This DVD is an introduction that covers the formation of the German parachute troops and their training for this critical action in 1940. Their achievements inspired the Allies to form similar units and to use them on a wider scale in 1944 to assist and support the amphibious landings in Normandy.
NAME: Battle for Eben Emael, Part 1 Planning & Preparation
CLASSIFICATION: Video, DVD, reviews
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Digital
FORMAT: Dual layer
RUNTIME: 58 minutes
PLAYERS: Personal Computer, Mac Computer, DVD Player
SUBJECT: Airborne assault, paratroops, gliders, infantry, WWII, Second World War, technology, armoured columns, World War Two, 1939-1945, 1940
DESCRIPTION: This is another German production and makes use of wartime archive film much of which has not previously been seen since 1945. The airborne assault on the fortifications of Eban Emael is one of the great actions of special forces during WWII. A handful of lightly armed paratroopers and glider troops over came a force many times their number and fortifications that were designed to halt armies. This DVD is an introduction that covers the formation of the German parachute troops and their training for this critical action in 1940. Their achievements inspired the Allies to form similar units and to use them on a wider scale in 1944 to assist and support the amphibious landings in Normandy. As with other DVDs from the same production company, the main presentation is augmented with a bonus gallery. The German parachute forces operated as a component of the Luftwaffe, but as this DVD shows, they were assembled from the German Army and the SA which was an integral part of the Nazi Party. Although this action demonstrated the value of highly trained airborne assault troops, it also demonstrates the weakness of bunker networks. The second DVD demonstrates this even more strongly because it shows the actions of the Belgian defenders. In this first video the conceptual weakness is shown. The French had been so affected by the conditions and losses of trench warfare during the 1914-1918 War that they decided to build the Maginot Line to extend from the Swiss border to the Channel Coast. In the event, this line stopped short, leaving a gap that was expected to be filled by Belgian neutrality and, if that neutrality was again broken by Germany, the Belgian fortifications that covered the major river crossings in Belgium. Both the French and Belgian fortifications suffered the bunker mentality. Politicians used the fortifications as an excuse to reduce the size of the Armies and the generals began to believe the myth of the supremacy of fixed defences. This overlooked the lessons of history that fixed defences signal a defence strategy to the potential enemy and lock a significant part of the defending forces into a known location. The enemy is then free to decide whether to begin a siege campaign, or look for a way of advancing around the fixed defences that are then forced to capitulate because a successful invasion has been mounted, ignoring them completely. In this case, the attacker inserted troops vertically into a defensive system that was expecting a frontal assault.