The Battle of Sedan started on May 12, 1940. The inciting attack was part of the German plan to surround the French and British forces that were advancing eastward through northern France and Belgium. And the assault on the French city of Sedan would form one arm of the encirclement by cutting into the dense forests of the Ardennes and heading north towards the English Channel.
After taking Sedan without a fight, the Germans then faced the major obstacle of the Meuse River and the heavily defended area around it. These formidable French defenses were almost four miles deep. What’s more, there were in excess of 100 robustly built pillboxes sited on high ground overlooking the river valley.
It was at this point that the power of the German air force, the Luftwaffe, came into play. The Nazis proceeded to unleash the most powerful aerial bombing campaign seen in the world to date; in fact, the Luftwaffe would not mount such a large-scale air attack again in the remaining years of WWII.