|Birth name||Henri Gerard Winkelman|
|Born||17 August 1876|
|Died||27 December 1952 76) (aged|
|Service/|| Royal Netherlands Army |
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army
|Years of service||1892–1934 |
|Commands held||Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the Netherlands|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Military William Order |
(Knight 4th Class)
Order of the Netherlands Lion
(Knight Grand Cross)
Mobilization War Cross
|Spouse(s)||Arendina Jacomina Coert |
(m. 1902–1952; his death)
Henri Gerard Winkelman (17 August 1876 – 27 December 1952) was a Dutch military officer who served as Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the Netherlands during the German invasion of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.
The Armed forces of the Netherlands consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Winkelman was born in Maastricht as the son of Julius Hendrik Winkelman and Charlotte Henriëtte Braams. After he completed his secondary education he attended the Royal Military Academy (KMA) in Breda. His goal was to become an officer in the KNIL, the Dutch colonial army for the Dutch East Indies. During his training he adjusted his goal and became an infantry officer. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1896. He married Arendin Jacomina Coert in 1902 who would give birth to two sons and two daughters. Having completed his military education, he began to climb up the ranks of the Dutch army. In 1913 he was promoted to Captain, in 1923 he became a Major and in 1931 he was given the rank of Major General and became the commander of the Dutch 4th division. In 1934 he became a Lieutenant General, but left the military shortly thereafter. Winkelman had been running for the position of Chief of Staff of the Dutch Army, but had lost out to General Reijnders. Winkelman then decided to retire and was granted an honorary discharge. As a retired officer, he remained active in a number of ways, mostly by giving advice.
Maastricht is a city and a municipality in the southeast of the Netherlands. It is the capital and largest city of the province of Limburg. Maastricht is located on both sides of the Meuse, at the point where the Jeker joins it. It is adjacent to the border with Belgium.
The Royal Military Academy is the service academy for the Dutch Army, the Dutch Air Force, and the Royal Marechaussee. Located in Breda, the Netherlands, the KMA has trained future officers since 1828.
Breda is a city and municipality in the southern part of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Brabant. The name derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa.
The Dutch mobilised their armed forces on 28 August 1939, four days before Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. Chief of Staff, General Reijnders, was appointed as Supreme Commander of the Dutch forces, but it was clear from the outset that his personal and professional relationship with Defence secretary, Adriaan Dijxhoorn, left a lot to be desired, ultimately leading to Reijnders' (honorary) discharge on 5 February 1940. After a brief meeting of the Dutch cabinet General Winkelman was summoned to The Hague (the seat of the Dutch government) and was offered to become the new Dutch commander. He accepted the job the following day.
Adriaan Quirinus Hendrik Dijxhoorn was a Dutch soldier who served as Minister of Defence during the Battle of the Netherlands. Following the outbreak of the Second World War he was appointed Minister of Defence in August 1939 as part of the second De Geer Cabinet. Dijxhoorn clashed with the Supreme Commander of the Dutch Army, General Izaak H. Reijnders, over strategy, leading to Reijnders' resignation and replacement with General Henri Winkelman. Together with Queen Wilhelmina and the rest of the cabinet he left for London and continued as Minister of Defence in the Dutch government-in-exile until his resignation in June 1941.
The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.
Winkelman was well aware of his army's limitations. He had 280,000 men at his disposal; not enough to defend the entire country. The Dutch army possessed no tanks. There was a lack of field artillery and anti-aircraft guns. Winkelman was convinced that the Dutch army was incapable of a modern, "mobile" defence. Instead, he decided to keep things simple: the Dutch would only defend "Fortress Holland" (the Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland and Utrecht provinces, roughly the area now referred to as the Randstad), using traditional, static defence lines and fortified fixed positions. Winkelman did not have the illusion that the Dutch could push Hitler's armies back into Germany. Instead, the Dutch forces should simply slow the Germans down, win time and keep Fortress Holland in Dutch hands long enough to enable the Allies to join them.
The Randstad is a megalopolis in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Port of Rotterdam, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With a population of 8.2 million people it is one of the largest metropolitan regions in Europe, comparable in population size to the Milan metropolitan area or the San Francisco Bay Area, and covers an area of approximately 8,287 km2 (3,200 sq mi). With a population density of 1,500/km2 it also is one of the most important and densely populated economic areas in northwestern Europe. It encompasses both the Amsterdam metropolitan area and Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area.
In practice, the three northern provinces (Drenthe, Groningen and Friesland) would remain largely undefended. State-of-the-art fortifications at the east end of the Afsluitdijk (the long dike connecting the Friesland and Noord-Holland provinces) were expected to stop the German invasion and prevent the Germans from threatening Fortress Holland from the north. In the east of the country, the first line of resistance ran along the IJssel and Maas rivers. The main Dutch defence line, however, was in the very heart of the country and called the Grebbe Line, to be defended by the entire 2nd and 4th Army Corps. The Grebbe Line was to be defended until the bitter end, as the eastern front of Fortress Holland (the New Dutch Water Line, once the pride of the Dutch defence system) was deemed obsolete and too close to major cities such as Utrecht and Amsterdam.
The Hollandse IJssel is a branch of the Rhine delta that flows westward from Nieuwegein on river Lek through IJsselstein, Gouda and Capelle aan den IJssel to Krimpen aan den IJssel, where it ends in the Nieuwe Maas. Another branch called Enge IJssel flows southwest from Nieuwegein. The name IJssel is thought to derive from the Germanic i sala, meaning "dark water". Originally, the Hollandse IJssel forked off from river Lek at Nieuwegein, but the connection was cut off with the Hollandse IJssel nowadays only draining the surrounding pastures.
