Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

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June 16th, 1940

Western Mediterranean
- Italian submarine Provana attempts to attack a French convoy between Oran and Marseille. Unfortunately for him, one of his torpedoes malfunctions and the other sinks before reaching its target. Going upstream in the wake, aviso La Curieuse, assisted by its twin Commandant Bory, forces it to the surface by depth charging it, then rams it and sinks it. La Curieuse, with two important breaches on the port and starboard bow, returns to Oran in reverse under the escort of Commandant Bory.
June 16th, 1940

- The podestá (highest magistrate) of Olbia informs his superiors in Rome that if the Allies decide to land in the north of the island, there is nothing and no one, except the carabinieri, to stop them. But this report was carefully hidden from Mussolini.
However, the podestá of Olbia [1] exaggerates somewhat.
The defense of the island is the responsibility of the XIII Corps (General Augusto De Pignier), as well as the XIII Territorial Corps. The latter is composed of nine coastal defense battalions, most of which are deployed in the northern part of the island (although the podestà may have considered them to not be superior to the carabinieri). As for General De Pignier, he could line up two divisions of infantry on paper, of which one, the 31st Calabria (general Carlo Petra di Caccuri), already present in the island in the years preceding the war, is stationed in the north, in Sassari and Tempio Pausania. But the regiments of this division are far from being at full strength, as are those of the 30e Sabauda (General Ubaldo Scanagatta), deployed to the south, near Iglesias and Cagliari (the divisional depots are currently only at 20 to 25 percent of their required level). These two large units must also be supplemented by a Blackshirt legion of local recruitment, respectively the 176th Cacciatori di Sardegna for the Sabauda and the 177th Logudoro for the Calabria, but these legions still exist only on paper.
The aviation aligns a brigade of bombardment on SM.79 and Cant Z.506bis seaplanes, a fighter group on Fiat CR.32, a ground attack group on Ba.88, a maritime reconnaissance group on Cant Z.501, a search and rescue squadron on SM.66 and an observation squadron equipped with old Ro.37 biplanes.
As for the navy, it bases in Cagliari eight torpedo boats (Antonio Mosto, Cairoli, Canopo, Cascino, Cassiopea, Chinotto, Montanari, Papa), four MAS speedboats and eleven submarines: the Adua, Alagi, Aradam, Axum, Diaspro, Medusa and Turchese [2], plus the Ascianghi, Neghelli, Scirè and Gondar [3], redeployed from La Spezia.
In the afternoon, as if to illustrate the pessimistic words of the magistrate of Olbia, six Martin 167 light bombers of the GR I/61 attack Cagliari-Elmas. If, on the airfield, only one SM.79 is damaged, on the other hand, on the seaplane base, a bomb hit a hangar type Savigliano "B", setting fire to a Cant Z.501. The flames spread to the neighboring seaplanes. The result: six Z.501s destroyed (four from the 183rd squadron and two from the 188th), another severely damaged; seven people are killed, including a pilot. The Italian air units had been ordered following the opening of hostilities to disperse the aircraft on the ground, but at Cagliari the aircraft had been gathered again to receive the new national insignia (a white cross on the tail fin).

[1] The city had not yet recovered its ancient name and was called Terranova Pausania (or, more briefly, Terranova). For the sake of clarity, we will use its current name here.
[2] The Corallo, normally based in Cagliari, is being repaired in Monfalcone, in the Adriatic.
[3] The Scirè will be assigned to special operations in August 1940; the Gondar will join it after the fall of Sardinia.
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June 16th, 1940

- The Sardinian Air Force responds to the Cagliari attack by sending five SM.79 of the 8th Stormo of Villacidro-Trunconi and four Cant Z.506 of the 31st Stormo of Elmas
to bomb Bizerte by night.
A CAMS seaplane, based in Karouba, spots a wreck resting at a depth of about twenty meters on the edge of the French minefield that protects the entrance to Sfax, near the Kerkennah Islands. This wreck is identified as that of the French submarine Morse. The submarine had probably penetrated by mistake into the field where a mine has disappeared, between the 13th and the 16th, when it was to be relieved by the Souffleur.
On patrol in the Gulf of Hammamet, north-east of Sousse, the submarine Durbo (L.V. Armando Acanfora) launches two torpedoes against a light unit, probably one of the 600-ton destroyers of the 12th DT. The failure of the attack is attributed to heavy seas.
June 16th, 1940

Central Mediterranean
- During the night of 15 to 16 June, the 8th Destroyer Division leaves Bizerte to meet the Greek freighter Arkhangelos in order to escort it in the Strait of Sicily.
Loaded with 5,000 tonnes of manganese ore destined for the Allies, this ship had been diverted to a Maltese port when the Italian declaration of war was announced. During the day, sailing at good speed along the front line, the three destroyers, rounding Lampedusa before heading for Malta, pass through the north-eastern end of the LK field.
A deep explosion shakes the Alcyon, but without causing any damage. The return journey of the small convoy (at 9 knots, the maximum speed of the cargo ship), during the night of June 16th to 17th and the day of the 17th, will go through without a hitch, thanks to taking a more direct route between Lampedusa and Pantelleria.
The British submarine HMS Grampus is sunk by Italian torpedo boats Circe, Clio and Polluce off Augusta. The Royal Navy believes it was sunk by an Italian mine.
June 16th, 1940

