Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

001 - Death of a countess
Preamble

All of you may know the Fantasque Time Line, which we commonly know as France Fights On. You can find it here. However, there has to my knowledge been no english translation of this work. I've contacted @Loïc M. , one of the authors of the FTL, to be able to translate this work so that you folks may finally get an English version. Having had his approval, this will be the thread for the English translation.
Now the work is obviously huge, which is why I cannot promise to translate everything. However, I will make sure to have at least the military and political sides of the work fully translated (this is around 2/3rds to 3/4ers of the work).

June 6th, 1940

1100 At the ministry of war, in Paris’ Rue Saint-Dominique, the council of ministers has its hands full with maps and dispatches all describing the same tragedy. The Allies, overwhelmed on a tactical standpoint, are also outnumbered since the fighting in May, which saw the encirclement and destruction of a large portion of the French armies and British Expeditionary Force – and the German offensive resumed the day before. How to stop the armies of Von Bock (Army Group B) who attack on the Somme and the Ailette? The Weygand line is breaking under the assault of the Panzers.

Paul Reynaud, President du Conseil since the end of March, but also minister of War, knows it: the collapse of the front is now a matter of days, possibly hours [1]. His undersecretary to War, the man who imagined the role of armoured divisions in modern warfare, can now see the scenario he had dreamt of, but it is his country that was falling victim to it: “Our forces were behaving heroically, but they were outnumbered (…) I couldn’t explain to the President du Conseil that we had nothing to oppose the German Panzers.”

Brigadier-General (temporarily) Charles de Gaulle had been a member of government for a mere few hours, when the ministerial shuffle occurred. Just like him, many ministers would never accept to concede defeat against Nazi Germany, starting with Reynaud himself – but De Gaulle knew that others always considered this war as a major mistake. First among them, Marshal Petain, vice-president of the Conseil.

“If our greatest fears about the current battle were to become true, asked De Gaulle, don’t you think, Monsieur le president du Conseil, that the presence of Marshal Petain’s presence amidst the government would disturb the establishment of measures for the salvation of the nation?”

“It is true that the Marshal has always criticized the war and that a military defeat would offer him the possibility of giving his opinions on French politics. But I’d rather have him in [the government] than out.” Reynaud answers.

1155 In his office at the ministry of War, Lt.col. De Villelume, who learned the opposition of De Gaulle to Petain’s presence in the new government, scribbles a few notes to answer to… whom it may concern. Villelume, military advisor to the ministry of foreign affairs, and liaison officer to High Command since the start of the conflict, had been promoted a few hours earlier to deputy-secretary to the War Council. Council where he would reunite with the new Brigadier-General (temporary, as he was nominated during war time) De Gaulle, whom he knew only too well…However after a few knocks on his office door, someone enters without being given invited to do so!

General De Gaulle, after the usual military salutes, declares to Villelume that he is “delighted to have a man of such talent under [his] orders.”

Even though he knew what to expect, the pill is hard to swallow for the officer, who answers in an icy tone: “You are mistaken, sir Undersecretary. I am not under your orders. If needed, the President du Conseil will confirm this to you at the end of the day. I will let you leave to the Quai d’Orsay for the meeting later.”

The general stares daggers at him. If he knew that his first steps in politics would be difficult, in such a dramatic setting, he didn’t think to have to battle so quickly!

Dryly, he replies: “France is living hours much too dark for us to give much importance to protocol.” Without even giving time for Villelume to open his mouth, De Gaulle turns heels and walks out of the office of this old acquaintance which resembles an antagonist with each passing hour…

……

Old acquaintance indeed: they met for the first time at Ingolstadt’s Fort IX in 1916. The cavalryman, survivor of the glorious charge of the Gironde squadron, thought he knew well the infantryman made prisoner at Douaumont, and even shared with him the anecdote about the sabre [2]. De Villelume had managed to escape a short while after De Gaulle’s arrival, he didn’t have time to form an opinion on he who was two years his senior. They did have a common friend, Tuchashevsky, De Gaulle’s cellmate and great friend of Villelume’s, who fell victim to Stalin’s purges in the 1930s.

It is only at the beginning of 1940 that the two main military advisors of Reynaud crossed paths again. In this month of June 1940, De Gaulle wants to continue the fight, while Villelume thinks that the war has gone too badly to be won, and wishes for fighting to stop as soon as possible. And neither of them wants to back down. It is true that the Auvergnat aristocrat had always been right with his analysis of the international situation!

France should’ve distanced itself from the western alliances, who had brought her only complications and had allowed the USSR to position itself as the kingmaker of Europe…and divide Poland with Germany. In Spring 1939, he informed Daladier that the army wouldn’t be ready in time to support Poland. In 1940, he opposed the Dyle-Breda plan of Daladier and Gamelin. At the same time, he encouraged to take advantage of the winter to bomb the railroads and train stations of Germany in order to disrupt the Wehrmacht’s movements – but the GQG and government had stayed idle the entire winter. He was also partisan of a wider intervention in Norway and Finland to cripple the German economy and had been enraged to see that Gamelin didn’t care about these “side theatres”. It was him that, in early May, Reynaud had charged to draft an accusation manifesto against Gamelin in the goal of replacing him – but the start of the German offensive had stopped these plans.

However, Villelume did share with De Gaulle the desire to give the government and the populace a warrior spirit. But it’s the way of doing so that caused a rift between the two men. In January, Reynaud had asked for his opinion on a note given by Col. De Gaulle encouraging to attack the Siegfried line. His answer: “Even if we managed to open a gap in the enemy’s defences, what would be the point? In a rural battle, our lesser numbers would lead us to a bitter defeat!” But he did feel that Reynaud had given in to De Gaulle’s influence. It is his help he sought when writing his inauguration speech in Spring.

On March 26th, in Leca’s (cabinet director of Reynaud) office, the opposition between the two men became vocal. Villelume tells: “The Colonel De Gaulle made a long presentation about the possibility of winning the war militarily. He deplores that we did not enter Belgium, even against the Belgians’ will. According to him, the German army isn’t stronger than the French, and their air forces are equal…I am astonished. I thought him much more intelligent and informed. I do not even think to interrupt his monologue. I just refute everything in a few strict words when he finishes talking.”

On this June 6th, Villelume, still annoyed, rings Paul Baudouin, Undersecretary to the Ministry of Foreign affairs and close friend to Reynaud, also an opponent to the continuation of the war proned by Mandel and Margerie. They agree to talk about it following the afternoon meeting at the Quai d’Orsay. Baudouin advises Villelume to invent any pretext to talk to the Countess de Portes, official mistress of the President du Conseil, who apparently has much influence over him. Maybe she can convince Reynaud to dismiss the arrogant colonel.

1500 The government convenes for the usual “family photo”. It is taken, not at the Hotel Matignon, but on the steps of the Escalier d’Honneur of the Quai d’Orsay (Reynaud is also Minister of Foreign Affairs). Even with the unknowns of the military situation, a few bottles of Champagne are opened and Paul Reynaud is given the best wishes of Helene de Portes, his official mistress for a few months now. He decided to divorce for him to marry the beautiful Helene as soon as the law will allow him to do so. When the young woman leaves Matignon, Reynaud offers her his car, but Lt.Col. De Villelume offers to accompany her personally. “It is very nice of you, Mr.Villelume observes Reynaud but remember, we have work to do.”

