Diary for Tuesday, May 14, 1940:
DESTRUCTION OF ROTTERDAM. In attempt to crush stubborn Dutch resistance – and bring tentative ceasefire negotiations to a speedy conclusion – 100 He 111s are despatched to bomb the city center. Dutch garrison then offers to surrender, but 60 bombers cannot be recalled and start huge fires among fats and margarine stores, which burn for days. 30,000 people feared dead (revised total: 980); 78,000 homeless.
Guderian’s 1st Panzer division crosses the Meuse at Sedan. 150 British and French bombers (including obsolete Battles and Amiot 143s) make suicidal daylight attacks on German pontoon bridges at Sedan. Me 109 Es, flak and small-arms fire destroy 45 RAF and 5 French bombers; bridges undamaged.
French tank and infantry counter-attack in Sedan sector fails. General Touchon appointed to command French reserves, earmarked to plug the gap developing between 9th and 2nd French armies west of Sedan.
Rotterdam Garrison surrenders. Dutch Army C-in-C, General Winkelman, broadcasts Cease Fire call.
Britain: Lord Beaverbrook appointed Minister of Aircraft Production. War Office APPEALS FOR LOCAL DEFENSE VOLUNTEERS (Home Guard), aged 17 to 65, to combat possible German parachute landings. Eden, Secretary for War, broadcasts personal appeal.