Fantasque Time Line (France Fights On) - English Translation

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June 17th, 1940

Bordeaux, provisional Senate offices
- The man moves forward with a determined pace. In his wake, loaded with a voluminous briefcase of files, the man who has been his faithful chief of staff for almost seven years remains silent. It is because he knows his boss's character and that, from experience, he knows that it is better not to upset him when he puts on the face he has right now - even more scowling than usual! The only Republican guard on duty has just enough time to wake from his torpor of this hot afternoon to announce the visitors, before both of them enter the office.
Since they knew each other, when they were both in the service of a great man, whose memory, in these difficult times, serves as their guide, Jules Jeanneney has seen Georges Mandel go through many states. But now... The Minister of the Interior tries to contain the flood of emotions which invades him to respect the propriety which requires an interview with the President of the Senate, especially in the presence of Max Brusset, his chief of staff. But a real switch appears. After the usual politeness and the refreshment offered in the preamble, Mandel seems to abandon his usual restraint.
- I have just come from a meeting with the President of the Council and several ministers. As you know, we have tried to arrest seditious people who might have followed the Ma...who might have followed Philippe Pétain. In particular, the authors of this... this rag which appeared the day after the meeting at Cangé.
- Yes, I learned it. Only Bonnet and Bergery fell through the net. We must believe that Laval, Flandin, and Déat benefited from warnings or... friendships in high places...
- Friendships!"
interrupts Mandel. You mean complicities of an unsuspected gravity. It is not a question of manifestations of renunciation or weaknesses of character as you and I regret that we meet them too often in the corridors of the Government, this one or the previous one for that matter, and even in the Headquarters. It is nothing less than treason!
- Explain yourself,
" said Jeanneney, giving Brusset a worried look.
- Bergery was indeed arrested and is currently under guard. His papers, or what was left of them, have been inspected by the Sûreté... (He catches his breath.) In addition to their perjured declaration, Bergery seemed to have taken it into his head to draft a motion intended for his party or his parliamentary group, perhaps even the entire Chamber!
Brusset intervenes: "It is not so much this destination as... (Mandel glares at him, he straightens.) I mean, the content is just as disturbing."
The president of the Senate puts on a wary face. What could have put Mandel in such a state? The latter takes out of his pocket a sheet of paper that has obviously been crumpled and more or less unfolded.
- I quote: "This is how a head of government, Minister of National Defense for five years, with the complicity of the leaders of the major parties, the presidents of the two assemblies and
the highest magistrate of the Republic, with the complicity also of journalists enslaved by the government or corrupted by foreigners, has been able to declare unconstitutionally a war that he had been unable to prepare!
Or again: "In the middle of a military disaster, two foreign policies have recently clashed. Reynaud's policy aimed at withdrawing from
England, with the hope that the latter, helped perhaps by the United States, could not reconquer continental Europe, obtain a negotiated peace in the naval and air fields. Negotiated in the interests of the British and their supporters! The other policy, that advocated by Marshal Pétain, proposed a form of collaboration with the Latin powers and Germany itself, to establish a new continental order. Here again, ignoring all constitutionality, this solution was forbidden to us by bellicose hands that dared to
arrest the most glorious of our patriotic figures! Collaboration! Collaboration! This is pure and simple treason, yes!
- We knew the pacifist intentions of most of the signatories of the appeal launched
a few days ago
," says Jeanneney, giving himself time to reflect by breaching this open door. It also allows him to digest the information, but Mandel has the impatience of brilliant people who can't stand it when their audience doesn't gallop at the same pace as him. In his mind, the matter is settled. But he still has to waste precious time
to get his message across, he thinks...
- These "pacifists" [the word is practically spat out] have thrived only too much in this "Liaison Committee against the war" [1] housed in the very heart of Parliament! How many senators were there among them?
- It is not the prerogative of Parliament to prohibit its members from having a opinion, Minister. It is even contrary to our Constitution," articulates Jeanneney, emphasizing each of his words to indicate to his friend of thirty years that he had gotten a little carried away.
- That's not what I meant..." begins Brusset, who doesn't even finish his sentence, interrupted by incendiary looks from both Mandel and Jeanneney. The presence of the chief of staff, in charge of carrying the files found in Bergery's belongings and which prove the shenanigans of Bergery and his accomplices, curbs a little the exchanges between the two friends. His intervention nevertheless calms the tension that has been building up for a month with the dramatic events that shake the country and do not seem to stop. Jeanneney resumes, but with respect for decorum.
- Finally, what do you expect from me, within the limits of my prerogatives, Mr. Minister of the Interior?
- Bergery and Bonnet are under arrest. Laval, Flandin and Déat are on the run, I don't know where, but they could still have supporters. They still have some. Who knows if the latter will not get agitated and try a... a coup? We can't let that happen. Not now.
- What should be done? A meeting of the Houses? A new vote of confidence?
- Certainly not! This would be the best forum to allow all these defeatists to express themselves in broad daylight. Especially since the military situation is going to deteriorate further...
And we will have to leave Bordeaux for Toulouse soon. First of all, we should put the members of this Committee against the war under arrest. Then...
- The arrest of Marshal Pétain, even if concealed as much as possible, has not been without provoking some emotion, whether in the Senate or in the Chamber. I had again very recently
recently had the opportunity to talk about it with Herriot. If the call by Laval and company was shocking, the attempts to arrest them made some people cringe... It is a 70-year old Republic that we have. It is a venerable age
[that of Jeanneney...] and that is what gives it its strength. But it is also an age when one does not like to be pushed around too much. I agree with you, I will concede that the Government has finally got the vigor that many people were expecting. Just three weeks ago, how many of us still believed in it? Reynaud? He was still torn between our advice and that of that... of his late mistress. You and I, of course - but in total, very little indeed. That we could attempt this Sursaut, as many people call it, is already
is already almost miraculous, even more so than the successful recovery on the Marne during the
Other War. But if, at the time, the Tiger was able to cut through defeatists of all stripes, it is also because the front was located precisely on the Marne. In our case, the front line will soon be the shores of the Mediterranean. The situation is much more dramatic and I think that it must lead us to a greater prudence. What we are about to experience has hardly any precedent in history. This is why my dear Georges, if the turnaround that you have led in the administrations has been as spectacular as it has been fast, I think that I should be a little more careful with my esteemed colleagues...
- But in Blois, the Chamber and the Senate assured us of their support!
in a voice that was nevertheless calmed by the reference to Clemenceau, which always has an effect.
- Edouard Herriot, in the name of the Chamber of Deputies, and myself, as president of the Senate, have indeed promised their support to... the political and military inflexion desired by Reynaud's cabinet, says Jeanneney, more constitutional than the Constitution. But faced with a glance from Mandel, who tells him that he knows the verbal stratagems of his former colleague alongside the Tiger, he decides to get to the point. We have assured you of our support, and the Chambers having voted confidence in the Reynaud cabinet have already given their confidence in him to lead the current war. However, we will not allow the executive power to neglect the legislative power, at the risk of breaking the constitutional balance.
- You are playing with words! To hell with the law courses! I don't care what the Faculty thinks of it!

