Eighty years on. 16th May 1940


Winston Churchill flew to Paris to assess the situation and confer with French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud.  French officials were burning government archives.  Churchill asked: “Where is the strategic reserve”?  The French Commander-in-Chief General Gamelin replied “Aucune”.

Reynaud replaced Gamelin and recalled the WWI veteran Maxime Weygand from Syria to take command.

Von Rundstedt’s Army Group A raced out of their bridgeheads on the Meuse, cutting through the weaker parts of the French Army left to defend this region.  French morale and resistance crumbled as thousands of soldiers surrendered.   Guderian reached Montcornet, 64km West of Sedan.  Rommel drove another 35km from Cerfontaine, advancing through the night to Avesnes-sur-Helpe.  The German high command were worried about the extended flanks of this salient, and ordered the armoured divisions to hold while the infantry caught up.

The French actually had more and better tanks than Germany.  As an example one Char B1 Bis “Eure” engaged enemy tanks at Stonne, destroying 2 Pz IVs, and 11 Pz IIs.  ‘Eure’ survived being hit 140 times by 20mm, 37mm and 75mm shells.  Unfortunately for the French, their tactical doctrine had not kept pace with the technology.  French tanks also suffered from design issues, resulting in too many jobs for the tank commander to take care of.

In Belgium the German 6th Army made a breakthrough

U.S. President Roosevelt sent a message back to Churchill explaining that a loan of destroyers would require an act of Congress, but generally agreed on the other matters.  He made a speech to Congress requesting an immediate appropriation of $896 million for national defence, justifying his request by saying: “Surely, the developments of the past few weeks have made it clear to all of our citizens that the possibility of attack on vital American zones ought to make it essential that we have the physical, the ready ability to meet those attacks and to prevent them from reaching their objectives.”

Game day 259. China

In the north of Kwangtung, the Chinese infantry advancing on Peking were alerted to the Japanese forces invading China itself and diverted to counterattack, or at least mount a defence.

Further south all the Chinese forces converged on the Japanese advancing from Kwangtung.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.

Published by

General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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