Eighty years on. 25th June 1940


The French armistices with Germany and Italy came into effect and fighting was over in France.  France had lost 92,000 dead, 250,000 wounded and 1.5 million taken prisoner*.  British losses in the campaign were 68,000 killed, wounded or captured.  The German army and Luftwaffe losses were 29,000 dead, 133,000 wounded and missing.  Since 21st June Italy had 631 dead, 2,631 wounded, 2,151 hospitalised with frostbite and 616 missing, while the French defenders against their attack suffered only 37 killed, 42 wounded and 150 missing.

*With Britain continuing to fight, many of the French prisoners would remain incarcerated for four more years, instead of the few weeks expected by the Generals who negotiated the armistice.

To compound the French misery, Hitler ordered the destruction of the 1918 Armistice site at Compiègne.  The railway carriage, a massive dedication tablet and the 1918 Alsace-Lorraine Monument (depicting a German eagle impaled by a sword) were removed to Germany.  However, Hitler left the statue of the French WWI victor, Maréchal Foch, watching over the remains.

Hitler addressed the German nation, praising the Wehrmacht for its victory and ordering that all flags be displayed for ten days and that church bells be rung for a week.  German troops were issued English phrase books in preparation for an invasion of Britain.  France observed a day of national mourning.

The Petain government, now in Bordeaux, called on the French colonies to cease hostilities.  Forces in North Africa, Somaliland, Syria, Lebanon and Indo-China indicated their support for the alliance and their will to continue the fight.

Churchill made a speech to the House of Commons on the Franco-German peace and, specifically on the disposition of the French battleships and other warships.  He said: “…the solemn declaration of the German Government that they have no intention of using them for their own purposes during the war. What is the value of that? Ask half a dozen countries what is the value of such a solemn assurance”.  He was clearly worried about the fate of the French fleet, despite the assurances of Admiral Darlan.

U-51 attacked convoy OA-172 about 400 miles west of Land’s End, sinking the British SS Windsorwood, carrying 7100 tons of coal and the British tanker Saranac

Canadian destroyers HCMS Fraser and Restigouche were sent with the British cruiser HMS Calcutta to rescue 4,000 allied soldiers trapped on the Bordeaux coast.  In rough seas and poor visibility, HCMS Fraser collided with HMS Calcutta and was cut into three pieces.  66 men were lost.  

Game day 299.  Great Britain, its Empire and Dominions

The Battleship unit (task force?) en route to Singapore passed through the Suez Canal and began its journey down the Red Sea.  In the opposite direction the convoy carrying six infantry units from Australia sailed northwards up the Red Sea towards Cairo.

In Egypt the infantry stationed around Cairo moved eastwards while the six units already in Libya moved north-west towards the Italian force.  Eighteen new infantry units were deployed in Egypt.

Around Britain the story was all about consolidation of resources against an expected German invasion.  The supply convoy left Portugal and headed for Britain, taking advantage of the French naval force sailing southwards and screening it from the German raiders.  Two Royal Navy units were despatched from Portsmouth for protection of these vital supplies.

Four infantry units were evacuated from Cherbourg and returned to Southampton.

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.   Other maps and photographs Odhams Press Limited.

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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