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10 May 1940
  • Germany invaded the Allied nation of France and the neutral Low Countries. In France, Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed many French aircraft on the ground. German tanks crossed into neutral Luxembourg with relative ease, reaching the edge of the Ardennes Forest; the royal family of Luxembourg was evacuated to the south. In the Netherlands, German paratroopers quickly secured key bridges and airfields around Rotterdam and the Hague, but the plan to land troops at the Ypenburg airfield to capture the Dutch political leaders was foiled when Dutch fighters shot down 18 German Ju 52 transport planes; German tanks penetrated more than 10 miles into the Dutch border by the end of the day. In Belgium, 10 gliders landed 78 German airborne soldiers atop Fort Ebel Emael at the crossings of the Albert Canal and the River Meusse, pinning down the 700 Belgian defenders. British and French leaders enacted the Dyle Plan in response to the invasion, moving troops toward the Dyle River in Belgium where they were to form a defensive line. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had decided overnight to resign from this post, but the news of the German invasion of France and the Low Countries gave him second thoughts. Nevertheless, he decided to continue his plan to resign. Later in the day, Winston Churchill was asked to assume the post left vacant by Chamberlain. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | TH]
  • US Secretary of State Hull reiterated that the United States would not stand for any country establishing a protectorate over the Dutch East Indies; in response, the Japanese Foreign Minister indicated Japan's desire to maintain the political and economic status quo in the Pacific region. ww2dbase [Cordell Hull | CPC]
  • General Bernard Montgomery's forward units arrived, just after dark, to take up their designated positions on the eastern approaches to Brussels. They were were fired upon by Belgian soldiers who took them for German infiltrators. ww2dbase [Bernard Montgomery | AC]
  • Belgian forces seized Latvian steam cargo ship Sigurd Faulbaums of the Max Faulbaum Steamship Line at Bruges, Belgium. ww2dbase [Bruges, Vlaams | CPC]
France Netherlands
  • Fairey Battle light bombers of No. 12 Squadron RAF attacked the Maastricht bridges in the Netherlands with disastrous results. Flying Officer D. E. Garland and Sergeant T. Gray were killed, but each man's bravery whilst under extreme fire was recognised by a posthumous Victoria Cross. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | Maastricht, Limburg | AC]
United Kingdom
  • RAF Kirton in Lindsey was officially opened as the Fighter Command base responsible for the air defence of the Humber area in northern England, United Kingdom. It had its satellites Coleby Grange, south of Lincoln, and Hibaldstow, just three miles away. No. 222 Squadron, whose pilots included the legendary Douglas Bader, were moved north with their Spitfire fighters from Duxford and were joined by the Hurricane fighters of No. 253 Squadron from Kenley. Bader was later to recall his time at Kirton as the period of "fun" for the squadron. ww2dbase [Lincoln, England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 10 May 1940
German troops with a camouflaged 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun in Belgium, May 1940German vehicles and troops in Maastricht, the Netherlands, 10 May 1940

10 May 1940 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944

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