Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

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June 14th, 1940

Kousseir (Lebanon)
- The men of the GC I/7 are chomping at the bit and raging with impatience. Since they learned of the dismissal of their former "boss" in the Levant, General Weygand, events seem to be accelerating... in France at least, because the situation in Lebanon is so tranquil that it becomes unbearable. Among the pilots, one officer remains calm... in appearance only. Captain Tulasne understands that the hour of choice is coming.
The man already has an unusual history. In 1935, Second Lieutenant Tulasne was assigned to the 15th heavy aviation squadron of Avord, having left the school with an insufficient ranking to be placed in the fighter squadrons. Annoyed, he carried out his training in his own way on the Bloch 200, making this heavy twin-engine aircraft perform impressive loops. Finally, he obtains his transfer - "Fighters, damn it!" On April 10, 1937, Lieutenant Tulasne joined the first squadron of GC I/3, in Dijon, where he was quickly noted as an "excellent pilot by day and by night". In August 1938, at the CEAM in Reims, he flew new aircraft, such as one of the first first Potez 63. At the end of 1939, Tulasne was assigned to the GC I/7, equipped with Morane 406s, which was sent to Lebanon. The group arrived in Beirut on February 23rd and settled on the Rayak air base, in the Bekaa plain. But, as inactivity put the nerves to the test, the pilots became nervous. Tulasne, feeling the same frustrations, remained faithful to himself. On the 23rd of April, he demonstrated the maneuverability of the Potez 63 during a review by General Weygand: at the end of... 45 minutes of acrobatics, the propellers of the aircraft bore traces of camel grass! Having become head of the 2nd squadron, deployed at the beginning of June on the advanced ground of Kousseir, Captain Tulasne passes the time with acrobatic sessions, making a big impression on the neighboring villages, to the point that the chief of the Druze asked to have as his personal pilot "this man who is worse than thunder and lightning" ... without success, of course.
This is the man who appears before his men on the morning of June 14th, divided between joy and concern, in any case less exuberant than usual - something serious has
happened. Tulasne had managed to obtain information about the Council of Ministers of the previous night by his uncle, General Joseph Tulasne, whose family resides in Tours. The die is cast. The Battle of France seems already lost, but France refuses to surrender. The struggle continues and soon the time for action in the Mediterranean will come.
Tulasne would later affirm that, if the government had decided to surrender, he would not have hesitated to exploit the mission order that his group had just received to support the British in Egypt, so that his men could continue the fight. He certainly had enough faithful pilots and mechanics to attempt such a move.
June 14th, 1940

Libya (Cyrenaica)
- British troops annihilate the garrison of Fort Capuzzo [1], despite the intervention of three Ca.310bis of the 159th ground attack squadron, transferred in a hurry from Tripolitania. In spite of the cover provided by six CR.32 of the 8th Gruppo, three Gladiators overtake the Italian planes and shoot down a CR.32 as well as one of the Capronis, which makes an emergency landing in the middle of the British tanks. This episode reveals the unsuitability of the Ca.310bis for ground attacks; it is soon replaced in this role by the Ba.65, which it had dethroned a few days earlier and which will hardly prove to be more useful...
Sidi Azeiz is also attacked. A Ca.309 of the 2nd reconnaissance group is sent to assess the situation, but it is damaged by three Gladiators and has to land on the ground already surrounded by the British. Tenente Adriano Visconti manages to use the front machine gun of his aircraft to keep the enemy at bay, before being rescued by another plane of his unit. Finally, the garrison of Sidi Azeiz (composed of elements of the 1st Libyan Division) has to abandon its positions and retreat towards Bardia.
An isolated (and unlucky) British plane bombs the Giarabub airstrip; it is shot down by flak.

[1] Probably identical to that of Giarabub: an infantry company, a company of mounted machine guns, a Libyan fortress battalion, four companies of fixed machine guns, a Libyan fortress battalion, four companies of fixed machine guns, a platoon of reinforced anti-tank guns (6 x 47/32), a reinforced flak platoon (6 x 20 mm), and an accompanying artillery platoon (2 x 65/17).
June 14th, 1940

- In front of a very large crowd, Mussolini gave a speech during which he proclaims that "Nice will be ours!" But if some fascist militants chant "Nizza, Nizza!", a large part of the participants cover the voice of the Duce by shouting "Pace, pace!" (peace, peace).
June 13th, 1940
Brittany ...and educated elements of the 3rd Polish ID, which forms a three-battalion marching regiment including two anti-tank companies...

I do not understand what 'educated elements' is intended to mean. (It is the 'educated' part which gives me difficulty.) All I can guess is that the intention was maybe to indicate 'advance elements', if they are the first to arrive.

June 13th, 1940

Ateliers Caudron, Guyancourt
...The open wagon carrying the 01 with a tarpaulin on its trailer made an interesting for two marauding Bf 109s, which do not hesitate in strafing it, considering the absence of flak! ...
Should 'made an interesting' have instead been 'made an interesting target'?

Anyway: Many thanks to you for providing the continuing translation of this timeline. :)
June 14th, 1940

Northern France
- Some British units (Evans Division, two brigades of the Beauman Division, the remnants of the 1st Armored Division and the 157th Brigade of the 52nd Division) fight with the French Xth Army.
The British air force continues its efforts, despite the bad weather. Ten fighter squadrons take on patrols or escorting missions, mainly south of the Seine, where British troops are located. It is the biggest effort since Dunkirk, but few German aircraft are encountered. Twenty-four Blenheims bomb Merville airfield, while heavy bombers attack railway yards in Germany at night and areas of the Black Forest on the German army's rear; with other bombers dropping drifting mines into the Rhine.
However, Churchill and the British general staff have already decided to prepare the withdrawal of their troops and aircraft. Operation Cycle (evacuation of British troops operating north of the Seine) went well, although there was a lack of escorts to organize convoys: a continuous flow of ships of all kinds circulated between the French ports and England, while the available escorts patrolled their route.
At the same time, Operation Aerial is being prepared to evacuate British soldiers from the entire Atlantic coastline. It is also question of sabotaging the installations and evacuating the stocks and equipment, as the losses during the first part of the Battle of France were very high.