- But, Georges, what do you want in the end? Jeanneney screams in a calculated way. His abrupt familiarity seeks to pique Mandel, who generally prefers to keep a certain distance from all his interlocutors, even those he has known for three decades. With good reason, Mandel remainssilent for a few moments, and Jeanneney resumes: "You want to arrest all those who do not go our way - I advise you not to do so. But you don't want the Chambers to be convened for all that, for fear that Laval's accomplices among the senators and Bergery among the deputies might make announcements that would negate the government's action. I speak of the Constitution and in return I get jeers! What do you expect from Parliament, Mr. Minister of the Interior? I mean, in conformity with its field of action defined by..."
- Yes, I understand. Yes, I understand. Thank you. Mandel looks at his interlocutor with the knowing air of those who have been seeing each other for a long time and know each other's excesses by heart. He continues: "What we want to avoid is that if we neglect the parliamentarians too much, once the Army and the
Government have been moved, someone with bad intentions could try to gather a quorum and disown us. But for the moment, a vote in Parliament is out of the question... Not with everything that is going on, not when the admirers of Pétain are laying siege to his hospital room, waiting for a resurrection and a truly miraculous word.
- I understand, Minister. The leading figures of the parliamentary groups, in the Senate as well as in the Chamber, are going in our direction. Herriot and I did not wait to discover to discover Bergery's activities to start preparing the groundwork. I will ask Marin to come. He is in charge of relations with the Parliament, after all... We will meet tonight to agree on a common action plan. We need to launch a joint action plan at the level of the different groups, since this cannot be done at the level of the Parliament.
A call to follow the government in its... déménagement. Its Grand Déménagement even! I don't know which journalist said in an editorial this morning.
"Grand Déménagement" - the term causes Mandel to chuckle, the equivalent for everyone else of an amused smile.
- And so we will be able to counter the defeatist opposition... Brusset murmurs in an attempt to try to remind them that he exists. The two pairs of eyes pointed in his direction make him immediately regret having tried.
- Good formula," Jeanneney reassures him, a little paternalistic. Then he turns to Mandel, as if to conclude and move on: "The groups will meet in Toulouse at the call of their leaders, the matter is settled. But, speaking of opposition...Daladier? Really?"
- I know your opinion of the man... And on his action when he was President of the Council, but... Mandel tries to justify, although he shares his friend's opinion.
- Of his action! Of his inaction, rather! It would take a government tightened around five or six strong and especially active ministers! That's what I've always thought these last few months and it is what it was necessary to do! Under Daladier or under the first Reynaud ministry!
- Yes, but things are going in the right direction! The direction that should have been followed for a long time
long time, it is true...
- It was about time! But the rumors that ran all April and until early May about the previous President of the Council and on... other personalities will not have escaped the ears of Mr. Minister!
- It was only rumors," replies Mandel. Then, after a heavy silence that does not convince Jeanneney: "Better that he be inside than outside.
- Hmm... Let's hope that this team will last the distance. And so does our President of the Council...
- I know he's not the one who was necessarily in your favor in spring...
- Indeed. I think that Herriot would have been preferable. We would have gained in romantic harangue. Perhaps not necessarily in energy, in continuity or even simply in
faith! But anyway... Since you didn't want to go anyway...
[knowing wink]. I feared that Reynaud, although willing, would be caught up in the pressures of his dubious entourage. Fortunately, fate proved me wrong... By a small margin, but it proved me wrong.
After having meditated for a long time on the blows of fate that France has known these last few days, the former director of cabinet and the former under-secretary of state under Clemenceau's presidency, both rise simultaneously to greet each other, each still having much to do so that France can continue... to continue the war.

[1] The "Liaison Committee against the War" was a group of parliamentarians of about fifteen members in which, during the Drôle de Guerre, supporters of Joseph Caillaux, such Montigny, could exchange with deputies of the far right, such as Tixier-Vignancour, and with patent pacifists of the SFIO: Brunet, Rives... Frightened by the continuous rise of his influence, Edouard Daladier thought he saw the work of Pierre Laval - the future would show that he was probably right.

[2] From the fall of the Daladier ministry, at the end of March, and until the end of May, the Chamber and the Senate were full of insistent rumors affirming that the Bull of the Vaucluse sought to retrieve the Presidency of the Council, helped in this by... Pierre Laval, to whom he would have entrusted the Foreign Affairs in order to get along with Italy, and by Marcel Déat, for the Economy! If rumors remain rumors, Marcel Déat, in his Memoirs written after the war in exile, was to confirm the information - but his sincerity is open to question. In any case, many parliamentarians had taken this possibility at face value.
June 17th, 1940

Italian East Africa
- In response to the June 13th attack, elements of the King's African Rifles launch an air raid at dawn on the Italian outpost of El Wak, 150 kilometres north-east of Wajir, in the middle of the desert. They are supported by the Rhodesians of Sqn 237. The outpost's basic facilities are bombed and the ground troops harassed.
June 17th, 1940

Northern Italy
- During the night of the 17th to the 18th, thirteen LN-401/411 dive bombers of the AB2 and AB4 squadrons of the Aéronavale attack various targets. Two aircraft are lost. This mission is the last one carried out by these aircraft from the French mainland. In the following days, they are evacuated to North Africa.
June 17th, 1940

Western Mediterranean
- The convoy attacked twenty-four hours earlier by submarine Provana is this time the target of the Adua. The Florida, already targeted the day before, is hit by a torpedo... which does not explode.
The submarine Redoutable patrols the Galite Channel, which separates the volcanic archipelago of the same name from the northern coast of Tunisia.
June 17th, 1940

- Five SM.79's are chased over Grand Harbour by a Sea Gladiator. The Sea Gladiator tries to attack one of the bombers, which had lost altitude, but is in turn engaged by the mobile belly guns of the other enemy aircraft. The British fighter escapes with only superficial damage.
June 17th, 1940

