Events occurring on Friday, May 10, 1940  
  Fall Gelb - The German Invasion of Western Europe  
  Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), the invasion of Western Europe, began as 76 German divisions cross a 175-mile front into Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. German forces completely overrun Luxembourg and captured Maastrich in the Netherlands.  
  The governments of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg declared a state of war with Germany.  
  German paratroopers begin the assault on Belgian fort Eben Emael.  
  British and French troops enter Belgium to counter the German attack.  
  The Luftwaffe flew more than 1,000 bombing sorties in support of offensive operations.  
  Thirty-three RAF Bristol Blenheim light bombers attacked German forces in Holland, losing 3 aircraft in the process. Later that day, 32 Fairey Battle light bomber attempted to attack German columns advancing through Luxembourg. 13 bombers were lost to anti-aircraft fire and 10 were shot down by Luftwaffe fighters. During the night, Whitley medium bombers attacked enemy communications in the RAF's first attack on mainland Germany.  
  Events in the United Kingdom  
  Taking into account the weak results of the no confidence vote of May 8, 1940 Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned.  
  King George VI summoned Winston S. Churchill to Buckingham Palace in London and asked him to form a new government. Churchill quickly formed a new coalition. Clement Attlee was made Lord Privy Seal, Arthur Greenwood was made a Minister Without-Portfolio, Anthony Eden was made Secretary of State for War, and Sir Archibald Sinclair was made Air Secretary.  
  The Battle of the Atlantic  
  Four British warships carrying a force of about 800 Royal Marines landed in Reykjavik. The Marines arrested German citizens and sympathizers and closed down the German embassy as they set up defensive positions around the harbor. The Icelandic government issued a formal protest to Britain about the invasion but, facing the inevitable, also issued a plea to the citizens of Iceland to treat the British invaders as "guests." This operation was not a response to the German invasion of Western Europe. Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the British Admiralty, feared that Germany would seize Iceland to make it a mid-Atlantic fortress and air base to cut off Britain's sea lane supply routes to North America. To prevent such a disastrous event, Churchill put into motion the invasion plans that happened to coincide with the start of “Fall Gelb.”  
  German Commerce Raiders  
  Over a period of four and a half hours in the evening the German commerce raider Atlantis laid ninety-two horned magnetic contact mines off Cape Agulhas (the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans) in South Africa, to disrupt the Allied shipping lanes around the Cape. The mines were laid in a way to suggest that a U-boat has laid them. The minefield was successful, but the deception was foiled and the ship's presence revealed several days later by a German propaganda broadcast boasting that "a minefield, sown by a German raider" had sunk no fewer than eight merchant ships, three more were overdue, three minesweepers were involved, and the Royal Navy was not capable of finding "a solitary raider" operating in "its own back yard."  
  The Netherlands East Indies in WW2  
  Jonkheer van Starkenborgh, colonial Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies, declared martial law in the Dutch East Indies, ordering 19 German cargo ships to be seized and all German nationals to be interned pending the liberation of the Netherlands.  
  The Pacific Before Pearl Harbor  
  U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull reiterated that the United States would not stand for any country establishing a protectorate over the Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese Foreign Minister indicated his country's desire to maintain the political and economic status quo in that region.  
  The Caribbean in WW2  
  180 French marines arrived on Aruba to assist the local military defend the Lago oil refinery at San Nicolas.  
  Ships Commissioned  
  A ship's commissioning was when the ship was handed over, post fittings and trials, to the end user which, in this case, was a combatant navy.  
  The Dutch submarine HNLMS O-21 (P 21) was commissioned. Her first commander was Lt. Commander Johannes F. van Dulm.  
  The Dutch submarine HNLMS O-22 was commissioned. Her first commander was Lt. Commander Albertus M. Valkenburg.  
  May 1940 Calendar  
  Previous Day Following Day  

The objective of is to provide a day by day account of the events that lead up to and were part of the greatest conflict known to mankind. There are accounts for the activities of each particular day and timelines for subjects and personalities. It is the of this website intent to provide an unbiased account of the war. Analysis, effects caused by an event, or prior or subsequent pertinent events are presented separately and indicated as text that is italicized.

  Copyright 2011
Contact us using our email page