Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

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August 3rd, 1940

Libya (Cyrenaica)
- Allied bombing continues in the coastal area. From Castel-Benito, LeO-451s and Farman 223s of the Armee de l'Air attack Benghazi. From Egypt, the RAF and the Armee de l'Air attack Bardia and Tobruk.
August 3rd, 1940

- The French air force in Egypt has deployed to Mersa-Matruh about 70 aircraft in all, three-quarters of which are operational.
GC I/7: six MS-406s cover Alexandria and six the refineries of Haifa (two are in reserve, twelve others were sent to Cyprus)
Groupement Pouyade: 6 (4) Potez 631 and 5 (3) Potez 63.11
GB II/54 : 9 Martin 167
GB I/39 : 10 Martin 167 (must redeploy to Cyprus from August 25th)
ESRL n° 1 : 3 Amiot 351 GR (from August 15th)
GR I/35: 13 (11) Potez 63.11
GAO II/583 : 9 (6) Potez 63.11
EO n° 592 and 593 : 8 (6) Potez 25 and 4 (3) Potez 29 SAN (Casevac).
August 3rd, 1940

Southwestern France
- "The GC II/8, reduced to five machines, tirelessly cannoned and machine-gunned the German troops who try to force the perimeter of what has been called "the Fortress of Bayonne", which had to be defended at all costs to allow the evacuation of the troops via Biarritz. Naturally, German bombers wreaked havoc in the port, but not without loss for the Luftwaffe.
The intrepid Warrant Officer Nicole, who returned to the group on July 10th, reached ace status.
He took off as a wingman for Lieutenant Dutey-Harispe - the two men had a total of 8 victories between them. They were patrolling in the Dax - Peyrehorade sector, when they came across a formation of He 111s, unescorted and certainly stunned to be attacked by two French fighters. The two pilots took action, Nicole opened fire with a 20 mm on one of the bombers and sees its shells set fire to the right wing. The Heinkel went into a spin and crashed near Monfort-en-Chalosse in a column of black smoke. The crew was killed.
Two intrepid kids, respectively 6 and 3 years old, saw the plane fall near the family farm and the eldest ran to announce it to the village. The little Bonifaces will prefer however, much later, the oval ball to aviation.
Dutey-Harispe, less happy than Nicole, sees his guns jamming one after the other and "his" Heinkel, damaged, tried to flee at low altitude. The pursuit started, the bomber was severely peppered by the two light machine guns but continued to fly. The French pilot had to give up the pursuit, but the bomber made a belly landing near the small town of Hagetmau while trying to reach its home field of Mont-de-Marsan. After the war, it was Colonel Dutey-Harispe who was credited with this victory."
(Extracts from "Le Groupe de Chasse II/8 dans la défense de l'Ouest - D'après le journal de marche de l’unité", Editions Ouest-France, 1990)
August 3rd, 1940