Eastern Mediterranean
- In Beirut, transports Baalbeck and Sidi Aïssa, escorted by destroyers Basque, Forbin and Le Fortuné, which had arrived the day before from Alexandria, embark for Famagusta the 3rd battalion of the 24th RIC, which is to reinforce the defence of Cyprus.
The light cruiser HMS Gloucester reaches the eastern Mediterranean. Four suspicious light ships are reported north-east of Cyprus in the middle of the day, but the forces dispatched to the area do not find anything.
June 17th, 1940

- The Xth Army breaks. The delay of the Duffour Group only increases during the night. Most of the units do not redeploy in time.
Taking advantage of the extreme confusion, Rommel launches his panzers on the offensive. He advances across from L'Aigle, joins the road at Nonant-le-Pin and enters the Sées gap, bypassing potential centers of resistance; then he divides his 7. PzD into two columns and drives as quickly as possible towards Flers, leaving his infantry and artillery to destroy the overrun units. Dozens and dozens of armored vehicles flow through the breach opened between the 5th CA and the Groupement Duffour.
Several units are encircled, or threatened to be. General Robert Altmayer, who had been fearing such a dislocation of his Xth Army for several days, decides to retreat
this time from the Orne to the Mayenne, to re-establish a front marked out by Avranches, the Sélune, the Ernée, the Mayenne; the left supported by the bay of the Mont-Saint-Michel, the right by the Loire. To protect the withdrawal of his right wing, he commits his ultimate reserve: the 3rd DLC (General Petiet). It is a desperate mission, but one that fits in well with the tradition of the cavalry, "first and last to fire", to sacrifice themselves for the others. At 15:00, the division positions itself between Carouges and La Ferté-Macé. In front of it, the German motorized infantry columns advance as if on parade, pushing back groups of stray soldiers and terrified refugees.
Meanwhile, Rommel, whose vanguard had been fired upon by a section of 25 mm guns on the Boucé road, is stuck in front of Flers where the North Africans of the 1st DLINA (General Tarrit), who form the left of the Duffour Group, put up unexpected resistance. He can hardly bypass the town: his reconnaissance informs him that the bridges of the Noireau (to the north) and the Egrenne (to the south) are destroyed. He decides to attack. After a violent bombardment by his minenwerfers [1], the German infantry rushes to attack, supported by the Panzer IV. However, the North Africans resist and resign themselves to give in only because of a lack of ammunition. They managed to withdraw to the south. Rommel's infantry suffers heavy losses; The Germans are furious and forced the few prisoners they had just taken to dig their own graves before savagely slaughtering them.
While the bulk of the 7. PzD stops at Flers to refuel, Rommel launches himself at the head of his vanguard on the road to Cherbourg. On the western outskirts of Flers, he crosses a large square full of civilians when a man with a gun throws himself on his car, a pistol in his hand. He empties his weapon on the occupants of the car. The driver is fatally wounded and the car smashes through the front of a store. Two other German officers are killed by bullets or the impact of the accident, but Rommel is unhurt and
almost unharmed. Pestering this setback, he calls for another car while the gunman is subdued and summarily shot - he was a gendarme, and therefore a soldier who was only doing his duty as a soldier... Nothing can stop the Germans from taking Vire in a single rush and to rush westwards through Villedieu, cutting off the retreat of the 5th CA.
In the evening, their vanguards are in Coutances.
The 5th CA retreats in the Cotentin region - At his headquarters in Caumont-l'Eventé, General René Altmayer, commander of the 5th CA, is informed of the breakthrough of the 7. PzD in Flers, shortly before the contact with the 1st DLINA is lost. The reports received afterwards show him that the chances of escaping southward are diminishing by the minute.
Judging the last orders of his superior (and elder brother [2]) impossible to execute, he orders his divisional commanders to retreat to the Cotentin region. The
orders are clear and concise: the 1st DLI (General Barthélemy) is to withdraw by night to Bayeux with the 31st RR, the remnants of the 32nd DLI (Colonel Sevez) and the 43rd DLI (General Vernillat) will move from cut to cut until the Seule and the Caumont gap. The reserves, formed by the 603rd Pioneers and a group of 75s (2/27th RICMS), will occupy the banks of the banks of the Vire-Haute canal, the Elle river and the southern edge of the Cerisy forest, the 38th GRDI being stationed in Saint-Lô. The Corps HQ is moved to Carentan, from where René Altmayer tries to reach the commander of the Cherbourg defense. He hopes to be able to go north to evacuate his troops through the military port, where more than 30,000 men of the British 52nd ID and the "Norman Force" are being embarked. Offshore, the old battleship Courbet provides artillery support to keep the Germans at bay. The Courbet is escorted by the aviso Amiens, which is equipped with good anti-aircraft guns (including a very effective experimental 37 mm bitube), and by torpedo boats La Flore, Melpomène, Branlebas and L'Incomprise. Its air cover is ensured by the patrols of two RAF fighter units based in the Channel Islands. The communications between the troops of the 5th CA and the offshore support group are carried out by radio cars placed with the commanders of the defense sectors.
The 3rd CA and the Duffour Group are pushed back to the southwest.
In front of the right wing of the Xth Army, the 3rd DLC endures the shock of the German advance all afternoon. For five hours, dragoons and hussars fight one against ten on improvised positions, their tanks and self-propelled gunships multipliy to relentlessly harass the enemy columns, sowing death and destruction in their convoys... Mission accomplished, the survivors receiv at 20:00 pm the order to retreat towards the south-west. Their action allows the 3rd
CA to get out of the way.
Thus, in accordance with General Robert Altmayer's orders, the 3rd CA manages to establish a line between Château-Gontier and Laval.
On its left, the Duffour group, jostled by the violence of the German offensive, regroups north of Laval, on the weak break formed by the Ernée river.
Further east, having lost all contact with the rest of the Xth Army, the Cavalry Corps fights on the Huisne and then on the Même, searching without success for the 3rd CA. Without orders, General Langlois decides in the evening to withdraw to Le Mans.

Ile-de-France & Orléanais - The 10th CA holds its position on the Loir and the Conie all morning. Around noon, General Gransart learns that on his right, the 25th CA is withdrawing. As it was now impossible for him to oppose the enemywith a continuous front, he decides, in agreement with General Héring, to withdraw his army corps behind the Loire. The 2nd DLM covers the left flank, the 4th DCR the right flank. The infantry of the 8th DLIC is transported by truck to Cloyes, where it embarks by train for Amboise. The 84th DIA retreats on foot. Severely hit by the German vanguards, it owes its salvation only to the intervention of the B tanks of the 4th DCR. Its infantry is however reduced to four battalions, which complete the journey to Blois by bus, where they join the 12th GRCA, already in position. The gradual withdrawal of the half-brigades of the 4th DCR starts around 21:00, but the division kept forward elements north of the river throughout the night. Detachments of the 7th RDP and the 4th BCP
are sent to Blois, Mer and Beaugency to reinforce the guarding of the bridges.
On the right of the 10th CA , the retreat of the 25th CA had accelerated the previous night. Its troops succeed in crossing the Loire, but these movements did not take place without losses; it can be estimated that the 25th CA has lost a third of its strength in the last two days.

