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Friday, 9 March 2018

Talk on Fort Eben Emael

Yesterday I gave a talk at the Military History Group of York U3A, entitles "Hitler's Opening Gambit : The Fall of Fort Eben Emael, 10th May 1940". The talk was received extremely well and I was very pleased with the reception.

I put this idea forward to the Group organiser as I have been to the fort on two visits and I thought it would be a good, complete event to talk about. I have spent many weeks on this talk, first on reading, then on finding photos, then on writing and on practise.

I started the background reading with Alistair Horne's book "To Lose a Battle, France 1940", the first 280 pages cover the interwar period and up to 11th May. then onto Kaufmann & Jurga's "Fortress Europe" which has a chapter on Belgium. Then onto more subject specific books.


The three books above were from my bookshelves, but that is not enough research so I bought two more.

(The photograph of the three paratroopers and the glider must be one of the most used photos of WW2)

From there, I outlined the talk, found suitable photos from own visits and from Google Images. Searching for pictures always takes a long time due to a lack of discipline, Google Images always throws up a lot of very interesting but unrelated images that have to be explored. Then, sit down with the outline and images and Powerpoint and try to cut it down from six hours of  material to just ninety minutes; and then practise. This talk I got bang-on ninety minutes.

So now that is finished and that is enough WW2 for a while. This is my next book, back to the Mediterranean in the 16th century.

The next scheduled talk is in May when I travel to Pocklington in the Yorkshire Wolds, to give my already written talk on the Battle of Verdun. B says she has not heard one of my talks so she is coming as well - make a day out of it.

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