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French Army Renault FT 17s captured during the Battle of France 1940 ebay 01

 French Army Renault FT 17s captured during the Battle of France 1940-ebay 01

 
The Battle of France in a nutshell

Date:- 10 May - 25 June 1940 (46 days)
Location:- Low Countries, France
Result:- German victory
Territorial changes:- Parts of France placed under German and Italian military occupation

The Belligerents involved during the Battle of France

  Germany   France
  Italy (from 10 June)   Belgium
    United Kingdom
    Netherlands
    Poland
    Czechoslovakia
    Luxembourg

The Commanders and leaders involved during the Battle of France

Axis armies Allied armies
  Nazi Germany Walther von Brauchitsch   France Maurice Gamelin
  Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt   France Alphonse Georges
  Nazi Germany Fedor von Bock   France Maxime Weygand
  Nazi Germany Wilhelm von Leeb   France Gaston Billotte †
  Nazi Germany Albert Kesselring   France Georges Blanchard
  Nazi Germany Hugo Sperrle   France Andre-Gaston Pretelat
  Fascist Italy (1922-1943) Umberto di Savoia   France Benoit Besson
    United Kingdom Lord Gort
    Belgium Leopold III (POW)
    Netherlands Henri Winkelman (POW)

Unit Strength involved during the Battle of France

Axis armies Allied armies
Germany armies -
141 divisions 135 divisions
7,378 guns 13,974 guns
2,445 tanks 3,383-4,071 French tanks
5,638 aircraft less than 2,935 aircraft
3,350,000 troops 3,300,000 troops
Italians in the Alps French in the Alps
22 divisions 5 divisions
3,000 guns none to speak of
300,000 Italians ~150,000 French

Casualties and losses during the Battle of France

Germany armies Allied armies
27,074 dead 322,544 dead, missing and wounded,
111,034 wounded -
18,384 missing 1,756,000 captured
1,129 aircrew killed ~150,000 French
1,236 aircraft lost 2,233 aircraft lost
795-822 tanks lost 1,749 French tanks lost
157,621 total casualties -
Italian armies -
6,029-6,040 -
Total: 163,676 casualties Total: 2,260,000 casualties

 

The Battle of France

The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. On 3 September 1939 France had declared war on Germany, following the German invasion of Poland. In early September 1939, France began the limited Saar Offensive. By mid-October, France was on the defensive and the Phoney War began. With improved weather the German juggernaut and its newly developed blitzkrieg offensive tactics the May days began. In six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated the Allied coalition forces using blitzkrieg tactics a highly mobile form of battle. They conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, ending land operations on the Western Front until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Seizing an oportunity Italy entered the war on 10th June 1940 two weeks before the fall of France.

In Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), German armoured units made a surprise push through the Ardennes, and then along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium to meet the expected German invasion. British, Belgian and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the German armies and the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), French and Belgian troops from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo.

German forces began Fall Rot (Case Red) on 5 June. The sixty remaining French divisions and the two British divisions in France made a determined stand on the Somme and Aisne but were defeated by the German combination of air superiority and armoured mobility. German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French Army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities.

On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by France and Germany. The neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the North Sea and Atlantic coasts of France and their hinterlands. The Italian invasion of France over the Alps took a small amount of ground and after the armistice Italy occupied a small occupation zone in the south-east. The Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south (zone libre). In November 1942, the Germans and Italians occupied the zone under Case Anton (Fall Anton), until the Allied liberation in 1944.

 

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This webpage was updated 17th November 2020