Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

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June 19th, 1940

Tunisian Front
- A small Italian border post west of Abu Kammash (or Pisida), in Tripolitania, is destroyed by a detachment of French auxiliaries, in response to the attack of June 10th against Tin Alkoun.

"My dear Üwe
As you predicted, I found myself in a fortress lost in the middle of nowhere, in the heart of the Sahara - the French call it the Territoire des Oasis. You were right: volunteer in the Legion or not, they prefer to see me away from my German brothers.
Legionnaire Klaus Müller, 5th battalion of the 1st Foreign Infantry Regiment, seemed to them more at home deep in the desert than in the front line against the Wehrmacht soldiers.
After the first moment of disappointment, I made up my mind. The desert is beautiful, and then it's true, killing Germans, in the background...
It was then that Benito Mussolini decided to meddle in matters that did not concern him and enter the war with his gifted pupil, Herr Hitler. All hell broke loose! Especially since the
the Italians had the audacity, a few days ago, to attack a French post somewhere in the in the sands. Measure for measure: my company was assigned to attack and destroy a small Italian border post west of Pisida, in Tripolitania. Supported by a group of auxiliaries delighted to take part in a legal battle, we carried out the operation and tonight we are camping among the ruins of the Italian post.
Better yet, I don't think I killed anyone. The Italians ran way too fast!
However, I was in the front of the fighting. So much so that Second Lieutenant Carlus congratulated me on my performance, that he said I was an example and that he promised me that I would be made corporal. Quosque non ascendet!" our old Latin teacher, Herr Goldberg. I hope the SA didn't desecrate his grave, at least, I heard they did that kind of thing in many cities.
Anyway - a few days ago I thought I was going to have to desert and go to England or the United States, but today I have the impression that the French are not ready to throw away the handle after the axe. Take care of yourself, Üwe
(To my Brother on the other side - Letters from a German Legionnaire, by Klaus Müller. Manuscript collected and presented by Uwe Müller - Paris, 1959; Munich, 1968)
June 19th, 1940

Libya (Cyrenaica)
- The British continue to harass Giarabub. In application of the decisions taken that same day in Toulouse, they will transform little by little their offensive
into a real siege, which they hold until the beginning of July.
The Regia Aeronautica always tries to disrupt the British attacks. Five Ba.65 and nine CR.32s equipped with light bombs are sent to attack vehicles travelling between Sollum
and Sidi El Barrani, escorted by five CR.42. But the Italians make a mistake by spending too much time looking for targets, allowing the RAF to intervene. Four Gladiators and a
Hurricane top the CR.42s, destroying two for the loss of one Gladiator, while one Ba.65 crashes on landing.
June 19th, 1940

- General Sir Archibald P. Wavell (head of the Commonwealth armed forces in the Middle East) receives Air Marshal Longmore (his deputy for aviation), General
Mittelhauser (head of the French forces in the Middle East) and General Jeaunaud (who commands the Air Force units in the region). "There are four of us, Gentlemen", observes Wavell, "How about a bridge?"
This conference has gone down in history as "The Jerusalem Bridge Game," but the only maps used were staff maps, for the first draft of Allied tactical and strategic integration in a theater of operations. In this integration, French units are far less numerous than those of the Commonwealth, but their equipment is often more modern.
Marshal Wavell is concerned about the weakness of the RAF in Egypt and Palestine. A Morane 406 patrol (six aircraft) will be sent to Alexandria to protect the Fleet, and another one will be stationed in Haifa to protect the refineries. Nine Martin 167 and six Potez 63-11 will be based in West Cairo to support the British troops and the French units sent as reinforcements.
The four men decide to transfer to Egypt the 63rd BCC, 45 R-35s and 80 other vehicles, to support the British forces against the Italians. The R-35s are considered to be good vehicles for close support of the infantry, thanks to their armor (40 mm on the front and on the sides) and their armament (a 37 mm short and a machine gun); but they lack anti-tank capability.
General Mittelhauser is well aware of this. He explains to Wavell that by mid-July, if a few ships can be assigned to transport French forces from Beirut to Egypt, he will be able to add to the R-35s of the 63rd BCC those of the 68th BCC, the 8th machine-gun group, a battery of 47 mm anti-tank guns towed by trucks, a battery of 155 mm howitzers (4 guns) towed by trucks and a battery of five 75mm cannons mounted on Dodge trucks (a local "do-it-yourself"). These units would be placed under British command.
If the French continue to have access to transportation, it should be possible to align the 86th ID and the 352nd Heavy Artillery Rgt. as soon as July 14th to align on the Egyptian-Libyan border the 86th ID and the 352nd Heavy Artillery Rgt.
The 191st ID could be available from 15 August. It could be used either in Libya, or - if its transportation is provided - against Italian East Africa.
The 192nd ID and the Polish Mountain Brigade could be kept in reserve, in Lebanon or Cyprus, with the tank company whose dispatch was decided the day before in Toulouse. Finally, at least two light infantry battalions can be formed by the end of September from a recruitment amongst the Druze population.
These movements will not leave the region unprotected: they only concern the expeditionary corps pre-positioned there a few months earlier to be ready to support...Romania, if it had decided to join the Allied camp.
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June 19th, 1940