Eastern Mediterranean
- In the early afternoon, 12 British destroyers, divided into three groups, set sail from Alexandria to search the eastern Mediterranean for enemy submarines. Two other destroyers are already at sea, escorting tankers in transit between Port Said, Alexandria and Haifa.
June 16th, 1940

Libya (Tripolitania)
- Some French bombers from Tunisia attack the port of Tripoli, damaging the pier.

Libya (Cyrenaica) - The D'Avanzo Group is sent from Gabr Saleh to the Sidi Omar-Fort Capuzzo area to drive out the British raiding units. Upon arriving at Nezuet Ghirba,
he ran straight into a British armored force comprising self-propelled guns, light tanks and two medium tanks. As a result of a series of tactical errors, the Group is virtually wiped out. The twelve tankettes of the 3rd Company and the four 77 mm guns are put out of action, not to mention a good part of the trucks. As for the infantry while some of them withdraw in good order, the rest of them run away. Colonel D'Avanzo is killed in the action; he is posthumously awarded the Medaglia d'oro al Valore militare. The confrontation cruelly highlighted the serious weaknesses of the small L3s (the English Vickers Mark VI is not much better, but at the time, the L3 was the only more or less armored machine available to the Italians in Libya). The Italian tankette was often the coffin of its crews...
Shortly afterwards, the 11th Hussars capture two staff cars, one of which carried General Lastrucci, commander of the Italian 10th Army's engineers. The latter has in his possession the plans for the fortifications of Bardia and Tobruk.
In spite of this success, the British forces withdraw shortly afterwards to Egypt, but keep control of Fort Capuzzo and the Ridotta Maddalena. Further south, other British units launch an attack against the fortified sector of Giarabub [1], but they are repulsed. Faced with these events, the Italian A.S.I. high command decides to transfer the two Black Shirt divisions of the XXIII Corps, stationed in Tripolitania, to Cyrenaica.

[1] Sub-sector 30C of the Guardia alla Frontiera, including, besides Giarabub itself, the strong points of Uescechet el Eira, Garn ul Grein and Barra Arrascia.
June 16th, 1940

- The German columns progress all morning on the Verneuil-Longny axis without encountering any resistance.
Around noon, contact is made from Marchainville to Jort. At 13:00, the Germans launch a violent armoured attack supported by artillery between Aube-sur-Risle and Auguaise. The 237th DLI successfully resistes, inflicting heavy losses on the Germans, but on its right the 157th British Brigade weakens, threatened to be overrun by the 27. ID which had just pushed aside the weak elements of the 11th RDP (3rd DLM) which protected its flank. Around 6:00 pm, a new German offensive neutralizes the artillery of the 3rd DLM. Only the intervention of the of the 1st DLM and what remained of the 3rd DLM made it possible to temporarily stabilize the situation by relieving the 157th Brigade just in time.
The retreat of the Xth Army resumes at night. The Cavalry Corps is the first to withdraw towards direction of the Huisne, which forms an appreciable anti-tank obstacle. On the left wing, General René Almayer's 5th CA abandones the Dives to shift its defense to the Orne, from the sea to Argentan. The Duffour Group redeploys towards the Sées gap, but the roads in its area of march are so congested that the movement of its infantry is dangerously delayed. On the right wing, the 3rd CA, transported in trucks, occupies the northern edge of the Bellême and Ecouves forests.
The British 157th Brigade, whose supply from Cherbourg is becoming problematic, becomes an army reserve. General Robert Altmayer nevertheless obtains from General Brooke to keep the brigade on the continent until the 19th; it then has to be evacuated evacuated through an Atlantic port.