Brittany - General Béthouart faces many problems. He does not have any engineering troops to mine the roads and bridges and, in any case, he has no explosives. The infantry depots only have a small number of Lebel rifles left; only the Coetquidan training center has machine guns of the latest model. The artillery depots only have tired training guns and, at the tank depot in Vannes, onlyold 1918 Renault FTs are available.
Béthouart first calls on the British. They will provide from their own stocks the individual armament of some battalions and ensure the mining of the bridges. Then he calls on the arsenals. Brest provides a hundred 90, 95 and 100 mm guns on platforms, to be used as anti-tank guns on the line of defense and in depth on the axes of penetration; ammunition and personnel are to be taken from the coastal artillery. Strategic depots directly under the authority of the Ministry of War are conscientiously looted, the one in Brest delivered nearly 5,000 rifles. The 32 FT tanks of the Vannes depot are used as mobile bunkers for their machine guns and their 37 mm cannons; camouflaged under the embankments, they form excellent support points. The training batteries will provide a significant contribution to the anti-tank fight, the Vannes depot even setting up a 47 mm self-propelled battery armed by survivors of Dunkirk.

Normandy - The Xth Army retreats. The Groupement Duffour abandons the last loops of the Seine and reaches the the Risle in the evening, the 3rd CA fights around Evreux for part of the day and then moves south-west at night. While the Germans occupy Evreux, the 3rd DLM is ordered to hold Damville in the face of enemy detachments advancing westwards. The 11th RDP, assisted by two squadrons of Somua S-35s, cleans up the town and takes many prisoners. The fighting continues further north, around the Petit-Sacq bridge where two platoons of dragoons, fighting all night, finally drive back the Germans who were trying to cross the Iton. The XXXVIII. AK nevertheless advances southward and reaches the Avre river from where it pushed back the 1st DLM which had deployed in the Bois des Brouillets.

Paris - Around midnight, a German car carrying negotiators is attacked by Frenchmen who were clearly unwilling to give up capital without a fight. One of the negotiators is
killed. The German command responded with an ultimatum: French parliamentarians must arrive in Sarcelles before 05:00, otherwise the capital will be bombed. Wishing to avoid any destruction, Lanoix decides to send two plenipotentiaries. The Wehrmacht enters Paris at eleven o'clock, an entry prepared in every detail, a military triumph, a great spectacle, but with no spectators, the population being confined to their homes for 48 hours.
During the day, divisions of the 18th German Army converge on the capital, whose intact bridges allow the crossing of the Seine. They move (despite the traffic jams that followed) towards the southern suburbs.

Ile-de-France - On the left wing of the Army of Paris, the 10th CA completed its movements around 16:00. On its left, the 2nd DLM is still linked to the remains of the Xth Army. The 8th DLIC is in line along the Eure river, and participates in some minor clashes, notably at Anet.
To the right of the 10th CA, the 25th CA holds the banks of the Yvette. At the junction with the Armée de Paris, the Bazelaire Group, tested by the German artillery, abandons its positions in the Sénart forest in the evening and crossed the Seine at Evry. The first echelon of the divisions of the VIIth Army (11th ID, 29th DIAlp, 3rd DLI and 239th DLI) retreat towards the Seine. The Germans, blocked behind the Marne river, whose bridges have all been blown up, cannot pursue. The second echelon (from north to south, 19th ID, 7th DINA, 87th DIA and 23rd ID) is in place on the Seine from Corbeil to Marolles, securing river crossings. The 2nd DLIC, arriving from the Alps where it was in reserve, deploys along the canal of the Loire, protecting the right flank of the VIIth Army.
The 7th DIC and the 47th and 57th ID, which regrouped behind the front, start to embark by train to reach the Loire.
During the days of June 13th and 14th, 50 trains leave the Paris region, evacuating not only personnel but also material and ammunition of the Paris Military Region. The railroaders did their duty despite the uninterrupted bombing. The embarkation of the large units began in the afternoon of the 14th, from Auneau to Tours for the 10th CA, from Brétigny to Orléans for the 25th CA, from Corbeil and Malesherbes to Orléans for the VIIth Army. At the end of the day, the traffic on the first two lines is interrupted by aerial bombings. The Luftwaffe launches a series of large-scale raids to disrupt French rail traffic. Several structures are destroyed and traffic is interrupted everywhere, except on the Juvisy-Malesherbes-Orléans line, which is preserved by a miracle!
The sacrifice of the 25th CA, covering the Corbeil front until June 15th, and the self-sacrifice of the railroad workers who remained at their posts until the last moment allowed the embarkation of the 90,000 men of the VIIth Army and their deployment on the Loire: the episode has now entered the records of the SNCF under the name of the "Battle of Ile-de-France", the only one in history to have been fought by railwaymen alone against aircraft!