- A little before dawn, General René Altmayer embarks with some of the survivors of his 5th CA on one of the last convoys leaving Cherbourg.
Two submarines undergoing overhaul, the Minerve and Junon, are in turn towed to Plymouth.
In the morning, Rommel breaks through the outer harbour defence line. He approaches the city, but did not dare attempt an assault with his tanks in the middle of the houses. An intense artillery duel between the German guns and those of the square, in particular the very large coastal guns, which have been made suitable for firing against the ground and which keep the 7. PzD away. In the evening, the chaos calmed down, as the ammunition began to run out. A first attempt at negotiation by the Germans was rejected by Admiral Jean-Marie Abrial (Admiral North). He decides that they would fight to the last.
June 19th, 1940

- All units anchored in port are ordered to leave.

Pointe de Groix - At 05:30, cargo ship Mousse Le Moyec, passing near the Cens, announced that Lorient is on fire and that re-entry is forbidden. The Cens then heads for
At 10:45, it meets Navy tug Pen Hir, which informs it that it could not go to Brest, because all the ships in a condition to sail had left the port. At 11:15, he contacts by radio
the destroyer Mistral, on board of which Rear Admiral Moreau was coordinating the navigation of the small vessels (harbour tugs, tugboats and various trawlers), as well as large ships that were undergoing repairs, between Brest and England. At 11:45., the admiral orders him to go to La Pallice.

Saint-Malo - On the north wing of the front, the 1st Canadian Brigade withdraws to the city, which the weak French garrison had put in a state of defense.

Saint-Aubin - Further south, the position held by the 1st Polish March Regiment and a Cannonier-Marins Group, is attacked by armoured vehicles. The losses are severe on both sides. The Poles, although greatly outnumbered, did not yield until the end of the day, after an intense shelling by the artillery of the 5. PzD. They succeeded in withdrawing towards the south, preventing the Germans to exploit their success by launching their column towards Vannes.

Rennes - Limited attacks are launched to pin the defenders, leaving the threat of a forced passage.

Redon - A strong German reconnaissance column is blocked all day by the Lorent detachment of the Belgian 7th ID and some French gunners, arming a battery of old but efficient75 mm. The four T-13 are very efficient in their role of tank hunters, destroying twelve German armored vehicles. At night, Belgian soldiers and French sailors, threatened to be overrun, disengage.
June 19th, 1940

- At the level of the remains of the road bridge, sergeant Depraetere observes the eastern bank with his binoculars. The lieutenant of the carabiniers who commanded the position has ordered to open fire only on his command. A motor noise is heard and suddenly a sidecar appears. The Germans observe the western bank, linger for a few moments and then, no doubt thinking that there is no one left, turn back.
- So far so good," says the sergeant to Devos, "but they'll be back...
- As long as the Luftwaffe leaves us alone!" answers the corporal.
An hour later, a rumble is heard from the side of the railroad bridge. This time, light armored vehicles arrived, followed by trucks loaded with engineering equipment.
Lorent gives his orders: "Fire as soon as you see the enemy vehicles. It's no longer time to play around!"
On the other side of the Vilaine river, Kfz 13 and Sdkfz 222 appear first. Depraetere gives his orders: "Joos, the second vehicle! Do you see it?"
- Seen, gezien!
- As soon as ready, fire!

Bang! The 47 spits out its shell and a Sdkfz 222 explodes.
- Hit!" shouts Depraetere. "Reload! Grab the lead one before it retreats.
- Ready!
- Fire!

