Battle for Eben-Emael, Part 2 The Lightning Assault & Battle

KB0147

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 is the second DVD, covering the assault and victory. Reviews

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NAME: Battle for Eben-Emael, Part 2 The Lightning Assault & Battle
CLASSIFICATION: Video, DVD, reviews
FILE: K0147
DATE: 250612
PRESENTER(S):
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Digital
MEDIA: DVD
FORMAT: Dual layer
RUNTIME: 58 minutes
PLAYERS: Personal Computer, Mac Computer, DVD Player
INTERNET: Optional
PRICE:
GENRE: Non-Fiction
SUBJECT: Airborne assault, paratroops, gliders, infantry, WWII, Second World War, technology, armoured columns, World War Two, 1939-1945, 1940
ISBN:
IMAGE: KB0147
VIDEO:
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/blaorp8
LINKS:
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 is the second DVD, covering the assault and victory. As with other DVDs from the same production company, the main presentation is augmented with bonus galleries and bonus films. The strength of the series is that it uses original German wartime footage. 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 the first video the conceptual weakness is shown. This second DVD completes the story by showing how the defenders responded. 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 strategy to the potential enemy and locked 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. To these inherent weaknesses, was added the actual response to unexpected attack. Belgium could hardly claim that the German invasion of their neutrality was unexpected because it had happened in the past. Therefore, all forces should have been at a high level of readiness and the commanders should have prepared for all eventualities, including a German parachute or glider assault. It is clear that the defenders had withdrawn into the comfort of their fortifications and no effort had been made to locate patrols on the land above the fort, or to erect disruptive defences to hinder the safe landing of a glider. The use of poles and wires as anti glider defences would have been simple, low cost, effective, and not blocked the fields of fire from the gun emplacements. As it was, the German gliders had clear areas to land in and their troops were able to approach the fortifications and use shaped charges to blast a way into the bunker network. The Belgian troops were disorientated and failed to mount a successful defence, surrendering to a handful of lightly armed airborne troops.

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