resulted in a ceasefire, the bombardment took place nonetheless, in conditions which remain controversial, and destroyed almost the entire historic city centre, killing nearly 900 people and making 85,000 others homeless.
The aerial bombing of cities in warfare is an optional element of strategic bombing which became widespread during World War I. The bombing of cities grew to a vast scale in World War II, and is still practiced today. The development of aerial bombardment marked an increased capacity of armed forces to deliver ordnance from the air against combatants, military bases, and factories, with a greatly reduced risk to its ground forces. Civilian and non-combatant casualties in bombed cities have variously been a purposeful result of the bombings, or unavoidable collateral damage depending on intent and technology. A number of multilateral efforts have been made to restrict the use of aerial bombardment so as to protect non-combatants.
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea. Its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland.
The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
The psychological and physical success of the raid, from the German perspective, led the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) to threaten to destroy the city of Utrecht if the Dutch Government did not surrender. The Dutch capitulated early the next morning.
The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL), translated as the High Command of the Air Force, was the high command of the Luftwaffe.
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and in the very centre of mainland Netherlands, and had a population of 345,080 in 2017.
The Netherlands during the Second World War was strategically lodged between Great Britain and Germany, making it an ideal prospective German air and naval "base" during Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of the British Isles that was to follow the forthcoming aerial Battle of Britain. The Netherlands had firmly opted for neutrality throughout the First World War and had planned to do the same for the Second World War. It had refused armaments from France, making the case that they wanted no association with either side. While armament production was slightly increased after the invasion of Denmark in April 1940, the Netherlands possessed 35 modern wheeled armoured fighting vehicles, no tracked armoured fighting vehicles, 135 aircraft and 280,000 soldiers, [ citation needed ] and around 150,000 soldiers at their disposal for the Dutch theatre alone.while Germany had 159 tanks, 1,200 modern aircraft,
The United Kingdom, along with most of its Dominions and Crown colonies declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939, after the German invasion of Poland. War with Japan began in December 1941, after it attacked British colonies in Asia. The Axis powers were defeated by the Allies in 1945.
Operation Sea Lion, also written as Operation Sealion, was Nazi Germany's code name for the plan for an invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. Following the Fall of France, Adolf Hitler, the German Führer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hoped the British government would seek a peace agreement and he reluctantly considered invasion only as a last resort if all other options failed. As a precondition, he specified the achievement of both air and naval superiority over the English Channel and the proposed landing sites, but the German forces did not achieve either at any point during the war, and both the German High Command and Hitler himself had serious doubts about the prospects for success. It is also disputed whether Hitler really intended to attempt an invasion of the UK, and by July 1940 the German High Command was already preparing for Operation Barbarossa. Nevertheless both the German Army and Navy undertook a major programme of preparations for an invasion: training troops, developing specialised weapons and equipment, and modifying transport vessels. A large number of river barges and transport ships were gathered together on the Channel coast, but with Luftwaffe aircraft losses increasing in the Battle of Britain and no sign that the Royal Air Force had been defeated, Hitler postponed Sea Lion indefinitely on 17 September 1940 and it was never put into action.
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as The Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.
With a significant military advantage, the German leadership intended to expedite the conquest of the country by first taking control of key military and strategic targets, such as airfields, bridges and roads and then using these to take over control of the remainder of the country. An invasion of the Netherlands was first made reference to on 9 October 1939, when Hitler ordered that "Preparations should be made for offensive action on the northern flank of the Western Front crossing the area of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands." This attack was to be carried out as soon and as forcefully as possible, as Hitler himself commanded.Preparation was started when Hitler ordered German army officers to capture Dutch army uniforms and use them to gain inside information on Dutch defence tactics.
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered under separate headings. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, and continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain. The second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945.
Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the EU. Its culture, people, and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and German cultures, as evident by the nation's three official languages: French, German, and the national language, Luxembourgish. The repeated invasions by Germany, especially in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and, among other things, led to the foundation of the European Union.
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.
The Wehrmacht finally attacked the Netherlands in the early hours of 10 May 1940. The attack started with the Luftwaffe crossing through Dutch airspace, giving the impression that Britain was the ultimate target. Instead, the aircraft turned around over the North Sea and returned to attack from the west, dropping paratroopers at Valkenburg and Ockenburg airfields, near the Dutch seat of government and the Royal Palace in The Hague, starting the Battle for the Hague. While Germany had planned to take over swiftly using this tactic, the Dutch halted the advance at the core region of Fortress Holland, slowing down the German invasion.
