History of the 2nd and 3rd Light Mechanical Divisions that constituted the cavalry corps of General Prioux, engaged between Hannut and Gembloux between 10 and 15 May 1940, against the XVI. Armee-Korps (word.) of General Hoepner (3. and 4. Panzer-Divisionen).
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Availability date: 11/06/2017
|Date of publication||November 2017|
|Format||215 x 305 mm|
|Shaping||Hardcover, cardboard cover|
|Diverse||460 photos, most of them unpublished – 26 cards – 10 color profiles|
|Editor||Arès - Toul|
On May 10, 1940, after several months of waiting, the German army invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Twenty years after the last world war, the French and German armies will clash again.
Since Hitler came to power, the French army has been preparing for this moment, just like its opponent, by developing a series of modern equipment used in the composition of armored divisions. Thus, the light mechanical division is roughly equivalent to the German spearhead, the Panzer-Division.
If the armored weapon made its appearance at the end of the last conflict, there has not yet been a large-scale tank-to-tank engagement. The campaign of May-June 1940 will be the witness of the first tank battle in history. This took place in the Belgian plains of Hesbaye from 12 to 14 May, between the fully motorized units of the XVI. Armee-Korps (word.) of General Hoepner (3. and 4. Panzer-Divisionen) and those of the Prioux Cavalry Corps, consisting mainly of the 2nd and 3rd Light Mechanical Divisions, confirming the advent of the armored weapon as a fundamental element of modern warfare.
During this battle more than 1,300 tanks and armoured cars and 50,000 men will meet face to face, the sixth of the armored forces of two belligerents. By the means used, this battle will have no other equivalent during the rest of the 1940 campaign. Yet this episode of the Second World War has been little studied. It is this research work carried out for more than 15 years by the author, that we invite you to discover.
The 2nd and 3rd DLM will therefore be at the center of this study. We will not return to the genesis of the mechanical light division, in order to get to the heart of the matter, a little before the mobilization. The engagements of this first tank battle are detailed as much as possible, with the sources at our disposal, allowing us to put in front of several French and German testimonies, offering us the vision of the two belligerents.