Eighty years on. 12th June 1940


Guderian’s Panzers crossed the River Marne at Chalons-sur-Marne, 80 miles East of Paris.  Like Rommel’s 7th Panzer division, they had passed through the French defensive line and could travel almost at will.  Rheims and Rouen were taken.  General Weygand ordered a general retreat.

After a last stand, the outflanked 51st Highland Division and French 9th Army Corps surrendered to Rommel at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

BR.20s of Italy’s Regia Aeronautica bombed the southern French cities of Toulon, Hyères and Saint-Raphaël as well as the Corsican communes of Calvi and Bastia and the Tunisian city of Bizerte. Not much damage was done because French anti-aircraft fire kept the warplanes from attacking effectively.

RAF bombers attacked Milan and Genoa from airfields in southern France.  Other bombing raids were mounted against military targets in Libya and Italian East Africa, the latter by South African aircraft.

The final convoy of troopships carrying men from Narvik (Group II) arrived in the Clyde at 11 PM.  French soldiers were to be shipped on to Brest and Lorient to aid the defence of France.

U-boats sank another 3 British merchant vessels off Cape Finisterre, Spain.  U-101 sank SS Earlspark carrying 7,500 tons of coal.  U-46 sank SS Barbara Marie carrying 7,200 tons of iron ore and MV Willowbank carrying 8,750 tons of maize.  The British motor merchant Swedru picked up all 50 crew from Willowbank and 5 survivors from Barbara Marie.

Japanese forces came within 400 miles of the Chinese Nationalist capital Chungking, having taken Ichang.  In the battle for Tsaoyang through May the Japanese lost 45,000 men killed or wounded.

The Anglo-Thai Non-Aggression Pact was concluded in Bangkok.

Egypt broke off relations with Italy.  Turkey broke off commercial relations with Italy.

In the USA newspaper editorials condemned the Italian government.

Game day 286. Italy

On the basis that last week’s invasion of France was pre-emptive of historical circumstances, I decided to leave the Italian ground forces in France where they were.  The nearest French were beyond the range of the fighter squadrons in north-west Italy.

In Libya eighteen battalions of infantry were deployed, and the same in Italian East Africa.

In Italy six bomber squadrons, twelve armoured battalions and twelve infantry battalions were created.

Six transport ships sailed from Libya to Italy, avoiding contact with the British warship in the Central Mediterranean, and embarked six infantry battalions, while six more moved towards the port for embarkation.

In Libya, despite the temptation to move into Algeria, the six battalions stationed there moved towards the Egyptian frontier to confront the “English”, conforming to history.

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. 

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General Whiskers

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

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