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Encyclopedia > Military history of France during World War II
History of France
Ancient times
  Prehistoric France
  Celtic Gaul
  Roman Gaul (50 BC-486)
  The Franks
    Merovingians (481–751)
France in the Middle Ages
  Carolingians (751–987)
  Direct Capetians (987–1328)
  Valois (direct) (1328–1498)
Early Modern France (1492–1792)
  Valois-Orléans (1498–1515)
  Valois-Angoulême (1515–1589)
  House of Bourbon (1589–1792)
  French Revolution (1789)
France in the 19th century
  First Republic (1792–1804)
    National Convention (1792–1795)
    Directory (1795–1799)
    Consulate (1799–1804)
  First Empire (1804–1814)
  Restoration (1814–1830)
  July Revolution (1830)
  July Monarchy (1830–1848)
  1848 Revolution
  Second Republic (1848–1852)
  Second Empire (1852–1870)
  Third Republic (1870–1940)
    Paris Commune (1871)
France in the 20th century
  Vichy France (1940–1944)
  Provisional Government (1944–1946)
  Fourth Republic (1946–1958)
  Fifth Republic (1958–present)
Topical
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The military history of France during World War II covers the period from 1939 until 1940, which witnessed French military participation under the Third Republic, and the period from 1940 until 1945, which was marked by colonial struggles between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under Charles de Gaulle, fighting in Europe, the eventual Liberation of France by Allied and Free French forces, and French participation in the final phases of the war against Nazi Germany. The History of France has been divided into a series of separate historical articles navigable through the list to the right. ... “Ancient” redirects here. ... Prehistoric France is the period in the human occupation (including early hominins) of the geographical area covered by present-day France which extended through prehistory and ended in the Iron Age with the Celtic La Tène culture. // France includes Olduwan (Abbevillian) and Acheulean sites from early or non-modern... Gaul (Latin: ) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... Gaul in the Roman Empire Roman Gaul consisted of an area of provincial rule in what would become modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and western Germany. ... This article is about the Frankish people and society. ... For other uses, see Merovingian (disambiguation). ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Also see: France in the Middle Ages. ... The House of Capet includes any of the direct descendants of Robert the Strong. ... The Valois Dynasty succeeded the Capetian Dynasty as rulers of France from 1328-1589. ... For the administrative and social structures of early modern France, see Ancien Régime in France. ... The Valois Dynasty succeeded the Capetian Dynasty as rulers of France from 1328-1589. ... The Valois Dynasty succeeded the Capetian Dynasty as rulers of France from 1328-1589. ... Also see:  Early Modern France The House of Bourbon is an important European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... The History of France from 1789 to 1914 (the long 19th century) extends from the French Revolution to World War I and includes the periods of the First French Empire, the Restoration under Louis XVIII and Charles X (1814–1830), the July Monarchy under Louis Philippe dOrléans (1830... Motto: (Liberty, equality, brotherhood, or death!) Anthem: La Marseillaise (unofficial) Capital Paris Language(s) French Government Republic Various  - 1792-1795 National Convention (rule by legislature)  - 1794-1799 Directory  - 1799-1804 First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte Legislature National Convention French Directory French Consulate History  - Storming of the Bastille/French Revolution 14 July... This article is about the legislative body and constitutional convention during the French Revolution. ... Executive Directory (in French Directoire exécutif), commonly known as the Directory (or Directoire) held executive power in France from November 2, 1795 until November 10, 1799: following the Convention and preceding the Consulate. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Map of the First French Empire in 1811, with the Empire in dark blue and satellite states in light blue Capital Paris Language(s) French Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1804 - 1814/1815 Napoleon I  - 1814/1815 Napoleon II Legislature Parliament  - Upper house Senate  - Lower house Corps législatif Historical era Napoleonic... Capital Paris Language(s) French Government Monarchy King of France and Navarre  - 1814-1824 Louis XVIII  - 1824-1830 Charles X  - 1830 Louis XIX  - 1830 Henri V Legislature Parliament History  - Louis XVIII restored 6 April, 1814  - July Revolution 21 January, 1830 Currency French Franc Following the ousting of Napoleon I of... // The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution, saw the overthrow of King Charles X, the last of the House of Bourbons, and the ascension of his cousin Louis-Philippe, the Duc dOrléans, who himself, after eighteen precarious years on the throne, would in turn... Capital Paris Language(s) French Government Monarchy King of the French  - 1830-1848 Louis-Phillipe Legislature Parliament  - Upper house Chamber of Peers  - Lower house Chamber of Deputies History  - July Revolution 1830  - Revolution of 1848 1848 Currency French Franc The July Monarchy (1830-1848) was a period of liberal monarchy rule... The February 1848 Revolution in France ended the reign of King Louis-Philippe, and led to the creation of the French Second Republic (1848-1852). ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... Map of the French Second Empire Capital Paris Language(s) French Government Monarchy Emperor  - 1852-1870 Napoleon III Legislature Parliament  - Upper house Senate  - Lower house Corps législatif History  - French coup of 1851 December 2 1851  - Established 1852  - Disestablished September 4, 1870 Currency French Franc The Second French Empire or... The French Third Republic, (in French, La Troisième République, sometimes written as La IIIe République) (1870/75-10 July 1940) was the governing body of France between the Second French Empire and the Vichy Regime. ... Le Père Duchesne looking at the statue of Napoleon I on top of the Vendome column: Eh ben ! bougre de canaille, on va donc te foutre en bas comme ta crapule de neveu !… (Well now! buggering rascal, we will knock you the fuck off just like your crook of... The History of France from 1914 to the present, includes the later years of the Third French Republic (1871-1941), the Vichy Regime (1940-1944), the years after Libération (1944-1946), the French Fourth Republic (1946-1958) and the French Fifth Republic (since 1958) and also includes World War... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government which governed France from 1944 to 1946. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the département system superseded provinces. ... This is a history of the economy of France. ... This image has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. ... Henry IV at the Battle of Ivry, by Peter Paul Rubens. ... For the French colonial postage stamps, see French Colonies. ... The visual and plastic arts of France have had an unprecedented diversity -- from the Gothic cathedral of Chartres to Georges de la Tours night scenes to Monets Waterlilies and finally to Duchamps radical Fontaine -- and have exerted an unparalleled influence on world cultural production. ... French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak other traditional non-French languages. ... Masterpiece painting by Eugène Delacroix called Liberty Leading the People portrays the July Revolution using the stylistic views of Romanticism. ... This is a timeline of French history. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The French Third Republic, (in French, Troisième Republique, sometimes written as IIIème Republique) ( 1870/ 75- 1940/ 46), was the governing body of France between the Second French Empire and the Fourth Republic. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... Flag De Jure territory Capital Paris Capital-in-exile London, Algiers Government Republic Leader Charles de Gaulle Historical era World War II  - de Gaulles appeal June 18, 1940  - Liberation of Paris August, 1944 The Free French Forces (French: , FFL) were French fighters in World War II, who decided to... For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... The Western Allies were the democracies and their colonial peoples, within the broader coalition of Allies during World War II. The term is generally understood to refer to the countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations and Poland (from 1939), exiled forces from Occupied Europe (from 1940), the United States... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...


France, along with the United Kingdom, was one of the first participants in World War II after declaring war on Germany following its invasion of Poland in 1939. After the Phony War from 1939 to 1940, the Germans conducted a brilliant campaign in the Low Countries and, in the Battle of France, managed to inflict a brutal defeat on the forces of the Third Republic. France formally surrendered to Germany on June 25, 1940, and a collaborationist government, led by Philippe Pétain and centered in Vichy, France, was established. On June 18, 1940, Charles de Gaulle gave a memorable speech to the French people over BBC Radio, telling them that "France has lost the battle, but France has not lost the war." De Gaulle did not recognize the legitimacy of the Vichy government and went on to found the Free French as the true government of France. The number of Free French troops grew with Allied success in North Africa, Italy, and the invasions of France in 1944. On October 23, 1944, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union officially recognized de Gaulle's regime as the provisional government of France. Recruitment in liberated France led to notable enlargements of the French armies. By the end of the war in May 1945, France had 1,250,000 troops, 10 divisions of which were fighting in Germany. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phony War The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German... It has been suggested that Regents: Low Countries be merged into this article or section. ... Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain, was a French general, later Chief of State of Vichy France (Chef de lÉtat Français), from 1940 to 1944. ... Vichy (Occitan: Vichèi) is a French commune, situated in the département of Allier and the région of Auvergne. ... is the 169th day of the year (170th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

Prelude

Following the First World War, dissatisfaction over the Treaty of Versailles led to many political confrontations and some military involvement by the victorious Allies. Economic woes and disillusionment after the war resulted in the establishment of fascist, imperialistic regimes under Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, shelling Westerplatte, September 1, 1939. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... This article is about the Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1919, which ended World War I. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles (disambiguation) . The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a peace treaty that officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... Map of the World showing the participants in World War I. Those fighting on the Allies side (at one point or another) are depicted in green, the Central Powers in orange, and neutral countries in gray. ... Mussolini redirects here. ... Hitler redirects here. ...


Tensions over the Treaty of Versailles

Main article: Treaty of Versailles

The peace treaty at Versailles did not satisfy many of those involved. The Allies imposed a huge indemnity on Germany and, more controversially, required that Germany accept blame for the war, a clause which outraged many Germans. German military capabilities were also severely restricted. France wanted to punish Germany for four years of horrible fighting, but, while she retrieved Alsace-Lorraine and earned promises of a demilitarized region west of the Rhine, she was not allowed to keep her troops in Germany. This article is about the Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1919, which ended World War I. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles (disambiguation) . The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a peace treaty that officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... This article is about the city of Versailles. ... Imperial Province of Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine (German: , generally Elsass-Lothringen) was a territorial entity created by the German Empire in 1871 after the annexation of most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War. ... The Rhine canyon (Ruinaulta) in Graubünden in Switzerland Length 1. ...


The Ruhr invasion

In 1923 and 1924, French and Belgian troops invaded the industrialized Ruhr region of Germany as a response fo the failure of the Weimar Republic under Wilhelm Cuno to pay reparations in the aftermath of World War I. Initiated by French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré, the invasion took place on January 11, 1923, with the aim of occupying the centre of German coal, iron and steel production in the Ruhr valley. Internationally, the occupation did much to boost sympathy for Germany, although no action was taken in the League of Nations in response to what was a clear breach of League rules. The French, with their own economic problems, eventually accepted the Dawes Plan and withdrew from the occupied areas in July and August of 1925. The Occupation of the Varun Balan in 1923 and 1924, by troops from France and Belgium was a response to the failure of German Weimar Republic under Cuno to pay reparations in the aftermath of World War I. Initiated by French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré, the invasion took place on... Ruhr Area within Germany Map of the Ruhr Area The Ruhr Area, also called simply Ruhr, (German Ruhrgebiet, colloquial Ruhrpott or Kohlenpott) is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, consisting of a number of large formerly industrial cities bordered by the rivers Ruhr to the south, Rhine to... Anthem Das Lied der Deutschen Germany during the Weimar period, with the Free State of Prussia (in blue) as the largest state Capital Berlin Language(s) German Government Republic President  - 1918-1925 Friedrich Ebert  - 1925-1933 Paul von Hindenburg Chancellor  - 1919 Philipp Scheidemann(first)  - 1933 Kurt von Schleicher (last) Legislature... Dr. jur. ... World War I reparations refers to the payments and transfers of property and equipment that the German state was forced to make following its defeat during World War I. Article 231 of the Treaty (the war guilt clause) held Germany solely responsible for all loss and damage suffered by the... Woodrow Wilson and the American peace commissioners during the negotiations on the Treaty of Versailles. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ... Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic during the Great War. ... An invasion is a military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory, or altering the established government. ... is the 11th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Coal Example chemical structure of coal Coal (pronounced ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ... For other uses, see Iron (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Steel (disambiguation). ... The League of Nations was an international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–1920. ... At the conclusion of World War I the Allies imposed in the Treaty of Versailles a plan for reparations to be paid by Germany. ...


