On May 10, 1940, Afolf Hitler set in motion a three-pronged offensive against France and the Low Countries. For Fall Gelb, which was the codename for this German military operation, the Wehrmacht deployed the following order of battle:
– Army Group B (right wing, in the north). It was composed of the 18th Army and 6th Army, totalling 29 divisions, from which 3 were armored and 2 motorized infantry divisions. It was reinforced by 4,500 paratroops (Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger). Army Group B was commanded by General Fedor von Bock Pushing across Holland and Belgium, it constituted the right wing of the German attack and would be the one that would begin the offensive on May 10, 1940.
– Army Group A (center, in the area around Luxemburg). Led by field marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, it was made up of the 4th Army, 12th Army, and 16th Army, with a total of 35 divisions, which included 7 armored divisions and 3 motorized. It would attack through the Ardennes forest and move into France between Dinant and Sedan in the center, being the most powerful of the three army groups.
– Army Group C (left wing, in the south). It consisted of 7th Army, on the right, and the 1rst Army on the left. 19 infantry divisions formed this army Group, which was under Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb. It would launch a violent assault on the French Maginot line in the south.
To defend France from the German attack, the Allied commanders had deployed the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army Group 1 in the area between the Channel coast and southern Belgium in the north, and the French Army Group 2 on the Maginot Line in the south.
Maps of the German Attack on France in 1940