Re-bang, the leading Kfz 13 is in flames. The Navy's 75s are not to be outdone. The Germans fall back but Lorent has no illusions: "Either they call the Stukas, or we'll soon have a rain of shells" he says, looking through binoculars at the other side of the river.
The minutes pass... New armoured vehicles arrive, Panzer IIs firing 20 mm cannon to make the Franco-Belgians lower their heads while infantry deploys along the river. The Carabiniers retaliate with their few surviving Hotchkiss machine guns.
- Joos, the armored vehicle of...
- Verdomme! Joos, the leader is hit!
- Wait, I'll line up the Kraut!

Bang! Again, another shot finds its mark
- Joos, take over the command, Jan will replace you", says the driver.
Whistles are heard, then explosions - the German artillery enters the dance...
13:00 - Two of the T-13s have been destroyed and one of the 75s neutralized, but the position still holds. Lorent moves from position to position to motivate his men. At the level of the D164 bridge, he listens to Appelmans' report: "No member of the destroyed T-13 survived. In the other one, Corporal Devos took command, Sergeant Depraetere was killed by a burst of machine gun fire.
- Any other casualties?
- No, Major. I had one of the French 75s move on my own initiative to take the place of the T-13.
- You did very well. Good job, Lieutenant.

15:00 - The Germans attack again. The Belgians resist as best they could, the losses are felt all the more because, unlike their opponents, they have no artillery to support them. But once again, the attack is repulsed.
17:00 - A new barrage falls on the Franco-Belgian positions. Lorent, who was leaving to join the position near the railway bridge, is hit by a piece of shrapnel. In critical condition, he is taken to the rear while Lemercier takes command.
18:00 - Only one T-13 and two 75 mm guns are left, but the men keep their spirits up against all odds! Since this morning, they have been holding out against Germans who are far superior in numbers and equipment.
20:00 - The position becomes untenable! Having learned that the Germans are trying to cross the river to the north, Lemercier gathers his staff and Jouanic: "Pass on the orders, we're going to take off at 21:00. Lieutenant, let your 75s fire one last time, then destroy them. We won't be able to evacuate them, the trucks left long ago!
- At your orders, sir.
- We are withdrawing to Lorient. Lieutenant, I don't know where you have to go...
- If you allow me, my commander, as I have no instructions, we will accompany you!
- With pleasure! General assembly point, the place called La Dilleterie, here on the map. Seen by everyone? Good. Everyone present on the spot for 22:00 at the latest. Good defense, gentlemen.

21:00 - The order is given to stall. The last T-13 moves back, securing the rear of the riflemen and the marine gunners.
June 19th, 1940

Nevers Sector
- The vanguards of the XIV. AK (mot) of Von Kleist attempt a coup de force. At the end of the afternoon, reconnaissance elements of the 9. PzD arrive in Nevers, continuing to search for a passage passage over the Loire. The 7th DLM abandons the city, located on the east bank of the river, to concentrate on the bridges. Aspirant Pastor recounts: "A first 75 mm gun (Tissot's marshal des logis) was located in the open, 50 m from the entrance to the bridge, followed by a second gun, a little more sheltered behind. The bridge was blocked by a barrage of trucks, including one loaded with ammunition. Around 8 pm, contact was established with the enemy. Tissot's gun was the object of
automatic weapons fire. Faced with this threat, he destroyed the ammunition truck. On its side, the second gun opened fire on the enemy. At the eighth shell, there was silence on the
on the opposite bank. Shortly afterwards, a new gunfight broke out and an armoured vehicle advanced on the bridge. It was quickly destroyed by a direct hit from Tissot's gun. Ammunition exhausted, I order the withdrawal. In order to protect the attachment of the pieces, the servants fired the the shot. The section then left the village on board its tractors. During this time some sappers managed to destroy the bridge. The Germans did not gain a foothold on the opposite bank till the next day at about 2:00 a.m.
". The coup de main of the XIV. AK (mot) on the bridges of Nevers fails.

La Charité Sector - At the end of the morning, the 151. ID launches a strong crossing at La Charité. The defenders cannot avoid that some infantrymen cross the river on the remains of the bridge deck. The Germans gain a foothold in the west and then advance. In the evening, General Germain goes in person to the the barricades set up on the lateral canal, with the men from his headquarters: he knew that the next day would be the last day of fighting on the Loire and he wanted to be with his soldiers for this last effort.

Cosne et Cours-sur-Loire Sector - The 28th DIAlp is reinforced by the 28th RICMS. In the morning, a new frontal attack on Cosne failed, but it pinned the defenders who could not oppose another crossing, further south, at Saint-Thibault.