The Rise of Hitler and Mussolini

In 1922, Mussolini assumed power in Italy. His fascist regime hoped to aggrandize Italian prestige abroad by colonial conquests and military force. In 1935, Italy invaded and occupied Ethiopia after seven months. Just prior to the outbreak of World War II, Italian forces invaded Albania on April 7, 1939. Combatants Italy Ethiopia Strength 800,000 (only ~330,000 mobilized) 100,000 (some ill-equipped) Casualties 15,000 16,000 The Second Italo–Abyssinian War, also called the Rape of Ethiopia, lasted seven months in 1935–1936. ... April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and Führer following Hindenburg's death in 1934. Hitler wanted to reverse the decision of World War I and the plight of the German people following the Treaty of Versailles. He broke several Versailles agreements, including the demilitarization of the Ruhr and the limited size of German armed forces, and tried to expand German Lebensraum through various political machinations. In 1938, Germany and Austria were united in the Anschluss. Following the crisis in the Sudetenland, France, Britain, Germany, and Italy held the Munich Conference later in the year, resolving to deal peacefully with future problems. Germany, however, ignored the agreements when it invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. Thinking France and Britain would not come to Polish aid, Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Two days later, France declared war. The head of government of Germany is called Chancellor (German: Kanzler). ... Nazi propaganda poster. ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal           (German for habitat or literally living space) was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. ... German troops march into Austria on 12 March 1938. ... Sudetenland (Czech and Polish: Sudety) was the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the Western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia associated with Bohemia. ... For the annual global security meeting held in Munich, see Munich Conference on Security Policy The Munich Agreement (Czech: ; Slovak: ; German: ) was an agreement regarding the Sudetenland Crisis among the major powers of Europe after a conference held in Munich, Germany in 1938 and signed in the early hours of... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Polish campaign and the Phony War

The invasion of Poland was a resounding success for German and Soviet forces, the latter entering Poland on September 17. The Germans routed the Polish army and occupied much of Western Poland. France declared war to honor her military obligations to Poland, but the Saar Offensive, failed in its aim of relieving the pressure on Poland, and French forces withdrew. The resulting Phony War, in which there were no major conflicts in Continental Europe, was broken by the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in April 1940. For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The French attack on Saarland was a French sortie into the Saarland in the early stages of World War II. The purpose of the attack was to assist Poland, which was then under attack. ... Combatants Germany Denmark Norway Operation Weserübung was the German codename for Nazi Germanys assault on Denmark and Norway during World War II and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. ...


Battle of France

Main article: Battle of France

Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di...

Prelude

The German plan was radically altered, catching the Allied army off guard.
The German plan was radically altered, catching the Allied army off guard.

Neither the French nor the British anticipated such a rapid defeat in Poland, and the quick German victory, relying on a new form of mobile warfare, disturbed some generals in London and Paris. However, the Allies still expected they would be able to contain the enemy, anticipating a war reasonably like the First World War, so they believed that even without an Eastern Front the Germans could be defeated by blockade, as in the previous conflict. This feeling was more widely shared in London than in Paris, which had suffered more severely during the First World War in blood and material devastation. The French leadership, in particular Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister of France since 1938, also respected the large gap between France's human and economic resources as compared to those of Germany. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 389 KB) Summary Source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 389 KB) Summary Source: http://www. ... This article is about the military term. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Combatants Soviet Union,[1] Poland, Tannu Tuva (until 1944 incorporation with USSR), Mongolia Germany,[2] Italy (to 1943), Romania (to 1944), Finland (to 1944), Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain (to 1943, unofficial) Commanders Joseph Stalin, Aleksei Antonov, Ivan Konev, Rodion Malinovsky, Ivan Bagramyan, Kirill Meretskov, Ivan Petrov, Alexander Rodimtsev, Konstantin Rokossovsky... A blockade is any effort to prevent supplies, troops, information or aid from reaching an opposing force. ... French politician Édouard Daladier Édouard Daladier (June 18, 1884 - October 10, 1970) was a French politician, and Prime Minister of France at the start of the Second World War. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ...


The Supreme Commander of France's army, Maurice Gamelin, like the rest of the French government, was expecting a campaign from the Germans that in the strategic sense would mirror the First World War. The Von Schlieffen Plan, Gamelin believed, was to be repeated with a reasonably close degree of accuracy, and even though important parts of the French army in the 1930s had been designed to wage offensive warfare, it would be preferable to confront such a threat defensively, as the French military staff believed its country was not equipped militarily or economically to launch a decisive offensive initially. It would be better to wait until 1941 to fully exploit the combined allied economic superiority over Germany. To confront the expected German plan - which rested on a move into the Low Countries outflanking the fortified Maginot Line - Gamelin intended to send the best units of the French army along with the British Expeditionary Force north to halt the Germans in the area of the river Dyle east of Brussels until a decisive victory could be achieved with the support of the united British, Belgian, French and Dutch armies. The original German plan closely resembled Gamelin's expectations. Maurice Gamelin Maurice Gustave Gamelin (September 20, 1872 - April 18, 1958) was a French general. ... Image:AlfredGrafVonSchlieffen. ... It has been suggested that Regents: Low Countries be merged into this article or section. ... The Maginot Line (IPA: [maʒinoː], named after French minister of defence André Maginot) was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defences which France constructed along its borders with Germany and with Italy, in the light of experience from World War I, and... The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939–1940 during World War II. The BEF was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War in case the... Dijle (Dutch, in French: Dyle) is a river in central Belgium. ...


The crash in Belgium of a light plane carrying two German officers with a copy of the then-current invasion plan forced Hitler to scrap the plan and search for an original alternative. The final plan for Fall Gelb (Case Yellow) had been suggested by General Erich von Manstein, then serving as Chief of Staff to Gerd von Rundstedt, but had been initially rejected by the German General Staff. It proposed a deep penetration further south of the original route, which took advantage of the speed of the unified Panzer divisions to separate and encircle the opposing forces. It had the virtue of being unlikely (from a defensive point of view) as the Ardennes were heavily wooded and implausible as a route for a mechanized invasion. It had the considerable virtue of not having been intercepted by the Allies (for no copies were being carried about) and of being dramatic, which seems to have appealed to Hitler. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (December 12, 1875 - February 24, 1953) was a Generalfeldmarschall of the German Army during World War II. He held some of the highest field commands in all phases of the war. ... The Ardennes (IPA pronunciation: ) (Dutch: Ardennen) is a volcanic region of extensive forests and rolling hill country, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France (lending its name to the Ardennes département and the Champagne-Ardenne région). ...


Manstein's aggressive plan was to break through the weak Allied center with overwhelming force, trap the forces to the north in a pocket, and drive on to Paris. The plan benefitted from an Allied response close to how they would have responded in the original case; namely, that a large part of French and British strength was drawn north to defend Belgium and Picardy. To help ensure this result, the German Army Group B was still expected to attack Belgium and the Netherlands in order to draw Allied forces eastward into the developing encirclement, as well as obtaining bases for a later attack on Britain. Coat of arms of Picardy Picardy (French: Picardie) is an historical province of France, in the north of France. ... Army Group B was the name of three different German Army Groups that saw action during World War II. The first was involved in the western campaign in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands which was to be aimed to conquer the Maas bridges after the German airborne actions in...


The Allied general staff and key statesmen, after capturing the original invasion plans, were initially jubilant that they had potentially won a key victory in the war before the campaign was even fought. Contrarily, General Gamelin and Lord Gort, the commander of the British Expeditionary Force, were shaken into realizing that whatever the Germans came up with instead would not be what they had initially expected. More and more Gamelin became convinced that the Germans would try to attempt a breakthrough by concentrating their mechanized forces. They could hardly hope to break the Maginot Line on his right flank or to overcome the allied concentration of forces on the left flank. That only left the centre. But most of the centre was covered by the river Meuse. Tanks were useless in defeating fortified river positions. However at Namur the river made a sharp turn to the east, creating a gap between itself and the river Dyle. This Gembloux Gap, ideal for mechanized warfare, was a very dangerous weak spot. Gamelin decided to concentrate half of his armoured reserves there. Of course the Germans might try to overcome the Meuse position by using infantry. But that could only be achieved by massive artillery support, the build-up of which would give Gamelin ample warning. Field Marshal John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort VC GCB CBE DSO and two Bars MVO MC (commonly known as Lord Gort) (10 July 1886 - 31 March 1946) was a British soldier who served in both World War I and II, rising to the rank of field marshal... The Maginot Line (IPA: [maʒinoː], named after French minister of defence André Maginot) was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defences which France constructed along its borders with Germany and with Italy, in the light of experience from World War I, and... Meuse is a département in northeast France, named after the Meuse River. ... Namur (Nameûr in Walloon, Namen in Dutch) is a city and municipality, capital of the province of Namur and of the region of Wallonia in southern Belgium. ... Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I Infantry or footmen are very highly disciplined and trained soldiers who fight primarily with small arms(rifles), but are trained to use everything from their bare hands to missle systems in order to neutralize... For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ...


Campaign in the Low Countries and Northern France

Germany launched its offensive, Fall Gelb, on the night prior to and principally on the morning of 10 May. During the night German forces occupied Luxembourg, and in the morning German Army Group B (Bock) launched a feint offensive into the Netherlands and Belgium.[1] German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) from the 7th Flieger and 22nd Air Landing divisions under Kurt Student executed surprise landings at The Hague, on the road to Rotterdam and against the Belgian Fort Eben-Emael on its opening day with the goal of facilitating AG B's advance.


The Allied command reacted immediately, sending forces north to combat a plan that, for all the Allies could expect, resembled the earlier Schlieffen plan. This move north committed their best forces, diminished their fighting power through loss of readiness and their mobility through loss of fuel. That evening French troops crossed the Dutch border.


The French and British air command was less effective than their generals had anticipated, and the Luftwaffe quickly obtained air superiority, depriving the Allies of key reconnaissance abilities and disrupting Allied communication and coordination.


While the German invaders secured all the strategically vital bridges in and toward Rotterdam, which penetrated "Fortress Holland" and bypassed the Water Line, an attempt to seize the Dutch seat of government, The Hague, ended in complete failure. The airfields surrounding the city (Ypenburg, Ockenburg, and Valkenburg) were taken with heavy casualties on 10 May, only to be lost on the very same day to furious counterattacks launched by the two Dutch reserve infantry divisions. The Dutch would capture or kill 1,745 Fallschirmjäger, transporting 1200 prisoners to England.


The French marched north to establish a connection with the Dutch army, which came under attack from German paratroopers, but simply not understanding German intentions they failed to block German armored reinforcements of the 9th Panzer Division from reaching Rotterdam on 13 May. The Dutch, their poorly equipped army largely intact, surrendered on 14 May after the Germans bombed Rotterdam. However the Dutch troops in Zeeland and the colonies continued the fight while Queen Wilhelmina established a government-in-exile in Britain. is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The centre of the Belgian defensive line, Fort Eben-Emael, had been seized by German paratroopers using gliders on 10 May, allowing their forces to cross the bridges over the Albert Canal, although the arrival of the British Expeditionary Force managed to save the Belgians for a time. Gamelin's plan in the north was achieved when the British army reached the Dyle; then the expected major tank battle took place in the Gembloux Gap between the French 2nd DLM and 3rd DLMs (Division Légère Mécanique, "Mechanized Light Division") and the German 3rd and 4th Panzer divisions of Erich Hoepner's XVI Panzer Corps,, costing both sides about 100 vehicles; the German offensive in Belgium seemed stalled for a moment. But this was a feint. is the 130th day of the year (131st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


German breakthrough

The German Blitzkrieg offensive of mid-May, 1940.
The German Blitzkrieg offensive of mid-May, 1940.

In the center German Army Group A smashed through the Belgian infantry regiments and French Light Divisions of the Cavalry (Divisions Légères de Cavalerie) advancing into the Ardennes, and arrived at the Meuse River near Sedan the night of May 12/13. On May 13 the Germans forced three crossing near Sedan. Instead of slowly massing artillery as the French expected, the Germans replaced the need for traditional artillery by using the full might of their bomber force to punch a hole in a narrow sector of the French lines by carpet bombing (punctuated by dive bombing). Sedan was held by the 55th French Infantry Division (55e DI), a grade “B” reserve division. The forward elements of the 55e DI held their positions through most of the 13th, initially repulsing three of the six German crossing attempts; however, the German air attacks had disrupted the French supporting artillery batteries and created an impression among the troops of the 55e DI that they were isolated and abandoned. The combination of the psychological impact of the bombing, the generally slowly expanding German lodgments, deep penetrations by some small German infantry units and the lack of air or artillery support eventually broke down the 55e DI’s resistance and much of the unit went into rout by the evening of May 13/14. The German aerial attack of May 13th, with 1215 bomber sorties, the heaviest air bombardment the world had yet witnessed, is considered to have been very effective and key to the successful German river crossing. It was the most effective use of tactical air power yet demonstrated in warfare. The disorder begun at Sedan was spread down the French line by groups of haggard and retreating soldiers. During the night some units in the last prepared defence line at Bulson panicked by the false rumour German tanks were already behind their positions. On May 14th two French tank battalions and supporting infantry from the 71st North African Infantry Division (71e NADI) counter-attacked the German bridgehead without success. The attack was partially repulsed by the first German armor and anti-tank units which had been rushed across the river as quickly as possible at 7:20 A.M. on pontoon bridges. On May 14th every available Allied light bomber was employed in an attempt to destroy the German pontoon bridges; but, despite incurring the highest single day action losses in the entire history of the British and French air forces, failed to destroy these targets. Despite the failure of numerous quickly planned counterattacks to collapse the German bridgehead, the French Army was successful in re-establishing a continuous defensive position further south; on the west flank of the bridgehead, however, French resistance began to crumble. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 203 KB)Source: Department of History, United States Military Academy. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 203 KB)Source: Department of History, United States Military Academy. ... The Meuse (Maas) at Maastricht Meuse near Grave The Meuse (Dutch & German Maas) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. ... Sedan is a town and commune in France, a sous-préfecture of the Ardennes département. ... is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The phrase carpet bombing refers to the use of large numbers of unguided gravity bombs, often with a high proportion of incendiary bombs, to attempt the complete destruction of a target region, either to destroy personnel and materiel, or as a means to demoralize the enemy (see terror bombing). ... A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy. ...