“I shall drive her myself.” Villelume answers. “I won’t be long.”

According to Reynaud’s memoirs, Villelume apparently mentioned to Helene de Portes that he wished to “talk about the personalities of certain members of the new cabinet, and a certain arrogant colonel, to be more precise…”

As Charles de Gaulle would note to some of his collaborators, including Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel, Paul de Villelume was a brilliant man, but with a complete bias against him. Indeed, he had waged a silent war against his ideas and the pursuit of hostilities with Reynaud.

1600 Villelume’s car races along the Quai d’Orsay and speeds through the Pont de l’Alma. While crossing, still at high speeds, the Place de l’Alma, towards the Avenue George V, the driver loses control of the vehicle for an unknown reason. After the war, some eyewitnesses would claim that a mysterious Mercedes, appearing from the Avenue Montaigne, had slammed into her rear before disappearing on the Pont de l’Alma…Whatever the reasons, the automobile violently runs into a lamppost and wedges on its side. Help arrives very quickly, and the two people inside, covered in blood, are raced to the Hotel-Dieu Hospital. It is there that they realize that Helene de Portes had died on the spot, instantly.

It is 1625. Today, certain historians consider that the “Pont de l’Alma incident” had massive consequences despite its allure, and that at this moment, France’s destiny shifted.

1700 Reynaud, warned, rushes to the Hotel-Dieu, along with his cabinet director, Dominique Leca. In front of his mistress’ corpse, he completely breaks down in tears. “I cannot continue Dominique, I will resign…”

“Don’t, mister President du Conseil! France needs you ! ” Leca pleads while pointing (not without hypocrisy) to the dead woman. “Think of her! She loved you, she was passionate about the affairs of the State, she wouldn’t have wanted you to abandon your task!”

The argument seems to work on Reynaud, who goes silent and thinks, silently, for a few minutes. It is then that De Villelume appears. He is only lightly injured and bears on his head a large bandage that gives him a ridiculous aura. “Mister president…” he stutters. “I am so sorry, I…”

Reynaud stops and rages at the man, in tears: “How dare you…You were driving…it’s your fault! Get out of my sight, I do not wish to see you again! Never!” [3]

2000 After a discussion with Dominique Leca, Reynaud decides to give De Villelume’s post to Roland de Margerie, responsible of his diplomatic cabinet at the time. “The next few days would see Reynaud impacted but “liberated” (according to De Gaulle), give Roland de Margerie a way to gain growing influence, to the point of becoming a second President du Conseil, to the great disappointment of the defeatist faction.” (De Gaulle t.II, Le Combattant, 1984, J.Lacouture).

We have recently learnt, thanks to the memoirs of admiral Philippe de Gaulle, how hard the general had been stunned at the sudden removal of Paul de Villelume from the political scene, and of the one he called Reynaud’s “mégerie”, considering her opposition of the fighting faction. “This event, he’d told his son, was for me a sign of the providence. France’s destiny wasn’t going to let itself go with the sirens of despair.”



[1] At this moment, Reynaud considers the possibility of the creation of a “Brittany Redoubt” in case the situation worsens. However, although Marshal Weygand just created the 10th Military Region, under general Guitry’s command, which encompasses all of Brittany, it is without any hope of success.

[2] This story is repeated by anti-Gaullist factions as a way of proving De Gaulle’s arrogance. As he just arrived in captivity, he had asked to be given his officer’s sabre, honor only given to those that had displayed extreme bravery at the moment of their capture. After examination of the Oflag’s records, this request was denied.

[3] After his dismissal by Paul Reynaud, Paul de Villelume would stay in France and would offer his services to Pierre Laval in October of 1940. He would be named Ambassador to France in Germany. In 1944, he tried to escape to Spain, but failed and was imprisoned. Sentenced to death for collaborating with the enemy, he refused to ask for the president’s pardon. Indeed, Paul Reynaud had then become president of the Republic, and he still carried with him the grief of the countess’ death.
 
Last edited:
002
June 6th, 1940
Northern France


On the ground, the last French hopes were dissipating.
In Alsace and along the Maginot Line, which was supposed to bear the brunt of the German attack, everything is calm, with much of the fighting occuring to the west.
On the Somme, Hoth's XV. AK (mot.) (5. and 7. PzD, 2. ID mot) continues its progression southeast of Abbeville, despite a counter-attack by the 7e Regiment Cuirasse. Rommel's 7. PzD reaches the Hornoy Heights by nightfall. Around Abbeville, French units of the 9th CA (10th Army), flanked by the Panzers to their right and attacked by the german infantry, have to withdraw to the Bresle river. The XIV and XVI. AK (mot), grouped in a single PanzerGruppe under Kleist's authority, continue the offensive.
South of Amiens, Von Wietersheim's XIV. AK (mot) (9th and 10th PzD, SS Totenkopf) attacks the lines of the 10th CA (9th Army). He forces the remains of the 16th DI to retreat alongside the 24th DI, but it fails to break through.
South of Péronne, the concentration of tanks of Hoeppner's XVI. AK (mot) (3. and 4. PzD, 13. ID mot and SS-Verfügungs [1]) was spotted by French reconnaissance and
bombers of the Air Force made three attempts to disrupt their preparation, without success. On the flip side of the coin, a counter-attack of the 1st DCR failed, crushed under the dive bombers. The assaults of the XVI. AK (mot) were renewed and soon the Germans controlled a vast pocket from Harbonnières to Ham, passing through Roye. General Frère had to order the withdrawal of the VIIth Army on a line going from Davenescourt to Ribecourt.
On the Ailette front, the German attacks continued, and French losses were very heavy. At night, General Touchon withdrew the units of his VIth Army on the Aisne.
All these orders to withdraw gave rise to violent explanations between Weygand, who had ordered a defense "without a spirit of retreat", and his subordinates (Georges, Besson, Frère...) who had to prove to him, with maps, the consequences of these orders and the need to change them. It is true that the French forces resisted magnificently for two days and inflicted very heavy losses on their opponents. But most of the units that suffered the shock of the enemy offensive are almost annihilated (5th DIC, 3rd DLC, 19th ID). The others are now forced to retreat to unprepared positions on a terrain less suitable to defense. Moreover, a breach was opened in the heart of the Xth Army, between the 9th CA which retreated to the Bresle and the 10th CA which resisted south of Amiens. The catastrophe, all too predictable since the defeat of May, is imminent.
Meanwhile, a second PanzerGruppe starts to organize itself under Guderian. It is composed of the XXXIX AK (mot) (1. and 2. PzD, 29. ID mot) and the XLI. AK (mot) (6. and 8. PzD, 20. Mot ID).

[1] Future SS-Division Das Reich
 
003
June 6th, 1940

Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean Sea
- While Italy hasn't entered the war, following long-drawn out plans, the Regia Marina undertakes the installation of 213 defensive mine barrages, totalling 9,808 devices, in various strategic locations: coasts close to the border with border with France, the Elbe-Piombino area, the Sardinian and Sicilian coasts, the Libyan coast, etc.
In the Dodecanese, the installed mine barrages protect the islands of Leros (Lero), Astypalea (Stampalia) and naturally Rhodes (Rodi).
These barrages are of two types: 107 anti-ship (AN, mines set at a depth of 4 meters) and 106 anti-submarine (AS, mines at a depth of 8 meters or more).
By the time commercial sailors and fishermen understand the need for accurate navigation, these barrages caused friendly losses, notably, as early as June 9, the small cargo ship Angiulin (873 GRT) near Cape Granitola (Sicily) and the following day the sailing ship Danilo B. (102 GRT) northwest of Capri.
 
