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Hitlers Command Post During the Battle of France (1940)

Updated on February 2, 2020
emge profile image

MG is an air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a voracious writer on military history

Hitlers command post in France now
Hitlers command post in France now

Introduction

The second world war is dead and gone but the reverberations of that war still echo all over the world. Hitler is the most despised man in the West and Russia but one cannot escape from the fact that at one stage he was the Numero Uno in Europe. Many people in the oppressed lands like India looked forward to freedom in case the Germans had won. For them Hitler is not a hated character.

Hitler began his domination of Europe with the invasion of France in 1940. This was Hitler's first brush with military command and control and now we can see that as far as the battle of France is concerned the credit for the lightning victory must go to him.


Hitler's Command Post During the Battle of France(1940)

The battle in the West was marked by the invasion of France. The invasion of France was not his priority as his main philosophy was always to attack the Soviet Union from the West. He expected the Japanese to attack from the east and wipe out Russia from the map of the world. However in 1940, after he had invaded Poland, the French and the British declared war on Germany but surprisingly at that critical moment they failed to honor their commitment to the Poles. England and France at that critical juncture failed to attack Germany and just kept sitting behind the Maginot line. It is also worthwhile to note that they did not declare war on Russia, which had also attacked Poland and gobbled up a large area.

Hitler took the fateful decision to attack France. He was aware of the writings of general Von Schifflin and warning against fighting a two-front war. He wished to secure his Western front by defeating and conquering France so that he could concentrate on the eastern front later on.

To conquer France, Hitler needed a command post close to the French border. Historians have now identified the command post from which Hitler directed the battle of France. It is a small place close to the French border called Falsenest or Rocky Eyrie. This was not a heavily fortified place like his later headquarters. Falsenest comprised of a set of low buildings with a bunker it was located at Bad Munstereifel, a place near Aachen. This place is also fairly close to the French border and ideal for controlling the battle lines in France.

Hitler’s command post was fairly spartan and consisted of 4 rooms and was bomb and shell-proof with the use of special concrete. Apart from Hitler sleeping quarters, it had a large operational room with a large map of France. Hitler held his conference for the battle of France in this room with his generals. The command room had lines of communication to the overall commander of the campaign Field Marshal Von Rundstedt. Hitler could also get in touch with the field commanders. It was earlier inspected by the army and the Gestapo and cleared for operations.


Conduct of the battle

The battle of France lasted exactly 42 days. During these 42 days, the French army was annihilated and the British beat a hasty retreat from Dunkirk. This campaign led to an armistice treaty which was signed at Versailles. The defeat was an eye-opener to the west when news came that 1.9 million French soldiers were taken as POWs.

Before coming to Falsenest, Hitler discussed the battle of France with his generals in Berlin. He studied the Schiffillian Plan and made slight modifications. However, it was Hitler alone who took the decisions.

After the plans had been firmed up, Hitler left by car for Falsenest. He drove in the dead of the night to keep his movement secret. He reached Falsenenest at 3 am. This was an hour earlier from the time of assault at 4 am.

Field Marshal Jodl and Keitel members of the OKW accompanied Hitler.

Hitler gave the order to Field Marshal Von Rundstedt to commence the attack at 4 AM. The German armies now breached the Maginot line by advancing through the low countries.
Hitler remained awake and from this control-post, plotted the advance of 10 Panzer divisions and 136 inventory divisions. It was at that time the biggest force ever assembled for an assault. He kept himself abreast of the progress of the battle on his operational map and often talked to the field commanders including Rommel, Guderian and Von Manstein.

Last Word

After the defeat of France, an elated Hitler visited Paris and then went back to Berlin. He never used Falsenest again and the bunker went into disuse.
It will, however, be always connected with the battle of France.

Comments

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      3 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Pamela for commenting

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I know I studied history in school and knew some of this, but there were many details I didn't remember or maybe never learned. Like Liz I didn't know Hitler was so close to action. Thnks for recounting a horrible but interesting time in history.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      3 months ago from Singapore

      Hitler was close to the action in the Battle of France. Than you Liz for your comment

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      I had not realised that Hitler had positioned himself so close to the action. I assumed that he directed operations from Berlin or from his hilltop residence in the south.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      3 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Raymond for commenting

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      3 months ago from The Netherlands

      I didn’t know Hitler also used Felsennest to plan/execute the invasion of Belgium and The Netherlands (my country). Interesting stuff.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      3 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Ruby Jean, for commenting

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was an interesting read. I know Hitler is a hated man but good at commanding. Thanks for sharing this story.

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