Ile-de-France - On the left wing of the Armée de Paris, the motorized 10th CA retreats while maintaining the link with the Xth Army Cavalry Corps on its left. On this side, it continues fighting east and south of Chartres. The RICM of the 8th DLIC, entrenched at Châteauneuf-en-Thimerais, repels the attacks of the 46. ID while, on its left, the counter-attacks of the 2nd DLM drive back a regiment of the 27. ID which was trying to outflank the colonials. On the right, the 84th DIA, which was very isolated around Ablis, is able to disengage at night under the protection of the tanks of the 4th DCR. Its rapid withdrawal disorients the Germans, who are less incisive on this part of the front, allowing the 84th DIA, which had been severely hit by the fighting of the previous days, to reorganize a little.
After its covering mission, the right of the Armée de Paris (25th CA, General Libaud) withdrew during the night of the 15th to the 16th. The action of the platoons of the GRM was decisive in facilitating the movements of the 85th DIA and the 241st DLI. Under the cover of darkness, the battalions move out one by one to form a new front firmly supported by the 4th and 2nd DCR, between Fresnay l'Evêque and Outarville, some thirty kilometers to the south.
The 4th DIC and the 24th ID, reduced to one battalion each, take advantage of the cover of night to escape southwards and cross the Loire in the evening, at Jargeau. Slightly fresher, the 13th and 16th IDs are gathered under the name of Groupement Baudouin. During the night, they cover roughly 35km on foot, mixed with refugees, and deploy at daybreak in a defensive position around Pithiviers. The trains, and therefore the heavy weapons, do not follow, but General Baudouin gets hold of those of the 19th ID, stuck in the same place in the traffic jams.
Pursuing the 13th and 16th ID, the infantry of the IV. AK crosses the Seine between Fontainebleau and Melun and marches southwest.
The 4. ID enters Fontainebleau forest, whose edges were barricaded by abatises but whose main paths and tracks seem to be free. It wandered there for a part of the morning, to finally turn back in front of the increasing density of the barricades which rose in front of its vanguards, as they progressed. The division's reconnaissance squadron then bypassed the forest and entered La Chapelle-la-Reine at about 11:00, without encountering any resistance.
The advance of the lead elements of the 33. ID is more rapid. Around 10:00, the Aufklarung Abteilung 33 arrives near Malesherbes, while the last train evacuating the SNCF personnel had just left the station. But the legionnaires of the 97th GRDI are still in position and blow up the two bridges over the Essonne as soon as they see the first German machine gun. Two unsuccessful assaults are launched, despite an intervention of the Luftwaffe against the legionnaires' positions. Annoyed by this, the Germans decide to bypass the obstacle from the south and head for Pithiviers. But the colonials of the 87th GRDI, in position at Puiseaux, are not willing to let them pass. However, their position is not as strong and after a short but bloody assault, the French fall back on Pithiviers via the D-112.
However, the GRDI had made enough time to allow Groupement Baudouin to consolidate its positions around the town, with the help of a 47 mm self-propelled battery
detached from the 2nd DCR. The support points around Pithiviers are solid and the morale of the soldiers remains firm despite fatigue and bombing raids of the German air force. The leading elements of the 33. ID, exhausted, only launch probing attacks against the defense without insisting nor do they attempt to bypass it.
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June 16th, 1940

Loire River -
The first French motorized columns of the retreating GA 4 reach the Haute-Loire at various points, on a wide front from Cosne to the south of Bourbon-Lancy. In the loop of the Loire, from Gien to Beaugency, the first units of the VIIth Army and of the Army of Paris, retreating by train or in groups of cars, begin to reach the river. They reinforce the defense lines that had been prepared for two days by the troops of the the interior. The area from Decize to the Saône (along the Loire, then the Canal du Centre) is placed under the command of General Oppermann, director of the IVth Army's operations.

Nevers Sector - For several days, small elements of the 5th and 13th Regions (a company of the 54th RR and a group of mobile guards, battalions from depots 131 and 132) had been guarding the bridges in this sector. On the 16th, General Desmazes, head of the 8th Corps (IVth Army, GA4) takes the area under his command. The first units are quick to move in: these are the organic elements and reserves of the army corps (10th GRCA, 108th RAL, 608th Pioneer Regiment and 51st Machine Gun Battalion) which are spread out over the whole front, from Imphy to Gannay.
The De Lattre Group crosses the Loire River at the Gannay bridge, detaches Captain Laurent and some elements to Nevers and then withdraws further south towards Moulins to reorganize. This grouping is constituted around the 14th ID (or what remains of it). Throughout the retreat from the Aisne, its leader took under his command elements from other large units (II/34th RA of the 2nd ID, VI/242nd RALD of the 3rd DIM, 3rd BCC, elements of the 41st GRDI...). When it crosses the Loire, this group is entirely motorized. The 323rd RA (800 men and 14 75 mm guns) crosses the Loire at Decize and takes up position behind the Allier.

La Charité Sector - Since the previous day, the Charité bridge is guarded by the 53rd RR reservists, who have barricaded it so that only pedestrians could cross. On the 16th, General Germain (23rd CA) takes over the defense of the sector. He only has the small number of troops in place and a motorcycle platoon from the 19th GRCA. The remains of the 33rd GRDI reach the bridge during the day and placed themselves at his disposal.
In the evening, the staff of the 5th Region announces the reinforcement of a colonial battalion from the 52nd depot, but it is delayed and did not arrive until the following day, the 18th.

Cosne et Cours-sur-Loire Sector - The 20th GRDI (27th DIAlp) is at Cosne, the 11th GRDI (2nd DI) at the Bannay railway bridge, the 40th GRDI (7th DI) at Sancerre, the 22nd GRDI (28th DIAlp) at Pouilly., thus reinforcing the defense of these bridges, which were until then guarded by fractions of the 53rd RR and some mobile guards.
The HQs of the 27th and 28th DIAlp also withdraw to the Cosne region. They had to, in their sector, ensure the collection of the French units that were fleeing, pressed by the German advance guards and most often mixed up with the civilian exodus crowd, organize the the resistance on the river and ensure the destruction of the bridges.

