The Battle of the Lys French : Bataille de la Lys , Dutch : Leieslag was a major battle between Belgian and German forces during the German Invasion of Belgium of and the final major battle fought by Belgian troops before their surrender on 28 May. It was the bloodiest of the 18 Days' Campaign. The battle was named after the river Leie known as the Lys in French , where the battlefield was situated.
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On 24 May, a heavy German attack forced Allied troops to fall back at Kortrijk over the Lys to the 1st and 3rd Belgian divisions. The Belgians had been persuaded to abandon the Scheldt and withdraw to relieve British troops for an Allied counter-offensive, though this strategically did little to alleviate the situation at the front. The Belgians' 2nd Cavalry Brigade and 6th Infantry Division came in to support the area and managed to hold off the Germans.
On 25 May, the British, realizing that further counteroffensives were no longer possible, began to withdraw to the port of Dunkirk. All hopes of saving the Belgian Army were lost. It became clear from this point on that all the Belgians could do was buy enough time for the Allies to evacuate. At , the 12th Royal Lancers , an armoured car regiment, was dispatched to the north of the Lys to cover the left flank of the British 2nd Army Corps and reestablish contact with the Belgians in the area.
The regiment reported that the Belgians were retreating in the face of superior forces, while they themselves sporadically engaged the Germans. This was in direct contradiction of their officer's orders, which were ignored.
In one instance, fed up soldiers shot their superiors. Here the 1st Division successfully repulsed numerous attacks by Germany's 56th Infantry Division. Starting that night, 2, wagons were lined up side-by-side along the rail line from Roeselare to Ypres to act as an improvised anti-tank barrier. By 26 May the Allied position was becoming desperate.
The Belgians were struggling to hold Izegem , Nevele , and Ronsele. The Chasseurs Ardennais held their ground against the 56th division, which was subsequently replaced by the th Infantry Division. An additional infantry division maintained the integrity of the defensive line.
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The Belgian Army began to collapse on 27 May. The railways were out of service, the roads were clogged with 1. The Belgians began destroying their artillery as they exhausted their munitions and retreated. By , the line had been breached north of Maldegem , in the center near Ursel, and to the right near Thielt and Roeselare.
Bruges was the only major Belgian city not yet taken by the Germans. At , the Chasseurs Ardennais were forced to abandon Vinkt, leaving the Germans in control. However, a counterattack by the 4th Carabiners Cyclists at Knesselaere yielded  —  German prisoners. At around the same time, the Belgian Command came to accept that:  " 1 From the national point of view, the Belgian Army had carried out its task; it had resisted to the limit of its capacity; its units were unable to continue the fight.
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There could be no retreat to the Yser; it would do more to destroy the units than the fighting in progress; it would increase the congestion of the Allied forces to the highest pitch; 2 from the international point of view, the dispatch of an envoy to ask for terms for the cessation of hostilities would have the advantage of allowing the Allies the night of the 27th—28th and part of the morning of the 28th, an interval that, if the fighting were continued, could be gained only at the cost of the complete destruction of the Army. The Belgian army's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Oscar Michiels , recommended that a representative be sent to the Germans to negotiate a ceasefire.
Two French Army divisions were withdrawn via truck towards Dunkirk while Belgian flags and battle standards were hidden for safekeeping. A final order of retreat was issued from the Belgian Army headquarters at At , with the full support of his staff, he accepted the demand and agreed to a ceasefire at The Belgians laid down their arms at on 28 May.
Fighting continued at the Roeselare-Ypres line until , when the troops stationed there finally received the order to capitulate. Leopold made one final proclamation to his men: . Plunged unexpectedly into a war of unparalleled violence, you have fought courageously to defend your homeland step by step. Exhausted by an uninterrupted struggle against an enemy very much superior in numbers and material, we have been forced to surrender. History will relate that the Army did its duty to the full. This article empirically examines how British 21st Army Group produced a functional doctrine by late How much weight to give Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery in the outcome remains unclear despite significant scholarly literature.
He closely managed this process, actively promulgated its output, and determined when he had gleaned sufficient feedback from it. This article examines its roots. Robert W. Army Historical Division, and U. Army prepared for a war against the U. Army doctrine. Kevin M. This has been the prevailing narrative in Western accounts of the battle, and long went undisputed because Vietnamese historians wrote little on the subject. However, a flood of new Vietnamese works published around the fiftieth anniversary of the siege in reveal that the VPA had only a modest quantitative advantage in artillery and fired fewer shells than the French.
Its victory therefore owed more to superior engineering, innovative tactics, and other factors. Scherer and John W. Burgess, Jr. Hawkins, reviewed by Harold E.
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