Champagne - The OKH orders the 9th Army (which was reassigned to Heeresgruppe A) and the 2nd Army to turn southwest towards the Loire. The 9th Army pursues the French troops across the Grand Morin to the south. Its leading units reached Romilly in the evening. The bulk of the army continued to advance towards Sens. Some French troops find themselves encircled in Epernay. The 2nd Army is still facing French elements in the forest of Reims, while continuing its crossing of the Marne towards the south.
The 8th and 23rd Corps begin to disintegrate, some elements are captured during their retreat. The 20th, 44th and 45th ID, covered by the 42nd ID and the 82nd DIA, cross the Aube river at the the confluence with the Seine. The situation of the 82nd DIA is the most critical, it is cornered at the Saint-Gond marshes by the armor of the XVI. AK. (mot), its staff is captured and the units disperse in the direction of the Aube. Earlier in the day, the rearguard of the Klopfenstein Group crossed the Aube between Plancy and Arcis-sur-Aube, followed on sight by German motorcycles, under the bombardment and under the threat of the enemy coming from the northwest. The 15th GRDI (10th ID) sacrifices itself to delay the pursuers. The 7th DLM regroups, it barely crossed the Aube west of Arcis, covered by the 10th GRCA, which holds the bridges in this sector, and then heads towards Troyes to cross the Seine south of the city. The enemy aircraft bomb the column several times. Slightly further east, the 14th ID also withdraws; the division is allocated a good part of the 130/8 Transport Group, which will considerably facilitate its movements. The 3rd ID (which will be assigned the remains of the Klopfenstein Group), retreats behind the Aube on either side of Arcis and take up defensive positions. Elements of the pioneer regiments of the IVth Army help to hold and mine the bridges over the Aube. Further to the east, the 53rd DLI withdraws (by VT) into the gap between the Aube and the Marne. In the evening, the remains of the 3rd DCR also withdraw to the Aube, further south. The marching battalion of this division receives the order to defend the passages of the Marne south of Vitry-le-François. During the day, it repels several German incursions, and then withdraws in the evening to Brienne-le-Château.
On the Seine, at the end of the day, the French defense in Nogent and Romilly begins to give way in front of the armoured tanks of the XVI. AK (mot). During the night, the German pontoon-builders complete temporary bridges at other points of the Seine. Kleist's PanzerGruppe, now attached to the 12th Army, receives the order to drive towards Dijon and Nevers, via Auxerre, while preventing the retreating French forces from crossing the Seine to the west. But the XIV. AK (mot) is still crossing the Marne. The XVI. AK (mot) having been delayed in the crossing of the Seine, traffic jams begin to form between the Seine and the Marne, especially as some units are running out of gas. But the French air forceis practically absent, except for some reconnaissance planes...
The first anti-tank shields are set up in Troyes and Marcilly-le-Hayer, made up of the remains of the 240th DLI (finally joined by its engineer company), elements of the 7th DLM (about fifteen tanks of the 8th Dragons, supported by elements of the 14th and 31st RDP) and the 83rd Regional Autonomous Battalion. The remnants of the Polish brigade withdraw, in order to avoid to avoid being flanked by the German 9th Army, which arrives from the northwest. The marching company of the company of the 4th BCC loses all its tanks in the defense of Romilly, the survivors withdraw to the south.

Lorraine - The Second Army continues to retreat to the southeast, pressed on its western flank by the German 12th Army and pursued in the north by the 16th Army.
The 6th DIC, entrenched in the Argonne forest, is attacked jointly by the 6th and 8th. PzD as well as two IDs of the 12th Army; it resisted on foot, suffering heavy losses but also inflicts heavy losses on the enemy. The 67th BCC is dislocated in two days of fighting, its last tanks were destroyed or retreated.
Further south, facing the 3rd DINA, Stosstruppen infiltrated during the night of the 13th to the 14th through the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and seized a badly destroyed bridge at Etrepy. Informed a few hours later, General Carles, commander of the CAC, tries to mount a counterattack with the limited means at his disposal and entrusted its execution to Colonel Gallini, commander of the 14th GRCA (transferred from the XXIst CA). Gallini spends the day locating and mobilizing the elements theoretically allocated to him for the occasion. The northern pincer of his counter-attack, positioned north of Bar-le-Duc, is to be composed of his 14th GRCA and mounted elements of the 71st GRDI (1st DIC). The 1st Cavalry Brigade (General Gaillard) and what remained of the 3rd Spahis Brigade (Colonel Peillon), positioned behind the 1st DIC, will form the southern pincer, with the 22nd GRCA (CAC), which is located in Ligny. The horse-drawn artillery of the 1st DIC (201st RAL) will provide welcome support.
Meanwhile, while the 2. PzD and the 29. ID mot maintained the pressure on the 3rd DINA front, the whole 1. PzD crosses the canal by the Etrepy bridge and arrives at the gates of Saint-Dizier. The 3rd DINA is cut into three pieces: the 14th RTA hangs on to the canal between Etrepy and Vitry-le-François, the 12th Zouave Regiment is pushed south by the breakthrough of the 1. PzD and the 15th RTA is pushed back to the north of the canal, in liaison with the 6th DIC. This breakthrough is dramatic. Indeed, the link is broken between the armies of the east (the GA 2 and the IInd Army, which finds itself isolated) and those in the center (part of the 3rd and 4th Armies). In addition, von Rundstedt's new plan has just been validated by Hitler: instead of bringing Guderian to the north-east towards Verdun to encircle the Second Army, this new, more ambitious plan orders him to aim at Chaumont, Langres and then the Saône to encircle the entire GA 2 and its 500,000 men! The implementation of this plan causes the disengagement of the XLI. AK (mot) at midday, whose objective is now Neufchâteau. The 6. and 8. PzD reorient their axis of attack to hit the right part of the 3rd DINA's front on the canal. The 1st DIC continues its slow redeployment between Saint-Dizier and Bar-le-Duc (the CAC headquarters could not provide maps of the region, nor information on the elements in the in the area). The horse-drawn elements are not due to arrive until the following day. The motorcycle squadron of the 71st GRDI, which had gone on a reconnaissance mission near Saint-Dizier, has to fall back urgently to the south to to escape the German vanguard. The division faces west, in order to block any advance of German forces from Saint-Dizier towards Verdun (with the supposed aim of encircling the IInd Army). At the end of the day, the news that reaches the neighboring divisions changes the the installation of the 1st DIC: the enemy breakthrough in the sector of the 3rd DINA and the sudden halt of panzer attacks against the 6th DIC indicate that the Germans will try to force a large armored mass through the breach opened on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. The 1st DIC therefore reorients its front to the north-west, between Bar-le-Duc and Saint-Dizier.
At Montmédy, the Germans succeed in breaking through and, leaving only a portion of their forces to seize the fortifications, launch their motorized columns in pursuit of the
Burtaire March Division. The latter, already weakened (the men of the fortress regiments are not trained for such long marches...), continues its retreat under the cover of the 6th DINA, which is fresher and provided the rear guard cover. During the day, the 136th RIF is taken by bus to reinforce the defenses of Verdun.
West of Verdun, the 3rd DIC continues to withdraw while fighting on the battlefields of the other war.
On learning of the German breakthrough on the Marne-Rhine Canal, General Condé (IIIrd Army) orders the setting up of "traffic jams" in the Haute-Marne valley. The staff of the 18th Corps moves to Bar-sur-Aube. Early in the morning, the 56th ID lands in the same same sector, it must hold the bridges on the Aube. The 63rd GRDI, which arrived in the morning at Joinville, receives in the afternoon the mission to go and occupy defensively the important crossroads of Montier-en-Der, by absorbing the staff of the volunteers of Vitry-le-François (a few officers and fifty soldiers, partially armed), who were already there. At Chaumont, the 149th RIF moves in in the afternoon with the support of a battery of the 26th RA (56th ID) found abandoned on a train stopped by the Luftwaffe, a part of the 57th Btn and...a battery of two 194 mm guns anchored on a railroad (from the V/374th RALVF) ! A part of the 74th Regional Regiment comes to help.
Another "traffic jam" is set up in the evening in Langres with motorized elements of the 51st GRDI and 24th GRCA and the rest of the 74th Regional Regiment. The 30th DIAlp begins to settle on the Saône, around Quitteur, while the 67th ID leaves Belfort for Dijon.