Valkenburg Naval Air Base is a former air base located just south of Valkenburg, which is part of Katwijk and close to the city of Leiden, that was used by the Royal Netherlands Navy until 2006, being their base for the Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft. The Orions were sold to Germany and Portugal, resulting in the closure of the air base. Though officially closed as an airport, it still sees limited use for special events and by gliders and occasionally small piston aircraft, most of which from local flying club Aeroclub Valkenburg. Current plans however are to use the area for housing development, but part of the former air base may remain in use for glider flying.
During May 10 to May 12, 1940, Ockenburg, a small Dutch auxiliary airfield near The Hague, was the scene of bitter fighting between German airborne forces and Dutch defenders during World War II.
The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by a common striving for broad consensus on important issues, within both of the political community and society as a whole.
The situation in Rotterdam on the morning of 13 May 1940 was a stalemate as it had been over the previous three days. Dutch garrison forces under Colonel Scharroo held the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas river, which runs through the city and prevented the Germans from crossing; German forces included airlanding and airborne forces of General Student and newly arrived ground forces under General Schmidt, based on the 9th Panzer Division and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler , a motorized SS regiment.
Stalemate is a situation in the game of chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal move. The rules of chess provide that when stalemate occurs, the game ends as a draw. During the endgame, stalemate is a resource that can enable the player with the inferior position to draw the game rather than lose. In more complex positions, stalemate is much rarer, usually taking the form of a swindle that succeeds only if the superior side is inattentive. Stalemate is also a common theme in endgame studies and other chess problems.
Pieter Wilhelmus Scharroo was a Dutch military commander in charge during the Battle of Rotterdam. While he was trying to negotiate a ceasefire with his German counterparts, the Rotterdam Blitz took place. He was frustrated after the bombing, and refused to continue the negotiations with the German army.
The Nieuwe Maas is a distributary of the Rhine River, and a former distributary of the Maas River, in the Dutch province of South Holland. It runs from the confluence of the rivers Noord and Lek, and flows west through Rotterdam. It ends west of the city where it meets the Oude Maas, near Vlaardingen, to form Het Scheur. After a few miles, the Scheur continues as the artificial Nieuwe Waterweg. The total length of the Nieuwe Maas is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi).
A Dutch counterattack led by a Dutch marine company had failed to recapture the Willemsbrug traffic bridge,the key crossing. Several efforts by the Dutch Army Aviation Brigade to destroy the bridge also failed.
On the Morning of 14 May, Hitler issued his "Weisung" Nr. 11. Concerning the Dutch theatre of operations he says the following:
The resistance capability of the Dutch army has proved to be stronger than expected. Political as well as military reasons demand that this resistance is broken as soon as possible. It is the task of the army to capture the Fortress Holland by committing enough forces from the south, combined with an attack on the east front. In addition to that the air force must, while weakening the forces that up till now have supported the 6th Army, facilitate the rapid fall of the Fortress Holland.[ citation needed ]
General Schmidt had planned a combined assault the next day, 14 May, using tanks of the 9th Panzer supported by flame throwers, SS troops and combat engineers.The airlanding troops were to make an amphibious crossing of the river upstream and then a flank attack through the Kralingen district. The attack was to be preceded by artillery bombardment, while Gen. Schmidt had requested the support of the Luftwaffe in the form of a Gruppe (about 25 aircraft) of Junkers Ju 87 dive-bombers, specifically for a precision raid.
Schmidt's request for air support reached Berlin, staff of Luftflotte 2. Instead of precision bombers, Schmidt got carpet bombing by Heinkel He 111 bombers besides a Gruppe of Stukas focussing on some strategic targets.
Schmidt used the threat of destruction of the city to attempt to force Colonel Scharroo to surrender the city. Rotterdam, the largest industrial target in the Netherlands and of major strategic importance to the Germans, was to be bombed. Scharroo refused and stretched out negotiations. The start of the air raid had been set for 13:20 [Dutch time, MET – 1 hr 40].
Schmidt postponed a second ultimatum to 16:20.However, just as the Dutch negotiator was crossing the Willemsbrug to relay this information, the drone of bombers was heard: a total of 90 bombers from Kampfgeschwader 54 were sent over the city.