Briare Sector - The first elements of the 7th and 238th ID began to regroup the day before at Dampierre and Savigny. The 41st ID is at the rear-guard, its 36th GRDI delays the enemy with the help of elements of the 4th DLM. A part of the 238th ID manages to cross the Loire river with the help of civilian trucks and requisitioned buses and settles behind the river between Gien and Briare, ensuring the link with the VIIth Army. However, the last elements of the division are captured, as well as a part of the 41st ID, which is split into several groups.

Gien Sector - While the remains of General Welvert's Groupement Cuirassé crosses the Loire in disorder, the 24th Corps (7th Army) under General Fougères organizes traffic jams on the bridges of Gien and Sully.
In Gien, the ERGM (general equipment reserve establishment) had handed over the previous days all the equipment more or less "war ready" that it had at its disposal to the passing units; the last last incomplete materials and personnel are evacuated to Angoulême, after having sabotaged the reserves of parts and materials that could not be transported. The defense of the city is ensured by the 23rd ID (General Jeannel): a battalion of the 126th RI defends the railway bridge (cut since the 15th), a battalion of the 32nd RI defends the road-bridge (still intact), a battalion of the 1st Czech RI deploys more to the east; the other battalion of each of the three regiments (because all are reduced to two battalions) and the 2/107th RI are in reserve, with the 155 mm of the 241st RAL and the 75s of the 355th RALP (the rest of the artillery and the services are still north of the Loire).

Sully-sur-Loire Sector - The 3rd DLI arrives at Sully by train. It has two regiments, the 140th and 141st RIAlp, no artillery and only one group of 47 mm anti-tank guns. Its men are exhausted. The 141st RI (Colonel Granier) has already lost 700 men out of 2,900. Its 1st battalion holds the suspension road bridge, the 3rd holds the railway bridge and the 2nd (where Lieutenant Georges Pompidou is serving in) is in reserve. The bridges are beaten by 25s, 37s and some 75s..."found on the spot" (!). At 16:00, Stukas damage the suspension bridge.
Meanwhile, the 87th DIA (17th and 18th RTA and 9th RZ) arrive from Fontainebleau, but its convoys are moving at a desperately slow pace because of the traffic jams. The suspension bridge is damaged, they try to cross the Loire at Gien, although their objective is Cerdon, 15 km south of Sully, where it must be placed in reserve.
Opposite them, the 98. ID of the German V Corps (General Ruoff) has to seize the bridges of Sully to allow the whole corps to pass. In the vanguard, the men of Lt-Colonel Spaeth spend the night in Vieilles-Maison before rushing towards Sully.

Chateauneuf sur Loire to Orléans Sector - The debris of the divisions of the 1st CA (General Sciard) occupy during the day their new sites on the "Loire position" (11th ID from Sully to Guilly, 7th DIC at Châteauneuf, 47th ID at Jargeau, 19th ID at Chaumont-sur-Sauldre, 7th DINA at Brinon-sur-Sauldre, 29th ID from Sandillon to Orléans, ensuring the liaison with the 25th CA). This deployment is delayed due to traffic jams on the roads and enemy air activity. These divisions lost an average of half of their infantry. A significant portion of their artillery, heavy infantry weapons and battle trains are moving by road and have not yet reached their positions.
Opposite them, the German IVth Corps (General von Schwelder) reaches the southern edge of the Fontainebleau forest in the late morning (4. ID in the east, near La Chapelle-la-Reine and 33. ID in the west, near Malesherbes).

Orléans to Beaugency Sector - The three bridges of Orléans (the "Vierzon bridge", the "Joffre bridge" and the "Georges V bridge"are bombed by the Luftwaffe, without success. Two sections of mobile guards and a platoon of the 11th regiment of dragoons are assigned to their defence and each of them is guarded by an old 95 which take it in enfilade. In addition, a 47 AC battery was deployed north of the New Bridge and elements of the 1st Indochinese Worker Battalion and the I/51st RR are posted far and wide on the south bank.
During the day, the first elements of the 25th CA (General Libaud) of the Army of Paris reach the Loire river. The 625th Pioneers start, at the same time, to prepare the defensive positionsof the Orléans sector.The 1st Polish tank battalion, whose late formation did not allow it to join the 10th armoured brigade, crosses the Loire in the evening. It id directed towards Vierzon, the center of the tanks of the Army of Paris.

Blois Sector - A company of the 52nd Regional Regiment, supported by a single 75 mm gun positioned in the axis of the bridge, represent the only forces available in this sector, which is not yet threatened.