Saar - The Maginot Line is breached south of Saarbrücken by General von Leeb's Army Group during operation "Tiger". However, General von Witzleben's 1st Army, despite its heavy ground (six infantry divisions) and air resources, suffers heavy losses between Saint-Avold and Sarralbe against the 20th CA, on the left flank of the IIIrd Army. The Germans count more than 1,000 dead (against 550 in the 20th CA) and 3,000 wounded; the 60. ID is the worst hit. However, many defenders having retreated the day before, they manage to break through and immediately begin their push towards Nancy and Lunéville. But the fighting around the encircled works would sometimes continue until July.

Alsace - Prételat orders the departure of the 16th BCC to Chalon-sur-Saône. However, there is no train available to transport it, so it has to move by road, at a rate of 80 to 90 km per day.. Prételat then calls Huntziger to tell him that the other BCCs on R- 35 could not be withdrawn, because they have to cover the retreat of the GA 2, following the beginning of the German offensive in the Saarland.
The divisions of the Rhine, 54th and 62nd ID, begin in turn their withdrawal towards the west, initially on foot. The 54th has to defend the Saône river south-east of Dijon, while the 62nd has to move towards the Rhône valley. During the day, following Guderian's breakthrough on the Canal de la
Marne to the Rhine, the GQG gave the order to position also the 62nd ID on the Saône. However, in the absence of means of transport, this division is still very far from reaching its destination. The fortress divisions (103rd, 104th and 105th DIF) which were guarding the Rhine also receive the order to retreat, leaving only the teams of works and casemates, in order to go and defend the valleys of the Vosges.

Provence & Alps - Over the south of France, the very unfavorable weather conditions prevent any airborne activities.
I do not understand what 'educated elements' is intended to mean. (It is the 'educated' part which gives me difficulty.) All I can guess is that the intention was maybe to indicate 'advance elements', if they are the first to arrive.

Should 'made an interesting' have instead been 'made an interesting target'?
The first one made no sense to me either, so I went with a word for word translation hoping it would make sense in the end. I've corrected the second one, though, thanks!
June 15th, 1940

Orléans (Bricy Airbase)
- Donning his fifth star, Admiral Castex flies to for Great Britain. He wanted, "as a courtesy" he said, to speak briefly with First Sea Lord Sir Dudley Pound - who had visited Darlan the day before, but whose relations with the Admiral of the Fleet were notoriously lacking in warmth - and then he would visit Sir Bertram Ramsay, Vice Admiral Dover, who had led the evacuation of Dunkirk.
If he was just as un-Anglophile as his peers, Castex considers that Ramsay had accomplished a tour de force that he wanted to hear about from him. For the French Navy, there was naturally no question of using pleasure craft, with the exception of yachts, to make the French, Belgian, Polish and Czech military and civilian elements across the Mediterranean. But the mobilization at the end of May by the Royal Navy of of all kinds of merchant ships and fishing boats of the most varied tonnages has lessons which, despite the differences in time and place, la Royale, according to Castex, can and must draw inspiration from.
Before his departure, without informing Darlan, he orders the two maritime prefects of the Atlantic coast by telephone to concentrate in Bordeaux, Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with a stopover at La Pallice or Royan if necessary, all the coastal vessels, trawlers, tuna boats, sardine and cod boats which would then be able to reach Casablanca by their own means (with possible help from a few diesel tanks stowed on deck).
The main thing is that they do not run on coal and are capable of making the trip from France to Morocco with a full load. He orders that they carry, overloaded if necessary, the maximum amount of men, weapons, ammunition and spare parts.
Castex also intends to deprive the enemy of the opportunity to seize these ships and then employ them in so-called auxiliary but very useful tasks: light transport or dredging, or even anti-submarine warfare or escorting coastal convoys. Obviously, it is also to reduce the fishing resources of a soon-to-be-occupied France and, consequently, reduce its supply.
But Castex judged, motu proprio, that this risk had to be taken.
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June 15th, 1940

Gironde Estuary
- The German air force begins to lay mines in the Gironde estuary, between Bordeaux and Le Verdon. But French minesweepers, as they had done in the ports of northern France, cleared the accesses quite rapidly.
June 15th, 1940

- Aircraft carrier Béarn embarks a full load of American aircraft destined for the French Air Force, the French Naval Aviation, as well as the Belgian Military Aviation. Among these aircraft, 44 Curtiss SBC-4 (Helldiver) bombers for the Naval Aviation and five B-339 Brewster fighters for the Belgians, which gives ideas to C.V. Yves Aubert, who commands the aircraft carrier.
Indeed, Darlan's services wired C.V. Aubert, immediately after the meeting with Dudley Pound the day before, to ask him under what conditions he thought his ship and his air group could participate in an offensive air and sea operation. For the ship, recently refitted, no problem. As for the air group, the SBC-4s are there to equip bombardment part of the air group. But what about the fighters? C.V. Aubert knows that the B-339s are only the first of an order and that the following ones could easily be delivered in a version able to operate on his aircraft carrier. It would be easier to buy them back from the Belgians immediately! This is what he will propose to the Admiralty...