004
June 6th, 1940

Kiel -
After careful preparation, auxiliary cruiser Thor (Captain Kähler) sets sail to scour the trade routes of the South Atlantic. First of all, it has to make a port call in Bergen to be firstly camouflaged as a Soviet cargo ship.
 
005
June 7th, 1940

Paris -
While the Parisian press, from Populaire on the left to the newspaper Le Jour on the right, also including L'Aube and Le Matin, warmly welcomed the appointment of De Gaulle to the government, the latter formed his own cabinet. He consulted with Roland de Margerie, and immediately notes the resolute strength of his hardliner convictions. The General then met with Reynaud, who instructed him to take a message to Churchill to request the large-scale involvement of the RAF in the Battle of France. Before going to London, the new Under-Secretary of State for War has to consult Pétain and Weygand.
 
Hello,

Many thanks to Wings for this promising work. Of course, if other members want to translate some texts, they're welcome!

Loïc
 
006
June 7th, 1940

Red Sea -
Italian Minelayer Ostia and destroyer Pantera finish the laying of eight defensive mine barrages in front of the Massaouah accesses (four AN and four AS) and two in front of the Assab accesses (AN), respectively. These ten fields total 1,120 pieces.
 
007
June 7th, 1940

Northern France
- On the Somme, a breakthrough is achieved. The front of the Xth Army is definitively punched through: the French and British units of the 9th CA that survived the first two days, grouped in defensive holdouts in each village, fight fiercely on the Bresle river, assaulted by the five infantry divisions of the German II. AK. However, they were already bypassed and the armored divisions of Hoth's XV. AK (mot), exploiting the 25 km gap (between Hornoy and Conty) which separates the 9th and 10th Corps, charges towards the Seine and Rouen. After having dispersed the 17th DLI surprised disembarking from its trains, the lead units of the 7th. PzD reach Formerie and Forges-les-Eaux. In the evening, the 9th CA receives the order to withdraw behind the Seine. This movement should require four stages for the infantrymen, covered by the 2nd and 5th DLC.
The units of the 10th CA (16th and 24th ID) continue to repel the assaults of the XIV. AK (mot), but, due to the risks linked to the German breakthrough on their left, they receive during the night of the 7th to the 8th, orders to withdraw in several stages to the positions of the Parisian defence, on the Oise river. This retreat was facilitated by the withdrawal of the XIV. AK (mot). Indeed, after the failure of its attempts to breakthrough and its heavy losses, it is is redeployed to support the XVI. AK (mot).
Throughout the day, the enemy reinforces its troops on the northern bank of the Aisne opposite the VIth Army.
 
008
June 8th, 1940

Montry (French High Command)
- De Gaulle, who could not see Pétain at the Invalides (probably because the old man preferred to avoid a meeting that would be unpleasant for him), goes to Montry to talk with General Weygand. The exchange between the two men men is very heated. The Army Chief of Staff paints a grim picture of the situation: "The men are literally exhausted, they fight by day, march by night and fall asleep on their new positions. We have no reserves left. The only thing that could save us would be the enemy being even more tired and being forced to stop for lack of breath." But he obviously doesn't believe that. Similarly, he describes as "childish" any withdrawal plan to North Africa and his close collaborators did not say much else.
"The head of the French army was a desperate man," wrote De Gaulle. "I judged, not without certain sadness, that it was necessary to draw all the consequences without delay."

Paris - On his return to the capital, De Gaulle goes to Matignon without delay. Paul Reynaud, who had attended the funeral of Hélène de Portes that morning, is very depressed. De Gaulle urges him to replace Weygand and proposes General Huntziger to take over his duties. Reynaud hesitates:
"You are asking me to appoint a man who was one of the main generals defeated during the German attack of May 13...".
- "This is true, but he is far from bearing all the responsibility for the disaster. At least he still resources and energy, whereas Weygand is out of breath."

Finally, under the influence of Margerie, who was present during the exchange, Reynaud accepts the idea that Weygand might have to be replaced soon.
- "In the meantime," De Gaulle asks, "please accept to assemble all that remains of our armored units, Reserve Armored Divisions and Light Mechanized Divisions, into a single corps. Separated, they are powerless. United and commanded by a capable leader, they can still do something."
- "But which leader?" asks Reynaud, disillusioned.
- "General Delestraint. I had already made this proposal to Weygand on the 2nd, but he didn't take it into account. If you do not wish to dismiss Weygand right away, at least appoint Delestraint."
Margerie agrees and Reynaud accepts this proposal.
In practice, the Delestraint Group would only comprise the remnants of the 2nd and 4th DCR (on June 8th, these divisions were no longer on the Somme, but had been at Marseille-en-Beauvaisis for several days in order to recover and replenish), as well as some CACCs (Compagnies Autonomes de Chars de Combat / Autonomous Companies of Combat Tanks). The reconstituted DLMs, whose remnants are sometimes grouped into Groupements Cuirassés (such as GC Buisson), will have to continue to independently cover the retreat.
 
Last edited:
009
June 8th, 1940

Northern France
- While the French political equilibrium silently shifts, the fighting continues without respite. Facing the Germans on all fronts, the French troops fight desperately, but after the success of the German encirclement maneuver in May, they are too few in number, desperately too few. The withdrawal movements intensify, under aerial bombardments that are no longer met with any coherent opposition. Some units already find the bridges prematurely cut in front of them when they reach the water lines they are supposed to defend.

Normandy - The Xth French Army is cut in two by the German offensive. The 9th CA is vulnerable to encirclement. The 17th DLI and the 3rd DLC operate a fighting retreat, trying to delay Rommel in his march on Rouen.
Just back from England, General de La Laurencie is given the mission to defend the Basse-Seine passages in cooperation with the Duffour Group (3rd Region). But he only has very limited means at his disposal for this task: the 3rd Corps which is in the process of being replenished, and two light divisions in transit.

Ile-de-France - The 25th CA, comprised of fresh units that had not had time to deploy to the Somme, ensures the north-east defence of Paris by positioning itself around Beauvais.
Several fresh divisions are put at the disposal of the governor of Paris, General Héring. The 57th ID is deployed between the Ourcq canal and the Nonnette river in order to gather the retreating divisions of the VIIth Army.
The 84th ID, having just arrived from North Africa, settle on the Seine, but its lines stretch over 90 km, from Vernon to Chantilly, and it can hardly do anything but guard the passageways. At 1300 hours, the car of its commander, General Ardant du Picq, is machine-gunned by an airplane as he was returning from an inspection.
At General Héring's headquarters, preparations are made for an all-out resistance with limited means. They plan the destruction of the bridges of Paris, the tunnels of the subway, the sewers...
Since May 10th, the "Chauvineau Line", a modest line of light fortifications supposed to protect Paris, has been slightly reinforced. Old naval cannons have been installed, many anti-tank ditches have been dug, minefields were set up, and flooding was carried out. Thousands of workers (French, Colonials and Spaniards) work tirelessly in the Ile-de-France forests to build up barricades in order to block the panzers. The forts of the Paris belt were finally equipped with defenders and artillery.
Finally, the hunt for snipers and hidden units was on. One man, one gun! Two thousand five hundred men were removed from their special assignment in the administration and transferred to home defence positions. Five thousand territorial guards, most of them veterans of the Great War, donned their uniforms again to participate in the defense of the capital. The police and the republican guard have been provided with aging Gras rifles to counter an improbable paratrooper attack.

