"The British soldiers are barely out of sight and the people are already mounting their abandoned truck, searching for food and other useful things. A man takes a pair of socks and British ammo-boots. I don't risk to snitch something, what if they catch me with military goods?"

From a distance, two Belgian infantry soldiers are watching the endless column advancing slowly along the road.

On May 10th 1940, Belgium had a land army of 600 000 soldiers to a total population of 8 million. Almost one third of the total land army was established from the additional reserve units which often had to fight with outdated weapons. The Airforce was too limited, almost all available fighters were inferior or totally useless compared to the German Luftwaffe.
These infantry soldiers are armed with the Belgian Mauser rifle 36 which was a conversion of the Belgian Mauser 1889. They are wearing the infantry greatcoat, which is part of the regulated combat tunic, over the uniformjacket model 1935. The leather basic equipment is quite equal to those of the opponent armies and has some similarities with the equipment of the French soldier.

"Two young Belgian soldiers are passing by, an opportunity to regain some information."

"Their news is not very positive. The 'KW-line' (the defensive line between Kwatrecht and Waver with some 350 bunkers and a dozen miles of large steel components anchored in the ground forming an iron wall, the so called 'Cointet elements') had to be abandoned. The army is now falling back to the Escaut line, further to the west. Brussels is in German hands, the Dutch Army has surrendered the 15th."

"Suddenly we are surprised by an approaching plane, immediately followed by a loud explosion in the town nearby. Stukas!!"

The Stuka entered everyone's vocabulary in May 1940. The appearance of its characteristic silhouette in the sky caused 'Stuka fright' among the columns of soldiers and refugees fleeing across Belgium.
Ordered to attack the movement of Allied ground forces and bombing strategic places, the Stukas often found their targets packed with escaping civilians. With sirens 'Jericho Trumpets' fitted to terrorize their victims, the bombers attacked with precision and then returned to strafe the survivors with their machine guns.

"Quickly we jumped into the ditch. The deafening blasts from exploding bombs combined with the frightening and incessant noise of the Stukas, it was a real horror scene. We were all terrified."

"At last, the Stukas are leaving and we can resume our voyage. I felt only half an hour later the burning pain on my arm and face because I must have been laying among the nettles. Later that day, we had to hide several times for Stukas but this attack was the closest."

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