Fall Gelb

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fall Gelb


(Case Yellow), the code name of fascist Germany’s plan for blitzkrieg in France in 1940. It was first worked out in October 1939, after the completion of the German-Polish War of 1939. Its main points were set forth in Hitler’s directives (No. 6 of Oct. 9, No. 7 of Oct. 18, and No. 8 of Nov. 20, 1939). The final version was reflected in the Feb. 24, 1940, directive of the High Command of the ground forces.

Fall Gelb provided for an offensive of the main forces of the fascist German troops (two army groups, composed of five armies, and panzer groups with the support of two air forces) along a front from the North Sea to the southern borders of Luxembourg through the territories of the neutral states of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The direction of the main thrust was to be south of Liège-Charleroi. The plan included forcing the Meuse River at Dinant and Sedan, subsequently advancing the main groupings to the lower reaches of the Somme River, routing the Anglo-French troops, and successfully completing the war in the West. The offensive was planned to start on Nov. 12, 1939, but then the timetables of the offensive were postponed 29 times. To carry out the plan the German command by May 10, 1940, deployed an army grouping composed of three army groups (A, B, and C) supported by two air forces (the Second and the Third). These grouping totaled 135.5 divisions including ten panzer and six motorized divisions, 2,580 tanks, and 3,834 aircraft. Fall Gelb was carried out in the course of the French campaign of 1940.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The operation was designated "Fall Gelb," literally "Case Yellow"; in American lexicon it would be termed "Operation Yellow." The Schwerpunkt, i.e., the concentrated mass of the attack, aimed at the Belgian city of Liege, from here it would divide, one arm sweeping north to encircle Antwerp and the Netherlands, the other driving west to roll up the Channel ports as far as Calais.
Dildy's FALL GELB 1940(1): PANZER BREAKTHROUGH IN THE WEST (9781782006442, $21.95) provides a fine survey of the clash between German and French forces in 1940.
Operation Fall Gelb (Case Yellow) began on 10 May 1940.
The strategic dispositions of Fall Gelb, Operation Sea-Lion, Barbarossa, Stalingrad, Kursk, Normandy, Bagration, and the Bulge are all here.