The commander of the French Second Army, General Huntzinger, immediately took effective measures to prevent a further weakening of his position. An armoured division (3rd Division Cuirassée de Réserve) and a motorized division blocked further German advances around his flank. However the commander of XIX Panzer Corps, Heinz Guderian, wasn't interested in Huntzinger's flank. Leaving for the moment 10th Panzer Division at the bridgehead to protect it from attacks by 3rd DCR, he moved his 1st and 2nd Panzer divisions sharply to the west on the 15th, undercutting the flank of the French Ninth Army by 40 km and forcing the 102nd Fortress Division to leave its positions that had blocked XVI Panzer Corps at Monthermé. While the French Second Army had been seriously mauled and had rendered itself impotent, now Ninth Army began to disintegrate completely, for in Belgium also its divisions, not having had the time to fortify, had been pushed back from the river by the unrelenting pressure of German infantry, allowing the impetuous Erwin Rommel to break free with his 7th Panzer Division. A French armoured division (1st DCR) was sent to block him but advancing unexpectedly fast he surprised it while refueling on the 15th and dispersed it, despite some losses caused by the heavy French tanks. This article is about the World War II general Heinz Guderian. ... The 10th Panzer Division was created in 1939, and served in the Army Group North reserve during the invasion of Poland (1939). ... The German 1st Panzer Division () was an armored division in the German Army during World War II. Its divisional insignia was a white oakleaf emblem. ... The 2nd Panzer Division () was created in 1935, and stationed in Austria after the Anschluss. ... The Ninth Army (French: ) was a Field army of the French Army during World War I and World War II. General Ferdinand Foch (29 August 1914 - 5 October 1914) General Antoine de Mitry (6 July 1918 - 7 August 1918) General Corap Category: ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most famous German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... The 7th Panzer Division, which participated in the Battle of France, was nicknamed the Ghost Division because nobody knew where they were attacking from, not even the German High Command. ...


On the 16th both Guderian and Rommel disobeyed their explicit direct orders to halt in an act of open insubordination against their superiors and moved their divisions many kilometers to the west, as fast as they could push them. Guderian reached Marle, 80 kilometers from Sedan, Rommel crossed the river Sambre at Le Cateau, a hundred kilometers from his bridgehead, Dinant. While nobody knew the whereabouts of Rommel (he had advanced so quickly that he was out of range for radio contact, earning his 7th Panzer Division the nickname Gespenster-Division, "Ghost Division"), an enraged von Kleist flew to Guderian on the morning of the 17th and after a heated argument relieved him of all duties. However, von Rundstedt would have none of it and refused to confirm the order. Marle is a commune of the Aisne département, in northern France. ... The Sambre is a river rising in northern France and flowing into southern Belgium. ... The tower of Notre-Dame, seen from the citadel Dinant is a municipality located on the River Meuse in the Belgian province of Namur, Belgium. ... The 7th Panzer Division, which participated in the Battle of France, was nicknamed the Ghost Division because nobody knew where they were attacking from, not even the German High Command. ...


Allied reaction

The Panzer Corps now slowed their advance considerably but had put themselves in a very vulnerable position. They were stretched out, exhausted and low on fuel; many tanks had broken down. There now was a dangerous gap between them and the infantry. A determined attack by a fresh large mechanized force could have cut them off and wiped them out.


The French high command, however, was reeling from the shock of the sudden offensive and was stung by a sense of defeatism. On the morning of 15 May, French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud telephoned newly minted Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill and said "We have been defeated. We are beaten; we have lost the battle." Churchill, attempting to console Reynaud reminded the Prime Minister of the times the Germans had broken through allied lines in World War I only to be stopped. However, Reynaud was inconsolable. is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ... Paul Reynaud (October 15, 1878 - September 21, 1966) was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. ... The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. ... Churchill redirects here. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


Churchill flew to Paris on May 16. He immediately recognized the gravity of the situation when he observed that the French government was already burning its archives and preparing for an evacuation of the capital. In a somber meeting with the French commanders, Churchill asked General Gamelin, "Where is the strategic reserve?" which had saved Paris in the First World War. "There is none," Gamelin replied. Later, Churchill described hearing this as the single most shocking moment in his life. Churchill asked Gamelin when and where the general proposed to launch a counterattack against the flanks of the German bulge. Gamelin simply replied "inferiority of numbers, inferiority of equipment, inferiority of methods". is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ...


Gamelin was right; most reserve divisions had by now been committed. The only armoured division still in reserve, 2nd DCR, attacked on the 16th. However the French armoured divisions of the Infantry, the Divisions Cuirassées de Réserve, were despite their name very specialized breakthrough units, optimized for attacking fortified positions. They could be quite useful for defense, if dug in, but had very limited utility for an encounter fight: they could not execute combined infantry-tank tactics as they simply had no important motorized infantry component; they had poor tactical mobility as the heavy Char B1 bis, their main tank in which half of the French tank budget had been invested, had to refuel twice a day. So 2nd DCR divided itself in a covering screen, the small subunits of which fought bravely - but without having any strategic effect. The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before the Second World War. ...


Of course, some of the best units in the north had yet seen little fighting. Had they been kept in reserve they could have been used for a decisive counter strike. But now they had lost much fighting power simply by moving to the north; hurrying south again would cost them even more. The most powerful allied division, the 1st DLM (Division Légère Mécanique, "light" in this case meaning "mobile"), deployed near Dunkirk on the 10th, had moved its forward units 220 kilometers to the northeast, beyond the Dutch city of 's-Hertogenbosch, in 32 hours. Finding that the Dutch had already retreated to the north, it had withdrawn and was now moving to the south. When it would reach the Germans again, of its original 80 SOMUA S 35 tanks only three would be operational, mostly as a result of break down. Location within France For the battleship, see Dunkerque Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque; Dutch: Duinkerke; German: Dünkirchen) is a harbour city and a commune in the northernmost part of France, in the département of Nord, 10 km from the Belgian border. ... s-Hertogenbosch ( ) (literally The Dukes Forest), colloquially known as Den Bosch ( (help· info)) — translated in French as Bois-le-Duc, in German as Herzogenbusch and in Spanish as Bolduque — is a municipality in the Netherlands, and also the capital of the province of North Brabant. ... The Somua S-35 was a French cavalry tank of the Second World War. ...


Nevertheless, a radical decision to retreat to the south, avoiding contact, could probably have saved most of the mechanized and motorized divisions, including the BEF. However, that would have meant leaving about thirty infantry divisions to their fate. The loss of Belgium alone would be an enormous political blow. Besides, the Allies were uncertain about German intentions. They threatened in four directions: to the north, to attack the allied main force directly; to the west, to cut it off; to the south, to occupy Paris and even to the east, to move behind the Maginot Line. The French decided to create a new reserve, among which a reconstituted 7th Army, under General Touchon, using every unit they could safely pull out of the Maginot Line to block the way to Paris. This article is about the capital of France. ...


Colonel Charles de Gaulle, in command of France's hastily formed 4th Armored Division, attempted to launch an attack from the south and achieved a measure of success that would later accord him considerable fame and a promotion to Brigadier General. However, de Gaulle's attacks on the 17th and 19th did not significantly alter the overall situation. For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ...


Channel attacks, Dunkirk, and the Weygand Plan

While the Allies did little either to threaten them or escape from the danger they posed, the Panzer Corps used the 17th and 18th to refuel, eat, sleep and get some more tanks in working order. On the 18th Rommel made the French give up Cambrai by merely feinting an armoured attack. Cambrai (Dutch: Kamerijk) is a French city and commune, in the Nord département, of which it is a sous_préfecture. ...


On the 19th German High Command grew very confident. The Allies seemed incapable of coping with events. There appeared to be no serious threat from the south - indeed General Franz Halder, Chief of Army General Staff, toyed with the idea of attacking Paris immediately to knock France out of the war in one blow. The Allied troops in the North were retreating to the river Escaut, their right flank giving way to the 3rd and 4th Panzer Divisions. It would be foolish to remain inactive any longer, allowing them to reorganize their defense or escape. Now it was time to bring them into even more serious trouble by cutting them off. The next day the Panzer Corps started moving again, smashed through the weak British 18th and 23rd Territorial Divisions, occupied Amiens and secured the westernmost bridge over the river Somme at Abbeville isolating the British, French, Dutch, and Belgian forces in the north. In the evening of the 20th a reconnaissance unit from 2nd Panzer Division reached Noyelles, a hundred kilometers to the west. There they could see the estuary of the Somme flowing into The Channel. Franz Halder Franz Ritter Halder (June 30, 1884 – April 2, 1972) was a German General and the head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. ... The Oberkommando der Heeres (OKH) was Germanys Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. ... The Scheldt in Antwerp Length 350 km Elevation of the source 95 m Average discharge 120 m³/s Area watershed 21860 km² Origin France Mouth Westerschelde Basin countries France, Belgium, Netherlands The Scheldt (Dutch: Schelde, French lEscaut) is a 350 km[1] (217 mile) long river that finds its... Amiens is a city and commune in the north of France, 120 km north of Paris. ... Somme is a French département, named after the Somme River, located in the north of France. ... Collégiale St Vulfran Beffroi Abbeville is a city in the Picardie région, in the north of France. ... For the Thoroughbred racehorse of the same name, see English Channel (horse). ...


On 20 May also, French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud dismissed Maurice Gamelin for his failure to contain the German offensive, and replaced him with Maxime Weygand, who immediately attempted to devise new tactics to contain the Germans. More pressing however was his strategic task: he formed the Weygand Plan, ordering to pinch off the German armoured spearhead by combined attacks from the north and the south. On the map this seemed a feasible mission: the corridor through which von Kleist's two Panzer Corps had moved to the coast was a mere 40 kilometers wide. On paper Weygand had sufficient forces to execute it: in the north the three DLM and the BEF, in the south de Gaulle's 4th DCR. These units had an organic strength of about 1200 tanks and the Panzer divisions were very vulnerable again, the mechanical condition of their tanks rapidly deteriorating. But the condition of the Allied divisions was far worse. Both in the south and the north they could in reality muster but a handful of tanks. Nevertheless Weygand flew to Ypres on the 21st trying to convince the Belgians and the BEF of the soundness of his plan. is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Prime Minister of France (Premier ministre de la France) is the functional head of the Cabinet of France. ... Paul Reynaud (October 15, 1878 - September 21, 1966) was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. ... Maurice Gamelin Maurice Gustave Gamelin (September 20, 1872 - April 18, 1958) was a French general. ... General Maxime Weygand Maxime Weygand (January 21, 1867 - January 28, 1965) was a French military commander in both World War I and World War II. // Weygand was born in Brussels. ... Ewald von Kleist Ewald von Kleist Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (August 8, 1881, Braunfels an der Lahn - ca. ... Geography Country Belgium Community Flemish Community Region Flemish Region Province West Flanders Arrondissement Ypres Coordinates , , Area 130. ...


That same day, 21 May, a detachment of the British Expeditionary Force under Major-General Harold Edward Franklyn had already attempted to at least delay the German offensive and, perhaps, to cut the leading edge of the German army off. The resulting Battle of Arras demonstrated the ability of the heavily armoured British Matilda tanks (the German 37mm anti-tank guns proved ineffective against them) and the limited raid overran two German regiments. The panic that resulted (the German commander at Arras, Erwin Rommel, reported being attacked by 'hundreds' of tanks, though there were only 58 at the battle) temporarily delayed the German offensive. German reinforcements pressed the British back to Vimy Ridge the following day. is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United Kingdom Germany Commanders Major-General Harold Franklyn Generalmajor Erwin Rommel Casualties About 100 killed or wounded 300 killed or wounded, 400 Captured. ... The Tank, Infantry, Mk II, Matilda II (A12) (sometimes referred to as Senior Matilda) was a British tank of World War II. In a somewhat unorthodox move, it shared the same name as the Tank, Infantry, Mk I (A11). ... Anti-tank, or simply AT, refers to any method of combating military armored fighting vehicles, notably tanks. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most famous German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... The Battle of Vimy Ridge was one of the opening battles in a larger British campaign known as the Battle of Arras. ...


Although this attack wasn't part of any coordinated attempt to destroy the Panzer Corps, the German High Command panicked a lot more than Rommel. For a moment they feared to have been ambushed, that a thousand Allied tanks were about to smash their elite forces. But the next day they had regained confidence and ordered Guderian's XIX Panzer Corps to press north and push on to the Channel ports of Boulogne and Calais, in the back of the British and Allied forces to the north. Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city and commune in northern France, in the Pas-de-Calais département of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Calais (Kales in Dutch) is a town in northern France, located at 50°57N 1°52E. It is in the département of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ...