Aisne - The Germans launch the dreaded attack against the VIth Army. Despite a desperate defense, the superior numbers and disproportionate means allow the Germans to cross the Aisne and establish a large bridgehead around Soissons. Several French counter-attacks fail to dislodge the Germans or throw them north of the river.
 
This timeline has its flaws but it is also my favourite in many ways :) I do hope that the political side will include the conversation between political figures and the excerpt of in-universe historical, as IMO that does alot to flesh out the world and make it fell like something that could have happened.

Looking forward to discuss it with people :)
 
010
June 9th, 1940

London
- At dawn, General de Gaulle leaves Le Bourget for London, where he meets Winston Churchill in the late morning. The Prime Minister refuses to deploy new RAF units in France, explaining that their units in France, explaining that their usefulness and efficiency for the defense of Great Britain were far greater than any that could result of their use in France in the present confusion. At the end of the interview, General Edward Spears (present as a representative of the British General Staff to the French forces) reports that De Gaulle told Churchill: "You are right."
In the early afternoon, the French delegation met Anthony Eden (then Minister of War) once again, and Jean Monnet, who chaired the Franco-British Joint Commission for the purchase of war material. With the rapidly deteriorating military situation at home, De Gaulle was urgently recalled to Paris, where where his plane landed at the end of the day at Le Bourget in the middle of bomb craters.

Paris - Paul Reynaud and his advisors note that the German victory on the continent appeared to be inevitable. Supported by Margerie, De Gaulle pleads for a withdrawal to North Africa. Dominique Leca firmly supports them. Reynaud is then convinced to opt for what his chief of staff describes as the "Dutch solution". The troops that would not be
to be evacuated would have to fight in Metropolitan France to the limit of their capabilities, following which they would surrender. "However," warned De Gaulle, "you must know, Mr. President of the Council, that this solution will be will certainly meet with hostility from some people. Alas! Alas! At the forefront of these men, there will be the head of our Army, General Weygand!"
With that, Reynaud signs a document drawn up at his request by De Gaulle. It defines the new national defense strategy of the government (it is interesting to note that this document was ready the day before, but, still recovering from the sudden death of Hélène de Portes, Reynaud had postponed the signature to today).
The document reads:
I) In the event that the battle currently underway does not stop the German advance, it is to be expected that the enemy forces, after having crossed the Basse Seine and occupied Paris, will seek to achieve the complete disorganization of the national resistance, either by flanking our forces in the east, or by advancing rapidly in the direction of the ports of the Atlantic.
In any case, the will of the Government is to continue the fight on the metropolitan territory and possibly in North Africa, then in the rest of the Empire, in order to gain the time
the rest of the Empire, so as to as much time as necessary for external help to enable us to regain the initiative.
a) Without prejudice to the intermediate ramps or positions that the command would deem appropriate for use for the regrouping of the forces, the first national position to be considered and to be prepared in the rear of the battlefield has, as its front line, the line defined as as follows: the course of the Couesnon, the Ernée, the Mayenne, the Loire downstream from Tours, the Cher, Canal du Berry, course of the Loire downstream of Digoin, Canal du Centre, course of the Doubs.
b) in the rear will be prepared :
- a 2nd resistance position covering the west and southwest of France, marked by the Charente, the upper Vienne, the Puy de Dôme chain, the Madeleine mountains, Lyon,
the Rhône river and connected with the 1st position by a feeder following the course of the Creuse river
- a Brittany redoubt marked out by the course of the Couesnon, the outskirts of Rennes and the course of the Vilaine river.
- a southwestern redoubt whose front will be marked by the Canal du Midi, from Bordeaux to Narbonne.
(...)
II) Experience has shown that it was very uncertain, given the means available to the enemy and the way in which he uses them, to hope to establish in time a coherent resistance
on a given area of land if it was not organized and occupied in advance by units other than those who have to fight in front.
As a result:
1) the organization of the terrain and the resistance positions defined above, and in particular the preparation of the destructions, will be undertaken immediately.
2) the units necessary to ensure the security of the first position will be put in in place immediately.
The overall plan of the work to be carried out will be decided immediately by the Under-Secretary of State for National Defense and War.
The designation of the units to be put in place will also be made by him by means of levies on the units being formed in the interior.
The carrying out of these works is the responsibility of the regional commanders concerned, who have not only their own resources but also the largest possible quantity of manpower to be provided by other departments (Interior, Labor, Colonies) according to estimates to be established by the under-secretary of State for Defense and War.
(...)
III) According to the organization foreseen above for the defense in depth of the territory, the personnel (mobilized, special assignments, manpower, etc.) and the industrial
industrial resources of all kinds contributing to national defense, in particular in the Paris area
, will be urgently withdrawn behind the general line of Rennes, Angers, Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon.
All the necessary arbitrations between the ministerial departments concerned are the responsibility of the under-secretary of state for national defense and war.
(...)
IV) The withdrawal of the administrations and the possible displacement of the government will be carried out by echelon.

The day before, this last paragraph ended with "it being understood that, in the limit, the seat of the French government could be established in the region of Quimper" but this line is deleted.
To organize the last defense, it is decided that the political and military authorities will withdraw towards the south and, initially, on the Loire (at Tours).
 
011
June 9th, 1940

Strait of Sicily
- During the night of June 8th to June 9th, minelayers Scilla and Buccari begin to lay offensive minefields between the island of Pantelleria and Sicily, on the Banco Avventura, which is less than 100 metres deep. Considering the number of available mines, they will respectively lay, in three sorties, the last of which took place during of the 11th to 12th of June, minefields 1 AN, 2 AN, 1 AS and 1 AN bis, 2 AN bis, and 1 AS bis: for a total of 1,919 mines.
Their first victim is... Italian: during the day of the 9th of June, small cargo ship Avvenire (957 GRT) hits a mine on the 1 AN field and sinks.
 
012
June 9th, 1940

Normandy
- The 7. PzD reaches Elbeuf during the night. Shortly after, the 5. PzD reaches the suburbs of Rouen. But all the bridges of the Seine river are blown up before the first German tanks, the ferries are sunk and the engineers have to start working. The British scuttle several ships in port, including Belgian steamer Liège.
The German thrust was so fast that some French units are still occupying their positions on the Bresle river: the 9th CA and the 51st British Highland Division are isolated and form a pocket around Saint-Valéry-en-Caux. Their only way out is to embark at Le Havre, Fécamp or Dieppe.
South of the Seine, Generals Duffour and La Laurencie try to set up a thin curtain of troops. Amongst the few units that managed to escape the encirclement, the Beauman and Evans divisions cross the river and move to the Louviers sector where they join the 237th DLI, still in the process of beind deployed. Meanwhile, the 3rd DLC, admirably commanded by General Petiet, regroups some distance from the Seine to counter-attack a German crossing.
The infantrymen who had survived Dunkirk are regrouped within the 5th CA. General René Altmayer and Lieutenant-Colonel Clogenson redouble their efforts to rearm these units and to deploy them on the Seine before the Germans manage to cross the river.