Briare Sector - New German attempt. In the morning, a bridgehead is created south of Briare. In the afternoon, a French counter-attack reduces the bridgehead, but does not succeed in eliminating it.
At the same time, the 96. ID crosses the Loire at Bonny-sur-Loire, it is only stopped at night on the lateral canal.

Gien Sector - The German attack resumes in the morning. The 1. Mountain ID progresses slowly, slowed down by the French support points organized around the FT tanks. Several counter-attacks launched by the infantry and the R-35s of the 53rd BCC (five tanks were destroyed by German artillery) block the extension of the bridgehead and prevented the enemy from breaking through. The German commanders, convinced that they were facing a strong concentration of French tanks, take a defensive stance in this sector, contenting itself with using its artillery.

Sully-sur-Loire Sector - At dawn, the 98. ID launches a new attack on the ruins of the viaduct bridge. The German infantry tries several times to pass, supported by the artillery which falls on the entirety of the resistance center. At the end of the morning, the first German infantrymen set foot on the south bank and intense hand-to-hand fighting takes place in the ruins of Sully. The second battalion of the 141st RI has to be engaged to block the enemy progression.

Chateauneuf-sur-Loire to Orléans Sector - As the Sigloy bridgehead proves to be very threatening, the last armoured vehicles of the 4th DCR are directed there during the evening of the 18th and are in place on the morning of the 19th to support a counter-attack led by the 7th DIC. A rare event in this campaign: a few aircraft intervene - and even more surprisingly, they were French! This support proves to be decisive and allows the counter-attackers to regain the lost ground until the gates of Châteauneuf-sur-Loire; the Germans, however, keep a bridgehead on the south bank.

Orléans to Beaugency Sector - Near Orléans, the night of the 18th to the 19th is marked by a daring operation of the Corps Franc Darnand, of the 29th DIAlp, north of the Loire. Several German vehicles are destroyed, which stopped the momentum of the invaders.
In Orléans itself, the German wait-and-see attitude does not last. At dawn on the 19th, the 33. ID attacks.
For two days, a deluge of artillery rains down on the city, especially since the bombardments of the south bank by the Germans are answered by the counter-battery fire of the French against the north bank... However, overwhelmed by a series of attacks on different points, the defenders, too few in number, could not prevent the attackers from gaining a foothold on the south bank.

Blois Sector - At dawn, the Germans launch a crowd of boats on the river two kilometers downstream of Blois, out of range of the French machine guns. These boats let themselves go with the current and the drift led the enemy quite far south of the French positions, which were thus flanked.
However, the French artillery quickly spot the German embarkation site on the north bank and it is fired upon, as well as various suspicious concentrations. But troops who have landed on the left bank manage to infiltrate the woods, then to occupy the first houses southwest of the suburb. Three successive counter-attacks are mounted; the last one, supported by a section of tanks, succeeds in driving the Germans back to the river.

Amboise to Ingrandes Sector - At dawn, the withdrawal of the 10th CA and the Cavalry Corps behind the Loire River reinforces the defense and
changes in responsibilities.
The Amboise and Tours sub-sectors come under the command of General Gransard (10th CA): remnants of the 8th DLIC in Amboise and 2nd DLM in Tours (defense of the Loire between the viaduct of St-Côme and that of Montlouis: combat brigade between the bridges of Tours, brigade including H-39 tanks on the Cher river, artillery on the heights of St-Avertin, Chambray and Joué-lès-Tours).
The sub-sector of Azay-le-Rideau (Langeais) is held by the 5th Light Mechanical Brigade (squadrons Labarthes and La Forest of the 1st Cuirassiers, the three squadrons [Quinslot, Constantin and Vie] of the 2nd Cuirassiers), plus, on the island of Langeais, the Huot detachment of the 3rd motorized group (a large squadron) and about two companies of poorly trained riflemen from the depots. [1]
The Saumur sub-sector is reinforced by various small units, groups and motorized squadrons (Groupe Hacquart of the 19th Dragons, Groupe Montclos, Escadron Gobble of the 1st GRDI, Escadron Corbe, Groupe Franc de Cavalerie De Neuchèze with 7 AMC Renault 35 ACG 1 and some AMD Panhard, elements of the 11th Dragons and 12th Cuirassiers) and by a battery of 4x 75 mm battery of the ERGM of Thouars.
The Angers sub-sector comes under the command of General Langlois (cavalry corps): 1st DLM and 3rd DLM. The 232nd RI, formed from the Angers depot with reinforcements from the 129th GRDI and placed under the orders of battalion commander De Coucy. A battery of 75s from Thouars reinforces the defense of the island of Gennes and another one on that of Port-Boulet.
In Tours, the order to blow up the bridges is given at the beginning of the afternoon, although the order to blow Wilson Bridge is delayed, to allow as many units as possible to withdraw. Among the last detachments to cross the bridge: the artillery of the 8th DLIC, completely exhausted after a 105 km march; a detachment of the 44th and 109th RI of the 47th DI, lost, but experienced and with a martial look. At 23:00, the Wilson bridge is blown up in turn.
In the evening, the vanguards of the 1. KD are in Noyant and Bourgueil and prepare attempts against the bridges of Saumur, Montsoreau and Port-Boulet.

