[38] From 1943, the Allies began targeting sites in urban areas. Several Belgian counterattacks were repulsed, among them an attack by the 1st Light Chasseurs Ardennais Division. Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily the primary operator. The ring of the Yser also dramatically shorted the Belgian Army's area of operations. Another plan for further offensives was suggested. [31] The German occupying authority used Belgium's reliance on food imports as a bargaining tool. [1], As political tensions escalated in the years leading to World War II, the Belgian government again announced its intention to remain neutral in the event of war in Europe. [34][36], After the completion of the Belgian Army's mobilisation, it could muster five Regular Corps and two reserve Army Corps consisting of 12 regular infantry divisions, two divisions of Chasseurs Ardennais, six reserve infantry divisions, one brigade of Cyclist Frontier Guards, one Cavalry Corps of two divisions, and one brigade of motorised cavalry. Nevertheless, the French, setting up new anti-tank screens and Hoepner, lacking infantry support, caused the Germans to attack positions head-on. [6], The French were infuriated at King Leopold III's open declaration of neutrality in October 1936. World War passed through Belgium en route to Paris once more - this time, the country's fortunes turned out much worse than before. [60] Most had been reservists, rather than professional soldiers, before the outbreak of war and their detention created a large labour shortage in civilian occupations. [120], Churchill and Maxime Weygand, who had taken over command from Gamelin, were still determined to break the German line and extricate their forces to the south. [90], Before the war, several Fascist movements had existed in Flanders. The Battle of Belgium and the defense of the Channel ports (May 10–June 4, 1940). French tanks did not possess radios and often the commanders had to dismount to issue orders. [56] A full state of alert was instigated at 01:30 am. In total, 40,690 Belgians, over half of them Jews, were killed during the occupation, and the country's pre-war gross domestic product (GDP) was reduced by eight percent. By that time, the Royal Navy had already withdrawn 28,000 British non-fighting troops. [95] The Germans also encouraged the formation of independent Flemish paramilitary organisations, such as the Vlaamse Wacht ("Flemish Guard"), founded in May 1941, which they hoped would eventually be able to act as a garrison in the region, freeing German troops for the front. [97] DeVlag was closely affiliated to the paramilitary Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen ("General-SS Flanders"), which was stationed in Belgium itself and involved in the so-called Antwerp Pogrom of 1941. [82] Over Belgium and France, the day was disastrous for the British: 27 Hurricanes were shot down. The casualty reports include total losses at this point in the campaign. [30] Failure to capture the bridges would leave Reichenau's German 6th Army, the southernmost army of Group B, trapped in the Maastricht-Albert Canal enclave and subjected to the fire of Eben-Emael. Belgian civilians living near possible targets such as railway junctions were in danger of Allied aerial bombing. [130] Despite this, Gort and to a greater extent Pownall, showed anger at the Belgian King's decision to surrender on 28 May, considering it to undercut the war effort. Both Gort and his Chief of Staff, General Henry Pownall, accepted that their withdrawal would mean the destruction of the French 1st Army, and they would be blamed for it. 1. to go through Switz. RAF losses throughout the entire campaign (10 May – 22 June) amounted to 931 aircraft and 1,526 casualties. The pursuit created severe problems for the French artillery. [58], The Luftwaffe was to spearhead the aerial battle in the low countries. This battle was a result of a breakdown in communications and ran contrary to the operational intentions of the Belgian Army. The situation for the Belgian divisions was either to withdraw or be encircled. The French had disabled 160 German tanks. Paris, … Preventing this from happening were the defences of Fort Eben-Emael and the Albert Canal. (S)./Lehrgeschwader 2 (LG 2) which assisted in the capture of the bridges at Vroenhoven and Veldwezelt in the immediate area. [57] At the beginning of the scheme, Belgian firms were obliged to select 10 percent of their work force, but from 1943 workers were conscripted by age class. The Luftwaffe had destroyed most of the rail networks to Dunkirk, just three roads were left: Bruges–Torhout–Dixmude, Bruges–Ghistelles–Nieuport and Bruges–Ostend–Nieuport.