Paris (Chauvineau Line) - The remnants of the 25th CA gradually retreat to the Oise along the Thérain valley. The VIIth Army manages to disengage its units sent west of the Oise and to withdraw them along the river, between the confluence of the Nonette and Compiègne.

Aisne & Champagne - It's now the turn of the entire eastern part of the front on the Aisne, from the Ailette to the Meuse, to be set ablaze: Army Group A under von Rundstedt goes on the offensive.
In the west, the German breakthrough at Soissons forced the left wing of the VIth Army to retreat on the Ourcq river. This river is reached at the end of the day by the enemy between La Ferté-Milon and Fère-en-Tardenois.
Further east, the IVth Army resists most of the assaults around Rethel, defended by the 2nd DI, which has just relieved the left of the 14th DI of General de Lattre de Tassigny (who has brilliantly repulsed the enemy for several days). The Germans only succeeded in creating pockets, but the position of the IVth Army is made difficult by the retreat of units belonging to the VIth Army
On the front of the IInd Army, the German attack comes up against very weakened units (some divisions are missing a third of their theoretical strength) by the constant fighting and bombings that had hit this supposedly "stabilized" front for more than three weeks. However, the fighting is so brutal that, although the enemy wins some local successes (in particular against the 36th ID and the 1st DIC), the enemy does not break through. Vigorous counter-attacks even allow to hope for a swift recovery of the situation.
 

Deleted member 174499

If France still chose to fight on in WW2 instead of signing the armistice with Germany in our timeline, then Germany would most likely be much more harsh in terms of punishing France (Like destroying Paris for instance)
 
013 - Weygand sacked
July 10th, 1940

Paris, 1130
- General Maxime Weygand meets Paul Reynaud, President of the Council, at his request, at the Ministry of War. To the great annoyance of the Chief of Staff, the latter was flanked by de Gaulle, Secretary of State for War, and Roland de Margerie, military advisor. Weygand hands Reynaud a note in which he pleads for an armistice as soon as possible. In response, De Gaulle explains the "Dutch solution". Weygand pounces.
- Abandonning the metropolitan territory would be childish, dangerously childish! Do you realize that you would thus leave the Communists complete freedom? De Gaulle, you are a soldier, I don't understand why you would accept such foolishness. This solution is in reality a ploy to make the Army carry, through the inevitable surrender of the units remaining in Metropolitan France, the responsibility for the mistakes of the political chiefs! As Chief of Staff, I demand an armistice!
- The question here is not who bears what responsibility
," Margerie cuts him off. "General, we need to know if you will carry out the orders of the governmental powers of the republic, even if they are contrary to the note you have just given us and to your personal opinion!
- I am a soldier. I will carry out any order that is in keeping with the honor of the Army," Weygand replies evasively. "But that is not the point! It is the politicians who started this war, it is now up to them to put an end to it!"
The differences of opinion between him and his counterparts appear to be final. Reynaud decides a short break in the meeting, during which he consults Leca and, by telephone, Georges Mandel. Then he returnes to the conference room and, without even sitting down, he decides: "General Weygand, I regret to inform you that I must withdraw your appointment as Chief of Staff of the Armies." Weygand, pale, says: "You've gone completely mad!" and leaves without adding a word. Reynaud slowly sat down and sighed: "Well, De Gaulle, that's done... Would you like to contact Huntziger and ask him to accept the job, if you will..."
- I will go to his HQ myself, Monsieur le Président du Conseil. But before that, one more word: We must appoint General de Lattre, who has just distinguished himself in the defense of Rethel, at the head of the entrenched camp of Paris.
- Oh, no! Defending Paris under the present conditions would cause a considerable number of civilian casualties. Paris does not have its own defense, we must give it the status of an open city.

Reynaud would remain adamant on this point. In the interest of maintaining order and protecting the population, General Dentz, governor of the city of Paris, will order all public services to remain on the premises.


Arcis-sur-Aube (HQ of General Huntziger's GA 4), 1400 - De Gaulle announces to Huntziger that Weygand has been dismissed and offers him to take over Weygand's post. Huntziger is so surprised that he phones Reynaud to get confirmation of what the Under-Secretary of State for War had just announced to him. The obvious emotion of the President of the Council convinces him to accept, but he asks to meet Reynaud to make his nomination official.

Invalides (Paris), 1700 - In the afternoon, Weygand, appalled, goes to the Invalides. There he meets with Pétain: "Mr. Marshal, we must act. Only you can put an end to this madness!" Pétain, very unhappy, immediately tries to contact the ministers on whom he knew he could count, such as Chautempsor Ibarnegaray. But these bilateral discussions did not produce an immediate plan of action, especially as everyone is more preoccupied by leaving the capital.
Convinced that Georges will succeed Weygand, Pétain manages to telephone him to make sure that he refuses the nomination, and he gets angry at Georges' denials, who does not understand a single thing! He then decides to telephone Reynaud himself to demand a Council of Ministers (he has the right to do so, as Vice-President of the Council). To his great fury, the only person he gets on the phone is Margerie, who very politely explains that it was impossible to hold a Council that evening: "You understand, Monsieur le Maréchal, President Lebrun left Paris at about 6:00 p.m., he has to settle close to Tours, and I do not know exactly where." (This is false, Margerie knows that Lebrun is going to Cangé).
"Tomorrow, then!" requests Pétain. "I'm afraid that's also impossible, remember that we have to receive Mr. Churchill and several of his ministers for an Inter-Allied Council, which obviously cannot be postponed. I think that a Council of Ministers can be organized on the 12th, probably in the evening." Disgusted, Pétain
hangs up without further comment.

Invalides (Paris), 1745 - Still reeling from his eviction in the morning by the President of the Council and his exchange with Marshal Pétain having yielded nothing conclusive,
General Weygand comes face to face with deputy Henri de Kerillis, a cavalryman who had become an aviator during the Great War. One of the staunchest anti-Munichois, he is in favor of the continuation of the struggle. Foch's former deputy decides to take out his frustration on him.
- I hear a lot of bad things about you, mon p'tit Kerillis!
- I also hear a lot of bad things about you, General. They tell me that you want to ask for an armistice.
- What the fuck do you want us to do?
- We promised the English not to ask for an armistice without them. A promise is a promise.
- Your English are fucked. They've got ten days tops, my friend.
- Well, if they've got only ten days, let's hold on for another ten days, general. But after all, you don't know shit, and it's defeatism to say that our last ally, who represents our last hope, is finished!
- You should be shot for talking like that!
Weygand is fuming.
- You wouldn't be able to command the firing squad! I hope that your replacement will do better than you. I have few doubts about that.
Mortified that the whole of Paris is already aware of his ousting and by the Parthian shot which finished his pride as a soldier, General Weygand climbed into his car without saying a word to anyone, and made his way to the GQG, where he has to give way to his successor, whose identity he still does not know.