- Supported by 12 M11/39 medium tanks, as many L3/35 light tanks and a squadron of Fiat 611 self-propelled guns, 4,800 Italian soldiers and 30,000 natives attack the British colony, where they penetrate from the west and southwest.
General Nasi organizes his forces for a three-pronged advance.
On the left (northwest), General Bertoldi's column includes the 17th and 70th colonial brigades (with two Black Shirt battalions and the machine gun battalion of the 65th
Granatieri di Savoia division), supported by four artillery batteries. Its objective is the passes of Jirreh and Dobo, which defend the access to the small port of Zeïla. This force must open the way for General Passerone's motorized column, which, with two infantry battalions (one of which is a Black Shirt battalion) and a section of artillery, is to exploit the eastward breakthrough from Zeïla along the coast towards Bulhar and Berbera.
General Bertello's column, on the right (southeast), plans to march on Odweina and then Burao, force the Sheikh Pass and continue on to Berbera. It comprises an infantry battalion, two groups of irregulars and a battery of light artillery on camelback.
In the center of the force, General De Simone's column is the strongest, because it must take the main road to Hargeisa, the capital of the British protectorate, and then continue towards Berbera. It brings together three colonial infantry brigades (the 13th, 14th and 15th), with all the armoured vehicles and most of the artillery (including a
149 mm battery and a 105 mm battalion).
In reserve behind the De Simone column, the 2nd Colonial Brigade with 4 infantry battalions and 2 artillery batteries, under the command of Colonel Lorenzini.
The Italian advance is to be cautious, as Nasi estimates, according to the aerial reconnaissance carried out on July 20th, that he has about 10,000 men in front of him, whose equipment he greatly overestimated. However, Nasi knows that he has to take advantage of the rainy season, because any offensive would be much more costly afterwards.
To support the offensive, the Regia Aeronautica has concentrated some sixty aircraft on the runways of eastern Ethiopia, mainly in Diredawa. The CR.42s and SM.79s, too few in number, will be used sparingly, the effort will rest on the squadrons equipped with SM.81, Ca.133, Ro.37 and CR.32, some of which have been redeployed from the western "front" against Sudan. The Italian air force has to carry out missions on the port of Berbera and the road that serves it and neutralize the advanced RAF airfields in Berbera and Laferug. During the day, three SM.81 attack Berbera; one of them is damaged by a Gladiator of Sqn 94 which hastily took off.
On the Allied side, the plans had long taken into account the impossibility of resisting in the open country in the open country in the face of the clear numerical superiority of the enemy. It is therefore decided to establish a position in the hills surrounding the Tug Argan pass, on the road linking Berbera to Hargeisa. With very little artillery or anti-tank weaponry, and no armored vehicles, and facing an adversary that benefits - for the moment - from air superiority, Brigadier-General (newly promoted) Chater hopes to be able to fight a few delaying battles before withdrawing in good order.
To the west, a French battalion of the RTS-CFS takes over the Jirreh and Dobo passes, summarily fortified. A company of Rhodesians and two companies of the Somaliland
Camel Corps (one of which is motorized) are responsible for slowing down the Italian advance on the road to Hargeisa. At Tug Argan, Chater deploys the 1st Battalion of the Northern Rhodesian Regiment (minus one company), the 2nd Battalion of the King's African Rifles, the 4 3.7 inch howitzers of the 1st East African Light Battery and some elements of the Somaliland Camel Corps. The 1/2th Punjab takes position at the Sheikh Pass, but it also covers the approaches and the town of Berbera. A company of the Somaliland Camel Corps is in the Odweina-Burao sector. Various groups of irregulars (Illalos) monitor enemy movements from forward positions. Finally, a patrol is monitoring the coastal road between Zeila and Berbera.

Other East African Fronts - The activity is limited to a few reconnaissance operations. In the undecided area where Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia meet, the Italian post (former British post) of Fort Wilkinson, north-west of Lake Rudolph, is taken by a raid of the King's African Rifles. A relief column is repulsed.
August 4th, 1940

- On the road to Hargeisa, the motorized company of the Somaliland Camel Corps ambushes the De Simone column, in the center of the Italian position, destroying or damaging several self-propelled gunships with Boys anti-tank rifles.
General Wavell orders the urgent dispatch of additional reinforcements, including the 2nd Battalion of the Black Watch, convoyed to Aden in early July by the cruiser HMS Liverpool. India is to send an infantry battalion, an artillery battery and sappers, but the Middle East can only provide... two anti-tank guns, due to the imminent offensive against Libya. Nevertheless, the decision to send these final reinforcements is made too late. Only the 3/15th Punjab, already in transit from India to Aden, and a battery of two 3-inch Bofors from the Hong Kong and Singapore Brigade RA, based in Aden, would arrive in time.
August 4th, 1940