Ancenis to Nantes Sector - During the night, all the bridges of the Loire, from Ancenis to Thouaré, are destroyed. General Héring's staff asks to postpone the destruction of the bridges of the city of Nantes and the canal from Nantes to Brest, in order to allow the retreat of the greatest number of men possible.
At dawn, a column of the 5. PzD arrive at Nort-sur-Erdre, where it meets no resistance. It continues southwards and meets a first plug of the 111th regional regiment, which it sweeps away easily. It finally reached the Nantes-Brest canal, but the bridge destruction charges had just been blown up. Other small enemy detachments are seen in Blain or in Clanet, but they keep their distance.
The bridges of Nantes itself are kept intact until further notice, which allowed numerous retreating elements to cross the river and the city during the day. First, and after a long detour, General Duffour and his staff, then the 121st, 123rd and 126th GRDI, finally, late in the evening, a strong detachment of the 90th RI (17th DLI), whose exhausted men keep a dignified appearance. Contacting General Héring by telephone, Duffour is instructed to take command of the fighting units of the 11th Region (Aymé Group: Nantes, Séchet Group: Oudon, Putinier Group: Ancenis)

[1] The 5th BLM (1st and 2nd Cuirassiers) was formed, without armament, from the surplus of the 1st and 3rd DLM when they were reformed on a lighter model; its leader, Lt-Colonel du Vigier, seized by force on June 16th the weapons of a battalion of mounted fighters stored at the Ruchard camp. In order to save resources, General Pichon took Lt.Col. du Vigier as his deputy; the command of the 5th BLM passed to Lt. Colonel de Vernejoul, who commanded the 2nd Cuirassiers.
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June 19th, 1940

- The bulk of Kleist's troops arrives in front of Dijon and Beaune, where the vanguard is still blocked by the 67th ID. Suffering from supply problems, Kleist cannot restart the attack. However, German elements of the 29. ID (mot) begin to infiltrate in the northern suburbs of Dijon in the middle of the day, triggering a panic in the population.
The withdrawal of the 67th ID towards Chalon-sur-Saône is decided. However, blocking points have to be maintained on the main roads. The survivors of the 18th CA leave immediately, thanks to the three companies of the 145/11 Personnel Transport Group.
The motorized elements of the 63rd GRDI and the 16th GRCA have to remain in the rear guard, to prevent the 81st Regional Protection Regiment from panicking too quickly. But the territorial troops in blue hoods, who had become front-line fighters for the time being, show great firmness.
Some German reconnaissance elements also advance towards Autun, to close the pocket around the Morvan massif, but there again, in the absence of German infantry, many French soldiers continue to escape to the south, to cross the the Canal du Centre (which links the Loire to the Saône), whose bridges had been blown. Other German vanguards are also reported in the vicinity of Château-Chinon.

Saône - The bulk of the 1. PzD reaches the Saône at Pontailler, Gray, Quitteur and Port-sur-Saône, but bridges are blown up everywhere, while the gasoline depots of Saint-Jean-de-Losne and Gergy are set on fire. The French defense is well in place. A break is now inevitable.
The OKH orders Guderian to stop his advance: the XXXIX. AK (mot) must not go beyond the Saône and wait for the infantry while repairing its equipment and reorganizing its logistics.
Guderian, once again furious at the reluctance of his superiors, cannot openly disobey an explicit order, but takes advantage of a loophole to try to push his advantage further. The order to stop the operation explicitly mentions only the XXXIX. AK (mot). Guderian, unwilling to let his prey escape, asks the XLI. AK (mot) to advance on Epinal and the Moselle. Moreover, he also obtains that the Luftwaffe organize massive sorties in the following days, in order to definitively cut the railroads towards the Rhone corridor.