Amboise Sector - General Pierre Héring joins his new headquarters in Balesme, near La Haye Descartes. Major Frogé, General Pichon's liaison officer, informs him of the
arrangements made for the guarding of the bridges on the Loire.
The area of the 9th Military Region is divided into five sub-sectors: Amboise, Tours, Azay-le-Rideau, Saumur and Angers.
The defense of Amboise is ensured by a battalion of chasseurs and a strong company of 200 Tunisian riflemen, set up by the 92 depot. The precursor elements of the 8th DLIC (horse-drawn squadron of the 78th GRDI, 57th Algerian spahis squadron and a bicycle company) are seconded by the General Gillier to prepare for the arrival of the bulk of the division.
In Tours, each of the three bridges (Napoleon Bridge, Wilson Bridge, Pont-de-Fil) are defended by a company of fusiliers-voltigeurs from Saumur, reinforced with machine guns and 25 mm canons, old FT-17 tanks unable to move and three 75/97 cannons are towed to the entrance of the bridges; a section of five R-35 tanks from the depot of the 501st RCC completes the defense.
From Tours to the limits of the 9th Region, the bridges are for the moment guarded by sections of reservists or gendarmes. Three cavalry groups are being formed with the resources of the organization centers of Angers and Fontevrault, where the cavalry elements repatriated from England have been concentrated for several days. These units, which are currently being rearmed, will have to be completed by personnel from the depots.
At Azay, Lieutenant-Colonel du Vigier works on reconstituting the 5th Light mechanized brigade. He gets his hands on the equipment of a battalion of mounted fighters stored at the Ruchard camp. The 1st and 2nd Cuirassiers, which had not been able to integrate the DLM when they were reformed, would soon be on the line.
At Saumur, Colonel de Brauer carries out a similar task, but the formation of two battalions from the 18th Dragoons and the 4th Cuirassiers is progressing slowly. These
men, who have not yet received their weapons, should be able to go on line on the 18th, and provided with a minimum of equipment. In the meantime, the defense could count on the 1st GFC under Captain de Neuchèze whose armor (six AGC1s, five H-35s and a few P178s) has been overhauled, a detachment of the 19th Dragon, a squadron of the 1st GRDI and the training group of Captain Cadignan. The armament of these units is old and disparate, but the men show excellent morale.
Colonel Belloin groups all the riflemen undergoing training in depots 92 and 93 and forms a brigade composed of two groups with two battalions each. Group 92bis will send one battalion to Tours and will put the second in reserve at Ile-Bouchard. Group 93bis is to distribute one battalion among the bridges in the Saumur sector (Montsoreau bridge and Port-Boulet bridge); it will also keep the second one in reserve at Ile-Bouchard. Unfortunately, the training of these men was very brief and they had to be and they had to be supervised to avoid any defections.
The resources of the Angers depots were also put to use. Lt-Colonel de Saint-Laumer, commander of the CODP, organizes a group that brings together, around the 5th
GRDI, three mounted squadrons, a detachment of tracked vehicles from the 60th RI and three 75 mm cannons. It was to take over the defense of the Ingrandes area. Another group whose elements are currently stationed at La Membrolle, should be made available to the 11th Region in the next few days.
Since mobilization," said Major Frogé, "ten thousand sappers have been cluttering up our engineering depots waiting for an assignment. Our weapons resources, however weak they may be, have allowed us to equip three marching battalions, the remainder being evacuated to Rochefort. This engineering group will ensure the protection of the banks of the Loire south of Angers, from Pont-de-Cé to Béhuard.
The 232nd RI and the 129th GRDI were formed by the 9th Region in order to be integrated into a new division. It now seems doubtful that this division will ever see the light of day. General Pichon therefore placed them under the orders of Battalion Chief Coucy. These elements were deployed from Pont-de-Cé to Thoureil, in the vicinity of the Saumur sub-sector.
You have of course, unfortunately, noticed the extreme weakness of our artillery resources. We lack qualified servicemen and most of the 75 mm guns we have at our disposal are
without pointing devices. It will be advisable, at the very least, to reinforce as soon as possible each sector with a group of 75s in general reserve.
In spite of these difficulties, General Pichon has asked me, General, to assure you of his of his devotion and full confidence for the coming battles."

Ancenis to Nantes Sector - The "bridgehead" of Nantes is integrated into the "Brittany Redoubt" system, envisaged in early June by De Gaulle and Reynaud. The defense of this sector is therefore carried out on the Nantes-Brest canal, which allows to protect the approaches to Nantes as well as to Saint-Nazaire, while keeping the enemy at a safe distance from these two ports, where embarkations continued.
Colonel Lacassie, commander of the Nantes subdivision group (11th RM - General Griveaud), has remarkably mounted the defense of his sector. However, he only has the 111th Regional Regiment, one and a half batteries of 75s, five sections of old Renault tanks, a few depot units and a battalion of Czechoslovakians. But this splendid leader knows how to pass on to his subordinates the noble spirit of sacrifice of which he is animated.
Opposite them, the 6., 27. and 46. IDs of von Manstein's 38th Corps approach the river.
116 - Battle of Chaumont
June 16th, 1940