- In spite of the darkness, French planes continue the shelling of Olbia: at 01h25 (GMT+2), twelve Martin 167 of the GB I/32 (from Calvi); at 01h55, eight Martin 167 of the GR I/61.
As dawn approached, 52 people were killed and 83 injured among the passengers of the Bengasi and Città di Livorno. The latter and the cargo ship Ugo Basso were slightly
damaged. Part (about 15%) of the cargo is destroyed. Above all, the unloading operations have been so delayed that the convoy cannot consider leaving before dawn, except to leave with part of the contents of the holds of the Città di Livorno and Ugo Basso. With the agreement of the admiral commanding the Navy in Sardinia, the commander of the destroyer Papa, in charge of the convoy, it is decided to continue unloading them, while immediately sending the Bengasi to Civitavecchia under the escort of the destroyer La Masa.
07:32 - As the Città di Livorno, finally empty, starts to move away from the quay and the Ugo Basso is about to cast off, ten MS-406s of the GC III/1, eighteen DB-7 (nine from GB II/61 and nine from II/32) and above all the four Laté-298 of Aspretto appear, armed with torpedoes. While the DB-7 of II/61 take for targets the three remaining destroyers, forced to maneuver to avoid the projectiles, the four Laté attack, two by two, the two practically immobile cargo ships. One of the pair aims at the Livorno is shot down by the flak before being able to launch; the other on the other hand, aims at the bridge and the mixed cargo ship begins to sink. As for the Basso, if one of the torpedoes aimed at him hits the bottom of the harbor, the other hits him in the engine room. The DB-7s of the II/32 then arrive and finish the two transports; the Basso capsizes and the Livorno sinks straight down. Voluntarily or not, some DB-7 hit the docks, aggravating the damage suffered by the disembarked cargoes.
In the absence of any aerial opposition, the MS-406 escorts also found themselves targets. Six of them strafe the small hydrobase of Venafiorita (on the southern shore of the Gulf of Olbia): their visit is fatal to the 5th Coastal Reconnaissance Section, whose strength was reduced to two Cant Z.501s. One of the Moranes is hit by machine-gun fire; its pilot, wounded, has to make an emergency landing at the secondary airfield of Tavaria (on the edge of the Gulf of Valinco). The four other fighters attack the MAS of the 4th squadron. If their shots inflict directly little damage to the attack craft, the MAS-501 and MAS-502 are however damaged, because they collided while zigzagging to escape the fire from the planes.
After the French raid, the three destroyers, which remained intact, leave Olbia where their presence is now useless. They easily catch up with the Bengasi and La Masa and join them in Civitavecchia.
August 4th, 1940

- The war ignores the dominical rest, and the Supermarina offices are as on a weekday. Around one o'clock in the afternoon, C.V. Ferreri enters the office he shares with
with L.V. Moracchioli, brandishing a file.
- This time we are there! The operation C 14 is planned in its smallest details... I'm not allowed to tell you everything, but I can at least give you the main lines. First of all, the choice we made for the transport ships has been validated, not without some debate. All of the weighty cargo - and in the first place the tanks of the 312th Battalion - will be divided between the cargo ships Gloriastella (7,063 GRT) and Capo Faro (3,465 GRT), with a small complement on the Tarquinia. As for the men, tankers, legionnaires and others, they are distributed among the Giorgio Orsini and our three auxiliary cruisers Adriatico, Barletta and Brindisi [1]. It was on this point that the discussion was the most lively: some preferred to embark the men on the destroyers or the cruisers of the close escort, or even on a single fast liner, arguing that, in case of a problem, these ships could stall and run at full speed towards the final destination. But it was eventually recognized that it was better not to burden the warships and that it was equally better to divide the risk of losses.
- A good point for the Ufficio RTSO, Commander!
- Half of which he owes to your pertinent advice, Moracchioli! But let's wait until the end of the story to congratulate ourselves. There is still a long way to go from the cup to the lips. The loading of the ships is to be completed by August 13th.
- And the escort?
- Finally, the whole fleet of Taranto, or almost, will leave. Just last night, His Excellency the Minister of the Navy imposed his will on Cavagnari, who in turn energetically convinced Campioni. It is true that, this time, our admirals had fewer arguments for refusing to send out the ships of the line, since five of them would soon be available. This is what determined the choice of a date: this year, Feragosto
[2] will be a very special day for our Navy!
Later in the evening, Emilio Ferreri receives the final version of the promemoria of Operation C 14 (classified "very confidential"). It is by far the most important operation in which the Regia Marina particpated since June 10th (see the book of the Ufficio Storico della Marina, La Marina nella difesa del Dodecaneso, Rome, 1969, annex IV).