Washington, D.C - The new bill for the Navy is approved. It includes an expansion of the US Navy's air groups, with 10,000 additional aircraft and 16,000 additional aircrew!
June 15th, 1940

Northern Italy
- In the evening, eight Bloch 210 of the GB II/11 and GB I/23 had to attack the airfield of Novi Ligure, but the terrible weather prevented some of the planes from taking off and scattered the others.
Later that night, eight Wellingtons of the Bomber Command based at Salon-de-Provence are sent against Genoa, but only one aircraft dropped its bombs over the target.
The Farman 223-4 Jules-Verne leaves on a mission over Italy: it drops leaflets over Rome - the large packets of leaflets were even untied so as not to hurt anyone on the ground! The text of these leaflets is almost conciliatory: "The Duce wanted war? Here it is! France has nothing against you. Stop! France will stop. Women of Italy! No one has attacked Italy! Your sons, your husbands, your fiancés did not leave to defend Italy. They suffer, they die to satisfy the pride of a man. Victorious or defeated, you will have hunger, misery, slavery."
June 15th, 1940

- SM.79 from Italy and Sardinia attack the airfields of Calvi, Ghisonaccia and Campo dell'Oro, but the bad weather prevents their action from being effective. One of the groups is escorted by Fiat G.50s of the 22nd Gruppo (51st Stormo), recently redeployed in Liguria and Turin.
June 15th, 1940

Western Mediterranean
- The Comandante Cappellini, which left Cagliari on June 6th, followed in the Finzi's footsteps and tries to pass the Strait of Gibraltar, but is spotted by the armed trawler HMS Artic Ranger and the destroyer HMS Vidette, which chase it. Pursued by the two Englishmen, the Cappellini manages to take refuge in the neutral port of
Ceuta. Unable to leave within the time limit set by international regulations, it is interned there, under the careful surveillance of English spies and the much looser surveillance of the Spanish authorities.
In the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Vengeur patrols in front of Capri and Salerno.

Central Mediterranean - While on patrol off Bizerte, the arraisonneur-dragueur Ville de Tipaza (AD270) detects the presence of an enemy submarine which it pursues without success with the help of the torpedo boat La Pomone. In all likelihood, it was the Alagi.

Malta - Coming from Sicily, ten SM.79 of the 11o Stormo escorted by nine MC.200 attack several targets. An Italian bomber is slightly damaged by a Sea Gladiator.
June 15th, 1940

Libya (Tripolitania)
- Six Martin 167 of the GB I/61 attack Tripoli, without any notable result.

Libya (Cyrenaica) - The Italians decide to react to the British incursions. For this purpose, with units stationed in the Bardia area, they form a group (raggruppamento) or mobile column. Placed under the command of Colonel Lorenzo D'Avanzo, this group brings together a motorized Libyan battalion, provided by the 1st Libyan Division, a company plus a platoon of L3 tanks from the IX Light Tank Battalion and a motorized artillery section: in total, 200 men, 4 77mm [1] guns, 16 tankettes [2] and 30 trucks.
The Italian fleet also makes a point of reacting. Three destroyers of the 1st squadron, the Turbine, Nembo and Aquilone, which had left Tobruk the day before, bomb the town of Sollum, in the middle of the night, from 03:49. to 04:05, firing 220 120 mm shells.

[1] These ex-Austrian 77/28 guns could not be towed in the desert and had to travel on a truck bed, which meant a longer set-up time.
[2] 3rd Company: 12 craft; Command Reserve Platoon: 4 craft.
June 15th, 1940

- In the Channel, the first evacuations of British and Canadian soldiers begin in Cherbourg and Saint-Malo (more than 50,000 men were evacuated through these ports). Only the 157th Brigade is still fighting alongside the French. However, the Luftwaffe is kept at bay by British planes: no loss is to be deplored. However, it drops magnetic mines in the Bay of Brest.
The ports of Brest, Saint-Malo and Lorient are confined.
The 1st Canadian Brigade, whose landing had been completed the day before (the convoy carrying the rest of the 1st Canadian Division had turned back towards England), begins to deploy north of Rennes, in agreement with the Franco-British deal.