[1] 76 mm mortars
[2] Robert Altmayer, Xth Army Commander
127 - Start of the Battle of the Loire
June 17th, 1940

Loire Front
- "The battle of the Loire, which has finally started, is characterized by several main features, many of which differentiate it from the battles that have taken place since May 10th. The French defenders have good morale, they are galvanized by the speeches of June 13th and 14th. They are reinforced by energetic leaders (Héring, De Lattre...) who had scraped the bottom of the barrel to consolidate the defenses (regional regiments, companies of foreign workers, depots, etc.); there are few German tanks in the region: except in Nevers, with the 9. PanzerDivision, the rare tanks were French and it is generally a fight of infantry against infantry. Finally, from June 17th, all the bridges are mined and guarded.
Unfortunately, the defenders are not numerous enough to organize a continuous defense; as the German IDs had dinghies at their disposal, they would sooner or later succeed in making a surprise crossing and the counter-attacks would be met with unequal success..." (Excerpt from Du sang contre du temps. The Battle of the Loire, June 16th to 24th, 1940, by Col. Antoine-Henri de Mollans. Paris, 1964)

Nevers Sector - While mobile detachments are fighting in the rearguard north of the river, more or less scattered groups continue to cross the Loire throughout the day. As soon as identified by the provost marshal forces, they are directed towards their defense positions: 41st GRDI (44th ID) at Fourchambault, 9th GRCA (7th CA) and remains of the 7th DLM [1] at Nevers, 25th GRDI (14th ID) at Bourbon-Lancy and 66th GRDI (53rd DLI) at Digoin.

La Charité Sector - The German 2nd Army aims at the Haute Loire from La Charité (IX. AK) to Pouilly (VI. AK). But after the fighting on the Marne, it has to give priority to von Kleist's tanks, themselves blocked for a few days on the Seine and the Aube. It is not yet on the Loire.

Cosne et Cours-sur-Loire Sector - The infantry of the 27th and 28th DIAlp takes position along the Loire.

Briare Sector - What remains of the 41st ID reaches Briare and takes position to defend the bridge-canal.

Gien Sector - In the beginning of the afternoon, the set-up is as follows: 3rd DLI at Sully, 23rd DI at Gien and 57th and 239th DLI between the two. A collection position is prepared, further south, on the Grande-Sauldre: at Blancafort for the 2nd DLIC and at Cerdon for the 87th DIA. Recovered from the park in Gien, several dozens of FT machine-gun tanks, which are in no condition to make a long journey but usable, were integrated into the positions. General Fougères can also count, in his CA reserves, on a company of the 53rd BCC, which received thirteen R-35s: the last modern tanks available at the ERG in Gien.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the Welvert Group that had crossed the Loire River regroup at Vierzon: 1st, 17th and 35th BCC: 21 R-35; 28th BCC: 10 B1bis; 25th BCC: 8 H-39. Opposite them, the XLIV. AK approaches Gien. The 1. mountain ID, the 72. ID and the 83. ID launch motorized vanguards towards the city.
At 15:00, the vanguard of the 1. mountain ID (Lt.Col. Lang) reaches Nogent-en-Vernisson and its observation planes spot columns of soldiers and civilians slowed down by traffic jams. At 16:00, it engages in combat at La Gacherie (10 km north of Gien) with the rearguards of the 87th DIA in the middle of the civilians, who suffer many losses.
At 19:00, it arrives in sight of the Loire, at the same time as the motorized vanguard of the 83. ID (which had left its sector): at that moment, the road bridge of Gien is still standing. At 20:15, the French blow up the road bridge, deliberately sacrificing the units still north of the Loire: only part of the 87th DIA has crossed the Loire (18th RTA and 9th RZ), the 17th RTA was between Sully and Gien. At 21:00, the first Germans arrive on the north bank; they found the bridge deck cut, but the downstream parapet was intact and infantrymencross on on this parapet. At 00:10, new charges are dropped and the destruction of the bridge is completed. But during the night, the German infantry is reinforced by troops crossing in inflatable boats.

Sully-sur-Loire Sector - At dawn, the first elements of Lt-Colonel Spaeth's vanguard arrive at the crossroads of Bordes, north of Sully... where they are captured by a strong detachment of the 3rd DLI (Lt-colonel Roux) who holds the village. The rest of the German vanguard arrives during the day and maneuvers to try to cut off the retreat of the defenders towards Sully. Lt-Colonel Roux resists as long as possible and then withdraws behind the Loire River at nightfall. The bridges blow up immediately after his crossing.

Chateauneuf-sur-Loire to Orléans Sector - In the morning, the vanguard of the 4. ID arrives on the Loire at St-Denis-de-l'Hôtel (in front of Jargeau) and at Châteauneuf. At 13:00, under their pressure, the 7th DIC withdraws to the south bank at Châteauneuf and blows up the bridge. The following night, the 4th ID tries to cross the Loire near Châteauneuf, but is repulsed by artillery fire.

