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Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 13, 1940: France Goes Alone


Thursday 13 June 1940


13 June 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com German mountain troops
German light infantry mountain troops (Gebirgsjäger) of 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 137th Regiment in occupied Norway. Pictured (from left to right) are: Ranger Franz Hollerweger, Sgt. Kepplinger and Ranger Köhl. Köhl would later be killed in action near the village of Titovka, Murmansk Oblast, Russia, Soviet Union on 29 June 1941. Narvik, Nordland, Norway. Picture date is 13 June 1940.

Western Front: The Allied Supreme War Council meets on 13 June 1940 for what will turn out to be its last time at Briare near Tours. French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud tells British Prime Minister Churchill that France will have to negotiate a separate peace, contrary to the 28 March 1940 agreement of no separate peace agreements. This is something that Churchill adamantly opposes but can do nothing to prevent. Churchill rather lamely suggests that Reynaud appeal to President Roosevelt, which Reynaud of course has been doing all along. Churchill also suggests that resistance can continue in North Africa. Reynaud refuses.

Churchill, Lord Halifax, Lord Beaverbrook and the rest of the British delegation fly back to London. They decide that enough is enough and that another BEF evacuation is necessary. This is the parting of the ways of the British and the current French national government, though everything remains amicable and civil. It is now a question of managing the dissolution of the military alliance. The future of France and its relations with the United Kingdom is extremely uncertain.

German spearheads are crossing the Seine over three bridgeheads. They are attacking towards Pacy-sur-Eure and Evreux. Meanwhile, another dozen German divisions are attacking toward Senlis and Betz. Panzer Group Kleist captures Saint-Dizier and Troyes. The 6th and 8th Panzer Divisions of German 12th Army break through the French 2nd Army line in the vicinity of Bar-le-Duc.

French forces are withdrawing all along the line past Paris, which is an open city, to the Loire. Oil tanks in the suburbs are burning. German troops of 18th Army are in the suburbs and moving steadily toward the city center. French troops launch a pointless counter-attack at Persan-Beaumont 17 miles north of Paris. It advances 5 miles, but German troops are streaming in the other direction all around it. There are no troops between the Germans and the entire city of Paris, and they are advancing steadily.

13 June 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com David Gorrie
22-year-old Scotsman P/O David G. Gorrie standing by his Hurricane Mk I on 13 June 1940, the day after sharing a He 111 with B Flight and 5 days after having moved to No 43 Squadron RAF at RAF Tangmere. He goes on to fight in the Battle of Britain.

Battle of the Atlantic: At dawn in the Arctic (02:43), British carrier Ark Royal launches 15 Skua dive-bombers against the German warships in Trondheim. The British lose eight planes (six dead, 10 POWs), and manage to hit the Scharnhorst with one 500 lb bomb that fails to explode. The surviving aircraft return by 03:45. Kriegsmarine battlecruiser Nurnberg arrives in Trondheim later in the day from Germany.

U-25 (Kapitänleutnant Heinz Beduhn) torpedoes and sinks 17,046 ton armed merchant cruiser Scotstoun (converted Anchor Line passenger ship Caledonia) about 80 miles off of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The attack lasts all day, but Scotstoun finally succumbs. Seven crew perish, 345 others are picked up by destroyer HMS Highlander (H 44).

British tanker Inventor hits a mine and sinks in the English Channel.

Escort destroyers HMS Antelope and Electra collide in fog of Norway and both require extensive repair.

A German seaplane spots two survivors of the HMS Ardent in the water. They somehow have survived since 7 June. After picking them up, one dies from exposure, malnutrition etc. The other man, able seaman Roger Hooke, is Ardent's only survivor and, in extremely poor condition, is taken prisoner.

Convoy OA 167 departs from Southend, Convoy OB 167 departs from Liverpool, Convoy HG 34F departs from Gibraltar, Convoy HX 50 departs from Halifax.

Battle of the Mediterranean: Italian destroyers Baleno and Strale sinks Royal Navy submarine Odin. All 56 crew perish.

A French cruiser squadron bombards Genoa during the night.

Battle of the Pacific: German raider Orion lays mines off of Auckland, New Zealand.

European Air Operations: Italy's Regia Aeronautica raids the French naval base at Toulon. It also raids Aden, but is driven off with losses, and Malta.