Normandy - The Xth Army continues its withdrawal.
Withdrawing during the night and part of the day, Groupement Duffour and the 3rd Corps succeed in a delicate maneuver: pivoting from east to west around the Cavalry Corps, they manage to take position on the high forest valleys of the Risle, Iton and Avre rivers, thus unmasking the 5th CA holding the Dive. The Germans, who march primarily on the Evreux-Chartres axis in order to trap the Army of Paris, does not pursue.
The 5th Corps is a resurrected unit, resulting from the reconstitution of the infantry divisions evacuated from Dunkirk, which continued in Normandy, as it did wherever the evacuees had been landed. At Rouen, Lieutenant-Colonel Clogenson, who had also survived the fighting in Belgium, is in charge of reorganizing what is left of the GA 1. He sets up four Light Infantry Divisions (1st, 32nd and 43rd DLI and 1st DLI Nord-Africaine), composed of a reduced staff, a group of a motorized reconnaissance group, two infantry regiments with three battalions, a mixed artillery regiment, an engineer battalion and a mixed signals company. There are few officers and until June 10th, many of those present considered the reconstitution of the units of GA 1 as a pleasant joke. The cadres had to be purged: thus, two division generals (De Camas and Lucas), refusing to impose on their men their men the efforts required by the situation, were sacked. Huntziger's first instructions, which were finally considered coherent by all, began to modify this state of mind then the clear and energetic political decisions of the "Sursaut" silenced the last doubters.
Finally, the 5th CA is reborn just in time. On June 15th, its reformation, under the command of General René Altmayer, is almost complete (1st DLI General Barthélémy, 1st DLINA General Tarrit, 32nd DLI Colonel Sevez, 43rd DI General Vernillat). Five motorized squadrons, 16 infantry battalions, four artillery groups and four divisional anti-tank companies are combat-capable, with a motorization rate of about 50 percent.
The individual weapons are supplemented by drawing on the training stocks of the Normandy depots (11,500 individual weapons, 760 FMs, 290 machine guns, 100 mortars and 260,000 grenades are distributed). Captain Le Hingrat gets his hands on the 25
anti-tank guns from the Granville practical shooting course, which are used to equip the companies with divisional and regimental equipment. Most of the artillery comes from the Vincennes cache. About fifty old 75 mm train-roller guns are distributed among the four groups reformed by the personnel of the 54th RANA and the 327th RAD. The means of transport provided by the general staff prove to be very insufficient, thus they first proceed with requisitions, then the isolated military vehicles without mission orders are recovered and any civilian buses available. Finally, a few men seized - by force! - the automobile depots of Rennes and Caen before the arrival of the Germans

Ile-de-France - On the left wing of the Armée of Paris, the 10th CA is in position on the Senonches-Ablis line at noon, but it is impossible for it to link up on its right with the 25th CA on its right. Indeed, the latter had retreated as best it could, pressed by the XL. AK. At the end of the day, the scattered elements of the 85th DIA regroup on the Orge, from Dourdan to Saint-Chéron; the 241st DLI extend the front to Chamarande. But these two units are followed by light elements of the 9. and 28. ID which took advantage of the previous night to infiltrate the French position. Worse, on their right, its own right flank uncovered by the rapid withdrawal of the VIIth Army (1st CA), the
Groupement Bazelaire retreats to the southwest, to take cover behind the Essonne. Faced with the risk of a break in the front between the 10th and 25th CA, General Héring decides to engage in an evasive maneuver. The car transport companies are placed at the disposal of his right wing, threatened with dislocation. Ten mobile platoons of GRM are in charge of clearing the routes.
On the right of the Army of Paris, the withdrawal of the VIIth Army continues. The last intact bridges over the Seine in the sector of the 1st Corps are destroyed at around 08:00 . Lieutenant-colonel Lestoquoi, who had led the vanguards of the VIIth Army to Holland a month earlier, takes the lead once more of the cavalry units of the 1st CA in order to protect the retreat of his road convoys. But the roads are so congested that the trucks that are to transport the rearguard of the 7th DINA and the 19th ID are not there. The 19th ID hands over the guard of the Corbeil bridge to the 74th GRDI (4th DIC) then tries to reach the Baillancourt station, where a train to Gien is improvised. The 7th DINA makes its way on foot through the forest of Fontainebleau, regroups, then reaches the stations of La Chapelle-la-Reine and Malesherbes, where they form a variety of trains by gathering all the available wagons. On the right wing, the 24th CA completes the crossing of the Seine in the afternoon. The four divisions (87th DIA, 57th DI, 2nd DLIC, 239th DLI) which remained in cover on the Seine until the execution of the movement will be withdrawn by automobile transport. It is time : from 17:00, elements of the 33. ID appear north of Fontainebleau, on the left of the 87th DIA.
On the orders of General Pichot-Duclos, checkpoints are set up in Chartres and Pithiviers. The soldiers who had been overrun are grouped together at these roadblocks and evacuated to Tours or Orléans, where they are placed at the disposal of the regional commanders. Here too, isolated military vehicles (trucks or cars) are immediately stopped, if they do not justify their presence by a written mission order - this measure is soon extended to public service vehicles and will yield excellent results both for traffic and for the operation of public services.
At the same time, road regulation units are improvised around the departmental gendarmerie brigades and gendarmerie brigades and the regional regiments of Eure-et-Loir and Loiret. These units are responsible for finding alternate routes in order to clear the roads. In the evening, all the military columns start to be preceded by mobile platoons in charge of pushing towards the side of the road any civilian vehicles slowing down progress.
It is considered today that in these dark days, the energetic action of General Pichot-Duclos saved the Army of Paris from debacle.

Champagne & Bourgogne - The German 9th Army reaches the Yonne. General Ritter von Speck, commander of the XVIII. AK, is killed while supervising the construction of a bridge at Pont-sur-Yonne. He was the only German general killed during the French campaign.
Further east, the German 2nd Army reaches a line between Sézanne and Vitry-le-François and continues towards Troyes. It comes up against the defenses of the 59th DLI near the Seine-Aube confluence, joined by the remains of the 82nd DIA and the surviving tanks of the 23rd and 41st BCC. The bridges are blown up in this sector and the defenders resist for part of the day. Nevertheless, the German infantry has strong air and artillery support and bridgeheads are established further east. Around noon, Germans are reported near the railway station of Arcis-sur-Aube. A B1bis of the 41st BCC sent to the site eliminates the enemy detachment. The 3rd DCR and the 53rd DLI withdraw, after holding the bridges over the Aube to the east of the Orient forest, until the engineers could destroy them. The 3rd DIM also defends the Aube all day east of Arcis, then withdraws to the Orient Forest, before crossing the river at Bar-sur-Seine during the night.
The bulk of the French infantry advances south-eastwards around Troyes and the Orient Forest.
The motorized columns composed of elements of the 14th ID and the 7th DLM, as well as wheeled elements of the 3rd BCC, cross the Seine south of Troyes and head south-west via Tonnerre and Auxerre. The providential discovery of two gasoline barges on the Canal de Bourgogne allows the vehicles to be refueled.
The remnants of the 7th BCC (four FCM 36 tanks) continue their retreat towards the south, through Autun.
On their side, German reconnaissance elements of the XVI. AK (mot) come up against the traffic jams at Troyes and Marcilly-le-Hayer. Rather than waste time, Kleist leaves some elements to pin the defenders before the XIV. AK (mot), which is still north of the the Seine, can break the French resistance. The progression becomes more difficult, on roads cluttered with refugees and while the gasoline shortage worsens. While the 3. PzD advances towards Auxerre, the 13. ID mot, preceding the 4. PzD, bypasses Troyes and progresses along the Seine, still having for its mission to take and hold the bridges. Other stops are put in place further south, at Auxerre and Tonnerre,with the remains of the Polish Brigade [1], the last tanks of the 7th DLM and the 3rd BCC, the 123rd RAL (23rd CA) and the 83rd Regional Infantry Regiment.