Orléans to Beaugency Sector - The units of the 25th CA arrive during the night of the 16th to the 17th. Taking advantage of the exhaustion of the Germans facing it, the Baudouin Group (13th and 16th ID) withdrew in trucks. At 03h00, the 16th ID is in place between Sandillon and Orléans, in connection with the 29th DIAlp (VIIth Army) on its right. The positions are set up the day before by the 615th Pioneers, which allows the exhausted men to take a few hours of rest. The deployment of the 13th ID is slower. At dawn, the 17th GRDI and a battery of the 9th RAC still hold Loury, a crossroads controlling the roads to Jargeau and Orléans. They gain a few precious hours that will allow the last detachments of the 13th ID still north of the Loire to cross the river, then to destroy the last two intact bridges of Orléans.
Aware of the importance of the Orléans position, General Héring puts all available artillery reserves at Baudouin's disposal: two groups of 75s from the 9th RACT and two groups of 105s from the 309th RATTT (2nd DCR). In addition, the 17th BCP is detached from the 2nd DCR and attached to the Baudouin group in order to serve as a mobile reserve.
The 85th DIA and the 241st DLI shift the axis of their retreat to the south-west. Only a few of these two divisions and the 2nd DCR still hold a semblance of a front at dawn, between Patay and Artenay, while the bulk of the troops has already crossed the Loire and settled west of Orléans. But these rapid movements do not take place without losses. With the exception of the 11th RTA, all the infantry of the 85th DIA is captured and the 241st DLI leaves its 264th RI and its anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns in German hands.
The German vanguards are indeed very close. The 33. ID, exhausted by the movements and fighting of the last few days, enters Pithiviers at dawn, deserted during the night by its defenders. General Sinzenicht, warned by the Luftwaffe that the bridges of Orléans are intact, decides to seize them in a daring move: he suspends the air attacks and launches a motorized advance guard on Orléans via the D-97. At 09:00, he reaches Neuville-aux-Bois and continues on the D-97, thus bypassing the last blockade at Loury. At 10:30, a German machine gun reaches the Royal Bridge, to the great surprise of the French defenders; it crosses the bridge in a hurry but is destroyed by the 75 mm gun guarding the bridge. The reserve lieutenant of the engineers, Albert Marchal rushes to the bridge and immediately activates the firing mechanism, but only one of the two devices works and the bridge is was only blown for 15 meters (the Loire is 300 meters long at this point). Without lingering to wonder what had happened, Marchal rushes to the Nouveau-Pont and set off the explosives there - this time, the bridge is completely destroyed.
Other elements of the German vanguard then try to cross the Loire in rafts, but they are repulsed by the reservists of the 211th RR.

Blois Sector - The 84th DIA retreats on foot. Severely hit by the German vanguards, it only ows its salvation to the intervention of the 4th DCR's B tanks, which cover the retreat of the 10th AC. Its infantry, reduced to four battalions, completes its journey to Blois by bus; it joins the 12th GRCA's GEM, already in position.
The gradual withdrawal of the half-brigades of the 4th DCR begins at around 21:00, but the division keeps forward elements north of the river all night long.

Amboise Sector -The infantry of the 8th DLIC is transported by truck to Cloyes, where it embarks by train to Amboise. The division, remarkably commanded by General Gillier, lost more than 2,000 infantrymen in the delaying battles, but its artillery, with 22 75 mm and 9 155 mm gun, remains formidable.

Ingrandes to Nantes Sector - The Germans are still far away.

[1] When it arrived on the Loire, the 7th DLM only had two motorized squadrons, one platoon, no tanks and two weak artillery groups.
June 17th, 1940

- In the morning, German reconnaissance units of the XVI. AK (mot) come up against the traffic jams in Auxerre and Tonnerre. Their supplies are far to the north, forcing them to wait for the bulk of the PanzerRegiments that followed. At the end of the day, the attack on the traffic jams is launched, and the fighting lasts for part of the night. The French armoured vehicles are short of ammunition and the lack of maintenance for several days is quickly felt.
Nevertheless, a good number of German tanks are destroyed or damaged and the fighting has an impact on the supply of gasoline and ammunition to the PanzerDivisions. Luckily for the the French, an important fuel depot in Saint-Florentin is burned down.
The German 2nd Army advances towards Auxerre, on both sides of the Yonne. In order not to hinder the movements of the XVI. AK (mot), it has to redirect its progression towards the south. In the absence of a wide enough road, it is somewhat slowed down.
The French motorized units now arrive on the Canal du Centre, between its confluence with the Loire and Chalon-sur-Saône. Their mission is to guard the bridges until
until a division extracted from the GA 2 could take over. The canal does not represent a very important cut-off, but it is most often bordered by other rivers. From west to
east, one finds the 66th GRDI (53rd DLI) at Digoin, the 31st GRDI (20th DI) at Paray-le-Monial, the 82nd GRDI (82nd DIA) at Montceau-les-Mines. The 82nd Regional Regiment, with a strength of about 4,000 men, completes this system. Its equipment is poor, but it is enough to organize a collection position. The presence of the GRDI and GRCA horsemen should help to keep their morale up when the first German sidecar arrives...
The mining of the bridges begins, carried out by the regional engineers, but the reconnaissance groups also have mines in their equipment.

Saône - In Dijon, the 3rd DIM completes its withdrawal; it has only about 2,000 men left. It is followed by a thousand men and a dozen guns of the 235th DLI. In the same
sector, the 67th ID completes its position. It is decided to cover the wooded hills from the north-west of the city until the level of Beaune, in order to block the enemy motorized columns. The system is completed by the three battalions of the 81st Regional Protection Regiment, a few marching companies formed by the 81st Infantry Depot, half of the 5,000 young soldiers of the Reserve Artillery Organization Center stationed in the region of Arc-sur-Tille and Saint-Julien, with their 47 mm guns, two or three hundred men from the 8th Train Depot and the DCA dispersed around the old forts of Dijon.
On the Saône, the 54th ID begins to settle between Gray and Auxonne.

