12 May 1940
  • The United Kingdom began the internment of German civilians. ww2dbase [TH]
  • The first tank battle of the European War took place at Hannut in central Belgium between the German 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions and two French armored divisions; French S35 and H35 tanks overwhelmed their German counterparts, destroying large numbers of Panzer I and II tanks. In the air over Belgium, five Fairey Battle aircraft of No. 12 Squadron RAF flown by volunteer crews attacked the vital road bridges over the Albert Canal in the face of extremely heavy ground fire; the attack was pressed home with considerable gallantry and one bridge was seriously damaged, but at the cost of all five aircraft. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | CPC, AC]
  • Adolf Galland achieved his first three victories near Liège, Beligum. ww2dbase [Adolf Galland | Liège | AC]
  • German armored columns pushed out of the Ardennes region and into France, preparing to cross the Meuse River at Sedan, Monthermé, and Dinant. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | CPC]
  • In the Netherlands, German 9th Panzer Division reached Moerdijk bridges 10 miles south of Rotterdam, relieving the paratroopers who had been holding the bridges since 10 May. After evaluating the situation, Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard departed for Harwich, England, United Kingdom aboard HMS Codrington. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • Winston Churchill appointed the newly created Viscount Simon (former Sir John Simon) to the post of Lord High Chancellor, the Chief Law Officer to the Government, succeeding the Viscount Caldecote. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | AC]
  • In Britain, about 2,000 people were rounded on the direction of British Home Secretary Sir John Anderson, on the recommendation by Sir John Dill, Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff, that, on military grounds, adult male aliens along the coast in the south east and east of England should be immediately interned for the duration. ww2dbase [England | AC]
Photo(s) dated 12 May 1940
A Dutch family amidst a devastated town after the German invasion, May 1940German SdKfz. 10/4 half-track vehicles with 2-cm flak guns driving through the village of Gourgançon, Marne, France, May 1940German Army SdKfz. 232 vehicle in the Ardennes Forest, France, May 1940; still from US War Department film British and French prisoners of war in Belgium, May 1940

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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