Lorraine - In northern Lorraine, the German 16th Army finally bypasses the obstacles and destructions of Montmédy to catch up with the rearguard of the IInd Army: it now presses the the 6th DINA which was slowly retreating. Dubuisson, who commands the place of Verdun, is preparing for an imminent attack. His defenses are weak (136th RIF, 1st DBILA, 21/I RTM), the forts that had enabled the famous victory of 1916 to be won have been abandonned since the end of the previous conflict and the works of the last few weeks cannot hide the gaping holes in their forts...
The IInd Army is also pressed in its center. The 6th DIC, which had broken away during the night of the 14th to 15th, precedes the infantry of the 12th German Army. The XLI. AK (mot) seize two bridges on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin during the night, at Sermaize and Contrisson, and, after having repaired them, progressed towards the south-east by pushing the right wing of the 3rd DINA. The vanguards of the 6. and 8. PzD fall on the 1st DIC in the sector of Saudrupt. Well entrenched, the 1st DIC shows that it can oppose a solid resistance, because the first German elements are promptly pushed back. But the attacks intensify at the end of the day, as the enemy tanks are engaged on the front line. The artillery of the 1st DIC (1st RAC) is mainly used as anti-tank and the battle is very tough.
Colonel Gallini spends the whole morning preparing the counter-attack of the CAC, which has great difficulty in organizing itself because of the ambient chaos (aggravated by the harassment of the Luftwaffe), but this delay allows the CAC to benefit from the unexpected arrival of the 43rd BCC, which arrives from the Argonne with about twenty R-35 tanks and three D1 tanks left over from the 67th BCC. In the early afternoon, at the urgent request of General Carles, who feared that the situation would get out of hand, the French counter-attack is finally launched, after an artillery preparation by the 201st RALC aimed at the axes of progression of the two German divisions. In the north, the 43rd BCC, accompanied by motorized elements of the 14th GRCA, flanks the leading elements of the 6. PzD at the level of Combles; a real tank battle is then fought in this sector, while the mounted groups of the 14th GRCA and the 71st GRDI try to cause as much damage as possible to the enemy's rear as possible. In the south, the attack is only led by the 1st Cavalry Brigade and the 22nd GRCA, because the 3rd Spahis Brigade had been sent in the meantime to hold the bridges over the Marne river to avoid the French position being flanked by a possible advance of the 1. PzD, which will be confirmed during the day. The cavalrymen fall on the 8. PzD west of Saudrupt. They are not able to hold against tanks for very long and certainly do not charge the enemy armor sabres drawn (no more than the Polish Uhlans had done in September 1939, contrary to what the propaganda of the Wehrmacht claimed). But their harassment action with 25 mm guns and 60 mm mortars greatly relieved the 1st DIC. The fighting will continue for most of the night, with no significant progress on either side.
Further west, the XXXIX. AK (mot) of Guderian completely pierces the 3rd DINA in its centre following in the 1. PzD's steps, which seizes Saint-Dizier and continues its advancethrough the valley of the Haute Marne, without worrying about its flanks and without trying to cross the Marne towards the east. The 36th ID is surprised between Saint-Dizier and Chaumont while it is moving towards the west. Its artillery is captured, as well as a part of its infantry. The 18th Infantry Regiment tries to resist at Joinville, but the progression of the German armoured continues undaunted. Part of the infantry of the 14th RI and elements of the 39th GRDI join the defenders of Chaumont.
In the evening, the leading elements of the 1. PzD arrive at the Chaumont block. There, they are stopped by the barricades set up by the 149th RIF and by the fire of the 194 mm rail battery. Still, Guderian underestimates the numbers and willingness to fight of the defenders. But he is afraid to give the French time to organize their defense beyond Chaumont. He relies on the 20. ID mot (XLI. AK (mot)) which must follow the 1. PzD south of Saint-Dizier, to eliminate the blockade the next day. Without warning his superiors, he leaves the city to the good care of a few covering units and launched the vanguards of the 1. PzD towards Langres.
Following a parallel route, but further west, the 29. ID mot is somewhat hindered in its progression by a blockade installed at Wassy by the survivors of the 12th Regiment of Zouaves (about 500 men, separated the day before from the 3rd DINA) and the motorcycle elements of the 71st GRDI (which are unable to join the 1st DIC).
The 2. PzD moves towards the Aube. Late in the evening, the first tanks coming from Vitry-le-François come up against the barricades of the 63rd GRDI at Montier-en-Der, which they did not succeed in forcing. An attempt to break through from the north-west is not pursued. General Condé (IIIrd Army), worried that the retreat of the IInd Army would cut off the axes of retreat of his left wing, obtains from the GQG that the units of the IInd Army which would enter the zone of his army pass under his command. Moreover, having seen that the fortress regiments were falling apart in the retreat, he decides that it is time to decide that it is time to stop their withdrawal. He orders them to entrench themselves on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin to fight there "without any spirit of retreat": at the announcement of the end of the retreat and the coming battle, the morale of the troops soars! The planned line of defense passes through the Moselle south of Nancy, which is declared an open city.
The 2nd DIP is in place on the Saône, at Port-sur-Saône. Automobile companies 522, 523 and 524 go to the front of the 67th ID to lead it towards Dijon, avoiding the men the march on the last part of the route. This division will have to hold the Monts de Bourgogne, which guard the access to the plain of the same name. In the same way, the car companies of the Fifth Army remove the 54th ID to lead it on the Saône river between Gray and Auxonne. The city of Dijon must be defended by the 81st Regional Regiment. The motorized elements of the 23rd GRCA (13th CA) and the 56th GRDI (63rd ID) will have to hinder and slow down the enemy's advance if he should break through the plain between Langres and Dijon. The 2nd Spahis Brigade (Colonel Marchal), currently scattered in the Doubs, will have to go to the bridges of the Canal de Bourgogne.
The convoys of the services of the Fifth Army leave one after the other and will reach the south of France for the most part. The rail network in the east of France is, however, increasingly affected by the destruction caused by enemy aerial bombardments and by the saturation of the network by the trains of refugees and troops... Any total and definitive paralysis was nevertheless avoided thanks to the unending efforts of the railwaymen, mobilized by the prefects after Mandel's directives: gigantic traffic jams occur, punctual blockings multiply, the delays are generalized and are widespread and could be counted in days, but most of the time the trains are able to get through on the secondary tracks or after makeshift repairs to the main tracks. In the meantime, north and south of of Epinal as well as Vesoul, dozens of trains are blocked in the middle of the countryside one behind the other for about ten kilometers! The units that are being transported leave the train (where they often leave their heavy equipment, impossible to unload in the middle of the the countryside) to go on foot to insert themselves into the local defense system.