Lorraine - For the Germans, the main news of the day is the capture of Verdun, a striking symbol of the fact that this conflict was nothing like the previous one. The heroic resistance of the forts, more a matter of honor than a real stop fight, will have slowed down the German divisions for only ten hours.
The retreating Second Army continues to be pressed to the north and west. On several occasions, the cavalrymen and tanks still available had to counter-attack to give some breathing room to the regiments trying to withdraw (the effects - losses and fatigue - of the counter-attack of June 15th made these efforts even more difficult). Under enemy pressure, the lines of retreat of the French units become intertwined: at the crossroads of Gironville (north-east of Commercy) gigantic traffic jams attacked by the German air force and artillery turn retreat to debacle the retreats of the 6th ID, of the Burtaire Marching Division and of a part of the 35th ID...
The advance of the XLI. AK (mot) resumes: the 1st DIC and the 3rd DINA withdraw to the shelter of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, but the 6. and 8. PzD charge south-eastwards, in the direction of Neufchâteau, in a corridor bound by the Marne (to the west) and Meuse (to the east), barely delayed by scattered obstacles set up by the RGs and the 1st BC.
The rearguard troops of the IIIrd and Vth Armies, north of the canal of the Marne to the Rhine, are attacked by the vanguard of the German 1st Army and forced to abandon the northern bank. All day and all night, German units are concentrated north of the canal: a major battle is prepared for the next day...
Guderian's first armored vehicles are still stopped in front of Langres. However, behind them, the road junction of Chaumont still holds! Fortunately for Guderian, the first
elements of the 12th Army reach Chaumont at the beginning of the day and attack immediately, but it would take longer than the fiery general had hoped to finish them off. After twenty hours of terrible street fighting, the resistance is finally reduced to a few holdouts. The convoys set off again towards the vanguards of the 1. PzD, which they reach at the end of the day. Guderian was able to prepare - this time in a more organized manner than at Chaumont - the attack on Langres.
The 29. ID (mot) arrives in the morning south-east of Châteauvillain. In the morning, the 2. PzD finally forces its way into the Bar-sur-Aube area, after having brought in
some of the tanks then turned towards Auxerre. The remnants of the 56th ID withdraws southward, still covered by the cavalry. The threat of encirclement of the IVth Army becomes clear, with the arrival of the XVI. AK (mot) in the region of Auxerre.
During the day, some motorized combat groups of the 37th GRDI (42nd ID) join the 63rd GRDI, which moves in the evening to Aignay-le-Duc to cover the retreat of some elements of the 18th Corps towards Dijon.
In Epinal, General Fournier takes command of the stronghold, to make it if necessary anotherstronghold (with five forts and 18 75 mm guns, 9 155 mm guns and 26 machine guns, the position is solid... if we stock up on food - sic - and that the firing plans are prepared - re-sic !). His troops are made up of the 1/207th Regional Protection Regiment and the 55th BM.
On June 17th at 0:00, General Bourret (Fifth Army) goes into reserve command and General Condé (Third Army) takes command of the troops of both armies in Lorraine. Bourret, with all his staff, is ordered to take command f the Groupement de défense de la Saône, created by Colonel Duluc.
In the morning, commanders Basteau and Bastoux brought respectively to Condé and to Bourret (the latter, for information) the particular order n° 22 of General Prételat, prescribing that, "since the rapid and deep progression of the enemy does not seem, until now, to have been followed by important motorized formations, (...) it is important to take advantage of the favorable opportunity created by the adventurous situation of the enemy vanguards to attempt a flanking action." In short, to move from a retreat to the south to a real offensive towards the south! Condé knew that this order could only have been given by leaders who were not aware of the situation of his army but, as an obedient soldier, he decides to to try to carry it out and charges his chief of staff, colonel Tessier, to prepare the plan of operations. In the early afternoon, he summons General Loizeau, head of the 6th CA, to give him command of the attack. All three could only agree that the order was unenforceable: no large unit was available, all were engaged by the enemy, either on the Meuse or on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, and could not be cleared without the risk of dislocating the defense line and the whole army. Only the 70th ID can be made available. Condé uses its last means of civilian car transport requisitioned to move it towards the south.

Alsace - The 104th DIF receives the order to withdraw towards the Vosges, which allows the German offensive to progress: from then on, it is only hindered by logistical problems (only two boat bridges - a third one would be opened on June 19th - are available on the Rhine).; west of the Rhine, pioneer bridges have to be laid on each cut-off point - the Rhone-Rhine Canal, Rhine of Biesheim, Ill). The Germans seize Colmar and Neufbrisach.

Italian Front - A BR.20 of the 7th Stormo carries out a reconnaissance mission in the Rhone valley, while a Ro.37 protected by two CR.42 of the 3rd Stormo (Albenga), carries out an observation mission on the Pont Saint-Louis (between Menton and Ventimiglia).
In the Alps, offensive ground reconnaissance is carried out at the most important points on the border. Another CR.42 of the 151st Gruppo (Casabianca) is lost in the mountains during an escort mission.
June 17th, 1940

- After having received his orders from Colonel Vandenheede and having recovered Mausers for his troops, Major Lorent heads for the T-13s that have been placed at his disposal.
- Lieutenant, we are going to head for Redon. The French put some trucks at our disposal. Can you follow?
- We'll try, sir.
- Perfect, we start at 18:00. Tell your men to have dinner first!

The crews of the four surviving T-13s check the vehicles... It would be a shame to break down right now!
- Let's hope those damn Stukas leave us alone, [mutters] Cpl. Bert Anckaert.
Corporal Joos Devos, who is looking at a picture, only answers with a grunt.
- Hey, manneke, what are you thinking about?
- Of Marieke.... I hope she's doing well.

- I understand you... I'm afraid for my parents. But for the moment, unfortunately, there's not much we can do. Did you hear what they said? We have to delay the Moffen as long as possible, then they'll ship us off to England!
- And I, who have never left the country!
- Is the cannon ready, Joos?
asks Sergeant Depraetere.
- Yes, Sergeant.
- Good, I think you're going to have some work to do.
- I'm going back to my vehicle
," says Anckaert. Take care of yourself, Joos.
- You too, Bert.
The four Ford engines start up. The drivers are about to follow the disparate collection of of trucks and buses that had been made available to the Lorent detachment to reach Redon.

Pont-Saint-Esprit - Major General Lambert, commander of the CRI des Chasseurs Ardennais, receives from Lieutenant-General Wibier, commander of the Belgian troops in France, the order to prepare the defense of the CRI areas. Immediately, Lambert makes his units take position on a line of defense along the Ardèche and orders to prepare the destructions, with the same meticulousness that had been used during the invasion of Belgium on May 10th. After Bodange, Martelange and Chabrehez, the 7th Chasseurs Ardennais will write a new glorious page in the history of this young division.

Lunel - Reserve colonel Matthieu, commander of the CRI of the Belgian Light Troops, receives the order to put his troops in a state of defense along the Vidourle.
June 17th, 1940