Paris/Washington, DC 2100/1600 - While Huntziger is taking up his new post, Reynaud telegraphs Roosevelt to ask him to "throw the weight of American power in order to save France, the advanced sentinel of democracy."
Roosevelt, very moved, confided to his collaborators: "I had no idea that the French situation was so dire. When I read the first lines, I feared that Reynaud would announce a surrender! But the worst is avoided, France fights on." The American President, however, would only to reply to Reynaud that the United States would send more weapons to France and to England, but that they were not prepared to go to war.
 
014 - Reynaud/Margerie meeting
June 10th, 1940

Paris, 2130 - 2230
- Roosevelt was somewhat optimistic that the worst was already avoided.
Margerie, sensing an attempt at a political coup by the defeatist camp, took advantage of an hour's tête-à-tête with Reynaud to plead the refusal of the armistice. He recounts this meeting in detail in his diary:
"I immediately took up again with Mr. Paul Reynaud the argument that I had not stopped developing for a moment in front of him since our departure and since chance had made me his only companion for the day. It was question - as I had been arguing for more than three weeks - of the necessity of not sacrificing the French colonial Empire to the defeat of the metropole, and to transport the seat of the Government to North Africa, to continue the struggle. As it was on this point that the fate of the cabinet was decided and that the decision taken will have exerted a considerable influence on the course of the war, I believe it useful to enter into the details of the
to enter into the detail of the conversation that M. P. Reynaud and I had that day on this subject, because it is, I believe, my arguments that the President of the Council mentioned. Several times in the past two weeks, the question had been discussed, but always in a superficial manner. In the entourage of M. P. Reynaud, almost everyone had been hostile until then: Colonel de Villelume, because he did not believe in the viability of the resistance in North Africa, and also because he was too eager to see quickly put to the test his vague political policies of rapprochement with Germany and Italy at the expense of England; M. Baudouin, because he too believed it was urgent to stop the struggle; the countess of Portes, because she always thought like them. Others did not have their own doctrine, limiting themselves to defending either their approval or disapproval, according to the momentary inclination of their dialectic, without deep conviction. Only General de Gaulle, Dejean and myself had never stopped advocating the departure for Algeria or Morocco, of which I believe I was the first to speak of, as the most diverse witnesses can testify, from Winston Churchill to Henri de Kérillis.
But fate had left out Mme de Portes and Colonel de Villelume. I had to seize the opportunity that this trip gave me to win over the President of the Council.
- The time has come," I said to Mr. P. Reynaud, "when you will have to make a decision. You cannot delay it any longer. You have declared publicly, in your speeches on the radio, that you would fight before Paris, behind Paris, in the Empire, if necessary. You have also said this to the English. Let us admit, as has been likely for nearly three weeks, and as seems certain
three weeks, and as it seems certain now, that the battle of France is lost and that our armies no longer have the means to prevent the enemy from occupying the whole of the French territory. Is this a reason to sacrifice to the disaster of the Metropole an Empire completely intact, defended by powerful armies and a fleet, and assured of foreign support?

Mr. P. Reynaud then interrupted me to ask me exactly what forces we had in North Africa. This was a surprising question when one considers that he was then both Minister of War and National Defense: such information should have been constantly available to him by General Decamp or Colonel de Villelume, his chiefs of staff for the two
chiefs of staff for the two ministries of Rue Saint-Dominique. But a kind of paralysis seemed to have struck these soldiers. During our entire journey from Paris, the first had spent his time supervising the distribution of petroleum by the gas pumps, a job which was more or less within the competence of a corporal. As for the second, before his dismissal on the 6th, he had been far too busy informing or occupying Hélène de Portes to have time for anything else. The hostility that General Weygand showed him, although both men were in agreement in calling for a rapid surrender, achieved moreover to relegate him in a passivity to which he inclined by congenital sterility.
I answered the President of the Council that my information went back to a note from General Gamelin, of which I had been informed during my stay at the GQG. According to this document, we had 406,000 men in North Africa, including 200,000 recruits, before the withdrawal of 5 divisions made since May 10th to make up for our losses on the Western Front. There were therefore about 300,000 men left, a third of whom were well trained, wit a rather mediocre armament.
- But, I added at once, it is necessary to add to it the executives, the specialists, the troops that it must be possible to transport there now, thanks to the inevitable slowing down of the German advance. When it came to the evacuation of Dunkirk, Admiral Darlan, who is a very cautious man in his assessments, began by telling us that we could consider ourselves lucky if we managed to embark 50,000 men. In the end, 335,000 men were taken on board by the Franco-British fleets. This time again, the admiral will do better than he will promise. It is therefore essential that you have an meeting with him as soon as possible, for without the cooperation of the fleet and the full support of the Admiral, the departure for North Africa would become uncertain. As for the British fleet and its transport ships, you would be assured of its cooperation, for the British have far too much interest in to see us continue the struggle in the Empire with as many forces as possible not to multiply their efforts.
- But how would we do this, once the separation between the Metropolis and the colonies is completed? objected Mr. Paul Reynaud, to maintain, supply and arm these forces? It is said that supplies in North Africa are mediocre, and that we lack ports to receive supplies from abroad.
I then reminded the President of the Council that the Navy owned the arsenal of Bizerte, and that it had worked hard, for several years, to organize the base of Mers-el-Kébir, near Oran, where, moreover, the main squadron of the Mediterranean was already stationned. As for communication with the outside world, that is to say
essentially with the British Empire and the United States, it would be maintained by the port of Casablanca, fortunately built by engineers who had thought big, in the school of Marshal Lyautey. Finally, Admiral Darlan himself had declared to me, a few days before, that Oran would not cease to be used despite Italy's entry into the war, as long as the Italian fleet would not have the means to venture into the western Mediterranean and cut off communications between France and her African empire.
- Moreover," I added, "you are waiting for a thousand 75mm guns from the last war, which President Roosevelt granted you from the stocks of the American army, and which are already being transported. If the game is lost in France, as it now seems certain, you must immediately divert this material to Casablanca. If people tell you that the North African industry will not be able to supply a powerful fleet and a large army with munitions, we can answer that the sea protects the coasts, and that we cannot see how the Germans or the Italians could cross this maritime space and approach our African possessions. The former, you may say, would only make mincemeat of Gibraltar with Spanish complicity, and would then use the Rif as a bridgehead to the black continent. So be it. But it is the Franco-English squadrons that hold the sea; the Spanish fleet is negligible, and, since the losses it suffered during the first week of the invasion of Norway, the German fleet has not shown itself. Its passivity during the evacuation of Dunkirk is enough to show how much it was affected, and it is only in January 1941, by the best of German estimates, that their 35,000 ton battleships will enter service.. At that time, England will have three similar ships to oppose them, and France two. As for ammunition, you know that President Roosevelt is sending you a million shells with the thousand pieces promised, that is enough to last a good while, given that in all likelihood you will not be attacked soon, because it would be relatively easy to get hold of the Rif if the Germans entered Spain. As for the Italians, their forces in Libya are estimated at 180,000 men. This is not enough to start an offensive as long as the double threat from Egypt and Tunisia remained, especially since, before October 15, large-scale military operations are impossible in the
impossible in the desert because of the weather. On the contrary, if the French government managed to transport reinforcements to North Africa while going there by itself
the Allies would soon be able to take the offensive against Italy's African Empire and, in all probability, to complete its conquest fairly quickly. We could count, in this respect, on the full cooperation of the South African Union, whose minister told me a few days ago in Paris that it was determined to send large contingents to Kenya, of which General Smuts himself would undoubtedly take command.