Student radioed to postpone the planned attack. When the message reached KG 54's command post, the Kommodore, Oberst Walter Lackner, was already approaching Rotterdam and his aircraft had reeled in their long-range aerials. Haze and smoke obscured the target; to ensure that Dutch defences were hit Lackner brought his formation down to 2,300 ft (700 m). German forces on the Noordereiland fired flares to prevent friendly fire — after three aircraft of the southern formation had already unloaded, the remaining 24 from the southern bomber formation under Oberstleutnant Otto Höhne aborted their attack. The larger formation came from the north-east, out of position to spot red flares launched from the south side of the city, and proceeded with their attack. Fifty-four He 111s dropped low to release 97 tonnes (213,848 lb) of bombs, mostly in the heart of the city.
Why the formation had not received the abort order sooner remains controversial. Oberst Lackner of the largest formation claimed that his crews were unable to spot red flares due to bad visibility caused by humidity and dense smoke of burning constructions and subsequently needed to decrease altitude to 2,000 feet.But the red flare, which Lackner failed to see, might have also been used by the Germans to show their location in the city to avoid friendly fire. An official German form designated red as the colour for that purpose.
In total, 1,150 50-kilogram (110 lb) and 158 250-kilogram (550 lb) bombs were dropped, mainly in the residential areas of Kralingen and the medieval city centre. Most of these hit and ignited buildings, resulting in uncontrollable fires that worsened the following days when the wind grew fiercer and the fires merged into a firestorm. Although exact numbers are not known, nearly 1,000 people were killed and 85,000 made homeless. [ contradictory ] Around 2.6 square kilometres (1.0 sq mi) of the city was almost levelled. 24,978 homes, 24 churches, 2,320 stores, 775 warehouses and 62 schools were destroyed. Schmidt sent a conciliatory message to the Dutch commander General Winkelman, who surrendered shortly afterwards, at Rijsoord, a village southeast of Rotterdam. The school where the Dutch signed their surrender was later turned into a small museum.
The Dutch military had no effective means of stopping the bombers (the Dutch Air Force had practically ceased to exist and its anti-aircraft guns had been moved to The Hague), so when another similar ultimatum was given in which the Germans threatened to bomb the city of Utrecht, the Dutch government decided to capitulate rather than risk the destruction of another city.Dutch and British sources informed the public through Allied and international news media that the raid on Rotterdam had been on an open city in which 30,000 civilians were killed (the real number was around 900) "and character[ised] the German demolition of the old city as an act of unmitigated barbarism". The number of casualties was relatively small, because thousands of civilians had fled to safer parts of Rotterdam, or to other cities, during the previous four days of bombing and warfare. German weekly Die Mühle (The Windmill) stated that the Dutch government was to blame for turning Rotterdam into a fortress, despite multiple summons to evacuate. It also claimed that the old city was ignited by Dutch bombs and incendiary devices.
The United Kingdom had a policy of only bombing military targets and infrastructure such as ports and railways which were of military importance.While it was acknowledged that bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property outside combat zones (which after the fall of Poland, meant German areas east of the Rhine) as a military tactic. This policy was abandoned on 15 May 1940, one day after the Rotterdam Blitz, when the RAF was directed to attack targets in the Ruhr, including oil plants and other civilian industrial targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnaces that at night were self-illuminating. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15/16 May 1940.
When the invasion of Holland took place I was recalled from leave and went on my first operation on 15th May 1940 against mainland Germany. Our target was Dortmund and on the way back we were routed via Rotterdam. The German Air Force had bombed Rotterdam the day before and it was still in flames. I realised then only too well that the phoney war was over and that this was for real. By that time the fire services had extinguished a number of fires, but they were still dotted around the whole city. This was the first time I'd ever seen devastation by fires on this scale. We went right over the southern outskirts of Rotterdam at about 6,000 or 7,000 feet, and you could actually smell the smoke from the fires burning on the ground. I was shocked seeing a city in flames like that. Devastation on a scale I had never experienced.
Now the biggest bank structure in Europe rears its rounded, balloon-hanger bulk out of the bomb made desert. This is the new home of the Rotterdamsche Bank. Behind its grilled windows flows the golden blood of commerce. Half a mile away, the cement spattered wooden forms of a huge, new wholesale mart climb to knobby squares above the flat sands. Wholesalers already do business on the ground floor while fresh concrete flows into the forms two floors higher. Along the waterfront, a couple of miles down the New Meuse (nieuwe Maas) river, cranes lever the bales and boxes of an industrial world in and out of the new warehouses.