- The XVI. AK (mot) is still advancing towards Auxerre and Dijon. Its movements are delayed by the shortage of gasoline and the lack of road maps, which must be requisitioned in bookshops and town halls of the villages crossed. The XIV. AK (mot) crosses the Seine towards Nogent in the morning and progresses with difficulty behind the XVI. AK (mot), on small roads always jammed. At the end of the day, the traffic jam of Marcilly-le-Hayer is destroyed, while in Troyes the French defense fqlls apart, after a violent bombardment of the city. At the end of the day, the 3. PzD establishes an important bridgehead on the Canal de Bourgogne and on the Armançon river at Saint-Florentin, where a large fuel depot is burned down.
The German 9th Army continues south and southeast across the Yonne between Pont-sur-Seine and Sens. The 2nd Army continues to cross the Aube river on the Arcis side towards the south-west.
The remnants of the French DI continue their withdrawal on both sides of the Seine, around Bar-sur-Seine. The encirclements and captures are multiplying. Almost all the units of the 59th DLI and the 82nd DIA, still in rearguard, are captured between the Aube and the Seine. The 37th GRDI (42nd ID), which obstinately continues to cover the withdrawal of its division, is encircled after violent fights which isolated the units and the debris of the Group cannot escape from the embrace of the German armored columns. The 23rd and 41st BCC lose their last tanks. The remains of the 3rd DIM and 235th DLI are located east of Montbard.

Lorraine - The withdrawal of the 3rd DIC and 6th DINA places Verdun in the front line: its forts (or what is left of them) are attacked by the troops of the German 16th Army.
The entire IInd Army (Colonial Corps and 21st Corps) moves to the south-east and progresses rapidly with forced marches towards the Meuse in the hope of being able to defend itself behind the waterline.
The German 12th Army followes it in the Argonne forest and starts to cross the Canal de la Marne au Rhin at Sermaize and Revigny, behind the XLI. AK (mot).
However, in this sector, the German infantry can hardly advance, because the priority is the logistical support of the two armored divisions. During the night of the 15th to the 16th, fighting south-west of Bar-le-Duc decreases in intensity.
Faced with the beginning of a period of hesitation, the XLI. AK (mot) requests the support of the Luftwaffe. The German planes appear in the middle of the morning, bombing the positions of the 1st DIC and targeting the tanks of the 43rd BCC. Under the pressure of the 6. and 8. PzD, the colonials begin to retreat towards the south-east, but the enemy tanks are confronted with a multitude of chicanes, felled trees and pockets of resistance that forces them to fight village by village, and the number of destroyed houses is immeasurable.
In the middle of the day, the dislocation of the 3rd DINA, the retreat of the 6th DIC north of Bar-le-Duc and especially the progression of the XXXIX. AK (mot) towards the Saône leads General Carles to request the withdrawal of the 43rd BCC, which has lost many tanks. The cavalry groups also suffered greatly. This was the definitive conclusion that it would not be possible to push the enemy back behind the Canal de la Marne au Rhin. The battle has delayed and worn out the panzer divisions a little and allowed the IInd Army to withdraw in good order. The lock of Saudrupt falls in the afternoon, the 1st DIC having received the order to withdraw.
At Chaumont, the main body of the 1st PzD, which has arrived in the morning, launches the first assault shortly after midday. It is repulsed with heavy losses for the attackers. The defense receives the unexpected support of the 51st Heavy Tank Battalion. This one has only six FCM-2Cs, but they are 12-meter long monsters with a 75-mm long turret gun and four machine guns, all protected by 40 mm of armor (that's a lot for the Panzer III guns!). In the role of mobile forts (hardly mobile: their top speed is 12 km/h), they work wonders. During this time, the 20. ID mot progresses painfully in the middle of the logistic convoys of the 1. PzD; it will thus not be able to join the attack on Chaumont before nightfall. Some elements also try to cross the Marne river to the east, but they were repulsed by the spahis holding the bridges.
Further south, in the early morning, the reconnaissance elements of the 1. PzD reach Langres and come up against a new roadblock: this time, caution is called upon and the advance is suspended, as it is impossible to launch the attack while the Chaumont bottleneck considerably reduced the flow of supplies, as the German logistic convoys couldn't get through.
The 29. ID has reached the easternmost positions of the 56th ID, towards Colombey-les-Deux- Eglises; it progresses rather easily, because there is no major river in this sector (the Aube branching off to the south at Bar).
The 2. PzD, joined by elements of the 29. ID mot, is still blocked at Montdier-en-Der by the 63rd GRDI. During the night, in a hurry to advance, the Germans use incendiary grenades, and then set up cannons that destroy more than 150 buildings in the the locality. The GRDI withdraw to the south of the town, under the shelter of a railroad embankment. Faced with the enemy's advance, a new withdrawal towards Soulaines is called for, not without the destruction of large trees by the pioneers. The resistance at Montier-en-Der of a few platoons without anti-tank weapons delays the march of a motorized column that a French officer, wounded a few moments later, will see marching for more than five hours on the road.
The withdrawal continues towards the Aube, delaying the enemy at each village. The motorized corps of the 16th GRCA (18th CA) comes to assist. On the river, most of the
bridges in the region of Bar-sur-Aube are blown up and the RGs, which are in the rear guard receive the reinforcement of two H.35 tanks and some 75 and 105 batteries belonging to the 18th CA.
The horse-drawn squadron of the 63rd GRDI arrives at Dijon station early in the morning. Integrated into the Marchal Group, it receives orders from General Pagézy, commander of the 8th Military Region, to get to the Canal de Bourgogne, where it is joined by elements of the 8th Cavalry Depot of Beaune. All the units in position on the Canal de Bourgogne and the Saône receive the mission to defend the bridges and to prepare their destruction.

