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The Blitzkrieg, meaning "lightning war" in the German language, was an ambitious, large-scale military campaign in World War II launched by Nazi Germany in 1940. Its goal was to swiftly neutralise the Allied powers in Western Europe following the British and French declaration of war on 3 September 1939. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
On 1 September 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany. The United Kingdom and France had guaranteed aid to Poland in the event of an attack. On 3 September, the two nations issued an ultimatum demanding that Adolf Hitler withdraw the German forces from Polish territory. Hitler refused and prepared for a showdown in Western Europe after the Polish campaign was concluded.
Hitler had hoped to avoid a confrontation with the Western powers. His main intention had been to attack the Soviet Union in the East and he had hoped Britain and France would back down, as they had done during the crises generated by the annexations of Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938. Hitler also admired the British, considering them an Aryan people. However, he was more than prepared to face those who stood in the way of his ambitions.
Additionally, Hitler had learned to control the Timewyrm, who had become trapped in his mind. This control allowed him to amplify his own abilities and helped him make very sound strategic decisions, which had proven their worth in the early stages of the Polish campaign. The War Chief and the War Lords in the Black Coven had also produced a winning strategy which ironed out much of the strategic errors Germany was known to make during the war effort. However, the Coven was wiped out by the Seventh Doctor in the early hours of the war. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Poland capitulated in a month, (PROSE: Illegal Alien) and in October, the Germans offered to negotiate peace terms with the Allies. Britain and France refused, which Nazi propaganda weaponised to paint them as the aggressors (PROSE: Just War, AUDIO: Just War) although some calls were made in Britain to accept the offer. (PROSE: Inferno)
In May 1940, the war finally turned westward. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) Occupying Denmark (AUDIO: Human Conflict) and Norway, (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour) the Germans proceeded to face Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands all at once. They were led by Generals Heinz Guderian and Erwin Rommel, as well as Hitler from his command post at Felsennest, near Aachen, back in Germany. Hitler's control of the Timewyrm was to serve his forces well. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Blitzkrieg tactics involved throwing every man, plane, ship, tank and armoured vehicle available at the enemy with overwhelming force. Doing so risked problems with supply lines and the potential for attackers to find themselves cut off and surrounded if they pushed too far ahead. However, it was initially to prove very effective, with the Germans' speed and ruthlessness smashing the Allied defences. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia) German paratroopers earned themselves a place among the elite of the German forces for their performance in 1940. (PROSE: Autumn Mist)
The Netherlands fell after just four days. Belgium followed and it soon became apparent that France could not hold out. The German advance sparked a refugee crisis, blocking roads and creating traffic problems which created huge logistic nightmares for the British, wasting a lot of fuel. Messerschmitts attacked the ground forces and killed strides of civilians in the process. (PROSE: Just War)
The British Expeditionary Force, made up of almost half a million men, (AUDIO: The Nemonite Invasion) together with the other Allies were swiftly swept aside by Hitler's armies. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) They were quickly cut off by the Wehrmacht (TV: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart) who captured the towns of Abbeville, Boulogne and Calais in quick succession, trapping their enemies at the last remaining port town of Dunkirk. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Battle of Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo Edit
The British forces were effectively besieged at Dunkirk as Guderian's Panzers advanced. Fighting on to the bitter end, they faced total destruction. However, in a confrontation at his command post in late May, the Seventh Doctor freed the Timewyrm from Hitler's mind. He then convinced Hitler to let the British escape, so they could later be convinced to make peace with Germany and join forces against the Soviet Union. Hitler issued a controversial order to Guderian, ordering his forces not to advance on Dunkirk. Rommel secretly called the order "utter madness". (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
British estimates calculated that the German halt granted them a window of six days to organise an evacuation. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay organised Operation Dynamo, the use of civilian ships to aid the Royal Navy vessels in getting the men off the beaches and back across the English Channel. Ramsay was initially reluctant to put civilians in danger but the Tenth Doctor convinced him of the need. In the early hours of 26 May, Ramsay, the HMS Brazen and Churchill all gave confirmation that they were ready to execute Dynamo. That morning, 850 civilian ships took off from England towards Dunkirk to rescue as much of the 400,000 men trapped there as possible. (AUDIO: The Nemonite Invasion)
The first evacuations took place on 27 May. (AUDIO: Neverland) Stuka dive-bombers continued to harass the soldiers assembling on the beaches. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) By the conclusion of the evacuation on 4 June, 10,000 men had died, 40,000 were captured, and 50,000 vehicles, 9 destroyers, 200 marine vessels and 77 aircraft were lost, generating a lot of controversy. (TV: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart) However, 338,000 men of 400,000 were safety brought back to England. The evacuation's success became known as the Miracle of Dunkirk. (AUDIO: The Nemonite Invasion)
Fall of France Edit