Due to the extent of damage from the bombardment and resulting fire, an almost immediate decision was taken to demolish the entire city centre with the exception of the Laurenskerk, the Beurs (trade centre), the Postkantoor (Post Office) and the town hall.Despite the disaster, the city’s destruction was often regarded as the perfect opportunity to redress many of the problems of industrial pre-war Rotterdam, such as crowded, impoverished neighborhoods, and to introduce broad-scale, modernising changes in the urban fabric which had previously been too radical in built-up city. There seemed to be no thought of nostalgically rebuilding the old city, as it would be at the expense of a more modern future.
W.G. Witteveen, director of the Port Authority, was instructed to draw up plans for the reconstruction within four days of the bombing,and had presented his plan to the city council in less than a month. This first plan essentially used most of the old city’s structure and layout, but integrated into a new plan, with widened streets and sidewalks. The largest and most controversial change to the layout was to move the main dike of the city alongside the riverbank, so as to protect the low-lying Waterstad area from flooding. This was met with criticism from the newly formed ‘Inner Circle of Rotterdam Club’, who promoted integrating the city with the Maas River, and claimed the dike would create a marked separation from it. A number of new or previously incomplete projects – such as the Maastunnel and Rotterdamsche bank - were to be completed under Witteveen’s plan, and these kept the Dutch people in work during the German occupation of the city, until all construction was halted. Herman van der Horst’s 1952 documentary ‘Houen zo!’ presents a vision of some of these projects. During this time, Witteveen’s successor Cornelius van Traa drafted a completely new reconstruction plan - the ‘Basisplan voor de Herbouw van de Binnenstad,’ – which was adopted in 1946. Van Traa’s plan was a much more radical rebuild, doing away with the old layout and replacing them with a collection of principles rather than such a rigid structural design. The ‘Basisplan’ placed a high emphasis on broad open spaces and promoted the river’s special integration with the city through two significant elements; the Maas Boulevard, which re-imagined the newly moved dike as an 80m wide tree-lined street; and the "Window to the River,’ a visual corridor running from the harbour to the centre of the city. Both were meant to show the workings of the harbour to the city’s people.
Because reconstruction work began so rapidly after the bombing, by 1950 the city had again retained its reputation as the fastest loading and unloading harbour in the world.
Around the same time, the city centre of Rotterdam had shifted North-West as a result of temporary shopping centres set up on the edge of the devastated city,and new shopping centre projects like the Lijnbaan were expressing the radical new concepts of the ‘Basisplan,’ through low, wide open streets set beside tall slab-like buildings. In fact, Rotterdam’s urban form was comparatively more American than other Dutch cities, based on US plans, with a large collection of high-rise elements and the Maas boulevard and ‘Window to the River’ functioning primarily as conduits for motor vehicles. In later years, Rotterdam architect Kees Christiaanse wrote:
Rotterdam did indeed resemble an American provincial city. You could drive leisurely in a big car through the broad streets and revel in the contrasts between emptiness and density. The Rotterdam police drove around in huge Chevrolets…and the Witte Huis was the first high-rise building in Europe with a Chicago-type of steel skeleton and a ceramics façade.
This larger-scale, ‘wholesale-quantity’ approach was used equally for hospitals and parks (such as Dijkzigt Hospital and Zuider Park) as retail centres,but close attention was still paid to creating human scale, walkable promenades, especially that of the Lijnbaan which presented broad sunny walkways for shoppers and spectators, and tried new retail techniques like open glass walls to blend interior and exterior.
While urban reconstruction can be fraught with complexity and conflict,Rotterdam’s status as a ‘working’ harbour city meant it did not receive the same resistance to rebuilding as a cultural or political centre (like Amsterdam or The Hague) may have. However, there was still significant movement of people away from the city centre during Rotterdam’s reconstruction to purpose-built neighbourhoods such as De Horsten and Hoogvliet, which are now inhabited by mainly lower-income households, where social capital is realised at a much more local, than at a city or neighbourhood scale.
Today, van Traa’s ‘Basisplan’ has been almost completely replaced with newer projects. For example, The Maritime Museum blocks the "Window to the River", and Piet Blom’s Cube Houses create another barrier between the city and river, where in the ‘Basisplan’ there was to be a connection between them.The Euromast tower built in 1960, is a related attempt at creating a visual link between the city and port, seemingly one of the last related to van Traa’s ‘Basisplan’ before later attempts like the ‘Boompjes Boulevard’ in 1991.