The RAF raids German bridgeheads on the Seine all along the front to the Maginot Line.

The RAF is gradually evacuating its units from France.

North Africa: The British captures 52 Italian soldiers during the night, many of whom have no idea that they are at war.

The RAF raids Fort Capruzzo on the Libyan border with Egypt. It also raids Assab in Italian East Africa. South African aircraft chip in with a raid on Kismayo in Italian Somaliland.

The Regia Aeronautica hits British vehicles near the Libyan border in Egypt.

Norway: While the Allies have departed and the Norwegians have surrendered, many areas of the large country remain unoccupied by the Germans. Today, some of General Dietl's 3rd Mountain Division troops quietly occupy Tromso.

13 June 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com London schoolchildren
13th June 1940: London schoolchildren are evacuated. (Photo by David Savill/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).

US Military: Rear Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., relieves Vice Admiral Charles A. Blakely as Commander Aircraft, Battle Force, on board the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV 5) at Lahaina Roads, Maui, Territory of Hawaii. Halsey is given the temporary rank of Vice Admiral.

US Government: President Roosevelt signs a $1.3 billion Navy bill, which is unprecedented in amount. The first shipment of surplus artillery, rifles and other smaller weapons leaves the USA on the SS Eastern Prince. To avoid the Neutrality Laws, the arms are first sold to a steel company, which then re-sells them to the British government.

Holland: The Dutch government-in-exile announces formation of a Netherlands Legion to be composed of all available domestic and overseas troops.

Spain: Generalissimo Francisco Franco reiterates his policy of non-belligerency, which of course tilts toward Germany. Spain is of vital strategic importance to both sides due to its ability to take Gibraltar and close off the Mediterranean.

China: The Japanese launch a terror raid on Chungking that starts massive fires.

French Homefront: Paris is largely deserted. Jewish citizens in particular have been quick to leave, for obvious reasons. There are oddities of a suddenly abandoned major city: for instance, herds of cattle roam the streets, as the men operating the slaughterhouses have left.

British Homefront: The government renews its evacuation plans for schoolchildren, since so many returned home over the winter. Plans are to disperse 120,000 kids from London and other large cities in the south such as Dover. All children are required to carry gas masks at all times. Many of the masks have been brightly colored to make them more attractive to children, and they are carried in ubiquitous boxes.

A new law specifies that church bells are to be rung only as a signal of a German invasion.

Members of Parliament ask to be issued sidearms, since rumors are flying that they are on German assassination lists. The request is refused.

13 June 1940 worldwartwo.filminspector.com Frank Howell
F/O Frank J Howell of No 609 Squadron RAF. Howell is among the air party that escorted PM Winston Churchill to Briare and Tours on 11 and 13 June for the last meetings of the War Council. Flying Spitfire Mk I PR-H, the 28-year-old pilot noted that in the absence of trolley accumulators on the French airfield, starting up was accomplished with French infantrymen on hand cranks and some assistance from the aircraft batteries. I find it amusing that he also is holding a camera, sort of an assisted selfie.

June 1940

June 1, 1940: Devastation at Dunkirk
June 2, 1940: Hitler Visits France
June 3, 1940: Operation Paula
June 4, 1940: We Shall Fight
June 5, 1940: Fall Rot
June 6, 1940: Weygand Line Crumbling
June 7, 1940: British Evacuating Narvik
June 8, 1940: Operation Juno
June 9, 1940: Norway Capitulates
June 10, 1940: Mussolini Throws Down
June 11, 1940: Paris an Open City
June 12, 1940: Rommel at St. Valery
June 13, 1940: France Goes Alone
June 14, 1940: Paris Falls
June 15, 1940: Soviets Scoop Up Lithuania
June 16, 1940: Enter Pétain
June 17, 1940: The Lancastria Sinks
June 18, 1940: A Day of Leaders
June 19, 1940: U-boats Run Wild
June 20, 1940: Pétain Wilts
June 21, 1940: Hitler's Happiest Day
June 22, 1940: France Is Done
June 23, 1940: Hitler in Paris
June 24, 1940: Six Million Jews
June 25, 1940: German Celebrations
June 26, 1940: USSR Being Belligerent
June 27, 1940: Malta in Peril
June 28, 1940: Channel Islands Bombed
June 29, 1940: Gandhi Insists on Independence
June 30, 1940: Channel Islands Occupied



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