Battle of France

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Battle of France
Part of World War II
British and French soldiers taken prisoner in Northern France
British and French soldiers taken prisoner in Northern France.
Date 10 May 1940 – 25 June 1940
Location France, Low Countries
Result Decisive Axis victory
Participants
Axis:
 Germany
Italy Italy (from June 10)
Allies:
Flag of France.svg France
 United Kingdom
 Belgium
 Netherlands
 Canada
Poland Poland
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
 Luxembourg
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt
(Army Group A)
Nazi Germany Fedor von Bock
(Army Group B)
Nazi Germany Wilhelm von Leeb
(Army Group C)
Italy H.R.H. Umberto di Savoia
(Army Group West)
France Maurice Gamelin
France Maxime Weygand
France Charles de Gaulle
United Kingdom Lord Gort
(British Expeditionary Force)
Belgium Leopold III
Netherlands Henri Winkelman
Poland Władysław Sikorski
Strength
Germany:
141 divisions[1]
7,378 guns[1]
2,445 tanks[1]
5,638 aircraft[2][3]
3,350,000 troops
Alps on 20 June
300,000 Italians

144 divisions[1]
13,974 guns[1]
3,383 tanks[1]
2,935 aircraft[4]
3,300,000 troops
Alps on 20 June
~150,000 French
Casualties and losses
Germany:
28,225 dead[1] (possibly as high as 49,000)[5]
113,152 wounded[1]
13, 307 missing[1]

1,290 aircraft lost (10 May to 24 June 1940) [6]
1,097 aircrew killed, 1395 injured, 1930 missing[7]
795 tanks[8]
Italy:
1,247 dead or missing,
2,631 wounded,
2,151 hospitalised due to frostbite1
360,000 dead or wounded,
1,900,000 captured
1029 RAF aircraft, 1274 french aircraft[9]
1 Italian forces were involved in fighting in the French Alps, where severe sub-zero temperatures are common, even during the summer.

In World War II, the Battle of France, also called the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, from 10 May 1940, and ended the Phoney War. The battle was made up of two parts. In the first, called Fall Gelb in German (called Case Yellow in English), German tank units pushed through the Ardennes, to circle the Allied units that moved into Belgium. The British Expeditionary Force and many French soldiers were saved by Allied boats from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. In the second part of the battle, called Fall Rot in German (Case Red in English), from 5 June, German armed forces circled the Maginot Line to attack the rest of France. Italy began the war with the Allies on 10 June. The French government left Paris for Bordeaux, and Paris was taken over on 14 June. After the French Second Army Group gave up on 22 June, France then gave up as a country on 25 June. For the Axis, the Battle of France was a big win.[10]

France was split into a German run part of France in the north and west, a small Italian run part of France in the southeast and a German-run but French governed part in the south, called Vichy France. Southern France was taken over on 10 November 1942 and France was run by Germany until after the Allied return in 1944; the Low Countries were set free in 1944 and 1945.

Other pages[change | edit source]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Maier and Falla 1991, p. 279.
  2. Hooton 2007, pp. 47-48: Hooton uses the Bundesarchiv, Militärarchiv in Freiburg.
  3. Luftwaffe strength included gliders and transports used in the assaults on The Netherlands and Belgium
  4. Hooton 2007, p. 47-48: Hooton uses the National Archives in London for RAF records. Including "Air 24/679 Operational Record Book: The RAF in France 1939–1940", "Air 22/32 Air Ministry Daily Strength Returns", "Air 24/21 Advanced Air Striking Force Operations Record" and "Air 24/507 Fighter Command Operations Record". For the Armee de l'Air Hooton uses "Service Historique de Armee de l'Air (SHAA), Vincennes".
  5. Frieser 1995, p. 400.
  6. Hooton 2007, p. 90.
  7. Hooton 2010, p. 73.
  8. Healy 2007, p. 85.
  9. Hooton 2007, p. 90.
  10. Keegan, John (1989), The Second World War, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand: Hutchinson.

