Italian newsreel. April 12, 1940.Not only was the Dutch Army poorly equipped; it was also poorly trained. Before the war only a minority of eligible young men had actually been conscripted — and often the least fit as it was easy to be exempted unless you were unemployed. Those enlisted only served for 24 weeks, just enough to receive basic infantry training. After the mobilisation readiness only slowly improved: most time was spent constructing defences. By its own standards the Dutch Army in May 1940 was unfit for battle. It simply could not stage a major offensive, let alone execute manoeuvre warfare.German generals and tacticians (and Hitler himself) had an equally low opinion of the Dutch forces and thought that even the core region of Holland proper would be conquered in less than a day; when the actual battle developed, however, it transpired that the German army was to be pinned down after three days by an army that, although undermanned and without proper arms, offered stiff resistance. Being informed of this situation Hitler got into one of his infamous furies and demanded that the Dutch cities should be bombed into ashes to force a capitulation.
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