Alsace - The attack of the German 7th Army resumes. After hard fighting, it breaks through the French lines (at the great dike and the line of villages on the Rhone-Rhine canal, in particular in the in the Marckolsheim sector). At the end of the day, the 103rd, 104th and 105th DIF withdraw towards the Vosges, abandoning the plain of Alsace, definitively this time!
Moreover, the Germans cross the Rhine at Colmar and attack northwards towards Sarrebourg. The threat of a German attack through Switzerland being now irrelevant, General Laure (VIIIth Army) orders General Salvan to abandon the fortified sector of Altkirch and to form his eight battalions into a marching division to immediately reach the Vosges in order to participate in the defense of the southern part of the Vosges (around the Ballon d'Alsace). At the same time, Prételat orders the 45th CAF to leave its fortifications and to move south-west, via Besançon.

Italian Front - In the Alps, there are only a few fighter sorties over the border to be noted.
June 16th, 1940

Northern France
- In the morning, British air units still in Brittany return to England. The British had to evacuate more than 50,000 men and 5,000 tons of equipment from their bases of Saint-Nazaire, Châteaubriant and Rennes. But during the night, German planes laid magnetic mines at the entrance to the Loire estuary and a small French minesweeper explodes on one of them.
During the day, a small British section reinforces the mine-sweeping operations; and the evacuation continues. Twelve thousand men are evacuated from southern Brittany, although the liner Franconia is damaged by German planes in Quiberon Bay. Evacuations also continue from Brest and Saint-Malo. The belgian express ships, which before the war provided the liaisons between Ostend and Dover or Folkestone, actively participate in these evacuations, from their new base in Southampton. These eight "coaches", steamers Prince Charles, Prince Leopold, Princesse Astrid, Princesse Marie-José and diesels Prince Baudouin, Prince Albert and Prince Philippe, represent a total transport capacity of around 12,000 men.
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June 16th, 1940

Poitiers, 09:00
- Before leaving for Bordeaux, General Denis, Belgian Minister of National Defense, asks Major General Van Daele to return to Malestroit, in Brittany, where his 7th ID was replenished, to prepare it for an evacuation towards England

Brest-Malestroit, 10:00 - To reinforce a little the troops which must cover the evacuation, General Béthouart asks the 7th Belgian Infantry Division to provide him with a detachment to hold Redon. In the absence of Van Daele, his chief of staff, Colonel B.E.M. Vandenheede, pointed out to him that his men had to surrender their individual weapons to the French army when they arrived, at the beginning of the month. Moreover, executing of an order received on June 12th, two companies of 400 men are about to leave to form workers' battalions, one for Saint-Nazaire (Lieutenant Leroy), the other for Auray (Captain-Commander Joris).
After an embarrassing moment, Béthouart proposes to distribute Mausers Mod.1936 of 7,5 mm to the Belgian soldier. Vandenheede then agreed to put at his disposal 600 men of the 3rd battalion of the 2nd Regiment of Carabiniers, just reconstituted from the CRI of the Chasseurs Ardennais, and of which covering a retreat is one of the typical roles. They could be be supported by the 2nd Company C47/T.13, which would give them some firepower against the panzers. These men would be under the command of Major Lorent, assisted by Captain-Commander Lemercier. Béthouart leaves, satisfied.

Malestroit, 18:00. - Back in Malestroit, General Van Daele learns that Colonel Vandenheede had "given up" to Béthouart 600 men to defend Redon, in addition to the 800 already planned for companies of workers. Van Daele is furious: "But it's my entire division that I have to evacuate, damn it!" Very embarrassed, Vandenheede pointed out to him that he could hardly refuse and that they could not back down, even less now: "Do you know, the Poles are going to put a whole regiment in line, and at Saint-Aubin, in a sector that is much more dangerous than Redon... " Van Daele can only recognize that the 7th ID must ensure its share of covering the evacuations. Moreover, the T.13 light tanks would undoubtedly be difficult to evacuate urgently. "But the two companies of workers must be recovered!" he shouts. Luckily, the companies in question had left only a few hours earlier, and on foot, it will be easy to bring them back.