The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for 'lightning'.
The Baedeker Blitz or Baedeker raids were a series of attacks by the Luftwaffe on English cities during the Second World War.
The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
Wolfram "Ulf" Karl Ludwig Moritz Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen was a German field marshal of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Born in 1895 into a family of the Prussian nobility, Richthofen grew up in prosperous surroundings. At the age of eighteen, after leaving school, he opted to join the German Army rather than choose an academic career, and joined the army's cavalry arm in 1913.
Despite being neutral, the Netherlands in World War II was invaded by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940, under orders of Adolf Hitler. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch government and the royal family saved themselves by going to London. Princess Juliana and her children moved on to Canada for additional safety.
Strategic bombing during World War II was the sustained aerial attack on railways, harbours, cities, workers' and civilian housing, and industrial districts in enemy territory during World War II. Strategic bombing is a military strategy which is distinct from both close air support of ground forces and tactical air power.
The Siege of Malta in the Second World War was a military campaign in the Mediterranean Theatre. From 1940–42, the fight for the control of the strategically important island of Malta, then a British colony, pitted the air forces and navies of Italy and Germany against the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy.
The Netherlands entered World War II on May 10, 1940, when invading German forces quickly overran them. On December 7, 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Netherlands government in exile also declared war on Japan. Operation Market Garden, which started in 1944, liberated the southern and eastern parts of the country, but full liberation did not come until the surrender of Germany on May 5, 1945.
The Battle of the Netherlands was a military campaign part of Case Yellow, the German invasion of the Low Countries and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until the surrender of the main Dutch forces on 14 May. Dutch troops in the province of Zeeland continued to resist the Wehrmacht until 17 May when Germany completed its occupation of the whole country.
The Defence of the Reich is the name given to the strategic defensive aerial campaign fought by the Luftwaffe over German-occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. Its aim was to prevent the destruction of German civilians, military and civil industries by the Western Allies. The day and night air battles over Germany during the war involved thousands of aircraft, units and aerial engagements to counter the Allied strategic bombing campaign. The campaign was one of the longest in the history of aerial warfare and with the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allied Blockade of Germany was the longest of the war. The Luftwaffe fighter force defended the airspace of German-occupied territory against attack, first by RAF Bomber Command and then against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
Kampfgeschwader 3 "Blitz" was a Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II.
The Battle for The Hague was a battle fought on 10 May 1940 during the German invasion of the Netherlands. German Fallschirmjäger units were dropped in and around The Hague in order to capture Dutch airfields and the city itself.
The Battle of Rotterdam was a Second World War battle fought during the Battle of the Netherlands. Fought between 10–14 May 1940, it was a German attempt to seize the Dutch city. It ended in a German victory, following the Rotterdam Blitz.
Kampfgeschwader 54 "Totenkopf"(German pronunciation: [ kampfɡəʃvaːdɐ fiːɐ ʊntfʏnftsɪç ]) was a Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II. It served on nearly all the fronts in the European Theatre where the German Luftwaffe operated.
During the Second World War the German Luftwaffe was the main support weapon of the German Army (Heer). It fought and supported the Wehrmacht's war effort throughout the six years of conflict and contributed to much of Nazi Germany's early successes in 1939–1942. After the turn in Germany's fortunes, it continued to support the German ground forces until the German surrender in May 1945.
Unternehmen Paula is the German codename given for the Second World War Luftwaffe offensive operation to destroy the remaining units of the Armée de l'Air (ALA), or French Air Force during the Battle of France in 1940. On 10 May the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) began their invasion of Western Europe. By 3 June, the British Army had withdrawn from Dunkirk and the continent in Operation Dynamo, the Netherlands and Belgium had surrendered and most of the formations of the French Army were disbanded or destroyed. To complete the defeat of France, the Germans undertook a second phase operation, Fall Rot, to conquer the remaining regions. In order to do this, air supremacy was required. The Luftwaffe was ordered to destroy the French Air Forces, while still providing support to the German Army.
The Heinkel He 111 was one of the most numerous German bombers of the Second World War. Designed in the mid-1930s, the type persevered until 1945. In Spain, variants of the design saw service until 1973.
'Kampfgeschwader' 27 Boelcke was a Luftwaffe medium bomber wing of World War II.