References[change | edit source]

  • Churchill, Winston S. The Second World War: Their Finest Hour (Volume 2). Houghton Mifflin Company, Cambridge, 1949
  • Durand, Yves. La Captivite, Histoire des prisonniers de guerre francais 1939 - 1945, Paris, 1981. Best available study of the French prisoners of war in German captivity.
  • Frieser, Karl-Heinz Blitzkrieg-Legende—Der Westfeldzug 1940. Oldenbourg, 2005.
  • Gunsburg, Jeffrey A., 'The Battle of the Belgian Plain, 12-14 May 1940: The First Great Tank Battle', The Journal of Military History, Vol. 56, No. 2. (Apr., 1992), pp. 207–244.
  • Harman, Nicholas. (1980) Dunkirk; the necessary myth. London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-24299-X
  • Hooton, E.R. (2007). Luftwaffe at War; Blitzkrieg in the West. London: Chervron/Ian Allen. ISBN 978-1-85780-272-6.
  • Jackson, Julian T.. The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. Oxford UP, 2003.
  • Krause, M. and Cody, P. (2006) Historical Perspectives of the Operational Art. Center of Military History Publication. ISBN 978-0-16072-564-7
  • Taylor, A.J.P. and Mayer, S.L., eds. A History Of World War Two. London: Octopus Books, 1974. ISBN 0-70640-399-1.
  • Weal, John (1997). Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader 1937-41. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-636-1
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. Cambridge UP, 1995.
  • Martin, J. and Martin, P. Ils étaient là: l’armée de l’Air septembre 39 - juin 40. Aero-Editions, 2001. ISBN 2-9514567-2-7

More reading[change | edit source]

  • Alexander, Martin. Republic in Danger, General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. An examination of Gamelin’s career and French military preparations during the 1930s. Highly complimentary work stressing French rational preparations for the war.
  • Blaxland, Gregory (1973). Destination Dunkirk. Military Book Society. pp. 436pp.. This was the first detailed account of the B.E.F. in France. The fight for survival finished with the return from France in the little ships
  • Bloch, Marc. Strange Defeat, A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940, Hopkins, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1968. Written in 1940 by a veteran of the campaign. Considered one of the early key works on understanding how the French saw this defeat. Writer killed in 1943 by Gestapo due to resistance work.
  • Cornwell, Peter D. (2008). The Battle Of France Then And Now. Battle of Britain International Ltd.. Six nations locked in aerial combat - September 1939 to June 1940.
  • Doughty, Robert Allan. The Seeds of Disaster: The Development of French Army Doctrine, 1919-1939, Archon, 1986. Examination of errors the French made in military doctrine during the inter-war years and how this, not defeatism or lack of quality equipment, led to the defeat of 1940.
  • Doughty, Robert Allan. The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940. Archon, 1990. Classic study on the events of 13 and 14 May.
  • Gerard, Lt. Robert M. Tank-Fighter Team, 1943
  • Horne, Alistair. To Lose a Battle, 1940, Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1969. Narrative account of the Fall of France in 1940. Very readable but also dated in terms of its non-critical acceptance of the defeatism argument.
  • Keisling, Eugenia C. Arming Against Hitler: France and the Limits of Military Planning. UP of Kansas, 1996. Study stressing the weaknesses of the French reserve, mobilization and training system. Rejects the defeatism interpretation.
  • Maier, Klaus A. Germany and the Second World War: Germany's Initial Conquests in Europe. Oxford UP, 1991. English translation of a thorough collective German academic study, giving a detailed account of all events.
  • May, Ernest R. Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France. Hill & Wang, 2001. A modern account for the general public focusing on politics, strategy and intelligence.
  • Mosier, John. The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of World War II. HarperCollins, 2003. Strongly revisionist interpretation, denying that the concept of Blitzkrieg can even be applied to this campaign.
  • Shepperd, Alan. France 1940, Blitzkrieg in the West; Osprey Campaign Series #3, Osprey Publishing, 1990.
  • Shirer, William L.. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941. Johns Hopkins UP, 2002. In the period just before the surrender, Shirer worked for CBS News under Edward R Murrow, moving around Europe as events dictated. This is his written account of the period.
  • Young, Robert J. In Command of France: French Foreign Policy and Military Planning, 1933-1940, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.

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