§ Composition of the convoy:
Cargo vessels: steamers Gloriastella (7,063 GRT), Capo Faro (3,465 GRT) and Tarquinia (749 GRT);
Troop transports: auxiliary cruisers Adriatico, Barletta and Brindisi, all three of the ame type (1,976 tons, 14 knots, entered service in 1931); auxiliary vessel Giorgio Orsini.
§ Close escort:
From Bari to the Otranto Channel:

7th Torpedo Boat Squadron (decommissioned former destroyers): Angelo Bassini, Enrico Cosenz, Nicolo Fabrizi, Giacomo Medici.
Beyond the Otranto Channel:
8th Cruiser Division (Admiral Antonio Legnani): Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi, Giuseppe Garibaldi.
16th Destroyer Squadron: Nicoloso Da Recco, Antoniotto Usodimare, Luca Tarigo, Emanuele Pessagno.
2nd Destroyer Squadron: Espero, Borea, Ostro. [3]
§ Remote Escort, 1st Group:
1st Division of cruisers (Division Admiral Pellegrino Matteucci): Zara, Gorizia, Fiume, reinforced by the Pola, detached from the II Squadron.
9th Destroyer Squadron: Vittorio Alfieri, Alfredo Oriani, Giosué Carducci, Vincenzo Gioberti.
4th Cruiser Division (Major Admiral Alberto Marenco di Moriondo): Alberico da Barbiano, Luigi Cadorna, Alberto di Giussano, Armando Diaz.
12th Squadron of destroyers: Lanciere, Carabiniere, Corazziere, Ascari. [4]
§ Remote escort, 2nd group:
5th Battleship Division (Division Admiral Bruto Brivonesi): Giulio Cesare, Conte di Cavour, reinforced by the Caio Duilio, detached from the II Squadron. [5]
7th Destroyer Squadron: Freccia, Dardo, Saetta, Strale.
8th Destroyer Squadron: Folgore, Fulmine, Baleno, Lampo.
9th Battleship Division (Major Admiral Carlo Bergamini): Littorio, Vittorio Veneto.
14th Destroyer Squadron: Ugolino Vivaldi, Leone Pancaldo, Antonio Pigafetta. [6]
15th Destroyer Squadron: Nicolò Zeno, Alvise Da Mosto. [7]
10th Destroyer Squadron: Libeccio, Scirocco, detached from the II Squadron.
7th Cruiser Division (Major Admiral Luigi Sansonetti): two of its four units detached from the II Squadron, Eugenio di Savoia and Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta.
13th Destroyer Squadron: two of its four units, detached from the II Squadron, Granatiere and Bersagliere.
1st Destroyer Squadron: Aquilone, Turbine. [8]

The Regia Marina will therefore bring out 5 battleships, 12 cruisers (4 heavy, those of the 1st Division, and 8 light ones, those of the 4th, 7th and 8th Divisions) and 34 destroyers. In order to have five battleships, it has to wait until August 15th: the convoy's movement, obviously much slower than the squadron, is set according to this imperative.
Moreover, Maricosom mobilizes its submarines to prevent the reactions of the Franco-British. Thirty-two units will be distributed from the approaches to Gibraltar to those of Alexandria, passing through the coasts of North Africa and the vicinity of Malta. [9]
To this deployment must be added the units engaged in a diversion intended to delay the discovery by the Allies of the convoy's true destination. It is necessary to pass it off as a convoy destined for Albania for as long as possible. The C 14 will thus leave from Bari and set course for Durazzo with its initial close escort. Another convoy,
from Ancona, will replace the C14 on the road to Durazzo when it heads south-east. This decoy, including the auxiliary cruiser Brioni (sister-ship of the Adriatico, Barletta and Brindisi) and six cargo ships, will be escorted by the four former destroyers of the 15th Torpedo Squadron (Confienza, Solferino, San Martino and Palestro).
The ships of the remote escort will turn back as soon as the convoy passes between the island of Antikythera and Crete. From the close escort, the 8th Cruiser Division and the 16th Destroyer Squadron will withdraw in turn once the junction with the two destroyers and four torpedo boats of Egeomil, planned on the meridian of Rethymnon. Only the 2nd Destroyer Squadron will continue to Rhodes.
For the return, the convoy will be escorted by the 2nd Squadron and the Egeomil forces, who will be able to return to Italy with an honorable task.