With the bulk of the Allied armed forces driven from the continent, the French government capitulated after less than a month of resistance. After the surrender, the Germans marched into Paris and organised celebratory victory marches, passing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame in celebration. Nazi Colonel Oskar Steinmann claimed that Paris, like the other conquered capitals before it, welcomed German rule due to the strong commitment to fascism. (PROSE: Just War)
Initially, the French, and in particular the Parisians, hoped that they would be able to carry on with their lives as normal despite the occupation, an idea which the Germans tried to promote. However, for many French, the occupation quickly became impossible to live with, symbolised by the hanging of the swastika in place of French flags. (AUDIO: Scorched Earth) In Paris, the Nazis began pilfering works of art with which they decorated the lavish hotel rooms in which they took up residence. (PROSE: City of Death)
Despite the looting, Paris was largely spared from destruction, unlike other cities invaded by the Germans. Hitler visited the French capital some time after the occupation, during which various hotel wine cellars were emptied. Under Nazi rule, access to numerous luxuries was cut off. Available tea, for example, was comparable to mud. (AUDIO: The Dying Room)
In southern France, a new government was formed in the town of Vichy, (AUDIO: Resistance) led by Marshal Pétain, (AUDIO: Scorched Earth) although in practice, it was merely a puppet administration which answered to the Germans. (PROSE: The Turing Test) Charles de Gaulle and the Free French, who escaped the onslaught, continued to fight the Germans abroad. (AUDIO: State of Emergency, PROSE: The Dying Days)
The French Resistance movement also formed to combat the occupation, but innocent French civilians faced the threat of being murdered by the Gestapo in reprisals for disruption or harm caused by the Resistance. Executions took place each dawn. (AUDIO: The Scapegoat) One cell, the Reynard Resistance Group, managed to obtain German documents for the British, relating to their plans to invade England. (COMIC: Who is the Stranger)
Occupation of the Channel Islands Edit
In late June, German attention turned to the British-controlled Channel Islands. As they held no military value, the British government decided against defending them and ordered demilitarisation to discourage German aggression. Willing inhabitants were evacuated in a "second Dunkirk", although two thirds of Guernsey's patriotic population were not prepared to leave their homes, farms and livelihoods behind and chose to stay.
On the warm Friday evening of 28 June at 6:45 pm, Mayor Sherwill just finished delivering a speech intended to reassure civilians on Guernsey when Luftwaffe aircraft arrived and began bombing the harbour. Guernsey had no bomb shelters and so people in the vicinity of the harbour took shelter beneath vehicles. Many died as the Germans attacked the vans, which exploded in salmon-pink light. The Germans later expressed their regret for the people killed in the raid and claimed their intention had been to prevent the shipping of a consignment of tomatoes. Twenty-seven men and four women were killed, and forty more people were wounded. On Saturday, 29 June, the islanders remained worried about the possibility of another raid or a gas attack.
On Sunday, 30 June, three German planes landed at the airstrip but were quickly chased off by a Royal Air Force patrol. At 6:00 in the evening, the German returned in force and began circling above the island looking for ground defences that were no longer there. By 6:30, Major Lanz had assumed control of the island and he set up residence in the Royal Hotel. Much of the population hardly noticed until Lanz issued a declaration to that effect at a later point. The swastika was raised on every flagpole and tens of thousands of Nazi soldiers arrived in 178 low-flying Junkers. The Germans claimed they had occupied Guernsey without firing a shot, ignoring the raid on the harbour two days prior, as well as the subsequent civilian executions of people suspected of being spies or in reprisals for acts of resistance.
Private transport and British radio channels were outlawed and unlucky islanders were evicted from their homes or had their furniture looted for use by the invaders. A dozen German soldiers billeted in the Doras family's boarding house and paid them in worthless occupation marks; comparatively, the Doras family was treated quite fairly and were among the lucky ones. The island's security was led by SS Standardtenführer Joachim Wolff, head of the prisoner of war camp, and Oberst Oskar Steinmann, head of the Luftwaffe zbV. The British government issued an appeal to islanders urging against acts of sabotage or resistance which risked lives. On an island only twenty-four square miles in size, few acts of resistance, even passive resistance, could go undetected. Marcel Brossier was executed for cutting a telephone wire. One girl also killed herself after becoming pregnant with the child of one of the hated occupiers. (PROSE: Just War)
On Jersey, a force of time-travelling Cybermen from the 30th century, which arrived in 1939, fled to mainland Britain when the Nazis invaded. The Cybermen left behind a sleeper force in the Le Mur Engineering factory, which the Nazis began studying. The fleeing Cybermen set up a new base of operations in the Peddler Electronic Engineering factory in London. Meanwhile, the discovery of the sleeper force led to a power struggle in Berlin. Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering, Rudolf Hess and other leading Nazis all began vying for a position under Hitler that would give them control of the Cybermen. (PROSE: Illegal Alien)
The loss of the Channel Islands represented the first successful invasion of British homeland territory since the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The British assumed the Germans had taken the islands for propaganda purposes but the Germans soon commenced with a considerable build-up of Waffen-SS, air and naval forces. Much of this was relating to the Hartung Project. (PROSE: Just War)
Operation Sealion and aftermath Edit
