Eighty years on. 10th June 1940


Rommel continued his advance down the Channel coast 7th Panzer Division reaching Dalles, near Dieppe.  Northeast of Paris, Guderian’s Panzers advanced towards Chalons-sur-Marne, crossing the Aisne river at Joinville.  16th Panzer Corps was withdrawn from Péronne and sent east to support Guderian’s breakthrough.  

With Paris threatened, the French government moved to Tours.  They declared Paris an open city to avoid the destruction by bombing and street fighting as witnessed in Warsaw and Amsterdam.

In a second Allied evacuation from the French coast (Operation Cycle), 3,300 troops embarked at St-Valery-en-Caux and 11,000 troops were evacuated from Le Havre.  Overnight 9,000 men were shipped from Le Havre to Cherbourg to continue fighting.  The destroyers HMS Bulldog and Boadicea were damaged by German bombing off Le Havre.  HMS Boadicea was towed back to Dover.

Benito Mussolini appeared on the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia to announce that at midnight Italy would be in a state of war with France and Britain.  After a speech explaining his motives for the decision, he concluded: “People of Italy: take up your weapons and show your tenacity, your courage and your valour.”  The Italians had no battle plans of any kind prepared.  The declaration of war had already been delayed by five days due to Hitler’s wish to have a complete German victory over France.

Mussolini, expecting to make easy gains in southern France, said: “I only need a few thousand dead to sit at the peace conference as a man who has fought.”  Churchill reacted to the news, saying: “People who go to Italy to look at ruins won’t have to go as far as Naples and Pompeii again”.

Anti-Italian riots broke out in major cities across the United Kingdom after Italy’s declaration of war. Bricks, stones and bottles were thrown through the windows of Italian-owned shops, and 100 arrests were made in Edinburgh alone.

Canada declared war on Italy.  Italy broke off relations with Poland.  Belgium broke off relations with Italy.

The British armed boarding vessel HMS Vandyck was sunk by German bombing off Andenes, Norway. The crew rowed ashore and were taken prisoner.  The first convoy of troopships carrying men from Narvik arrived unmolested in the Clyde.

Norway surrendered to Germany. King Haakon VII and his cabinet had escaped to London to form a government in exile.

In China Japanese forces attacked Ichang, on the Yangtse river.

While making a commencement speech at the Memorial Gymnasium of the University of Virginia, President Roosevelt denounced Mussolini: “On this tenth day of June, 1940, the hand that held the dagger has plunged it into the back of its neighbor.” The president also said that military victories for the “Gods of force and hate” were a threat to all democracies in the western world and that America could no longer pretend to be a “lone island in a world of force.”

Game day 284.  France

Totalling the friendly and enemy forces in France, the allies still held the numerical superiority of 29 against 23.

Six infantry battalions, previously headed for the fighting on the German border, swung south to confront the Italian invaders.

In the north, six battalions marched north from Paris to attack the German armour and infantry at AV29. They were supported by two infantry battalions previously engaged and by the last two French fighter squadrons.  The German infantry battalion was eliminated by the fighter attack, leaving six armoured battalions undamaged.  French losses were high, losing four infantry battalions.

In Algeria, forces began moving towards the border with Italian-held Libya.  Twelve new infantry battalions were raised.

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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