[1] These auxiliary cruisers were in peacetime mail vessels. Armed with two 102 mm cannons and 2 to 4 heavy machine guns, they were equipped with rails able to carry mines or grenades.
[2] August 15th
[3] The fourth unit, the Zeffiro, was sunk at Pantelleria on July 5th, 1940.
[4] This squadron was to serve as an escort to the 6th Battleship Division (Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria). The Lanciere had been assigned to the 4th Division, pending the entry into service of the two ships of the line. The other three were to escort the Caio Duilio from Genoa to Taranto, where it was to undergo trials after being refitted, in order to be ready by August 15th.
[5] The refit of the Andrea Doria, planned partner for the Duilio in the 6th Division, was not completed.
[6] The fourth unit of the squadron, the Antonio Da Noli, had not yet recovered from the damage received on July 1st, 1940.
[7] The other two units of the squadron, the Giovanni Da Verazzano and the Lanzerotto Malocello, were employed to supply Libya.
[8] The third surviving unit, the Euro, had not yet recovered from the damage received on July 6th, 1940.
[9] Not very effective, this deployment led to the loss of the Lafolè (62nd Squadron), sunk on August 17th at Tobruk.
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August 4th, 1940

- While the 81st and 88th DIA progress along the coast of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica is agitated by various raids, there is a lull on the desert front on the French side.
This does not satisfy Major Leclerc.
The latter is none other than Major de Hauteclocque. Indeed, the German radio had been claiming for several days that he had "treacherously murdered", during his escape, a soldier in charge of guarding him and threatened his family with reprisals. Alarmed, Hauteclocque decided, with the agreement of the staff, to take a pseudonym (inspired, it is said, by the date: August 4th is the anniversary of the abolition of noble privileges and Leclerc is the name of the... gardener of the family home!). In the communiqués, we will speak of "the Leclerc column". This pseudonym quickly becomes famous, although the future general stopped using it after a few months, as the Nazi propaganda had turned to other targets.
August 4th, 1940

Chanciano Terme
- As the fighting in France finally comes to an end, Princess Marie-José finds her children, her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law Jolanda to sadly celebrate her birthday. She announces to Queen Elena that she intends to continue her humanitarian mission in Libya, where the fighting has been raging for three weeks.
However, Ettore Muti, the new leader of the Fascist Party, is strongly opposed to this. This obstruction suits the rest of the royal family, who do not dare to go against the wishes of the energetic Princess, but fear that she would expose herself unnecessarily in a campaign that seems already lost. Muti will finally obtain that the princess postpone her trip to ASI to September and spend the rest of the summer in Courmayeur with her children.
August 4th, 1940

- After Castelnaudary the day before, Carcassonne is reached by German columns.

Roussillon - A handful of volunteers, a mixture of Senegalese and Spanish riflemen, have been fighting for two days in the hills of the Corbières, south and west of Narbonne, to prevent the Germans from reaching the Mediterranean, in the hope of gaining a few hours or days that will allow the last evacuations to be extended... At their head, two officers of the 13th DBLE, who arrived by chance while on a cargo ship diverted to Port-la-Nouvelle to participate in the last evacuations. Are the Spaniards not legionnaires? It is therefore the duty of these officers to go and supervise them. After Norway, Captain Kœnig and Captain Prince Amilakhvari distinguish themselves once again!
This time, it is in front of the first elements of the 5. PzD.

Languedoc - The Germans re-launch the offensive on the Gardon, towards Nîmes and Montpellier.

Provence - Toulon surrenders. More than ten thousand inhabitants and refugees were killed or wounded by the bombardments. The Germans take possession of a military port ravaged by the sabotages and destructions. Of course, there are no ships left, except for half a dozen ships sunk by the Luftwaffe and the old hulls scuttled to block the entrance to the harbor by the last demolition teams, which left the day before aboard two submarines, the Naïade (600 tons) and Aréthuse (630 tons). Useless defenders, the two turrets of Cap Cépet were properly blown up - they are not used by the Germans. They immediately launch motorized columns towards the east, in the direction of Cannes, in order to take control of the last ports on the Provençal coastline.
Meanwhile, the Italians finally manage to break through the defenses of the Armée des Alpes west of Nice.
The last French fighter in the South East, an MS-406 of the GC I/6 operating from a makeshift airfield at Banyuls, is shot down. For several days, the black cross bombers (but also, at present, those marked with beams) have been attacking the ports and roads, causing thousands of victims. The fires that rage in Collioure, Port-Vendres and Banyuls are visible from far off by the ships that come at night to evacuate a few more men.
August 5th, 1940