The inevitable German invasion started on 10 May 1940 at 3:55 a.m. local time. Hitler's bold plan to drop paratroopers around The Hague, push into the city and capture the Dutch government, the Royal Family and the Supreme Army Command to force the Netherlands to its knees within 24 hours, ended in failure. In the east, the Germans crossed the Dutch borders with relative ease, but were halted near the main Dutch defences: the Grebbe Line and the Afsluitdijk fortifications. After one day of war, General Winkelman was relatively satisfied about the way his troops had reacted to the first German push. The only area where the situation was already critical was in the south: paratroopers had secured the Moerdijk bridges, south of Rotterdam and Dordrecht. Meanwhile, strong German infantry (supported by the 9th Panzer Division) had smashed through the so-called Peel-Raam Stelling and now marched rapidly through the southern province of Noord-Brabant, threatening to establish contact with the bridge head at Moerdijk and to enter Fortress Holland from the south, effectively isolating the Netherlands from Belgium and France. An attempt, supported by French units, to re-conquer the Moerdijk bridges failed on 11 May. Attempts to win lost ground back in the Grebbe Line were also unsuccessful.
On 13 May, after the departure of Queen Wilhelmina to London, and with most ministers in Hoek van Holland ready to depart, minister Max Steenberghe, on his own initiative, but in name of the queen and cabinet, granted the powers of government within the European part of the Netherlands to Winkelman, and requested that the permanent secretaries follow his directions. This was later informally confirmed by the cabinet and afterwards by the queen.
Wilhelmina was Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 until her abdication in 1948.
Maximilien Paul Léon "Max" Steenberghe was a Dutch politician of the defunct Roman Catholic State Party (RKSP), later formed to the Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
The Grebbe Line fell in the evening of 13 May after a ferocious battle of three days. Meanwhile, the 9th Panzer Division had reached the Moerdijk bridges, breaching "Fortress Holland" and reaching Rotterdam, occupying the south bank of the river Meuse. The situation had now become strategically hopeless, but the north river bank was still in Dutch hands. Dutch machine guns made it impossible for the Germans to cross the Meuse bridges as Dutch marines put up fierce resistance in the streets of Rotterdam, much to the annoyance of Adolf Hitler, who expected to have occupied the Netherlands by now. On 14 May, he ordered that Dutch resistance be crushed at once. The bombing of Rotterdam followed and with, the Germans threatening to give major Dutch city Utrecht the same treatment, General Winkelman was forced to surrender in the evening of 14 May. The capitulation was made official the next day in the village of Rijsoord.
After he had signed the Dutch surrender, General Winkelman refused to officially declare that he would not resist the German forces in the Netherlands in any way. He was therefore interned on 2 July 1940 and remained a prisoner of war for the remainder of the occupation. He was honorably discharged from the Dutch army after the war on 1 October 1945 and given the Military William Order, the oldest and highest military decoration in the Netherlands. His statue can still be seen in front of the elementary school in Rijsoord, where he signed the capitulation on 15 May 1940. An army base in Nunspeet was named after him. The name was transferred to another base (at Harskamp) as of 15 May 2007, after the former closed down. General Henri Winkelman died peacefully at his home on 27 December 1952.
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 the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened; this included the beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.
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.
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 Dutch Water Line was a series of water-based defences conceived by Maurice of Nassau in the early 17th century, and realised by his half brother Frederick Henry. Combined with natural bodies of water, the Water Line could be used to transform Holland almost into an island. In the 19th century, the Line was extended to include Utrecht.
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.
Jan Joseph Godfried, Baron van Voorst tot Voorst Jr. was the second highest officer in command of the Dutch armed forces during World War II and a renowned strategist, who wrote numerous articles and books on modern warfare.
The Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II can be mainly characterized as non-violent, and was organized by the Communist Party, churches, and independent groups. A peak of over 300,000 people were hidden from German authorities in the autumn of 1944, tended to by some 60,000 to 200,000 illegal landlords and caretakers, and tolerated knowingly by some one million people, including a few incidental individuals among German occupiers and military.
The Grebbe Line was a forward defence line of the Dutch Water Line, based on inundation. The Grebbe Line ran from the Grebbeberg in Rhenen northwards until the IJsselmeer.
Rijsoord is a village in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is located about 10 km southeast of the city of Rotterdam, in the municipality of Ridderkerk.
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 the Afsluitdijk of 12–14 May 1940 was an unsuccessful attempt by German Wehrmacht forces to seize the Afsluitdijk during the invasion of the Netherlands. German invasion plans called for a simultaneous attack on Vesting Holland from multiple directions, expecting to capture the country's capital and most important region in a day's time.
Christianus Franciscus Johannes Boers was a captain in the Royal Netherlands Army during World War II who scored one of the few Allied victories during the German invasion of the Netherlands, by rallying his men in holding off and pushing back the German attackers during the Battle of the Afsluitdijk, fought from 12 to 14 May 1940.
The Battle of the Grebbeberg was a major engagement during the Battle of the Netherlands, which was a part of the World War II Operation Fall Gelb in 1940.
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.
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.
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| Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the Netherlands |
Title next held byPrince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld