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Battle of Fort Ében-Émael

€29,00 EUR


The Battle of Fort Ében-Émael was a significant military engagement during the early stages of World War II. It took place on May 10, 1940, during the German invasion of Belgium. The battle is notable for its demonstration of innovative airborne assault tactics and the use of glider-borne troops.

Context and Background

  • Location: Fort Ében-Émael, situated in eastern Belgium near the Albert Canal.
  • Strategic Importance: The fort was a key component of the Belgian defense line, designed to protect the country from invasion by controlling the Albert Canal and the surrounding bridges.

The Assault

  • German Forces: The German plan, codenamed "Operation Granit," involved a surprise attack by a special airborne unit of the German Wehrmacht's 7th Flieger Division, known as Sturmabteilung Koch.
  • Method: The Germans used gliders to silently land on the fort's roof, avoiding detection. This was one of the first uses of gliders in combat.
  • Weapons and Tactics: The assault team was equipped with cutting-edge weapons, including shaped charges capable of breaching the fort's defenses.

Course of the Battle

  • Initial Attack: The German troops landed on the fort's roof early in the morning and quickly incapacitated key defensive positions with explosives.
  • Surprise and Speed: The Belgian defenders were taken by surprise, and despite their strong fortifications, they were unable to effectively respond to the rapid German assault.
  • Outcome: Within 24 hours, the German forces had neutralized the fort, allowing the German army to advance into Belgium.

Aftermath and Significance

  • Impact on Belgian Defense: The fall of Fort Ében-Émael was a significant blow to Belgian morale and defense, leading to the rapid German advance through Belgium and into France.
  • Tactical Innovation: The successful use of gliders and airborne troops demonstrated the effectiveness of these tactics, influencing future military operations.

The Battle of Fort Ében-Émael is often studied in military history for its innovative approach and the effective use of surprise and speed in overcoming a seemingly impregnable fortification.