Compiled in part from captured documentaries this film recalls the German invasion of Belgium May 10 1940, which preceded the collapse of France and the British withdrawal from Dunkirk.
LV German bombers.
LV PAN..Building hit by bomb pan to street.
SV Woman with children runs for shelter.
LV People in street.
LV German bombers.
LV Bomb explodes on houses, blast blows rubble along street.
CU PAN..Burning wreckage
SV Burning roof of house.
SCU Window of restaurant blown out, interior ablaze.
ANGLE V..into bombed building.
LV Blazing church roof.
LV Blazing steeple falls.
LV Burning houses.
GV Bombed hospital.
LV PAN..bodies outside hospital pan up to sign "Hospica Douillet"
SCU PAN..bodies on hospital steps.
LV Refugees shelter in building.
CU Old woman wearing shawl.
CU PAN..two young children.
SV PAN..old man dying pan to priest.
LV Refugees start to move out of town.
SCU Refugees pass woman who stands against house crying.
STV PAN..British tank moves forward through street.
LV British military vehicles along street.
SV PAN..Bren carriers ditto.
LV Refugees stream into countryside.
SV PAN..Farm carts laden with belongings.
LV Refugees with belongings on prams and bicycles.
SCU Two young children in pram.
TGV Refugees along road.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Compiled in part from captured documentaries this film recalls the German invasion of Belgium May 10 1940, which preceded the collapse of France and the British withdrawal from Dunkirk. It shows wide-scale bombing, used for the first time in the Low Countries, and mechanised units which were to become the major feature of modern warfare after their use by the Germans in this campaign.
Nazi troops invaded Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg simultaneously, relying on the same tactics - armoured Panzers supported by motorized infantry, paratroops, glider-borne infantry and the assistance of sympathisers to dislocate Belgian efforts.
In Belgium, the story of devastation repeated itself. To the memories of wanton destruction of Louvain and Malines in World War One were added new incidents as frightful. Refugees - fleeing along the roads with their pitiful belongings, salvaged from devastated villages and towns - made all to easy prey for dive-bombers. As the Germans advanced, driving all before them, Allied forces moving north to counter-attack hampered by terrorized masses moving southwards.
The Allied advance, though pre-prepared, was badly conceived. Forces were committed piecemeal without adequate reserves. By May 17th the Germans were in Brussels, and the Belgian Government had withdrawn to the port of Ostead. The position seemed very critical but not hopeless; if a semblance of order was maintained it should be possible to establish a new line along one of the rivers that had seen fighting in 1914-1918, the Somme or Marne. But disaster struck. The French Ninth Army had been withdrawn from a vital hinge position between the impenetrable Maginot Line and main Belgian forces, to bolster the Northern front. It was expected that a crack Belgian corps would suffice to mask Nazi probes in this region: however, the Germans found the weak link and hurled in masses of troops near Sedan. They had broken into France, and the gap could not be plugged. When the Germans reached the English Channel near Abbeville one million Allied troops were trapped in the Belgian pocket. On May 28 King Leopold of the Belgians ordered his troops to capitulate. By June 1 the Dunkirk beaches had been cleared. On June 22 France accepted German surrender terms. Free Belgians, Dutch and French would continue the fight, but their homelands were enslaved.