That same day, the 22nd, the French tried to attack south to the east of Arras, with some infantry and tanks, but by now the German infantry had begun to catch up and the attack was, with some difficulty, stopped by the 32nd Infantry Division. The 32nd Infantry Division of the German Army was mobilized on August 1, 1939 for the upcoming invasion of Poland. ...


Only on the 24th the first attack from the south could be launched when 7th DIC, supported by a handful of tanks, failed to retake Amiens. This was a rather weak effort; however on 27 May the British 1st Armoured Division, hastily brought over from England, attacked Abbeville in force but was beaten back with crippling losses. The next day de Gaulle tried again with the same result. But by now even complete success couldn't have saved the forces in the north. is the 147th day of the year (148th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (  listen?) (November 22, 1890 – November 9, 1970), in France commonly referred to as le général de Gaulle, was a French military leader and statesman. ...


In the early hours of the 23rd Gort ordered a retreat from Arras. He had no faith in the Weygand plan nor in the proposal of the latter to at least try to hold a pocket on the Flemish coast, a Réduit de Flandres. The ports needed to supply such a foothold were already threatened. That day the 2nd Panzer Division assaulted Boulogne and 10th Panzer assaulted Calais. The British garrison in Boulogne surrendered on the 25th, although 4,368 troops were evacuated. Calais, though strengthened by the arrival of 3rd Royal Tank Regiment equipped with cruiser tanks and 30th Motor Brigade, fell to the Germans on the 27th. Cruiser tanks were a British tank design concept of the interwar period, which saw action during the Second World War. ...


While the 1st Panzer Division was ready to attack Dunkirk on the 25th, Hitler ordered it to halt on the 24th. This remains one of the most controversial decisions of the entire war. Hermann Göring had convinced Hitler the Luftwaffe could prevent an evacuation; von Rundstedt had warned him that any further effort by the armoured divisions would lead to a much prolonged refitting period. Attacking cities wasn't part of the normal task for armoured units under any operational doctrine. Location within France For the battleship, see Dunkerque Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque; Dutch: Duinkerke; German: Dünkirchen) is a harbour city and a commune in the northernmost part of France, in the département of Nord, 10 km from the Belgian border. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon, pronounced lufft-va-fa, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ...


Encircled, the British, Belgian and French launched Operation Dynamo and Operation Ariel, evacuating Allied forces from the northern pocket in Belgium and Pas-de-Calais, beginning on 26 May. (see Battle of Dunkirk) The Allied position was complicated by King Léopold III of Belgium's surrender the following day, which was postponed till the 28th. French troops rescued by a British merchant ship at Dunkirk British evacuation on Dunkirk beach Operation Dynamo (or Dunkirk Evacuation, the Miracle of Dunkirk or just Dunkirk) was the name given to the World War II mass evacuation of Allied soldiers from May 26 to June 4, 1940, during the... During World War II, Operation Ariel was the escape of French and British forces from northern France after the collapse of that country. ... Pas-de-Calais is a département in northern France named after the strait which it borders. ... is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about a Second World War battle in 1940, for the 1658 battle of the same name see Battle of the Dunes (1658) Combatants United Kingdom France Belgium Germany Commanders Lord Gort General Weygand Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Ewald von Kleist (Panzergruppe von Kleist) Strength approx. ... Léopold III, Léopold Philippe Charles Albert Meinrad Hubertus Marie Miguel (November 3, 1901 – September 25, 1983) reigned as King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of his Heir Apparent, his son Baudouin. ...


Confusion still reigned however, as after the evacuation at Dunkirk and while Paris was enduring its short-lived siege, the First Canadian Division and a Scottish division were sent to Normandy (Brest) and penetrated 200 miles inland toward Paris before they heard that Paris had fallen and France had capitulated. They retreated and re-embarked for England.


At the same time as the Canadian 1st division landed in Brest, the Canadian 242 Squadron of the RAF flew their Hawker Hurricanes to Nantes (100 miles south-east) and set up there to provide air cover. The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. ...


France defeated

The German offensive in June sealed the defeat of the French.
The German offensive in June sealed the defeat of the French.

The best and most modern French armies had been sent north and lost in the resulting encirclement; the French had lost their best heavy weaponry and their best armored formations. Weygand was faced with a hemorrhage in the front stretching from Sedan to the Channel, and the French government had begun to lose heart that the Germans could still be defeated, particularly as the British were evacuating the Continent, a particularly symbolic event for French morale, intensified by the German progaganda slogan "The British will fight to the last Frenchman". On 10 June, Italy declared war on France and Britain and Italian troops crossed the border in three places on June 21. Over two dozen Italian divisions suffered brutal casualties, around 5,000, against just four French divisions, which lost only 8 men. After little progress, the Italians requested aid from the Germans, whose arrival finally broke the French. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 201 KB)Source: Department of History, United States Military Academy. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1256x956, 201 KB)Source: Department of History, United States Military Academy. ... A notchback full-size luxury sedan. ... is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Germans renewed their offensive on 5 June on the Somme. A panzer-led attack on Paris broke the scarce reserves that Weygand had put between the Germans and the capital, and on 10 June the French government fled to Bordeaux, declaring Paris an open city. Churchill returned to France on 11 June, meeting the French War Council in Briare. The French, clearly in a panic, wanted Churchill to give every available fighter to the air battle over France; with only 25 squadrons remaining, Churchill refused, believing that the decisive battle would be fought over Britain (see Battle of Britain). Churchill, at the meeting, obtained promises from French admiral François Darlan that the fleet would not fall into German hands. is the 156th day of the year (157th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Bordeaux (disambiguation). ... In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the country that owns the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that they have abandoned all defensive efforts. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Briare is a commune of the Loiret département, in France. ... This article is about military history. ... François Darlan (August 7, 1881 – December 24, 1942) was a French naval officer. ...


Fighting continued in the east until General Pretelat, commanding the French Second Army group, was forced to surrender on 22 June. is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940.
A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940.

Image File history File links Size of this preview: 745 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2648 × 2131 pixel, file size: 831 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 745 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2648 × 2131 pixel, file size: 831 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Description: A Frenchman weeps as German soldiers march into the French capital, Paris, on June 14, 1940, after the Allied armies had been driven back across...

Aftermath

France formally surrendered to the German armed forces on 22 June in the same railroad car at Compiègne that Germany in 1918 had been forced to surrender in. This railway car was lost in allied air raids on the German capital of Berlin later in the war. Paul Reynaud, France's Prime Minister, resigned because he believed a majority of his government favored an armistice. He was succeeded by Maréchal Philippe Pétain, who announced to the French people via radio his intention to stop fighting. The Second Armistice at Compiègne, France was signed on June 22, 18:50, 1940, between Nazi Germany and France. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Compiègne is a commune in the Oise département of France, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Front page of the New York Times on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918 The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on November 11, 1918, and marked the end of the First World War on the Western Front. ... Paul Reynaud (October 15, 1878 - September 21, 1966) was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. ... Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain, was a French general, later Chief of State of Vichy France (Chef de lÉtat Français), from 1940 to 1944. ...


France was divided into a German occupation zone in the north and west and an unoccupied zone in the south. Pétain set up a collaborationist government in the spa town of Vichy and the regime came to be known as Vichy France. Location of Vichy France (green). ... Collaboration is a process defined by the recursive interaction of knowledge[1] and mutual learning between two or more people working together[2] toward a common goal typically creative in nature. ... Vichy (Occitan: Vichèi) is a French commune, situated in the département of Allier and the région of Auvergne. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval...


Charles de Gaulle, who had been made an Undersecretary of National Defense by Paul Reynaud, was in London at the time of the surrender: having made his Appeal of 18 June, he refused to recognize the Vichy government as legitimate -the President of France function was vacant- and began the task of organizing the Free French forces. A number of French colonies - French Equatorial Africa, French Algeria, etc. - joined de Gaulle's fight, while others - French Indochina soon attacked by the Japanese - remained loyal to the Vichy government. Italy occupied a small area, essentially the Alpes-Maritimes, and Corsica. For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ... Paul Reynaud (October 15, 1878 - September 21, 1966) was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. ... General de Gaulle speaking on the BBC on 18 June 1940 The Appeal of 18th June was a famous speech by Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces, in 1940. ... The President of France, known officially as the President of the Republic (Président de la République in French), is Frances elected Head of State. ... The Free French Forces (Forces Françaises Libres in French) were French fighters who decided to go on fighting against Germany after the Fall of France and German occupation and to fight against Vichy France in World War II. General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French Cabinet... Location of French Equatorial Africa. ... French rule in Algeria, 1830–1962 Most of Frances actions in Algeria, not least the invasion of Algiers, were propelled by contradictory impulses. ... Flag Capital Hanoi Language(s) French Political structure Federation Historical era New Imperialism  - Addition of Laos 1893, 1887  - Vietnamese Declaration of Independence September 2, 1945  - Independence of Laos July 19, 1949  - Independence of Cambodia November 9, 1953  - Recognized Independence of Vietnam 1954, 1954 Area  - 1945 750,000 km² Currency French... Alpes_Maritimes is a département in the extreme southeast corner of France. ... For other uses, see Corsica (disambiguation). ...


The British began to doubt Admiral Darlan's promise to Churchill to not allow the French fleet at Toulon to fall into German hands by the wording of the armistice conditions; they therefore attacked French naval forces in Africa and Europe (see Destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir) which led to feelings of animosity and mistrust between the former French and British allies. Combatants United Kingdom France Commanders James Somerville Marcel-Bruno Gensoul Strength 3 battleships, 1 carrier, 2 cruisers, 11 destroyers 4 battleships, 6 destroyers, 1 seaplane tender Casualties — 1 battleship sunk 2 battleships damaged 1,297 killed The Destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa (now...


Free French Forces

Main article: Free French Forces

Flag De Jure territory Capital Paris Capital-in-exile London, Algiers Government Republic Leader Charles de Gaulle Historical era World War II  - de Gaulles appeal June 18, 1940  - Liberation of Paris August, 1944 The Free French Forces (French: , FFL) were French fighters in World War II, who decided to...

Prelude

General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French cabinet during the Battle of France, in 1940. As French defence forces were increasingly overwhelmed, De Gaulle found himself part of a group of politicians who argued against a negotiated surrender to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. These views being shared by the President of the Council, Paul Reynaud, De Gaulle was sent as an emissary to the United Kingdom, where he was when the French government collapsed. For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ... This article is about the governmental body. ... Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Anthem Marcia Reale dOrdinanza (Royal March of Ordinance)¹ The Kingdom of Italy at the height of its power in 1940. ... Paul Reynaud (October 15, 1878 - September 21, 1966) was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. ...


On the 16 June, the new French President of the Council, Philippe Pétain, began negotiations with Axis officials. On the 18 June, De Gaulle spoke to the French people via BBC radio. He asked French soldiers, sailors and airmen to join in the fight against the Nazis. In France, De Gaulle's "Appeal of June the 18th" (Appel du 18 juin) was not widely heard, but subsequent discourse by De Gaulle could be heard nationwide. Some of the British Cabinet had attempted to block the speech, but were over-ruled by Winston Churchill. To this day, the Appeal of 18 June remains one of the most famous speeches in French history. Nevertheless, on the 22 June, Pétain signed the surrender and became leader of the puppet regime known as Vichy France. (Vichy is the French town where the government was based.) is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain, was a French general, later Chief of State of Vichy France (Chef de lÉtat Français), from 1940 to 1944. ... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Axis powers. ... is the 169th day of the year (170th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... The Nazi party used a right-facing swastika as their symbol and the red and black colors were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). ... The Appeal of June 18 was a famous speech by Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces, during World War II. The appeal is the origin of the French Resistance to the German occupation. ... Churchill redirects here. ... is the 169th day of the year (170th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... Vichy (Occitan: Vichèi) is a French commune, situated in the département of Allier and the région of Auvergne. ...


De Gaulle was tried in absentia in Vichy France and sentenced to death for treason; he, on the other hand, regarded himself as the last remaining member of the legitimate Reynaud government able to exercise power, seeing the rise to power of Pétain as an unconstitutional coup.


Cross of Lorraine

The French flag with the Cross of Lorraine, emblem of the Free French
The French flag with the Cross of Lorraine, emblem of the Free French

The capitaine de corvette Thierry d'Argenlieu suggested the adoption of the Cross of Lorraine as symbol of the Free French, both to recall the perseverance of Joan of Arc, whose symbol it had been, and as an answer to the nazi cross. Image File history File links Flag_of_Free_France_1940-1944. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Free_France_1940-1944. ... Cross of Lorraine The Cross of Lorraine, ‡, is a heraldic cross. ... The rank insignia of the French Navy are worn on epaulettes of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels. ... Georges Thierry dArgenlieu (right) with Brigadier General Alexander M. Patch. ... Cross of Lorraine The Cross of Lorraine, ‡, is a heraldic cross. ... For other uses, see Joan of Arc (disambiguation). ... This article is about the symbol. ...