Briare (French High Command)
- According to the decisions taken on June 13th by the War Committee, the Grand Déménagement was taken in charge by the Etat-major général de la Défense nationale (EMGDN). This organization lasted until the last day of the evacuation.
General Doumenc, as the new representative of the Army at the EMGDN, is the true father of the Grand Déménagement in its military and operational dimensions: he defined and and set up the organization that would lead this operation - an organization so complex, with interlocking layers and drawers, that many would say that it could only have come from the brain of a polytechnician! While being worthy of the best of French bureaucracy and administration, in fine very efficient.
Under the authority of the EMGDN and in its premises, a liaison group meets twice a day, in the morning and at the end of the day. Under the direction of General Doumenc himself, it takes appraisal of the military situation, priorities and available resources, and issues the corresponding orders. Doumenc leads these meetings with his customary vigor and unwavering optimism, and does not hesitate to shake up the participants by demonstrating constant creativity in finding to find solutions to seemingly hopeless situations.
This liaison group brings together the leaders appointed by the chiefs of the three services to the evacuation of their forces: General Bineau (recalled by Doumenc, who needed talents, as Major General of the Army) for the Army, Captain (and later Rear Admiral) Auphan for the Navy, General Mendigal for the Air Force. They are assisted by the heads of the 1st, 3rd and 4th offices of the GQG (respectively Lieutenant-Colonel Dromard, Lieutenant-Colonel Lagarde and Colonel Beau): the first is in charge of the identification of soldiers to be evacuated as a priority (by category, or even by name for general officers), then of their location; the second organizes mass movements; the last identifies, concentrates and allocates the available means of transport. In this role, Colonel Beau collaborated with Vice-Admiral Muselier, who had been appointed by De Gaulle on June 13th and who was finally put in charge of naval transport [1]. The general assistant major in charge of transport, Colonel Kergoat, completed this group.
The GQG's general aide-major, General Kœltz, acted as a relay with Noguès in NAF to inform him of the plans, identify his priority needs and prepare the reception of the evacuated men and equipment in Africa. Having a private plane at his disposal, he flies back and forth between Africa and France several times.
Every evening, General Doumenc reports to the government, represented at least by General de Gaulle and Georges Mandel, and to the Controller General of the Army Robert Jacomet. Paul Reynaud, the President of the Council, often takes part in these meetings himself, where the political authorities are kept informed of the progress of the measures taken and are able to direct the flow of the operation.
All of these actors contributed, on the one hand, to the implementation of the initial plan, and on the other hand, to the implementation of actions that directly concerned their departments, but also to the overall coordination and the regular updating of the plan according to the evolution of the situation.

Aimé Doumenc - Without the historic decision of the French government, on the fateful night of June 12th to June 13th, 1940, to continue the fight from the Empire, what trace would General Aimé Joseph Edouard Doumenc have left in history? Who would have remembered this young captain, assistant to the director of the automobile service, inventor of the logistical system of the noria, which made it possible to ensure the supply and relief of Verdun by the Voie Sacrée in 1916? Who would have remembered the head of the French delegation that had left in August 1939 to Moscow to sign a military agreement with the USSR before the German-Soviet pact destroyed his efforts and caused a bitter return? Would history only mention this major general of the French Army, deploying a tireless energy to stop the rise of despair in the second half of the tragic month of month of May 1940? Perhaps it would have been necessary to wait for a historian to unearth the secret diary for his name to be known again...
Fortunately for him and for our country, fate took the path of the Sursaut in June and the memory of General Doumenc lives onthrough his masterpiece, the "Grand Déménagement", of which he was the father, the organizer, the animator and, all in all, the winner!
(Extract from the Grand Larousse de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, Paris, 1965)

[1] Muselier, appointed by De Gaulle to be in charge of the means of evacuation, was quickly marginalized by Darlan, who was unhappy with the minister's interference in his fiefdom. Castex participated in the organization of the EMGDN and the other field missions were carried out by officers loyal to Darlan, the ADD ("friends of Darlan"), led by Auphan. Muselier's scope of action was thus limited to the identification and concentration (in liaison with the Minister of the Merchant Navy) of non-military ships that could be used for these evacuations, a vital but discreet role...
June 17th, 1940

- In the morning, a formidable explosion surprises the inhabitants, blowing up the windows of most of the houses. It is caused by the first and most violent bombardment of the bombings against the city. German bombers, having first strafed a convoy from Vitré to Rennes, attack the city's railway yard, in the absence of air cover and flak. The 500 kg bombs blow up a cheddite car that was part of an ammunition train which, unfortunately, was in the vicinity of several other convoys. Two trains were carrying French units, another was crowded with refugees from Lisieux and Paris, and the fourth was carrying British troops being evacuated.
There are at least a thousand casualties and a large number of houses are destroyed. The explosions continue for 24 hours.
June 17th, 1940

- Liner Lancastria, evacuating mainly British civilians and RAF personnel (more than 5,800 people, while the capacity of the ship was only 3,000 passengers), is sunk by Ju-88s, which took advantage of an absence of British fighters to attack despite the violent flak from the destroyers and other ships present. There are 2,477 survivors.
June 17th, 1940

La Rochelle
- Liner Champlain hits one of the magnetic mines laid by by planes in front of the Ile de Ré. The ship quickly listed 30 degrees to starboard, which prevents the launching of lifeboats. It is finished off on the 21st by a torpedo from German submarine U-65.
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June 17th, 1940

La Rochelle, 13:00
- On instruction from Major Decarpentrie and after bitter discussions with the French military authorities, the Marine Corps squadron anchored at La Rochelle leaves for Lorient. It escorts three Belgian ships that were at La Pallice: the cargo ship Henri-Jaspar, which had just unloaded 2,000 car frames, the large steamer Ville-de-Namur, one of the ships of the Société Maritime Anversoise formed some time earlier with American ships to circumvent the Neutrality Act, and the old Congo steamer Leopold-II. In addition, trawlers O.140 and O.348 were recalled from Le Verdon to participate in the evacuation operations.

Lorient - Portsmouth, 14:00 - Decarpentrie, in Lorient, contacts Lieutenant Victor Billiet in Portsmouth, where he had just unloaded from the Prince-Philippe steamer the remains of various units that he had evacuated from Saint-Malo. Decarpentrie asked Billiet to send him additional means to evacuate the 7th ID. Billiet was refused by the British authorities, who did not want to risk precious resources in an operation that seemed too risky. It is then that he learns by chance that a small flotilla of Belgian ships
had just been diverted from Brest to Plymouth, due to the congestion of the Breton port.
This fleet included trawlers Z.72 Angèle-Lisette, N.45 Hernieuwen-in-Christus and N.58 Abel Dewulf, buoy tender Zeehond, dredgers Flandre II, Flandre III, Scheldt, Meuse, Sambre and Semois, heavy load ships Flandre V and Flandre VI, tugs Geer and Demer and launch Ostend, escorted by the auxiliary patrol vessels of the French Navy Aiglon and Notre-Dame-de-l'Espérance. Billiet works so hard that he manages to convince the officers in charge to redirect the flotilla to Lorient to embark the 7th Division.
But during this time, Decarpentrie, in Lorient, has a lot of trouble with the port authorities, who are not happy with the prospect of seeing "a bunch of Belgian ships" arrive. The port is quite difficult to access, maneuvering is complicated and the French want to keep some places on the quay for the evacuation of their own troops. As a result, the major asks the flotilla coming from the Brest area to divert to Quiberon Bay to embark most of the men, under the protection of the forts of the peninsula (notably the fort of Conguel). The three ships coming from La Rochelle go to Lorient to embark what remained of the heavy equipment.