- On the third day of the Italian invasion, the Bertoldi column is stopped by the French battalion, which firmly holds the passes of Jirreh and Dobo. On the road to Hargeisa, the covering company of the Somaliland Camel Corps, pounded for three hours by artillery, mortars and machine guns, and overrun by a dozen light tanks, has to withdraw.
On both sides, the air force tries to harass the opposing troops. The British base two Gladiators of Sqn 94 in Berbera and two others on the advanced ground of Laferug, just north of Tug Argan. Blenheims from Sqn 8, coming from Aden, attack three times a motorized convoy west of Hargeisa, causing numerous casualties, but one of the aircraft is shot down by a CR.32 of the 410th squadron. On the Italian side, SM.81 and Ca.133 attack Berbera, Aden, Burao and Zeïla.
August 5th, 1940

NE of Cape Carbon
- Sent from Algiers in front of the small convoy made up of the cargo ships Anadyr and Saint-Didier, coming from Casablanca under the escort of the avisos Ailette and Dubourdieu, the barge La Nymphe II (AD204, 385 GRT, 16.5 knots) [1] is sunk by the submarine Argo (L.V. Alberto Crepas) without having been able to give the alert. Emboldened by this success against "a gunboat of about 800 tons" [2], its commander then attacks the convoy. He manages to gain a favourable position and launches two torpedoes.
One passes between the transports and the other, better adjusted, passes under the Saint-Didier, the two cargo ships sailing on the sill. Chased by the avisos, the Argo loses contact and withdraws.

[1] Former German minesweeper M 42 from the First World War, refitted as a yacht
[2] From his patrol report. Submariners of all countries have often overestimated the size of their targets, although their targets, although there have been a few cases of the opposite.
August 5th, 1940

- If the majority of the men and the material transported by the convoy of August 3rd to August 4th has arrived in Sardinia, Supermarina believes that the cumulative cost of the three surface supply operations carried out since the beginning of July is excessive [1]. All the more so since the large island had not yet become defensible. Its leaders therefore decide, just like for North Africa, to resort to submarines to supply Sardinia. The mission falls to the boats of the 12th squadron of La Spezia, which operate in turn: the first transport is carried out by the Mocenigo on August 11th.
Supermarina also orders the permutation of the 4th MAS squadron, which has only one ship left in fighting condition with the 2nd squadron (MAS-424, 509, 543 and 544) from Messina (only MAS-503 will join immediately this port, the MAS-501, 502 and 504 will first have to be repaired in Naples)

[1] Warships: one destroyer sunk, four torpedo boats and one auxiliary cruiser damaged. Transportation: One tanker and five freighters sunk, one freighter badly damaged.
August 5th, 1940

- While waiting for convoy C 14, Cesare Maria De Vecchi di Val Cismon, governor of the Aegean islands and since 1938 commander-in-chief of all the military forces of the region (Egeomil), reports on the forces at his disposal [the Italian names of the islands are indicated between brackets].