In his general order number 2 of 3 July 1940, Vice-Admiral Émile Muselier, chief of the naval and air forces of the Free French, created the bow flag displaying the French colours with a red cross of Lorraine, and a cocarde also featuring the cross of Lorraine. is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Emile Henry Muselier (Marseilles, 17 April 1882 - Toulon, 2 September 1965) was a French admiral who led the naval forces of the Free French Forces during World War II. He was responsible for the idea of distinguishing his fleet from that of Vichy France by adopting the Cross of Lorraine... A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other symbol of distinctive colours which is usually worn on a hat. ...


Despite repeated broadcasts, by the end of July that year, only 7,000 people had volunteered to join the Free French forces. The Free French Navy had fifty ships and some 3,700 men operating as an auxiliary force to the British Royal Navy. The Free French Forces (Forces Françaises Libres in French) were French fighters who decided to go on fighting against Germany after the Fall of France and German occupation and to fight against Vichy France in World War II. General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French Cabinet... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ...


A monument on Lyle Hill in Greenock, in the shape of the Cross of Lorraine combined with an anchor, was raised by subscription as a memorial to the Free French naval vessels which sailed from the Firth of Clyde to take part in the Battle of the Atlantic, and is also locally associated with the memory of the loss of the Maillé Brézé which blew up at the Tail of the Bank. For other uses, see Greenock (disambiguation). ... Map of the Firth of Clyde and area The Seamill beach looks south down the outer firth towards southern Arran and Ailsa Craig. ... Looking north from Greenock over the Tail of the Bank today, the cranes of the container terminal can be seen to the right, while on the other side of the Firth of Clyde the waters of the Gare Loch are just visible beyond the tail of the Rosneath peninsula. ...


Mers El Kébir and the war in Africa

In German and Italian hands, the French fleet would have been a grave threat to Britain and the British Government was unable to take this risk. In order to neutralise the threat, Winston Churchill ordered that the French ships should rejoin the Allies, agree to be put out of use in a British, French or neutral port or, as a last resort, be destroyed by British attack (Operation Catapult). The Royal Navy attempted to persuade the French Navy to agree to these terms, but when that failed they attacked the French Navy at Mers El Kébir and Dakar (see [1]), on 3 July 1940. This caused bitterness and division in France, particularly in the Navy, and discouraged many French soldiers from joining the Free French forces in Britain and elsewhere. Also, the attempt to persuade Vichy French forces in Dakar to join De Gaulle failed. (See West African campaign and Operation Menace). Churchill redirects here. ... Combatants United Kingdom France Commanders James Somerville Marcel-Bruno Gensoul Strength 3 battleships, 1 carrier, 2 cruisers, 11 destroyers 4 battleships, 6 destroyers, 1 seaplane tender Casualties — 1 battleship sunk 2 battleships damaged 1,297 killed The Destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa (now... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... Mers-el-Kébir (Arabic: ‎, “Great Harbor”) is a port town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea near Oran, in the Oran Province. ... (City of Dakar, divided into 19 communes darrondissement) City proper (commune) Région Dakar Département Dakar Mayor Pape Diop (PDS) (since 2002) Area 82. ... is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... (City of Dakar, divided into 19 communes darrondissement) City proper (commune) Région Dakar Département Dakar Mayor Pape Diop (PDS) (since 2002) Area 82. ... The name West African campaign refers to two battles during World War II: the Battle of Dakar (also known as Operation Menace) and the Battle of Gabon, both of which were in late 1940. ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia Free France Vichy France Commanders John Cunningham Charles De Gaulle Pierre François Boisson Strength 2 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 5 cruisers, 10 destroyers 1 battleship, 2 cruisers, 4 destroyers, coastal emplacements Casualties 2 battleships and 2 cruisers damaged 1 destroyer sunk, 2 submarines sunk The...


In the autumn of 1940, the French colonies of Cameroon and French Equatorial Africa joined the Free French side. French colonies in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and the New Hebrides joined later. French Indochina and the colonies of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies remained under Vichy government control. Location of French Equatorial Africa. ... Motto: A Mare Labor(Latin) From the Sea, Work[] Anthem: La Marseillaise Capital (and largest city) Saint-Pierre Official languages French Government  - President of the General Council Stéphane Artano  - Préfet (Prefect) Yves Fauqueur Collectivité doutre-mera of France   - ceded by the UKe 30 May 1814   - Territoire d... The New Hebrides are an island group in the South Pacific that now form the nation of Vanuatu. ... Flag Capital Hanoi Language(s) French Political structure Federation Historical era New Imperialism  - Addition of Laos 1893, 1887  - Vietnamese Declaration of Independence September 2, 1945  - Independence of Laos July 19, 1949  - Independence of Cambodia November 9, 1953  - Recognized Independence of Vietnam 1954, 1954 Area  - 1945 750,000 km² Currency French... The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. ...


Battle of Dakar

The Battle of Dakar, also known as Operation Menace, was an unsuccessful attempt by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa (modern-day Senegal), which was under Vichy French control, and to install the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle there. Combatants United Kingdom Australia Free France Vichy France Commanders John Cunningham Charles De Gaulle Pierre François Boisson Strength 2 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 5 cruisers, 10 destroyers 1 battleship, 2 cruisers, 4 destroyers, coastal emplacements Casualties 2 battleships and 2 cruisers damaged 1 destroyer sunk, 2 submarines sunk The... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Allies. ... (City of Dakar, divided into 19 communes darrondissement) City proper (commune) Région Dakar Département Dakar Mayor Pape Diop (PDS) (since 2002) Area 82. ... Location of French West Africa French West Africa (French: ) was a federation of eight French territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan (now Mali), French Guinea (now Guinea), Côte dIvoire, Niger, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and Dahomey (now Benin). ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... The Free French Forces (Forces Françaises Libres in French) were French fighters who decided to go on fighting against Germany after the Fall of France and German occupation and to fight against Vichy France in World War II. General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French Cabinet... For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ...


De Gaulle believed that he could persuade the Vichy French forces in Dakar to join the Allied cause. There were several advantages to this; not only the political consequences if another Vichy French colonies changed sides, but also more practical advantages, such as the fact that the gold reserves of the Banque de France and the Polish government in exile were stored in Dakar and, militarily, the better location of the port of Dakar for protecting the convoys sailing around Africa than Freetown, the base the Allies were using. One of the Banque de Frances offices in Paris. ... The Government of the Polish Republic in Exile was the government of Poland after the country had been occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during September-October 1939. ... For other places with the same name, see Freetown (disambiguation). ...


It was decided to send a naval force of an aircraft carrier, two battleships (of World War I vintage), four cruisers and ten destroyers to Dakar. Several transports, would transport the 8,000 troops. Their orders were first to try and negotiate with the Vichy French governor, but if this was unsuccessful, to take the city by force. Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea... For other uses, see Battleship (disambiguation). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (really an uprated guided missile destroyer), launched in 1992. ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ...


The Vichy French forces present at Dakar were led by a battleship, the Richelieu, one of the most advanced in the French fleet. It had left Brest on the 18 June before the Germans reached it. Richelieu was then only about 95% complete. Before the establishment of the Vichy government, HMS Hermes, an aircraft carrier, had been operating with the French forces in Dakar. Once the Vichy regime was in power, Hermes left port but remained on watch, and was joined by the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia. Planes from Hermes had attacked the Richelieu, and had struck it once with a torpedo. The French ship was immobilised but was able to function as a floating gun battery. Three Vichy submarines and several lighter ships were also at Dakar. A force of three cruisers (Gloire, Georges Leygues, and Montcalm) and three destroyers had left Toulon for Dakar just a few days earlier. The Gloire was slowed by mechanical troubles, and was intercepted by Australia and ordered to sail for Casablanca. The other two cruisers and the destroyers outran the pursuing Allied cruisers and had reached Dakar safely. The Richelieu was a French battleship of World War II named for the seventeenth century statesman Cardinal Richelieu. ... is the 169th day of the year (170th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other ships with the same name, see HMS Hermes. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... HMAS Australia [1] , launched in 1927, was a County-class heavy cruiser in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). ... Panorama of Toulon area. ...


On September 23, the Fleet Air Arm dropped propaganda leaflets on the city. Free French aircraft flew off from Ark Royal and landed at the airport, but the crews were taken prisoner. A boat with representatives of De Gaulle entered the port but were fired upon. At 10:00, Vichy French ships trying to leave the port were given warning shots from Australia. The ships returned to port but the coastal forts opened fire on Australia. This led to an engagement between the battleships and cruisers and the forts. In the afternoon Australia intercepted and fired on the Vichy destroyer L'Audacieux, setting it on fire and causing it to be beached. is the 266th day of the year (267th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Fleet Air Arm is the branch of the Royal Navy responsible for the operation of the aircraft on board their ships. ... For other uses, see Propaganda (disambiguation). ...


In the afternoon, an attempt was made to set Free French troops ashore on a beach at Rufisque, to the northeast of Dakar, but they came under heavy fire from strongpoints defending the beach. de Gaulle declared he did not want to "shed the blood of Frenchmen for Frenchmen" and the attack was called off. Rufisque is a city in the Dakar region of western Senegal, on the southeatern point of the Cap Vert Peninsula. ...


During the next two days, the Allied fleet attacked the coastal defences, as the Vichy French tried to prevent them. Two Vichy French submarines were sunk, and a destroyer damaged. After the Allied fleet also took heavy damage (both battleships and two cruisers were damaged), they withdrew, leaving Dakar and French West Africa in Vichy French hands.


The effects of the Allied failure were mostly political. De Gaulle had believed that he would be able to persuade the Vichy French at Dakar to change sides, but this turned out not to be the case, which damaged his standing with the Allies. Even the successful Battle of Gabon, in November 1940, did not wholly repair this damage. Combatants United Kingdom Free France Vichy France Commanders Andrew Cunningham Charles De Gaulle Pierre Koenig Marcel Tetu Casualties Unknown 1 cruiser, 1 submarine The Battle of Gabon or the Battle of Libreville was part of the West African Campaign of World War II fought in November 1940. ...


Battle of Kufra

France had fallen, her empire in tatters, but her flag still flew from the isolated but strategically important ex-Italian fort of El Tag which dominated the Kufra oasis in Southern Libya. Free France had struck a blow, a beginning in the campaign to recapture France and defeat the Axis. This article is about the independent states that comprised the Axis powers. ...


Colonel Leclerc and the intrepid Lt Col d’Ornano (commander of French Forces in Chad), on the orders of De Gaulle in London, were tasked with attacking Italian positions in Libya with the motley forces at their disposal in Chad which had declared for Free France. Kufra was the obvious target. The task of striking at the heavily defended oasis at Kufra was made all the more difficult by the use of inadequate transport to cross sand dunes and the rocky Fech Fech, considered to be impassable to vehicles. Camille dOrnano was a Lieutenant Colonel in the French Army leading up to the Second World War. ... For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Fech Fech is a very fine powder caused by the erosion of clay-limestone terrain, pulverulent soil under a thin crust common in deserts. ...


Fortunately for the French, assistance was received from Major Clayton of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), who was keen to join with the Free French to test the Italians. Clayton had under his command G (Guards) and T (New Zealand) patrols, a total of seventy-six men in twenty-six vehicles. Pat Clayton, during World War II, served as a Captain in the British Armys Long Range Desert Group. ...


In order to assist in the attack against Kufra, a raid was mounted against the airfield at the oasis of Murzuk, capital of the Fezzan region of Libya. Ten Free French (three officers, two sergeants and five native soldiers) under D’Ornano met with Clayton’s LRDG patrols on 6 January 1941 at Kayouge. The combined force reached Murzuk on 11 January. In a daring daylight raid, they surprised the sentries and swept through the oasis, devastating the base. The majority of the force attacked the main fort, while a troop from T patrol under Lieutenant Ballantyne engaged the airfield defences, destroying 3 Caproni aircraft and capturing a number of prisoners. Murzuk or Murzuq is a town in south west Libya. ... Fezzan is a desert region in south-western Libya. ... is the 6th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... is the 11th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Caproni Ca. ...


The success of the raid was tempered by the loss of a T patrol member and the intrepid d’Ornano. Another wounded French officer cauterised his leg wound with his own cigarette, much to the admiration of the LRDG. A diversionary raid by mounted Meharistes Colonial Cavalry failed after it was betrayed by local guides, prompting Leclerc to relegate these troops to recon duties only. Mehariste is a French word that roughly translates to Camel cavalry. ... In general, the word colonial means of or relating to a colony. In United States history, the term Colonial is used to refer to the period before US independence. ... Not to be confused with Golgotha, which was called Calvary. ...


After the success of the Murzuk raid Leclerc, who had assumed overall command, marshalled his forces to take on Kufra itself. Intelligence indicated that the Oasis was defended by two defensive lines based around the El Tag fort which included barbed wire, trenches, machine guns and light AA defences. The garrison was thought to comprise a battalion of Askaris (Colonial Infantry) under Colonel Leo, plus supporting troops.