With continental Europe under control (AUDIO: The Ultimate Adventure) and only Britain remaining, the Germans began planning the conclusion to the Blitzkrieg campaign in the form of Operation Sealion, the cross-Channel invasion of England. It remained postponed on Hitler's orders. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) However, the British continued to prepare to face the invasion. (PROSE: Losing the Audience, Made of Steel, et al.) The code word "Cromwell" was selected to indicate that an invasion was imminent. (PROSE: Just War)
The Germans also continued to prepare, demonstrated in two aerial campaigns in particular, intended to cripple Britain before the invasion of to force an early armistice. As the Kriegsmarine was unable to establish the superiority over the Royal Navy in the Channel to launch the invasion, the Luftwaffe took the initiative. They launched a campaign against British industrial and military targets, causing the Royal Air Force to fight back in defence. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour) The result was the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940, in which the RAF was victorious. (PROSE: /Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet)
Luftwaffe operations switched towards bombing British cities in September in a campaign known as the Blitz. (PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass) Cities suffered aerial attacks until the end of the European war, but the British population still withstood the period of intensified bombing which characterised the Blitz until it wound down in July 1941. (PROSE: Illegal Alien)
Far from being beaten after the Blitzkrieg, Britain and her imperial allies continued to face the Germans on numerous fronts. In April 1941, they fought the Germans in Greece, ending again in an evacuation, (PROSE: Just War) continued operating the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean Sea (PROSE: The Christmas Presence) and battled against Rommel in North Africa (COMIC: The Instruments of War) to deny Benito Mussolini his ambitions of forming an Italian empire in Africa. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia)
By the end of 1941, the Germans had still failed to launch Operation Sealion. It was officially cancelled in December following setbacks in the campaign against the Soviet Union and the entry of the United States into the war. In doing so, they also signalled the official end of the Blitzkrieg, (PROSE: Just War) although, in essence, its final strategic success had been achieved with the Battle of Dunkirk. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
The Western Front (PROSE: Warchild) was later reopened by Britain, America and their allies and the Blitzkrieg was reversed. After invading the Normandy coast and re-establishing themselves in France in 1944, (PROSE: The Taint, The Shadow in the Glass) the Allies liberated Paris. (COMIC: Trust) In light of these defeats, numerous Germans who took part in the Blitzkrieg viewed it as the peak of Germany's success in the war, which only served to accentuate the severity of the subsequent losses. While hiding out in a forest on 4 July 1944, Jorgen, Klaus and Max discussed the luxury they had enjoyed in 1940. (AUDIO: Scorched Earth) By the time of the Battle of the Bulge, Emil Metz was embittered by the fact that paratroopers such as himself had become the butt of jokes told by the Infantry and the SS, despite their success in 1940. The Battle of the Bulge itself was also an attempt by the Germans to replicate the Blitzkrieg, but it ultimately failed. (PROSE: Autumn Mist) Following the collapse of this offensive, the Allies invaded Germany. (PROSE: Made of Steel, Cabinets of Curiosities) The Nazis surrendered nearly five years after their great victory, in early May 1945. (PROSE: Just War, AUDIO: Just War)
Alternate timeline Edit
In an alternate timeline in which Hitler never lost the power of the Timewyrm, he never issued the order for Guderian to halt outside Dunkirk. The British Army had no time to evacuate and was destroyed in a final confrontation with the Panzer forces. Hitler then used the power of the Timewyrm to summon a storm to sink most of the Royal Navy in the Channel and the Luftwaffe defeated the RAF in the Battle of Britain and crippled Britain's war-making capacity.
Afterwards, they launched Operation Sealion, with General Strauss's 19th Army establishing a beach head on the south coast between Folkestone and Worthing. The following German forces arrived and, enjoying superiority on land, in the air and at sea, faced negligible resistance as advanced on London conquered the capital after just six days. This concluded the Blitzkrieg as the Germans began the process of incorporating Britain into the New Order of the Third Reich. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Parallel universes Edit
On many different worlds of Germania throughout the Known Worlds, the Nazis did follow up the conquest of Europe with an invasion of Britain. Marcus Americanius Scriptor witnessed the Battle for London on Germania V and found similar accounts on other worlds. He also witnessed the German campaigns in Britain on Germania LD and Germania I. Scriptor attempted to rally the Empire of Empires to aid in the fight against the Nazis. Some of his small raiding parties tried to help the Allies to sabotage German fuel sources to break their ability to maintain further Blitzkrieg campaigns. The Greater German Reich learned about these efforts and
Eventually, the Empire and the Reich engaged in full-scale multiversal war which lasted until 1970. The Empire of Empires ultimately developed superior technologies which allowed its Roman legions to launch their own "blitzkrieg" against Germania I. After victory at the Battle of the Rhine I, they pushed into Berlin, where the Reich surrendered on 10 May, signalling the climax of the war. (PROSE: Warlords of Utopia)
Behind the scenes Edit
The term Blitzkrieg more accurately refers to the method of warfare employed by Nazi Germany during the Second World War rather than the campaign against France and the Low Countries itself; Blitzkrieg tactics were also employed against Poland, the Soviet Union and in other campaigns until economic and logistic demands made it untenable. In the Doctor Who universe, however, the term is repeatedly used to refer to the campaign in the West by the Virgin New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Exodus, as well as one instance in Just War. The term is used to describe the tactics in Warlords of Utopia, however.