Lorraine - At Toul, the 58th ID of the 42nd CAF, isolated in the rearguard, continue the resistance, covered by the Gallini Group (14th GRCA, 61st and 70th GRDI). South of Toul, the remains of the IInd Army are progressively pushed back to the east.
The remnants of the IIIrd and Vth Armies continue to retreat while fighting south of the canal of the Marne au Rhin. The left wing of the Girval Division is pushed back and the IIIrd Army is cut in two (the 6th CA and the 42nd CAF in the west, the 20th CA in the east). German superiority is very clear and the behavior of the French troops, exhausted, is very variable: the most incredible heroism sometimes goes hand in hand with the outright surrender of entire regiments...
After the rupture of the front on the canal from the Marne to the Rhine, it is now clear that Lorraine is lost, it is only a matter of time. The SNCF then receives the order to send all its rolling stock to the south and to sabotage its fixed installations.

Alsace - The divisions of the German 7th Army progress in the valleys of the Vosges and begin to attack the French defensive positions (from north to south: Col de la
Charbonnière, Col de Steige, Col d'Urbeis, Col de Sainte-Marie, Col du Bonhomme, Col de la Schlucht. If there are some local failures (Col du Bonhomme), the French troops generally fight very well and inflict significant losses on their attackers.
But, as is too often the case, exhausted and bogged down in a static defense against a maneuvering opponent, the French are eventually overwhelmed. In the best case, they
case, they retreat at nightfall, in the worst case, they surrender after having exhausted their ammunition... Only the 302nd RI and the 10th Chasseurs Pyrénéens, at the Col de la Schlucht, win a real defensive victory.
South of the Vosges, Groupement Mack blocks the Aspach bridge which commands the retreat of the 105th DIF, and then drives in the rearguard of the Salvan division at Lachapelle-sous-Rougemont: the battalions of these units that were not forced to surrender are pushed back to the Ballon d'Alsace, the road to Belfort is now open.
June 19th, 1940

Rhone Valley and Italian Front
- The Army of the Alps continues to prepare a second line of defense in the Rhone valley. General Olry is placed under the direct orders of the GQG, in order to ensure close coordination of his operations with the other armies.
Following his meeting the day before with Hitler, Mussolini, annoyed, gives the order to launch a general offensive in the Alps. However, no offensive activity is carried out during the day, neither in the air nor on land.
June 19th, 1940

Saint Nazaire, 04:00
- In the early morning, after a race against time to install the propulsion, the quadruple front turret and part of the secondary artillery and the flak, the
battleship Jean-Bart, under construction in the Caquot form of the Chantiers de Penhoët, is about to set sail. The ship was not supposed to leave its dock until October, but the advance of the German army has accelerated the work over the past month, mobilizing more than 3,500 workers, while an exit channel was dug. It is imperative that the departure take advantage of the high tides expected between June 18th and 22nd, otherwise the operation would have been postponed to July 3rd.
Thanks to the memorable action of Captain Ronarc'h (nephew of Admiral Ronarc'h, who had distinguished himself at Dixmude in 1914) and a handful of crewmen, the ship
leaves its basin, the door-ship having allowed the completion afloat to be done in a calm water level that is not disturbed by the currents and floods of the Loire. The exit channel being rather narrow and hardly deeper than the draft of the ship, the battleship partially ran aground and had to be cleared with the help of tugs.
The French fighters being late, three German planes tried to bomb the ship, but the ship only received a 100 kg bomb which only scratched its battleship deck. The Luftwaffe bombers returned shortly afterwards, but they were probably misledby the old battleship Voltaire, grounded since 1936 south of the Rhuys peninsula (Morbihan), to be used as a target for firing exercises by the Navy and the Air Force. Some inhabitants of the peninsula affirm that the old battleship was bombed several times in June by German planes, which may have thought they were targeting the Jean-Bart.
At 06:30, the Jean-Bart is joined by the new destroyers Mameluk and Le Hardi, then the Epée. At 11:00, it docks with the tanker Le Tarn to refuel with water and fuel. At 18:00, the battleship sets sail for Casablanca and not the Clyde, as initially planned.
Despite some technical incidents, she manages to sail at 22 knots.
Also under construction at Saint-Nazaire, the hull of the aircraft carrier Joffre (completed up to the main deck) is abandoned, as well as some small units.
June 19th, 1940