In addition to the static defences, the oasis was defended by La Compania Sahariana de Cufra, a specialist mobile force and the forerunner of the famous “Sahariana” companies of the mid war period. The company was comprised of desert veterans crewing various Fiat and Lancia trucks equipped with HMGs and 20mm AA weapons, together with some armoured cars. The company also had the support of its own air arm to assist in long range reconnaissance and ground attack. For other uses, see Fiat (disambiguation). ... Lancia (pronounced Lan-cha) is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia and which became part of the Fiat Group in 1969. ... Military armored cars A French VBL reconnaissance vehicle. ...


Leclerc could not pinpoint the Saharianas, so he tasked the LRDG with the job of hunting them down and robbing the defenders of their mobile reserve.


Unfortunately for the LRDG, a radio intercept unit at Kufra picked up their radio traffic and they were spotted from the air. The defenders had been on their guard since Murzuk.


G patrol had been kept in reserve and Major Clayton was leading T patrol, 30 men in 11 trucks.


The patrol was at Bishara on the morning of 31 January when an Italian aircraft appeared overhead. is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The trucks scattered and made for some hills, and the plane flew away without attacking them. The patrol took cover among some rocks in a small wadi at Gebel Sherif and camouflaged the trucks, before preparing to have lunch. The plane returned and circled over the wadi, where it directed a patrol of the Auto-Saharan Company to intercept the LRDG. Wadi alMujib, Jordan A wadi (Arabic: ) is traditionally a valley. ... Gebel Sherif is mountain in Egypt. ...


During fierce fighting, the LRDG patrol came off second best to superior Italian firepower and constant air attack. After severe losses, the surviving seven trucks of the patrol were forced to withdraw, leaving behind their commanding officer, who was captured along with several others. Other survivors embarked on epic journeys to seek safety. After this reverse, the LRDG force was forced to withdraw and refit, leaving Leclerc the services of one LRDG vehicle from T patrol crucially equipped for desert navigation.


Leclerc pressed on with his attack, in spite of losing a copy of his plan to the enemy with the capture of Major Clayton. After conducting further reconnaissance, Leclerc reorganized his forces on 16 February. He abandoned his two armoured cars and took with him the remaining serviceable artillery piece, a crucial decision. Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


On the 17th, Leclerc’s forces brushed with the Saharianas and despite a disparity in firepower were able to drive them off, as the Kufra garrison failed to intervene.


Following this, El Tag was surrounded, despite a further attack from the Saharianas and harassment from the air, the French laid siege to the fort. The lone 75mm gun was placed 3000m from the fort, beyond range of the defences and accurately delivered 20 shells per day at regular intervals.


Despite having superior numbers, Italian resolve faltered. Negotiations to surrender began on 28 February and finally on 1 March 1941 the Free French captured El Tag and with it, the oasis at Kufra. is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 60th day of the year (61st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ...


Battle of Bir Hakeim

The Battle of Bir Hakeim (May 26, 1942 - June 11, 1942) was fought between the Afrika Korps and the Free French Brigade, with support from the British 7th Armoured Division. The German commander was Generaloberst Erwin Rommel and the French commander was General Marie Pierre Koenig. The outnumbered Free French Brigade heroically resisted for 16 days. It allowed the Allied Forces to regroup and prepare for the battle of El Alamein. is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... The 1st Free French Division (French: ) was one of the principal units of the Free French Forces during World War II, and the first Free French unit of divisional size. ... The 7th Armoured Division (known as the Desert Rats) of the British Army was the most famous unit of its type in British service during World War II. It was a regular division in the Middle East, designated the Mobile Division at first, renamed the Armoured Division (Egypt) in September... Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most famous German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Marie Pierre Koenig (October 10, 1898 – September 2, 1970) was a French general. ... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ...


The Germans attacked Bir Hakeim on May 26 1942. Over the next two weeks, the Luftwaffe flew 1,400 sorties against the defenses, whilst 4 German/Italian divisions attacked. On June 2, 3, and 5, the German forces requested that Koenig surrender, he refused and launched counterattacks with his Bren gun carriers. Despite the explosion of the defence's ammunition dump, the French continued to fight using ammunition brought in by British armored cars during the night. Meanwhile, the Royal Air Force dropped water and other supplies. is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, literally Air Weapon, pronounced lufft-va-fa, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... is the 153rd day of the year (154th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 154th day of the year (155th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 156th day of the year (157th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Universal Carrier, usually known as a Bren Gun Carrier (even when it was not carrying a Bren), was a small, tracked British-designed military vehicle, used widely by Allied forces during World War II. Universal Carriers were usually used for transporting personnel and equipment, mostly support weapons, or as... Ammunition, often referred to as ammo, is a generic term meaning (the assembly of) a projectile and its propellant. ... A Rolls Royce armoured car 1920 pattern Railway shop workers built this vehicle for use by the Danish resistance movement near the end of World War II. For tracked, armored military vehicles, see Armored fighting vehicle. ... RAF redirects here. ...


On June 9, the British Eighth Army authorized a retreat and during the night of June 10/June 11 the defenders of Bir Hakeim escaped. June 9 is the 160th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (161st in leap years), with 205 days remaining. ... The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations in World War II, fighting in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. ... is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Subordinate units of the defending 1st Free French Brigade were:

  • 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion
  • 1st battalion of naval fusiliers
  • 1st battalion of marine infantry
  • the Pacific battalion
  • 2nd march battalion of Oubangui-Chari
  • 1st Artillery Regiment
  • 22nd North African company (6 sections)
  • 1st company (engineers)
  • signals company
  • 101st transport company (trains/automobiles)
  • a light medical ambulance

Legionnaire redirects here. ... The Marine Troops (Troupes de Marines) is a subset of the French Army dedicated to external operations. ... March battalion (French Bataillon de Marche, Polish Batalion marszowy, German Marschbatallion) is a battalion-sized military unit formed of all the rear-echelon units of an infantry regiment. ... The Ubangi River (also Oubangi) is a major tributary of the Congo River in Central Africa. ... The Chari or Shari River is a 949-kilometer-long river of Chad into Lake Chad. ...

Growth and organization

In September 1941, De Gaulle created the Comité National Français (CNF; French National Committee), the Free French government-in-exile. On November 24 that year, the United States granted Lend-Lease support to the CNF. is the 328th day of the year (329th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Lend-Lease program was a program of the United States during World War II that allowed the United States to provide the Allied Powers with war material without becoming directly involved in the war. ...


During Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of Vichy-controlled French North Africa in November 1942, many Vichy troops surrendered and joined the Free French cause. Vichy coastal defences were captured by the French Resistance. Vichy General Henri Giraud rejoined the Allies, but he lacked the authority that was required and De Gaulle kept his leadership of the Free French, despite American objections. Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... In various forms, France had colonial possessions since the beginning of the 17th century until the 1960s. ... Roosevelt and Henri Giraud in Casablanca, 19 January 1943 Henri Honoré Giraud (18 January 1879 – 13 March 1949) was a French general who fought in the First and Second World Wars. ...


The Nazis suspected Vichy determination after Torch and they occupied Vichy France in November, 1942, (Case Anton). In response, the 60,000-strong Vichy forces in French North Africa - the Army of Africa - joined the Allied side as the French XIX Corps. They fought in Tunisia alongside the British 1st Army and the US II Corps for 6 months until April, 1943. Using antiquated equipment, they took heavy casualties - 16,000 - against modern armour and a desperate German enemy. The French XIX Corps was formed in late 1942 from the Army of Africa (Fr: Armée dAfrique), when French Vichy forces in north-west Africa joined the Allies after the German oocupation of Vichy France. ... The British First Army was a field army that existed during the First and Second World Wars. ... The US II Corps was a corps of the United States Army and the first American formation of any size to see combat in Europe or Africa during World War II. It came to prominence in the Battle of Kasserine Pass when Field Marshal Erwin Rommel defeated the formation. ...


Free French forces also fought Italian troops in Ethiopia and Eritrea and faced French troops loyal to Vichy France in Syria and Lebanon. (See Syria-Lebanon campaign.) Combatants Australia U.K. British India British Palestine  Czechoslovakia Government-in-Exile Free France Vichy France Mandate of Syria Mandate of Lebanon Commanders Henry Maitland Wilson Henri Dentz Strength Approximately 35,000 troops Australian: 18,000 British: 9,000 Indian: 2,000 Free French: 5,000 Between 35,000 and...


In November, 1943, the French forces received enough military equipment through Lend-Lease to re-equip 8 divisions and allow the return of borrowed British equipment. At this point, the Free French and ex-Vichy French Corps were merged to form the French Expeditionary Corps (Corps Expéditionnaire Français, CEF). The French Expeditionary Corps (French: ), also known as the French Expeditionary Corps in Italy (French: ), was an expeditionary force of the Free French Forces that fought in the Italian Campaign during World War II under the command of General Alphonse Juin. ...


The air war

Main article: History of the Armée de l'Air (1940-1945)

There were sufficient Free French pilots, mainly from African colonial bases, to man several squadrons based in Britain and North Africa. They were initially equipped with a mixture of British, French and American aircraft. They had mixed success at first, and French army - air cooperation was often poor. // Fighting for Free France — the FAFL in French North Africa (1940-1943) On June 17, 1940, five days before the signing of the Franco-German Armistice, the first exodus of 10 airmen took flight from Bordeaux-Mérignac to England. ...


At De Gaulle's initiative, the Groupe de Chasse 3 Normandie was formed on September 1, 1942, for service on the Eastern Front. It served with distinction and was awarded the supplementary title Niemen by Stalin. The Normandie-Niemen squadron (Нормандия-Неман in Russian) is a fighter squadron of the French Air Force. ... Combatants Soviet Union,[1] Poland, Tannu Tuva (until 1944 incorporation with USSR), Mongolia Germany,[2] Italy (to 1943), Romania (to 1944), Finland (to 1944), Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain (to 1943, unofficial) Commanders Joseph Stalin, Aleksei Antonov, Ivan Konev, Rodion Malinovsky, Ivan Bagramyan, Kirill Meretskov, Ivan Petrov, Alexander Rodimtsev, Konstantin Rokossovsky...


The Forces Françaises Combattantes and National Council of the Resistance

The French Resistance gradually grew in strength. Charles De Gaulle set a plan to bring together the different groups under his leadership. He changed the name of his movement to Forces Françaises Combattantes (Fighting French Forces) and sent Jean Moulin back to France to unite the eight major French Resistance groups into one organisation. Moulin got their agreement to form the Conseil National de la Résistance (National Council of the Resistance). He was eventually captured, and died under brutal torture. The Croix de Lorraine, the symbol of the resistance chosen by de Gaulle French Resistance is the name used for resistance movements during World War II which fought the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime. ... Jean Moulins most famous depiction Jean Moulin (June 20, 1899–July 8, 1943) was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his courage and death at the hands of the Germans. ... The Croix de Lorraine, the symbol of the resistance chosen by de Gaulle French Resistance is the name used for resistance movements during World War II which fought the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime. ... The Conseil National de la Résistance (CNR) or the National Council of the Resistance is the body that directed and coordinated the different movements of the French Resistance - the press, trade unions, and members of political parties hostile to the Vichy regime, starting from mid-1943. ...


French contribution to the Italian Campaign

The 1st group, Ist Landing Corps (1er groupement du Ier corps de débarquement), later redesignated CEF participated in the Italian Campaign with two divisions and two separate brigades from late 1943 to July 23, 1944. In 1944 this corps was reinforced by two additional divisions and played an essential role in the Battle of Monte Cassino. After the Allied capture of Rome the Corps was gradually withdrawn from Italy and incorporated into the B Army (Armée B) for the invasion of Southern France. Combatants  United Kingdom Indian Empire  United States Poland  Brazil  New Zealand  Canada  Free French  South Africa Italy  (after September 8th) Italian Resistance  Germany Italy  (until 8 September 1943) RSI  (until 25 April 1945) Commanders C-in-C AFHQ: Dwight D. Eisenhower (until January 1944) Henry Maitland Wilson (Jan to Dec... is the 204th day of the year (205th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United Kingdom United States Poland New Zealand Canada Free France India and others Germany Commanders Harold Alexander Mark Clark Oliver Leese Albert Kesselring Heinrich von Vietinghoff Frido von Senger Strength 105,000 80,000 Casualties 54,000 20,000 The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle... French First Army was a field army that fought during World War I and World War II. At the beginning of WWI the First Army was put in charge of General Auguste Dubail and took part, along with the French Second Army, in the Invasion of Lorraine. ...