Alsace - The attacks against the Maginot Line continue, this time in Alsace, with operation "Kleiner Bär" (Little Bear), led by eight divisions of the 7th Army on the Rhine, between Rhinau and Neuf-Brisach. It is a real amphibious operation with the crossing of a river under enemy fire... Forty years later, an author spoke of the "longest day
of June 1940", in an analogy with the landings of 1943/44 - but it was a poor man's D-day! Sometimes, as in Rhinau, the Germans did not have any motorboats and rowed across the river fortunately for them, the French defenders were deprived of artillery support and had neither an air force nor counter-attack troops... The results are mixed: if the first French line is broken (the pillboxes and the bank works are destroyed by direct fire), the crossing of the river causes heavy losses, the progression in the forest and the marshes which border the Rhine is slow and difficult, and the objectives of the day are not reached... On the evening of the 15th, three German divisions have bridgeheads on the left bank of the Rhine, fragile pockets at the mercy of a counter-attack: but this one will never come, the gap-filling French units and the artillery
having started their withdrawal the day before. Some of these units interrupt their withdrawal to come back to fight in the plain, but the time lost in this round trip did not allow them to resist in front of the line of the villages.
While the 45th CAF and the 63rd ID prepare the defense of Belfort, the 44th CAF takes position on the Ballon d'Alsace. Further north, the 13th CA, on the rear of the 104th and 105th DIF, holds the valleys of the Vosges.

Provence & Alps - In retaliation for the raid of the previous day on Genoa and Vado, the Italian air force launches a major attack on the French airfields. At 11:40, the fighter control center of Toulon reports large formations of fighters and bombers that had crossed the border and were heading south-west - In reality, to avoid the coordination problems encountered earlier, the Italians only engaged fighters.
27 CR.42 of the 150th Gruppo attack Cuers-Pierrefeu, where the French fighters of the AC3 are taken by surprise on take-off: two Bloch MB-151s are shot down and four others seriously damaged (two will be reformed). A CR.42 is destroyed, while another one is forced to landat Cuers due to mechanical problems. Captured intact, it will be given to the Belgian Military Aviation, which owns five others, after the French propaganda had milked it for all its worth. The Italians also strafe Hyères, where six Chance-Vought 156F of the AB3 are destroyed on the ground.
25 CR.42 of the 23rd Gruppo attack the Cannet-des-Maures airfield, destroying a D-520 on the ground and damaging two others (on this occasion, the Italians realized that they had used a batch of defective incendiary ammunition). 15 other CR42s of the 18th Gruppo carry out free hunting missions in the vicinity of the airfields under attack.
The French Air Force reactes: a French patrol of Dewoitine 520 of the GC III/6, led by by Warrant Officer Le Gloan over Saint-Tropez, comes across the CR.42s providing cover. Three Italian fighters (and probably a fourth one), as well as an isolated BR.20, are shot down. Several other CR.42s are damaged by French fighters or flak, but they manage to reach Italy.

[1] After the fighting, General Maczek ordered his men to disperse, to reach the ports in small groups and embark for North Africa.
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June 16th, 1940

Toulouse, Late afternoon
- New government reshuffle. Daladier, the "bull of Vaucluse", ousted at the beginning of June, resurfaces as minister of state without portfolio. Vincent Auriol takes over the post of Minister of Finance, thus relieving Reynaud somewhat.
June 16th, 1940

Atlantic Ocean, off Portugal
- German steamer Königsberg, in charge of supplying the privateers, scuttles herself to avoid being captured by French auxiliary patrol boat President Houduce.
June 16th, 1940

Baltic States
- A pro-Soviet government is set up in Lithuania. The USSR sends letters to Latvia and Estonia with the same demands as those which have just been imposed on Lithuania (government change and border "adjustments").
June 16th, 1940

Northern Italy
- The French air force bombs the area of Novi Ligure (north of Genoa) and various other targets, but the necessities of the evacuations quickly puts an end to these operations. Taking off from Salon de Provence, 22 Wellingtons attack Genoa and Milan, but only 14 of them find their objectives.
The Arcturus drops 3 tons of bombs on the chemical plants of Rosignano Solvay, near Livorno. The four following nights, this aircraft and the Jules-Verne bomb Alghero, Livorno, Rosignano and La Spezia.
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