Plymouth, 18:00
- After a difficult crossing, zigzagging to avoid the Luftwaffe and U-Boats, the convoy bringing the 7th Belgian ID from Lorient arrives in port. More than 5,000 men have been saved (only the detachment participating in the defense of the "Béthouart line" is missing). The division is then directed to the Belgian Military Regrouping Center in Temby. Decarpentrie immediately contacts the Ministry of National Defense, in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, to proudly announce the success of the operation, "with exclusively Belgian means of transport". At the announcement of this news, the lastsceptics in the government suddenly realize the capabilities that Belgium still has and begin to elaborate the most insane plans!
June 19th, 1940

French Ports in Aquitaine
- The evacuation of the 7,500 men of the Belgian Military Aeronautics and its CRI begins. The North Sea express vessels are all put to use, under the protection of Royal Navy ships. The hundreds of pilots and crew members evacuated to Great Britain will be of great use during the Battle of Britain. In agreement with the French, six pilots of the Belgian I/3 Aé. were designated to training on the Goéland in Morocco, in view of their release on the LeO-451, under the direction of Lieutenant Philippart. They will have the opportunity to distinguish themselves during the Libyan campaign.
It is finally decided to leave in France, in addition to the personnel needed to ferry the few aircraft to North Africa of the few surviving aircraft of the Aéronautique Militaire that could prove useful, about 500 men from the Belgian Aeronautical Workshops. Put to work at the industries in Bordeaux and Toulouse, they are evacuated at the same time as their French colleagues.
The six Belgian Fiat CR.42 are also kept in France. They cannot be used in Africa without risk of confusion, while on the other hand, based in Bordeaux, they will bring a symbolic contribution to the defense of the region.
June 20th, 1940

Toulouse, Hôtel de France, 10:00
- General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the Polish Prime Minister, meets Paul Reynaud and Charles de Gaulle to ensure that France would not forget to evacuate the Polish armed forces.
The German breakthrough on the Somme and the Aisne was seen as a new disaster by the Polish government in exile, which had been installed in Angers since December and is reliving the nightmare of the Nazi invasion of their native land nine months earlier. For these combatants already exiled, there was still no question of stopping the fight, but Sikorski already imagined fleeing to England to start again from scratch the slow process that, at the time of the German offensive, had almost enabled him to reconstitute in France a Polish army of more than 80,000 men in exile, from the troops that had fled Poland and were interned in Romania and Hungary, as well as the mobilization of Poles living in France.
After the disaster of May, the news of the Sursaut was greeted as a miracle.
When Sikorski meets the French ministers, it is already too late for the two Polish infantry divisions deployed within the GA 2, which are to share the tragic fate of the armies of the East. Only a few hundred men succeed in getting to Switzerland to be interned. But the agreements signed that day, by reassuring the Polish government, would make sure that the French could count on the last units of the Polish army in the fighting of the end of June and July in France (what remained of the Polish armored brigade, elements of the 3rd DIP and more than 100 fighter pilots) and to evacuate to Africa and England more than 43,000 men (training centers and recruits of the 3rd DIP in Brittany, recruits of the 4th DIP in the South-West and air force personnel, including many student pilots).
It'd very interesting (and possibly beyond the scope of a direct translation) to see a comparison, once the Metropole finally falls, of the various forces ITTL compared to OTL at that point in time.
June 20th, 1940

Toulouse, Hôtel de France, 15:00
- Extraordinary meeting around Paul Reynaud, in which Blum, De Gaulle, Mandel and Kérillis attend.
De Gaulle, energetically supported (and probably inspired) by Blum, convinces the President of the Council to grant full French citizenship to all men from North Africa whose close relative (son, father or brother) between the ages of 18 and 35 enlisted in the French Army [1]. This decision will have, as each of the participants in the meeting is well aware, considerable political implications after the war, but necessity is the law and after all, says Blum, If the catastrophe that has befallen the country can be an opportunity for the progress of Democracy... "We have refused defeat," he exclaims to an anxious Kérillis, "we must give ourselves the means of victory! And what better way than the implementation of our own ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?"
In the wake of this, another decision is taken, which is undoubtedly easier to pass from a symbolic point of view: the sales will be henceforth the same for the "Indigènes" and for the (other) French people. But it is not because of this measure that, in the days and weeks that followed, the influx of North African recruits would force the creation of a large number of new units of tabors and goumiers, not to mention the regiments of Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian riflemen,

[1] Reminder that the French universal suffrage concerns only men
It'd very interesting (and possibly beyond the scope of a direct translation) to see a comparison, once the Metropole finally falls, of the various forces ITTL compared to OTL at that point in time.
Once the evacuations have ended, there will be a recap of all forces evacuated.
June 20th, 1940

- The Official Gazette of the General Government of NAF publishes a decree adopted the day before in the Council of Ministers despite the circumstances.
Art. 1 - By way of derogation from the provisions of the senatus-consult of May 18th, 1854 and the law of August 3rd, 1875, the bills and coins of the Banque de France will hold legal tender in the territories of French North Africa, concurrently with the issues of the Bank of Algeria and Tunisia, as of July 1st, 1940.
Art. 2 - The Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Banque de France, the Governor of the Bank of Algeria and Tunisia and the Director of the Office monétaire chérifien are charged with the execution of the present decree.