In September-October 1943, an ad hoc force (ca. 6,000 troops) of the French Ist Corps liberated Corsica, defended by the German 90th Panzergrenadier Division and the Sturmbrigade Reichsführer-SS (ca. 30,000 troops) (45,000 Italians were also present, but at least part of that force joined the Allies). Thereby Corsica became the first French department liberated in World War II. Ad hoc is a Latin phrase which means for this [purpose]. It generally signifies a solution that has been tailored to a specific purpose, such as a tailor-made suit, a handcrafted network protocol, and specific-purpose equation and things like that. ... The I Corps (French: ) was first formed before World War I. During World War II it fought in the Campaign for France in 1940, on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Elba in 1943 - 1944, and in the campaigns to liberate France in 1944 and invade Germany in 1945. ... The I Corps (French: ) was first formed before World War I. During World War II it fought in the Campaign for France in 1940, on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Elba in 1943 - 1944, and in the campaigns to liberate France in 1944 and invade Germany in 1945. ... The 90th Light Infantry Division was created in August 1941 as Division zbV Africa, from units already in Africa under the control of . ... 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS was formed Nov 1943 when volksdeutsche recruits were added to the Sturmbrigade Reichsführer-SS and it was upgraded to divisional status. ... Departments (French: IPA: ) are administrative units of France and many former French colonies, roughly analogous to English counties. ...


This success was followed in June 1944 by the invasion of Elba in which the 9th Colonial Infantry Division (9 DIC) and Choc (special forces) battalions of I Corps assaulted and seized the heavily fortified island, defended by German fortress infantry and coastal artillery troops. Combat on the island was characterized by close-in fighting, use of flamethrowers, well-ranged German artillery, and the liberal use of mines. The I Corps (French: ) was first formed before World War I. During World War II it fought in the Campaign for France in 1940, on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Elba in 1943 - 1944, and in the campaigns to liberate France in 1944 and invade Germany in 1945. ... For other uses, see Special forces (disambiguation). ... Riverboat of the U.S. Brownwater Navy shooting ignited napalm from its mounted flamethrower during the Vietnam war. ... U.S. Army soldier removes fuse from a Russian-made mine to clear a minefield outside of Fallujah, Iraq. ...


Liberation of France

During the Italian campaign of 1943, 100,000 Free French soldiers fought on the Allied side. By the time of the Normandy Invasion, the Free French forces numbered more than 400,000 people. The Free French 2nd Armoured Division, under General Philippe Leclerc, landed at Normandy and eventually led the drive towards Paris. Combatants  United Kingdom Indian Empire  United States Poland  Brazil  New Zealand  Canada  Free French  South Africa Italy  (after September 8th) Italian Resistance  Germany Italy  (until 8 September 1943) RSI  (until 25 April 1945) Commanders C-in-C AFHQ: Dwight D. Eisenhower (until January 1944) Henry Maitland Wilson (Jan to Dec... The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ... M4 Sherman of the 2e DB in Normandy The 2nd Armored Division (French: 2e Division Blindée, 2e DB), commanded by General Leclerc, fought during the final phases of World War II in the Western Front. ... Philippe de Hauteclocque, often known by his French resistance alias Leclerc (November 22, 1902 - November 28, 1947), was a Marshal of France. ... For other uses, see Normandy (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of France. ...


Heroics of the 2nd Division

Arms of the 2ème D.B., the Second Armoured Division commanded by Leclerc. The Division's emblem features the Cross of Lorraine.
Arms of the 2ème D.B., the Second Armoured Division commanded by Leclerc. The Division's emblem features the Cross of Lorraine.

The 2nd Division landed in Normandy on August 1, 1944, about two months after the D-Day landings, and served under General Patton's Third Army. The division played a critical role in Operation Cobra, the Allied breakthrough from Normandy, when it served as a link between American and Canadian armies and made rapid progress against German forces. They all but destroyed the 9th Panzer Division and defeated several other German units. During the Battle for Normandy, the 2nd Division lost 133 men killed, 648 wounded, and 85 missing. Division material losses included 76 armored vehicles, 7 cannons, 27 halftracks, and 133 other vehicles. In the same period, the 2nd Division inflicted losses on the Germans of 4,500 killed and 8,800 taken prisoner, while the Germans' material losses in combat against the 2nd Division during the same period were 117 tanks, 79 cannons, and 750 wheeled vehicles.[1] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1684x2140, 558 KB) Photograph by Rama File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Military history of France during World War II Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque French 2nd Division... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1684x2140, 558 KB) Photograph by Rama File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Military history of France during World War II Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque French 2nd Division... Cross of Lorraine The Cross of Lorraine, ‡, is a heraldic cross. ... For other uses, see Normandy (disambiguation). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... General George Smith Patton Jr. ... Distinctive Unit Insignia // Activation and World War I The Third U.S. Army was first activated as a formation during the First World War on November 7, 1918, at Chaumont, France, when the General Headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces issued General Order 198 organizing the Third Army and announcing... Combatants USA Canada Free France Germany Commanders General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton General Philippe Leclerc SS General Paul Hausser Strength 8 infantry divisions, 4 armoured divisions 2 infantry divisions, 11 infantry battlegroups, 2 Panzer Divisions, 1 Panzergrenadier Division Casualties 1. ... German 9th Panzer Division, sometimes simply called as 9th Panzer Division came into existence after 4th Light Division was reorganized in January 1940. ...


The most celebrated moment in the unit's history involved the rescue of Paris. Allied strategy emphasized destroying German forces retreating towards the Rhine, but when the French Resistance under Colonel Rol staged an uprising in the city, Charles de Gaulle pleaded with Eisenhower to send help. Eisenhower agreed and Leclerc's forces headed for Paris. After hard fighting that cost the 2nd Division 35 tanks, 6 self-propelled guns, and 111 vehicles, von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, surrendered the city at the Hotel Meurice. Jubilant crowds greeted French forces, and de Gaulle conducted a famous parade through the city. Combatants Free French Forces French Resistance Germany Commanders Philippe Leclerc Raymond Dronne Henri Rol-Tanguy Jacques Chaban-Delmas Dietrich von Choltitz # Strength 2nd Armoured Division, French resistance 20,000 Casualties 1,500 dead French resistance 71 dead, 225 wounded Free French Forces[1] 3,200 dead, 12,800 POW The... The Rhine canyon (Ruinaulta) in Graubünden in Switzerland Length 1. ... For other uses, see Charles de Gaulle (disambiguation). ... Dwight David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American General and politician, who served as the thirty-fourth President of the United States (1953–1961). ... This article is about the capital of France. ... General der Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz (November 9, 1894, Schloss Wiese, Silesia - November 4, 1966, Baden-Baden) was the German military governor of Paris during the closing days of the German occupation of that city during World War II. In World War I, von Choltitz served at the Western frontier...


Subsequently, the 2nd Division campaigned with American forces in Lorraine, spearheading the U.S. Seventh Army drive through the northern Vosges Mountains and forcing the Saverne Gap. Eventually, after liberating Strasbourg in November 1944, defending against the German Nordwind counter-offensive in Alsace in January 1945, and conducting operations against the Royan Pocket on the Atlantic coast of France, the 2nd Division finished its campaigning at the Nazi resort town of Berchtesgaden, in southeastern Germany, where Hitler's mountain residence, the Berghof, was located. (Région flag) (Region logo) Location Administration Capital Regional President Departments Meurthe-et-Moselle Meuse Moselle Vosges Arrondissements 19 Cantons 157 Communes 2,337 Statistics Land area1 23,547 km² Population (Ranked 11th)  - January 1, 2006 est. ... Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Seventh Army. ... Typical landscape in Vosges mountains (Chajoux valley, La Bresse, France) Waterfall in eastern Vosges mountains Glacial lake in Vosges mountains (Lac de Schiessrothried) The Vosges Mountains is a range in eastern France, stretching along the west side of the Rhine valley in a NNE direction, from Belfort to Saverne. ... Saverne (German Zabern), a town of France in the région of Alsace, situated on the Rhine-Marne canal at the foot of a pass over the Vosges Mountains, and 45 km (27 m. ... For other uses, see Strasburg. ... Operation Nordwind (North Wind) was an attack conducted by the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS during January 1945 in Alsace and Lorraine. ... (New region flag) (Region logo) Location Administration Capital Regional President Departments Bas-Rhin Haut-Rhin Arrondissements 13 Cantons 75 Communes 903 Statistics Land area1 8,280 km² (??? mi) km² Population (Ranked 14th)  - January 1, 2006 est. ... Royan is a small town and commune of the Charente-Maritime département, in western France. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Berchtesgaden is a town in the German Bavarian Alps. ...


The invasion of Southern France

Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France, on 15 August 1944, as part of World War II. The invasion took place between Toulon and Cannes. During the planning stages, the operation was known as Anvil, to complement Operation Hammer, which was at that time the codename for the invasion of Normandy. Subsequently both plans were renamed, the latter becoming Operation Overlord, the former becoming Operation Dragoon; a name supposedly picked by Winston Churchill, who was opposed to the plan, and claimed to having been "dragooned" into accepting it. Look up ally in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... is the 227th day of the year (228th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Panorama of Toulon area. ... Cannes - receding storm Cannes, as seen from a ferry speeding towards lÎle Saint-Honorat Cannes (pronounced ) (Provençal Occitan: Canas in classical norm or Cano in Mistralian norm) is a city and commune in southern France, located on the Riviera, in the Alpes-Maritimes département and the r... For other uses, see Normandy (disambiguation). ... The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ... Churchill redirects here. ...


The plan originally envisaged a mixture of Free French and American troops taking Toulon and later Marseille, with subsequent revisions encompassing Saint Tropez. The plan was revised throughout 1944, however, with conflict developing between British military staff — who were opposed to the landings, arguing that the troops and equipment should be either retained in Italy or sent there — and American military staff, who were in favour of the assault. This was part of a larger Anglo-American strategic disagreement. Flag De Jure territory Capital Paris Capital-in-exile London, Algiers Government Republic Leader Charles de Gaulle Historical era World War II  - de Gaulles appeal June 18, 1940  - Liberation of Paris August, 1944 The Free French Forces (French: , FFL) were French fighters in World War II, who decided to... Panorama of Toulon area. ... City flag Coat of arms Motto: By her great deeds, the city of Massilia shines Location Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Coordinates Administration Country Region Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur Department Bouches-du-Rhône (13) Subdivisions 16 arrondissements (in 8 secteurs) Intercommunality Urban Community of Marseille Provence M... Saint-Tropez is a commune of the Var département in southern France, located on the French Riviera. ...


The balance was tipped in favour of Dragoon by two events: the eventual fall of Rome in early June, plus the success of Operation Cobra, the breakout from the Normandy pocket, at the end of the month. Operation Dragoon's D-day was set for 15 August 1944. The final go-ahead was given at short notice. For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... Combatants USA Canada Free France Germany Commanders General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton General Philippe Leclerc SS General Paul Hausser Strength 8 infantry divisions, 4 armoured divisions 2 infantry divisions, 11 infantry battlegroups, 2 Panzer Divisions, 1 Panzergrenadier Division Casualties 1. ... This article is about the assault phase of Operation Overlord. ... Land on Normandy In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. ... is the 227th day of the year (228th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The U.S. 6th Army Group, also known as the Southern Group of Armies, commanded by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers was created in Corsica and activated on August 1, 1944 to consolidate the combined French and American forces that were planning to invade southern France in Operation Dragoon. At first it was subordinate to AFHQ (Allied Forces Headquarters) under the command of Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson who was the supreme commander of the Mediterranean Theater. One month after the invasion, command was handed over to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces) under U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces on the Western Front. The 6th Army Group was an Army Group of the Allies (namely the United States Army) during World War II. It was created in Corsica, Italy (specifically activated on August 1, 1944) to consolidate the combined French and American forces that were planning to invade southern France in Operation Dragoon. ... General Jacob Jake Loucks Devers (September 8, 1887 - October 15, 1979), who is best remembered for his command of the 6th Army Group in Europe during World War II, graduated from the US Military Academy in 1909. ... For other uses, see Corsica (disambiguation). ... is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Allied Forces Headquarters was the headquarters that controlled all Allied forces in the Mediterranean theatre from late 1943 to the end of the war. ... Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson, 1st Baron Wilson of Libya (5 September 1881 - 31 December 1964), better known as Jumbo Wilson was a senior British General during World War II. He saw active service in the Boer War and the First World War. ... The Mediterranean region. ... Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (abbreviated as SHAEF), was the command headquarters of the commander of Allied forces in North West Europe in 1944 and 1945. ... Dwight David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American General and politician, who served as the thirty-fourth President of the United States (1953–1961). ... Combatants  United Kingdom  United States Poland  France Canada Free France  Netherlands  Belgium Germany Italy Commanders Winston Churchill, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Harold Alexander, Bertram Ramsay, Bernard Montgomery, Lord Gort, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Franklin Roosevelt,, George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Jacob Devers, WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Anders, WÅ‚adysÅ‚aw Sikorski, Stanis...