21:15 - Major General Van Daele receives a telegram from Colonel Gilbert, who was acting as General Denis' chief of staff. This one urges him to set out as quickly as possible with his division for Lorient, where the small ships of the Belgian Marine Corps were already waiting.

Lorient, 21:45 - Major Decarpentrie, commander of the Marine Corps, receives a radio call from Gilbert, who announced the arrival of the 7th ID and ordered him to do everything possible to succeed in his rescue.
When the call ended, General Denis took the microphone and feverishly repeated the orders transmitted by Gilbert, ending with the words: "We must save the 7th Division!", which became famous thanks to the film that the Dardenne brothers made of this episode half a century later.
It is known that this famous work, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1991, inaugurated a curious genre that some film critics have called the "social war film". In the role of Van Daele, we find Benoît Poelvoorde in one of his best roles, in the moving role of an officer determined to save his soldiers lost in a country of which they do not know much by guiding them to a new exile in another country of which they know nothing.
June 15th, 1940

...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 car parks of Rennes and Caen before the arrival of the Germans...

Lorraine ...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 retreat....
I'm trying to make sense of 'the car parks of Rennes and Caen'. I think the intent may be to indicate that every motor car in Rennes and Caen has been seized, but I don't know how to put that neatly.

Also I'm not sure if 'he decides that it is time to decide that it is time to stop' is intentional by the original writers or it should have been just 'he decides that it is time to stop'.

June 16th, 1940

...The aviation aligns a brigade of bombardment on SM.79 and seaplanes Cant Z.506bis, a group on Fiat CR.32, a ground attack group on Ba.88, a maritime reconnaissance group on Cant Z.501, a search and rescue squadron on SM.66 and an observation squadron equipped with old Ro.37 biplanes...
I think this might have been supposed to read: 'The aviation aligns a brigade of bombardment of SM.79 and seaplanes Cant Z.506bis, a group of Fiat CR.32, a ground attack group of Ba.88, a maritime reconnaissance group of Cant Z.501, a search and rescue squadron of SM.66 and an observation squadron equipped with old Ro.37 biplanes.' (Several instances of 'on' instead of 'of', I'd guess due to a different cultural view of the relationship between the military and their aircraft.)
(Additional thought: possibly 'aligns a brigade' should have been 'musters a brigade').
One of the thing that would be worth discussed here is the POD.

On one hand I am fairly sceptical the ''initial'' (the car crash) POD would work to bring the ''real'' POD (The war party prevailing in France). Reynaud's spine problems seem too me big to be so quickly solved (even if only partially) and I just don't see his mistress' death, altough I can definitely believe she was hated by the war faction, be that much of an electroshock for them and lead them to close their ranks and start to work together more effectively. Moreover, even after Villelume is out of the picture the defeatists are still present in strenght in the government and would be hard to handle.

That being said, I would argue it actually doesn't really matter. While the countess' death has the ''initial'' POD can be questionned others would have easily lead to the same ''real POD'': the defeatists making too quick and brutal a move against Reynaud, their anti-democratis sentiments filtering through more obviously and (for them) too early compared to OTL and, perhaps the most obvious possibility of all, Pétain having a hearth attack at the crucial moment could have left the war party unified and in the same dominant position then after Cangé in the FTL, with Reynaud's spine issues being taken care of by having only pro-war voices around him, once again like in the FTL.

What really mattered here is that the scene were the war party win, the true ''Sursaut'' has the entertainment value and the emotional punch it need to possess and in that the FTL succeed :)

You're right, Reynaud's mistress death is only a minor affair (and some sort of reference to princess Diana's death nearly at the same place many years later). In fact, FTL has two main POD's: Weygand's dismissal and Pétain being arrested.
the car parks of Rennes and Caen'.
When re-reading it, automobile parks make more sense.

think this might have been supposed to read: 'The aviation aligns a brigade of bombardment of SM.79 and seaplanes Cant Z.506bis, a group of Fiat CR.32, a ground attack group of Ba.88, a maritime reconnaissance group of Cant Z.501, a search and rescue squadron of SM.66 and an observation squadron equipped with old Ro.37 biplanes.' (Several instances of 'on' instead of 'of', I'd guess due to a different cultural view of the relationship between the military and their aircraft.)
(Additional thought: possibly 'aligns a brigade' should have been 'musters a brigade').
Yeah it doesn't read that well. I'll fix that asap.
Edit: Found the mistake. The word "fighter" disappeared between my draft and the final version. Fixed.
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You're right, Reynaud's mistress death is only a minor affair (and some sort of reference to princess Diana's death nearly at the same place many years later). In fact, FTL has two main POD's: Weygand's dismissal and Pétain being arrested.
Indeed, and for the record I am a big fan of the work overall. I was merely sharing what I thought on this specific point when it came up.
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