Thus, civilian or military evacuees will not be destitute upon their arrival on the other side of the Mediterranean.
June 20th, 1940

Bordeaux, 07:30
- Under the supervision of Lord Suffolk, British delegate for armament and Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie, the stock of heavy water recovered in Norway by the French is loaded aboard the transport Broompark, which flies the British flag. The precious cans, whose final destination is Cambridge, had already traveled a long way: they had come from Paris, they had been stored for eight days in the vault of the Banque de France in Clermont-Ferrand, and then for three weeks in a cell at the central prison in Riom. Once the cargo was safe, the English dignitary proposes to the Joliot-Curies to embark with his family, as did his collaborators at the same time. But the couple refuses, citing an important meeting to be held in Toulouse. A glance at at Lieutenant Allier, who was waiting a little way off, dissuaded Lord Suffolk from insisting.
As soon as the ship was off the coast, the Joliot-Curies and Lieutenant Allier set out for Toulouse.
After a large loop in the Atlantic, out of reach of the Luftwaffe, the Broompark will arrive at its destination. The heavy water is safe.
June 20th, 1940

Toulouse, 09:00
- Having concluded the agreement with the Spaniards, Pierre Cot flies to the United States (a long and complicated trip), with the mission to formalize the arms purchase accepted the day before by Roosevelt and to go even further - trucks, planes and all kinds of equipment. The American government is willing to accept without difficulty the demands of the French government for the US Army's large stocks of weapons, dating from 1918-1919. These weapons are considered obsolete by the American military, which willingly sells them - for immediate payment. All the French cargo ships on the east coast of the United States are ordered to concentrate in Norfolk to embark these weapons.
Even before his departure, Pierre Cot is informed by the Admiralty of the interest of acquiring the 40 Brewster B-339 (Buffalo for the Americans), already completed or in the process of being completed, ordered by Belgium before the invasion. He therefore reaches an agreement with the Belgian government. Strong pressure had to be exerted on the Aéronautique Militaire to get it to accept to sacrifice this order for modern aircraft; in exchange, the French agreed to give up about thirty Northrop A17A (or DB-8) bombers, which will be delivered from July, and promised 30 Curtiss H-75A2/A3 fighters by November.
The game is worth the result: with the Illustrious Fulmar and the B-339s delivered to the Béarn, capable of protecting the British Swordfish and the French Curtiss SBC-4, it becomes possible to plan a naval air attack against Taranto during the day with three aircraft carriers, Eagle, Illustrious and Béarn, as Dudley Pound had proposed to Darlan during the inter-allied council of June 14th.
Pierre Cot is finally able to cable the French representatives to sign with Captain-commander Deweer (who had received instructions in this sense from the extraordinary ambassador Georges Theunis, responsible for all purchases of Belgian weapons of war in the United States) a transaction concerning the B-339. These aircraft (five of which are already on their way to North Africa on the Béarn bridge) are to be denavalized. Once taken over by France, they will be re-navalized in extremis in order to be used on the Béarn and then loaded on the Normandie, which will transport them to North Africa.
The Under-Secretary of State for Military Procurement also has to look further ahead. He will conclude in Savannah, in the name of France, the purchase of land intended for the construction of a factory, which had been planned since the spring of 1940 and for which work begins immediately. This factory, which was initially intended to manufacture the Somua S-35 medium tank (in its S-40 version), will be in charge of producing an "evolution" incorporating American components and with an enlarged body to accept a two-seater turret, at the request of General Delestraint, future Inspector General of the Armoured Forces.
June 20th, 1940

Washington, D.C
- President Roosevelt strengthens his cabinet with two prominent Republicans. Henry Stimson becomes Secretary of War and Frank Knox becomes Secretary of the Navy. Stimson is strongly opposed to the American isolationist tradition and was a champion of the Lend-Lease Act. Knox and Stimson are natural partners for Pierre Cot to conclude the French government's arms purchases.
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