§ The Italian land forces in the Dodecanese are considered an Army Corps, which is probably an exaggeration...
The 50th Infantry Division Regina (Brigadier General Alessandro Piazzoni), with the 9th and 10th Infantry regiments, the 50th Divisional Artillery Regiment and various other detachments, make up the largest part of it. It totals about 11,500 men, with no artillery heavier than a dozen 100 mm howitzers.
It is reinforced by non-endivisional troops representing about 8,000 men and by personnel from the Regia Marina and the Regia Aeronautica totalling 10,000 men. Its only
mechanized unit was the 3rd Compagnia Carri di Guardia alla Frontiera, with 12 (very) light Fiat 3000 (closely related to the Renault FT 17).
These forces are, for the most part, distributed between Rhodes (about 18,000 men), Leros [Lero] (6,000 men) and Kos [Coo] (4,000 men).
Governor De Vecchi is impatiently awaiting the arrival of the 312th mixed battalion (with 4 M 11/39 tanks, 23 L 3 tankettes and 9 Ansaldo-Lancia 1Z machine guns) and that of the CCIe Black Shirt Legion (about 1,500 men).
§§ The Regia Aeronautica in the Dodecanese has six runways, all of them dirt: three in Rhodes [Rodi] (Maritsa, Gadurrà and Cattavia - the use of the latter is difficult for logistical reasons) one in Kos [Coo], one in Karpathos [Scarpanto] and one on Kasos (a small island near Karpathos).
On June 10th were deployed on these airfields the 163rd autonomous fighter squadron (CT), equipped on June 10 with 11 Fiat CR.32, and the 56th and 92nd Groups of the 39th Ground Bomber Wing (BT), equipped with 24 SM.81 in all. These meagre forces were (somewhat) reinforced in July by 9 Fiat CR.32s, which had to be transported in the holds of SM.82s and reassembled on site. The dispatch of other reinforcements, notably CR.42s and SM.79s, was initially cancelled with the situation in Sardinia, Sicily and North Africa. But De Vecchi receives assurances from Mussolini himself: two dozen modern aircraft will soon reach the Dodecanese.
In addition to the land-based aircraft, there are 28 seaplanes based in Leros [Lero], on the seaplane base of Lakki [Porto Lago]: 8 fighter aircraft (Ro.44), 16 reconnaissance aircraft (1 Ro.43, 15 Cant Z.501), 2 reconnaissance and rescue (Cant Z.506), 2 rescue (Cant Z.506).
§§§ The forces of the Regia Marina in the Dodecanese, depending on the Aegean Sea Naval Command (Rear Admiral Biancheri), are as follows:
A) Surface ships
- 4th Destroyer Squadron: Francesco Crispi, Quintino Sella (the other two units of the "Sella" class were sold to Sweden in March 1940).
- 8th Torpedo boat Squadron: Lupo, Lince, Lira, Libra ("Spica" class).
It is planned that the six ships mentioned above will join convoy C 14 when it makes its way back: De Vecchi could not obtain their retention.
- III MAS Flotilla (14 ships): 7th MAS Squadron, with the MAS-430, MAS-431, MAS- 433, MAS-434; 11th MAS Squadron, with the MAS-520, MAS-521, MAS-522, MAS-523; 16th MAS Squadron, with the MAS-536, MAS-537, MAS-542; 22nd MAS Squadron, with the MAS-545, MAS-546, MAS-551.
- Legnano and Lero minesweepers.
- Gunboat Sebastiano Caboto and small gunboat Marzio Sonzini.
Plus the steam launch of the Guardia di Finanza Postiglioni and the oil tanker Cerere.
B) Submarines
5th Group (8 ships)
51st Squadron (in Leros): Delfino, Narvalo, Squalo, Tricheco ("Squalo" class).
52nd Squadron (in Rhodes): Ametista, Zaffiro ("Sirena" class) and Jalea, Jantina ("Argonauta" class).
Reinforcements arrive in July in Leros, in the form of the 13th Squadron from the Ist Group (La Spezia): Berillo, Gemma, Onice ("Perla" class).
On the other hand, after the loss of the Iride, which occurred on August 2nd, it is decided to withdraw the Ametista from Rhodes to dedicate it to special operations.
This leaves ten Italian submarines based in the Aegean Sea.
C) The Regia Marina also contributes to the defence of the islands with coastal batteries, mainly installed in Leros and Rhodes.
August 5th, 1940

- Major Leclerc gathers the men of his battalion - at least, all those who were able to advance as far as El Machina - at the vanguard of the French advance, in the
Libyan desert. All of them swore that they would not stop fighting until the tricolor flag was flown again over the Strasbourg cathedral.
The news of what will very quickly be called the "Libyan Oath" will spread at lightning speed. The example of the men of "Leclerc" will be followed by all French units, with some variations.
August 5th, 1940

