When the Germans launched their offensive against Belgium, The Netherlands and France in May 1940, one major obstacle stood in their way: the Belgian fort of Eben-Emael. Defending the strategically vital line of the Albert Canal and the Meuse River, it was considered to be the most impregnable fortification in Europe.
To overcome the fort’s formidable defences the Germans conceived an audacious plan. In the early hours of 10 May a select band of 77 soldiers on board nine DFS230 gliders landed on the perimeter of Eben-Emael. The defenders were taken completely by surprise and the forts guns and other installations were destroyed with pioneering shaped charges within 10 minutes of the landing. The glider-borne troops held the fort for the next 24 hours until relieved by advancing ground forces and the first airborne troops in warfare had opened the way for the Germans’ unstoppable drive to the Channel. Profusely illustrated, including many contemporary photographs showing the immediate aftermath of the raid. Secret Operations: Eben-Emael is a gripping account of how this feat of arms was accomplished.