- I grant you all that," replied Mr. P. Reynaud, "but you fail to mention the air force where we remain undoubtedly inferior.
- It does not seem to me that, until now, the Italian air force, in spite of its numerical superiority, has established itself in Africa, I objected. Suppose that our African air force was reinforced with 200 fighter aircraft and 600 bombers that we still have today. [1] Add to this the American aircraft being assembled in Morocco, the 300 Curtiss that you are due to receive from the United States in the next few days, the squadrons that are already on site, the navy's seaplanes, the British forces in Egypt: that's enough to last a long time,
before the German air force came to reinforce the Italian air force in its expeditions over the Mediterranean. Moreover, the Germans, who wanted to strike
England and defend the coasts they will occupy from Tromsoe to Hendaye, will only be able to divert a part of their air force to put it at the disposal of Mr. Mussolini.

I reminded the President of the Council that, even if we only managed to transport to Africa the specialists and higher-ups, there would always remain, behind Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, the considerable reservoir of forces in West Africa, Equatorial Africa, and Madagascar, from which we could draw to form new units. Holding the sea (as Mr. Winston Churchill kept telling us), the French government, once installed in Algiers or Casablanca, would have no difficulty in to keep the communications always open with the different parts of the colonial empire.
- In summary, in this hypothesis, observed M. P. Reynaud, one would end up with a temporary separation between the Metropole and its overseas possessions. How to justify such a move to the French population, and how to abandon it to German occupation without giving them the impression that they were being left to their own devices and that the righteous government was deserting in order to take shelter? It is necessary that the public authorities know how to deal with the invader: moreover, if the legal Government remains at its post, better armistice conditions can be obtained from Hitler, and a part of the territory will perhaps escape the invasion.
- First of all," I replied to the President of the Council, "in the hypothesis that we are considering, the Government could not be accused of fleeing to take shelter, since on the contrary it would leave the metropolitan territory to continue the struggle. The French leaders would do nothing other than what the Belgian and Serbian governments did during the 1914-1918 war. The Belgian and Serbian governments, were actually encouraged in this way by the Allies. At present, you have in France a Polish Government, recognized by France and Great Britain. The Belgian and Luxembourgian Governments are also present on our territory. The Queen of the Netherlands and her ministers have taken refuge in England. You yourself have recently taken part in the requests made to King Haakon at Tromsoe by de Dampierre and his British colleague, to persuade the Norwegian sovereign to leave his country after the evacuation of Narvik. Neither the Dutch, nor the Belgians, nor the Poles, nor the Norwegians considered that their sovereign or their Government "deserted" when they refused to recognize in law a situation of fact, the occupation of their of their country, and that they limited themselves to following the example, unanimously considered glorious, of King
Albert of Belgium and King Peter I of Serbia.
As for the conditions to be obtained from the Germans, if the debacle of our armies is really what General Weygand and General Georges, it is quite obvious that Mr. Hitler will occupy the entire will occupy the whole of French territory if it suits him, without us being able to prevent him from doing so, or will always be the master to do it the day he sees it as an advantage, whatever the conditions of the armistice. It would be childish to believe that he will leave us a fleet or a powerful army. The Government that would remain in a non-occupied France would therefore be at his mercy at any moment, without having the material means necessary to resist the pressure of the of the Nazis or to oppose the realization of their plans.
Do we have the right, under these conditions, to sacrifice our colonial Empire and all the wealth it contains, our intact fleet, what remains of our armies and our air force, to the
inevitable collapse of the metropole, and how could we justify such an attitude to our allies and to England in particular, given the commitments we have made, which you yourself made in London on March 28th? Poland and Norway continue to resist, even though their governments and sovereigns no longer have any part of their national territory to take refuge in. The
French Government, on the contrary, has a vast empire where the enemy has not yet penetrated. Moreover, in Algeria, you find yourself on the soil of three French departments which
have their representatives in Parliament. If the President of the Republic travels there with those of the two Chambers, with the Government (or at least those of its members who are willing), with the parliamentary staff and the indispensable elements of the administrative staff, the situation will be entirely legal, the whole Empire will rally, and the fight against
the struggle against Germany will continue under such conditions that North Africa will remain out of the reach of the enemy for many months at worst. On the one hand you have the total, shameful surrender, in violation of the commitments made, without any advantage to be gained from it. On the other hand, you have a future, perhaps limited in time, but
time, but honorable, with nothing to lose in any case. Can there be any hesitation?

- But what would happen to the French population in such a case? Mr. Reynaud asked. It is impossible to leave them to fend for themselves, without anyone to deal with the occupier. And then, won't those who continue to fight in the Empire run the risk of seeing terrible reprisals against their families who remained in occupied territory?
I argued that in all the other countries already occupied by the German armies, it was with an administrative power, and not with a political power, that the Reich had dealt with. In Oslo, for example, a commission had been set up which settled with the German authorities on all matters relating to the occupation. We could do the same, not even wait for the departure towards North Africa, to constitute such a commission, to designate its members, to establish, if necessary, a kind of connivance, of secret cooperation between the Government, now established outside of the metropolitan territory and the men chosen to administer France under German occupation.
- Even if, I added, the enterprise should fail, and if, after a certain number of months we would succumb in Africa as in France, I am convinced that our duty is to take our chances. The number of Frenchmen who are in the Empire or in the army is so great that it would be practically impossible to subject their families to particular reprisals; it would be better to subject the whole of France, which, in any case, will find itself under the heel of the victor. In order for all of France to escape overseas, even if only for a time, from servitude, it would be enough to issue a brief decree in a few articles, of this kind:
"§ 1 - The Metropole being unable to ensure the defense of its colonial empire, overseas France takes in hand its own destiny.
§ 2 - The seat of executive and legislative power is transferred to North Africa for the duration of the war.
§ 3 - The Government will take all necessary measures to ensure the continuation of military operations."
Put things to the worst, and next year, the situation having become untenable, you will be forced to lay down your arms, nothing will have been lost that would not be immediately lost by a surrender which would include both France and its overseas possessions. Moreover, you will have saved your honor. In the history of this war, so far lamentable and full of incompetence and frivolity, you will have written a page that will compensate for many setbacks. The situation was also desperate in 1870 when Gambetta made himself the chief of the
national defense. No doubt he never had any hope, but who would dare to say today that his work was useless? His desperate resistance has redeemed many disasters, it has bequeathed to the next generation a legend that had its part in the victory of 1918. And we would do less than he did, when we have all the forces of the Empire at our disposal, and the undiminished power of our allies are at our side? Today, "Rome is no longer in Rome, it is all where I am". I cannot believe, Mr. President, that you accept this capitulation. Believe me -
if everything allows us to think that Mr. Roosevelt answers negatively to your call to arms, leave for North Africa, and it is with enthusiasm that all those who succeed in leaving with you will follow you.