- "Lieutenant Jacquemet testifies to the last moments of the GC II/8:
"This time it is the end, Bayonne has fallen, the whole coast will soon be in the hands of the Boche.
Two of our brave fighters, transformed into sieves, were still in Biarritz, but with the buddies, we set them on fire, to the great despair of the mechanics who still thought they could put them back in the air. Our mechanics were formidable throughout these three months of uninterrupted battle and the last few days were terrible.
On August 1st, we barely had time to celebrate Nicole's Ace title and paint his fifth victory mark on his aircraft.
On the 2nd, new missions - we had no more orders, we were taking off and we went to strafe everything we could. In the evening, we had only four machines left in flying condition. The advantage is that four zincs are easier to camouflage than 20, and the Boche never found us! But Dutey-Harispe, acting as commander of the Group, received an evacuation order. Nicole, Marchais, Pelletier and I begged him to leave us behind with four volunteer mechanics, since we still had four planes! He allowed us to do so, but it was obvious that he would have preferred to evacuate us and stay.
On the 3rd, the four of us went out to shoot at the Boche who were massacring this good city of Bayonne and its inhabitants - I learned that they had refused to have their city declared an open city. No victory that day, but we gave the Heinkel a hard time. Alas, they called for help, 109s arrived and I had to let mine go with a smoking engine full of holes. My plane was turned into a skimmer, I'm not sure how I got it back. Marchais took a shell in the wing, and his cab was knocked out too. Our two comrades came back unharmed, which allowed them to sign the last missions of our cabs over our poor France.
On August 4th, after two days of marauding at low altitude, strafing a few columns here and there, Pelletier and Nicole courageously went to face new bombers, but they were closely escorted. Pelletier was shot down and killed, but the lucky Nicole survived. With his plane on fire, he headed for the sea and landed on the water a few meters from the beach. He escaped with burns on his hands.
And here is our group without planes, what sadness! We had to think about our evacuation too. No question of being taken prisoner, especially as we were still burning to
to fight! So seven of us left for Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Tonight, we boarded an English destroyer - every evening, there was one to pick up stragglers like us.
We are heading for Africa. But we hope to be back soon!
(Excerpts from "Le Groupe de Chasse II/8 dans la défense de l'Ouest - D'après le journal de marche de l'unité", Editions Ouest-France, 1990)

Roussillon - In the Corbières, the resistance becomes impossible for lack of ammunition, and henceforth without great objective. The last legionnaires and riflemen silently leave the camp shortly after sunset and take a truck to Port-la-Nouvelle, where fishing boats take them to the destroyer Guépard, which sails away before dawn...
In Algiers, Kœnig and Amilakvari learn that they had been given eight days' detention for having disobeyed their orders and that they were promoted to commanders.

Languedoc - The Germans of the 20. ID cross the Gardon river and seize Nîmes, before continuing towards Montpellier.

Cote d'Azur - The German motorized columns coming from Toulon meet almost no resistance. They reach Cannes and make their junction east of the city with the Italian forces arriving from Nice. The entire coastline of Provence is controlled by the Axis forces.
August 5th, 1940

Gulf of Lion
- From the Spanish border to the edge of the German advance, a crowd of boats of all sizes are frantically active as soon as night falls. But very often, small ships
overflowing with unfortunate people, unable to get far enough away from the coast before daylight, are machine-gunned without mercy by German or Italian planes.
This is how the fishing boat Saint-Bernardin is sunk, with twenty-one German Jews on board, all women and children, who had come from the notorious Milles internment camp. The men having been enlisted in the Legion, Commander Perrochon was responsible for the evacuation of the 1,500 women, children and elderly. One after the other, he took them to Africa. The 21 passengers of the Saint-Bernardin were the last... There are five survivors. Charles Perrochon, who accompanied his last protégés, is not among them.
His memory will be doubly celebrated. In 1995, the film Les Milles, by Sébastien Grall, earned Jean-Pierre Marielle the César for best actor. The following year, the title of Righteous Among the Nations was awarded by the State of Israel to Major Perrochon.

Languedoc ports - During the final evacuation operations, the patrol boat A.6 of the Belgian Marine Corps hits a magnetic mine off the coast of Collioure and sinks with almost all its crew.
August 6th, 1940

- In spite of the harassment led by the Camel Corps, which multiplies its attacks on the Italian vehicles, the town of Hargeisa is taken by the De Simone column, in the center of the Italian Italian force. However, the latter stops its advance to give the quartermaster's office time to follow. Further east, the town of Odweina, evacuated by the elements of the Somaliland Camel Corps who were defending it, is conquered by the Bertello column.
August 6th, 1940

Dakar, 02:15 GMT
- Training completed, the HMS Illustrious leaves the great port of French West Africa to reach Gibraltar, accompanied by the destroyers HMS Encounter, Gallant, Greyhound and Hotspur, while the French organize seaplane and ASW vessel patrols on the carrier's way.
August 6th, 1940

- The hospital-ship Sphinx, designated to participate in Cordite, leaves for Alexandria to join the ships already on site or in the vicinity [1]. In accordance with international
rules, it sails without escort and brightly lit at night: the Italians have been warned of its departure and its route.

[1] In addition to Admiral Godfroy's squadron, the avisos Elan and Lassigny, the liners Patria, Providence and President Doumer as well as the cargo ships Calédonien, Capo Olmo and Saint-Edmond.
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