The assault troops were formed of three American divisions of the VI Corps, reinforced with a French armoured division. The 3rd Infantry Division landed on the left at Alpha Beach (Cavalaire-sur-Mer), the 45th Infantry Division landed in the centre at Delta Beach (Saint-Tropez), and the 36th Infantry Division landed on the right at Camel Beach (Saint-Raphaël). These were supported by French commando groups landing on both flanks, and by Rugby Force, a parachute assault in the LeMuy-Le Luc area by the 1st Airborne Task Force: British 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade, the U.S. 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, and a composite U.S. airborne glider regimental combat team formed from the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the 550th Glider Infantry Battalion, and the 1st Battalion, 551st Parachute Infantry regiment. The 1st Special Service Force took two offshore islands to protect the beachhead. The VI Corps took part in some of the most high profile operations in World War II. Constituted in the Organized Reserves in 1921, it was allotted to the Regular Army in 1933 and activated on 1 August 1940 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. ... Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States Army 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). ... Cavalaire-sur-Mer, in the Var département, is considered part of the French Riviera. ... The 45th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War II. Pre-World War II Activated: In 1924 as a National Guard Division in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. ... Saint-Tropez is a commune of the Var département in southern France, located on the French Riviera. ... Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States National Guard 36th Infantry Division, the Texas Division. ... Saint-Raphaël is a commune of the Var département, in southeastern France. ... 517th PIR Logo 460th PFAB Logo 596th PCEC Logo The 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team (517th PRCT), one of the U.S. Armys first elite combat units, began its existence in March of 1943, training at Camp Toccoa in the backwoods of Georgia. ... (Redirected from 1st Special Service Force) Shoulder sleeve patch of the 1st Special Service Force. ...


Naval gunfire from Allied ships, including battleships Lorraine, HMS Ramillies, USS Texas, Nevada and Arkansas and a fleet of over 50 cruisers and destroyers supported the landings. Seven Allied escort carriers provided air cover. The French battleship Lorraine was a Bretagne-class dreadnought battleship of the French Navy. ... HMS Ramillies (pennant number 07) was a Revenge-class battleship of the Royal Navy, named after the Battle of Ramillies. ... USS Texas (BB-35), a New York-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy named to honor Texas, the 28th state. ... The second United States Navy Nevada (BB-36) was a battleship, lead ship of her class of two (Oklahoma (BB-37) being the other). ... USS Arkansas (BB-33), a Wyoming-class battleship was the third ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 25th state. ... The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, was a small aircraft carrier developed by the U.S. Navy in the early part of World War II to deal with the U-boat crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic. ...


Over ninety-four thousand troops and eleven thousand vehicles were landed on the first day. A number of German troops had been diverted to fight the Allied forces in Northern France after Operation Overlord and a major attack by French resistance fighters, coordinated by Captain Aaron Bank of the OSS, helped drive the remaining German forces back from the beachhead in advance of the landing. As a result, the Allied forces met little resistance as they moved inland. The quick success of this invasion, with a twenty-mile penetration in twenty-four hours, sparked a major uprising by resistance fighters in Paris. The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ... The Croix de Lorraine, the symbol of the resistance chosen by de Gaulle French Resistance is the name used for resistance movements during World War II which fought the Nazi German occupation of France and the collaborationist Vichy regime. ... Colonel Aaron Bank (November 23, 1902 – April 1, 2004) was the founder of the US Army Special Forces, commonly called Green Berets. ... The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency and was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Special Forces, and Navy SEALs. ... This article is about the capital of France. ...


Follow-up formations included US VI Corps HQ, US Seventh Army HQ, French Army B (later redesignated the French First Army) and French I and II Corps. The Seventh United States Army, also known as USAREUR, is the main American force in Europe. ... French First Army was a field army that fought during World War I and World War II. At the beginning of WWI the First Army was put in charge of General Auguste Dubail and took part, along with the French Second Army, in the Invasion of Lorraine. ...


The rapid retreat of the German Nineteenth Army resulted in swift gains for the Allied forces. The plans had envisaged greater resistance near the landing areas and under-estimated transport needs. The consequent need for vehicle fuel outstripped supply and this shortage proved to be a greater impediment to the advance than German resistance. As a result, several German formations escaped into the Vosges and Germany.


The Dragoon force met up with southern thrusts from Overlord in mid-September, near Dijon. Dijon ( , IPA: ) is a city in eastern France, the préfecture (administrative capital) of the Côte-dOr département and of the Bourgogne région. ...


Operation Dragoon included a glider landing (Operation Dove) and a deception (Operation Span). In World War II, Operation Dove (Allies, 1944) was the glider-borne assault conducted as part of the invasion of southern France (Operation Dragoon) on 15 August 1944. ... During World War II, Operation Span was a deception operation in support of the 1944 invasion of southern France (Operation Dragoon). ...


A planned benefit of Dragoon was the usefulness of the port of Marseilles. The rapid Allied advance after Operation Cobra and Dragoon slowed almost to a halt in September 1944 due to a critical lack of supplies, as thousands of tons of supplies were shunted to NW France to compensate for the inadequacies of port facilities and land transport in northern Europe. Marseilles and the southern French railways were brought back into service despite heavy damage to the Port of Marseilles and its railroad trunk lines. They became a significant supply route for the Allied advance into Germany, providing about a third of the Allied needs. Marseilles redirects here. ... Combatants USA Canada Free France Germany Commanders General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton General Philippe Leclerc SS General Paul Hausser Strength 8 infantry divisions, 4 armoured divisions 2 infantry divisions, 11 infantry battlegroups, 2 Panzer Divisions, 1 Panzergrenadier Division Casualties 1. ...


Struggle for Toulon and Marseilles

From: Southern France


The French First Army under Jean de Lattre de Tassigny performed spectacularly in the capture of Toulon and Marseilles. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (February 2, 1889 - January 11, 1952) was a French military hero of World War II. Born at Mouilleron-en-Pareds (during the time of Georges Clemenceau, who was also born there), he graduated from school in 1911, and fought in World War I. He specialized... Panorama of Toulon area. ... Marseilles redirects here. ...


"The original plan intended to attack the two ports in succession. The accelerated landings of de Lattre's French forces, however, and the general situation allowed concurrent operations against both. De Lattre ordered Lt. Gen. Edgard de Larminat to move west against Toulon along the coast, with two infantry divisions supported by tanks and commandos. Simultaneously, a second force, under Maj. Gen. Goislard de Monsabert and consisting of one infantry division and similar supporting forces, would advance in a more northwesterly direction, encircling the naval port from the north and west and probing toward Marseille. De Lattre knew that the German garrisons at the ports were substantial: some 18,000 troops of all types at Toulon and another 13,000, mostly army, at Marseille. However, Resistance sources also told him that the defenders had not yet put much effort into protecting the landward approaches to the ports, and he was convinced that a quick strike by experienced combat troops might well crack their defenses before they had a chance to coalesce. Speed was essential. Edgard de Larminat (November 29, 1895, Alès; July 1, 1962, Paris) was a French general, who fought in two World Wars. ... Joseph de Goislard de Monsabert (Libourne 30 September 1887 — Dax, 13 June 1981), was a French general who served during the Second World War. ...


On the morning of 20 August, with the German command in Toulon still in a state of confusion and the Nineteenth Army more concerned with Truscott's westward progress well north of the port, de Larminat attacked from the east while Monsabert circled around to the north, quickly outflanking Toulon's hasty defenses along the coast. By the 21st Monsabert had cut the Toulon-Marseille road, and several of his units had entered Toulon from the west, penetrating to within two miles of the main waterfront. Between 21 and 23 August the French slowly squeezed the Germans back into the inner city in a series of almost continuous street fights. As the German defense lost coherence, isolated groups began to surrender, with the last organized resistance ending on the 26th and the formal German surrender occurring on 28 August. The battle cost de Lattre about 2,700 casualties, but the French claimed 17,000 prisoners, indicating that few Germans had followed the Fuehrer's "stand and die" order. is the 232nd day of the year (233rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Even as French forces occupied Toulon, Monsabert began the attack on Marseille, generally screening German defenses along the coast and striking from the northeastern and northern approaches. Early gains on the 22d put French troops within five to eight miles of the city's center, while a major Resistance uprising within the port encouraged French soldiers to strike deeper.


Although de Lattre urged caution, concerned over the dispersion of his forces and the shortage of fuel for his tanks and trucks, Monsabert's infantry plunged into the heart of Marseille in the early hours of 23 August. Their initiative decided the issue, and the fighting soon became a matter of battling from street to street and from house to house, as in Toulon. On the evening of the 27th the German commander parlayed with Monsabert to arrange terms and a formal surrender became effective on the 28th, the same day as the capitulation of Toulon. At Marseille the French took over 1,800 casualties and acquired roughly 11,000 more prisoners. Equally important, both ports, although badly damaged by German demolitions, were in Allied hands many weeks ahead of schedule."


End of the war

Moving north, the French First Army liberated Lyon on September 2, 1944[2] and moved into the southern Vosges Mountains, capturing Belfort and forcing the Belfort Gap at the close of November 1944.[3] Following the capture of the Belfort Gap, French operations in the area of Burnhaupt destroyed the German IV Luftwaffe Korps.[4] In February 1945, with the assistance of the U.S. XXI Corps, the First Army collapsed the Colmar Pocket and cleared the west bank of the Rhine River of Germans in the area south of Strasbourg.[5] In March 1945, the First Army fought through the Siegfried Line fortifications in the Bienwald Forest near Lauterbourg.[6] Subsequently, the First Army crossed the Rhine near Speyer and captured Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.[7] Operations by the First Army in April 1945 encircled and captured the German XVIII. S.S.-Armeekorps in the Black Forest[8] and cleared southwestern Germany. On May 7, 1945, the Germans signed the Instrument of Surrender at Rheims, France, officially ending the war in Europe. This article is about the French city. ... Typical landscape in Vosges mountains (Chajoux valley, La Bresse, France) Waterfall in eastern Vosges mountains Glacial lake in Vosges mountains (Lac de Schiessrothried) The Vosges Mountains is a range in eastern France, stretching along the west side of the Rhine valley in a NNE direction, from Belfort to Saverne. ... Belfort is a town and commune of northeastern France, préfecture (capital) of the Territoire de Belfort département in the Franche-Comté région. ... The I Corps (French: ) was first formed before World War I. During World War II it fought in the Campaign for France in 1940, on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Elba in 1943 - 1944, and in the campaigns to liberate France in 1944 and invade Germany in 1945. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... Initially constituted on December 2, 1943 in the Army of the United States, the XXI Corps was activated on December 6, 1943 at Camp Polk, Louisiana. ... Located near Alsace in Eastern France, the Colmar Pocket was the site of a ten-day battle during the Second World War that saw four divisions of the French Army and an entire Corps from the U.S. Army overwhelm German resistance. ... The Rhine canyon (Ruinaulta) in Graubünden in Switzerland Length 1. ... For other uses, see Strasburg. ... Map of the Siegfried line The original Siegfried line (Siegfriedstellung) was a line of defensive forts and tank defenses built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916-1917 in northern France during World War I. However, in English, Siegfried line more commonly refers to the similar World... The Bienwald as seen from space. ... Lauterbourg is a French commune in the département of Bas-Rhin and the région of Alsace. ... Speyer (English formerly Spires) is a city in Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate) with approx. ... Karlsruhe (population 285,812 in 2006) is a city in the south west of Germany, in the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border. ... For other uses, see Stuttgart (disambiguation). ... The I Corps (French: ) was first formed before World War I. During World War II it fought in the Campaign for France in 1940, on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Elba in 1943 - 1944, and in the campaigns to liberate France in 1944 and invade Germany in 1945. ... A map of Germany, showing the Black Forest in red. ... is the 127th day of the year (128th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... The German Instrument of Surrender, 1945 refers to the legal instrument of World War II in which the High Command of Nazi Germany surrendered simultaneously to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and to the Soviet High command. ... Reims (English traditionally Rheims) is a city of north-eastern France, 98 miles east-northeast of Paris. ...


Manpower in the last year of the war

By September 1944 the Free French forces stood at 560,000, which rose to 1 million by the end of 1944, and were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany. By the end of the war in Europe (May 1945), the Free French forces comprised 1,250,000, including 7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions fighting in Germany. (New region flag) (Region logo) Location Administration Capital Regional President Departments Bas-Rhin Haut-Rhin Arrondissements 13 Cantons 75 Communes 903 Statistics Land area1 8,280 km² (??? mi) km² Population (Ranked 14th)  - January 1, 2006 est. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Historical province of Brittany, showing the main areas with their name in Breton language The traditional flag of Brittany (the Gwenn-ha-du), formerly a Breton nationalist symbol but today used as a general civic flag in the region. ...


See also

Henry IV at the Battle of Ivry, by Peter Paul Rubens. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ GUF, p. 989
  2. ^ Chronology, p. 261
  3. ^ Riviera, pp. 431-432
  4. ^ Riviera, p. 431
  5. ^ Chronology, p. 398
  6. ^ Chronology, pp. 448-452
  7. ^ Chronology, p. 509
  8. ^ Last Offensive, p. 433

Article Sources

  • Chronology 1941 - 1945, U.S. Army in World War II, Mary H. Williams (compiler), Washington: Government Printing Office, 1994.
  • Les Grandes Unités Françaises (GUF), Volume V, Part 2, Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre, Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1975.
  • Riviera to the Rhine, U.S. Army in World War II, Jeffrey J. Clarke and Robert Ross Smith, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993.
  • The Last Offensive, U.S. Army in World War II, Charles B. MacDonald, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993.
  • U.S. Army Southern France campaign brochure

 
 

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