Paris, 2300 - Just before leaving the capital, Reynaud goes to pay his respects one last time at the tomb of Hélène de Portes, at the Père-Lachaise cemetary (it is not well known that, returning to Paris four years later, he will be driven there before anything else). Then he takes the way of the Loire, alone in his car, where he will try to sleep, but where he will especially "meditate", according to his Memoirs, where he does not give more details.
Margerie, still worried after his meeting with Reynaud, organizes a private meeting between De Gaulle and Léon Blum. The leader of the SFIO had been a supporter of De Gaulle's ideas since the memorandum "The advent of mechanical force", which the latter had published on January 10, 1940.
Together, the three men leave Paris at around midnight, heading for the Loire. They had been preceded by a few hours by Georges Mandel, sent to Tours to organize the government's withdrawal and who, before leaving, suggested to Reynaud that he preventively arrest a certain number of "defeatists", as Clemenceau had done during the First War. According to Dominique Leca's notes, the name of Pierre Laval, described by the Renseignements Généraux as a "senator with Mussolinian connections" was mentioned.

[1] Estimate which is actually much lower than in reality, fortunately for the Air Force!
 
015
June 10th, 1940

Red Sea
- In the early hours of the morning, the small coaster Umbria scuttles itself off Port-Sudan. [1]
Four Italian submarines leave immediately to patrol the allied ports in the region: the Macallè in front of Port-Sudan, the Galvani in front of Oman, the Ferraris in front
in front of Djibouti and the Galilei in front of Aden. This was the beginning of the East Africa campaign, which was to be played out on land, at sea and in the air.

Djibouti -One of the battalions of the RTS-CFS is sent to the border with Ethiopia to guard and block the road and railroad that leads to Addis Ababa. It even had the luxury of advancing a few kilometers inland, on Italian soil.

[1] Captain Muisean, commander of the Umbria, will spend 4 years in an Indian POW camp along with his crew. After the war, he will see his financial compensations be denied by the Italian administration, since their vessel had scuttled before the official start of hostilities between the U.K and Italy!
 
Last edited:
016
June 10th, 1940

Rome, 1630
- Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, communicates to the French Ambassador, André François-Poncet, that "Italy will consider itself
in a state of war with France from tomorrow, June 11th, at 00h01.
" Scandalized, the ambassador exclaims: "It is a stab to a man already on the ground!" [1] While withdrawing
François-Poncet warned: "You will see that the Germans are demanding masters."
A similar declaration of war is delivered to the British Ambassador, Sir Percy Loraine.
But the most surprised are the Italians. Neither the fascist Grand Council, nor the parliament, nor the king were informed!

Rome, 1800 - On the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia, Mussolini harangues a large crowd, but in which only the Black Shirts show a real enthusiasm, brandishing
signs calling for the annexation of Corsica, Savoy and Nice: "[...] Let us enter the fray against the plutocratic and reactionary democracies of the West. [...] Like you, the whole world is witness to the fact that Italy has done everything humanly possible to avoid being dragged into the turmoil that is ravaging Europe, but it was in vain. [...] If we take up arms, it is to solve, after the problem of territorial borders, the problem of territorial borders, the problem of maritime borders. [...] We want to break the barriers of territorial and military nature that surround our sea, because a people of 49 million inhabitants is not truly free if it does not have free access to the ocean. [...] Now that the die is cast and our ships are burned, I solemnly declare that Italy does not intend to involve in the conflict the other peoples, her neighbors by land or by sea. Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and Egypt can mark my words"

San Cesareo - On her way to her Neapolitan residence, the princess of Piedmont, wife of Crown Prince Umberto, came to visit her friend, Duchess Maria di San Cesareo. When she learns that Mussolini has declared war on France and England, the princess declares, seething: "Maria, the monarchy is finished! "

[1] François-Poncet's words were repeated almost identically by Roosevelt the same evening, in a speech at University of Virginia in Charlottesville: "On this tenth day of June 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor." The American president thus confessed, without saying so, the failure of his diplomatic policy over the last few months, during which he alternated promises and threats to dissuade Mussolini from entering the war.
 
Last edited:
017
June 10th, 1940

Axis Dispositions
- During the night of June 9th to 10th, a small squadron, composed of the light cruisers Alberico Da Barbiano and Luigi Cadorna [1], the destroyers Lanciere and Corazziere [2] and the torpedo boats Calipso and Polluce [3], laid an offensive minefield (428 mines) between Lampedusa and the Kerkennah Islands, known as the LK field.
The Italian heavy cruisers Bolzano, Pola and Trento (3rd cruiser division), accompanied by the destroyers Grecale, Libeccio, Maestrale and Scirocco (10th CT squadron) left Messina, while the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and Muzio Attendolo (7th cruiser division) left Naples with two ships of the 12th CT squadron, the Ascari and Carabiniere (the Corrazziere and Lanciere were on a minelaying mission).
The numerous Italian submarine fleet (in theory, about a hundred units with a range of 4,000 miles or more) is already in action: from June 7th to 9th, 33 units left Italian ports. Between the 10th and the 20th, 57 submersibles were on patrol simultaneously, but this number will decrease afterwards, to stabilize at an average of 20 units for the whole Mediterranean.

Allied Dispositions - The submarines of the 14th DSM (Diane, Eurydice, Ariane and Danaé) set sail from Mers-el-Kébir to form a barrage between the Habibas Islands (off Oran) and Cape Gata (Spanish coast, not far from Almeria). The Centaure and Pascal (4th DSM) monitor the south-west coast of Sardinia. Finally, the Caiman and Morse (9th DSM) leave Bizerte to monitor the French minefield protecting Sfax and the Rorqual, based in Malta, goes to lay mines in front of Brindisi.
Commercial navigation by French companies is temporarily suspended in the region.
On the British side, the submarines Grampus, Odin, Orpheus and Oswald leave Malta to take position off Augusta, Taranto, Syracuse and southeast of Rhodes, respectively.
Submarines Parthian, Pandora, Phoenix and Proteus leave Alexandria, the first one to take position in front of Tobruk, the other three to patrol the Aegean Sea along the communication lines between Italy and the Dodecanese.
In Alexandria, the Mediterranean fleet, under the command of Admiral Cunningham, is put on alert at 0200. Since the beginning of June, training hadn't stopped, involving mainly the aircraft carrier Eagle, the British battleships Warspite, Malaya and Royal Sovereign as well as the French Lorraine. The overhaul of the battleship Ramillies, which had maintenance done on the 23rd of May, was hastily completed so that the ship could leave its dock the next day.
Very strict instructions are widely circulated: no merchant ship is to come within 3 miles of Malta, Cyprus or Palestine between sunset and sunrise. Lights must be turned off in the Suez Canal and night navigation is prohibited.
The 2nd destroyer flotilla and two seaplanes had been sent on an anti-submarine mission. They had to return during the night, just in time to join the fleet which was to set sail the next day. A little before 10 pm, the destroyer Decoy chased an Italian submarine south of Crete, with no results.

[1] 2 units of the 4th Cruiser Division (light cruisers). The Da Barbiano serves as the flagship for Admiral Alberto Marenco di Moriondo
[2] 2 of 4 units of the 12th CT Squadron
[3] Belonging to the 13th and 14th TB Squadrons, based in Messina.
 
Last edited:
Top