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Fall Gelb 1940 (1)

Fall Gelb 1940 (1) Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review April 2015 Title Fall Gelb 1940 (1)
Author Doug Dildy Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781782006442
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $21.95


In a stunning six-week campaign, Hitler shocked the world by crushing the powerful French Army in 1940.

Germany's offensive – Fall Gelb, "Operation Yellow" – comprised two phases. A northern thrust – mirroring the Kaiser's 1914 plan – initially drove through Belgium and Holland.

As Allied armies streamed northward in response, a southern hook – traversing the putatively impassable Ardennes – then shot west, driving toward the coast and enveloping main French and British formations.

Osprey charts Heeresgruppe A's three Panzer corps through the thick, hilly forest and across the Meuse to victory in Fall Gelb 1940 (1): Panzer Breakthrough in the West – first of two volumes on the western Nazi Blitzkrieg.

Number 264 in the publisher's "Campaign" series, the slim study follows Osprey's familiar format.

Contents commence with Fall Gelb's origins and chronology. Coverage then segues to opposing commanders, plans and forces. The study then recaps all key actions. And "aftermath" and "battlefield today" sections complete the chronicle.

Wehrmacht leadership brilliantly leveraged tactical surprise, flexibility, speed and maneuver in executing their strategic goals.

With powerful air support, massed German armored thrusts and motorized infantry deeply penetrated Allied rear areas – paralyzing enemy command & control, disrupting supply and response, and sowing panic and chaos.

French leadership, by contrast, proved strategically rigid, stolid and myopic. Obtuse adherence to archaic tactics and previous preparations produced paralysis and confusion in the ranks – magnifying the success of Germany's brash, lithe strategy.

German tactics, moreover, negated any French and British equipment advantages. Coordinated, combined-arms attacks – air, armor and infantry – decimated defenders with overwhelming concentrations of firepower and forces – Schwerpunkte.

Photos, extended captions and maps season this superb study.  Action paintings by Peter Dennis capture the combat. And a glossary, selected bibliography and index conclude contents. I just wish Dildy included annotations.

Interested in Germany's lightning conquest of France? Make this handy handbook your launchpad to further study.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!