Quiberon, 19:00 - The first convoy anchors in the bay. The smallest boats can even even moor at the quay, which allows the first elements of the 7th ID, which arrive at 20:00, to proceed to the embarkation. All night long, trucks will shuttle on the road from Malestroit to Quiberon and Lorient to bring the rest of the men and equipment.
June 18th, 1940

- Italian troops from Ethiopia launch incursions into the western part of the French Somali Coast. The Italian general staff hopes to confuse its opponents in this way. But after two days of sporadic fighting, the attack becomes bogged down.
June 18th, 1940

Toulouse, 08:00
- Meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff around General de Gaulle.
First, the measures to be taken to avoid an immediate collapse of the forces defending mainland France, which would prevent the execution of the evacuation plans are discussed. It appears that the French air forces on the mainland still have significant capabilities. A part of these forces will be sacrificed to slow down the German progression, the rest will cross the Mediterranean. The fighters have to concentrate on the protection of strategic points (Marseille, Toulon, Toulouse) and on the protection of the ground troops. Fortunately, the Luftwaffe is less aggressive as its lines of communication are stretched: the ground echelons cannot keep up with the pace of the panzer advance and the short range of the Messerschmitt Bf 109s (which were not able, at that time, to intervene south of an arc of circle going from the north of Bordeaux to the north of Valence) often forces the bombers to be escorted only by Bf 110, to the great relief of the French pilots. The most modern bombers attack Italian targets - only some of them, sacrificed, attack German columns. The older ones are mercifully reserved for night attacks or liaison missions.
Then, the situation in the Mediterranean came to the front of discussions.
The neutralization of the Italian forces is considered a priority. The Navy, represented by Admiral Auphan, calls for energetic action against Sardinia, "the only wayof ensuring that we would eventually control Corsica, and therefore the maritime routes to Africa."
- By "energetic action", do you mean that we have to land troops in Sardinia to assure us control of the island?" asks De Gaulle.
- Well... Yes.
- So, say it! Unless you are worried about an offensive action?
While waiting to attack Sardinia, it is decided to launch an air offensive from June 21st onwards, aimed at destroying the Italian air force in ASI (Africa Settentrionale Italiana), to prevent them from being replenished from Italy and, in general, to prohibit any communication between Italy and Africa.
10:00 - After a brief break, the conference continues with a meeting with the British delegation, where a series of concrete decisions are taken.
- French air units are to be sent to Malta "as soon as possible" to protect the naval installations and allow the island to be transformed into an offensive base. The French Air Force plans to send an H-75 fighter group, and the French Air Force promises to send the AC2 squadron (long-range fighter, on Potez 631), the B3 and B4 squadrons (bombing, on Martin-167), and T1 squadron (torpedoing, on Laté 298 seaplanes).
- A company of the 68th Light Tank Battalion R-35, deployed in Syria (13 armored vehicles out of 50 and light vehicles), is to be transported "by the British Army" to
Cyprus, to reinforce the island's defences. Air Force and Naval Aviation units deployed in Syria and Lebanon [1] are to be placed under the direction of the local command of the RAF to reinforce the defenses of Cyprus and Alexandria.
11:00 - During the staff conference, the President of the Council, Paul Reynaud, and the President of the Republic, Albert Lebrun, send a joint message to Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States. This message officially informs the American authorities of the French decisions, while at the same time requesting the urgent supply of weapons to re-equip the French forces transferred to North Africa.
12:00 - The end of the conference is marked by a curious incident. A journalist from the came to inform General de Gaulle "that he was expected in the studio for [his] intervention." De Gaulle had not planned anything of the sort: "I told France on the 14th what I had to tell her. Why do you want me to speak today? On the anniversary of Waterloo?" The origin of this misunderstanding will never be known.

[1] GC I/7 (Rayak) with 20 MS-406 fighters, GB I/39 with 11 Martin-167 bombers, GAO 583 with 19 Potez 63-11 for cooperation, reconnaissance and light attack, a transport squadron with 2 Fokker T-VII, 2 D-338 and 1 Potez-621, the 8S4 squadron of the Aéronavale with 6 Loire 130 light seaplanes.
June 18th, 1940

Toulouse, 13:00
- General de Gaulle has lunch with his orderly, Lieutenant Geoffroy de Courcel. During the meal, the general uses by two times an expression that was often heard from him during the Drôle de Guerre, "l'étable à ganaches", to designate the command as a whole. He vituperates without restraint "the incompetent like Freydenberg, insufficient like Blanchard and inept like this poor Georges!" Suddenly, he taps on the table and announces, leaving Courcel stunned: "Ask for something to write on. We are finally going to cleanthis cow shed!"
It is thus on a sheet of paper [1] with the letterhead of the Grande Brasserie du Capitole that the General, in his characteristic handwriting, writes the text that historians have taken to calling "the Waterloo of the Stars". In a few lines, he outlines his program for reorganization of the military hierarchy:

"The battle raging since May 10th has highlighted the failure of a system, the weaknesses of authority and the misdeeds of partisan friendships.
Without prejudging the feats of arms or the failures of some and others during the days to come, it will be necessary, as soon as the country is stabilized, to renew the high executives of our army without passion and without prejudice but without weakness, following the example of Joffre in the fall of 1914.
I believe that it will be necessary to put aside a priori, in addition to the sanctions to be pronounced against some, all
[2] army and corps generals active on May 1, 1940. The government will assess the exceptions to this rule on a case-by-case basis.
I consider that we should also get rid of at least half of the division and brigade generals. The minister will await the proposals of the Generalissimo. These measures will have to be extended, under conditions to be specified later, to the Navy and the Air Force, as well as to the various corps of the Armement, Maritime Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering."

As soon as he returns to his office, De Gaulle has five copies typed, stamped Very Secret, and sent to Albert Lebrun, Paul Reynaud, Georges Mandel, Raoul Dautry and the archives of the ministry archives. Then he says to his aide-de-camp:
- Let's be Romans, Courcel! Let's draw up our proscription lists!
Several high-ranking generals are to be automatically retired in July, and proven failures are to be severely punished, the staffs will be purged and energized.
But, faced with the risk of fracture within the army and the lack of cadres, De Gaulle, a pragmatist, renounces the strict and immediate application of his program. He
contents himself from the autumn of 1940 with placing promising young officers in positions of responsibility and to vouch for their promotion.

[1] The original document, which the General kept in his personal papers, belongs today to the collection of the Charles-de-Gaulle Institute.
[2] The word all is underlined three times
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