Monday 24 June 1940
|Italy's Army chief, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani.|
Franco/Italian Relations: General Huntziger and Marshal Badoglio sign an armistice agreement at Villa Olgiata in the Roman suburbs at 07:15 on 24 June 1940, to take effect early on the 25th. The terms reflect the reality that Italy, the "victor," is actually the weaker party. The parties establish demilitarized zones along both their European and African borders, with French troops to be evacuated from those zones within 10 days and all French naval and air bases in the Mediterranean to be demilitarized within 15 days. There are no big territorial changes or indemnities.
The whole Franco/Italian Armistice accomplishes virtually nothing useful. France never had threatened Italian colonies or the country itself, and France under German domination is becoming virtually an ally of the Axis powers anyway. The armistice, if anything, is simply a welcome by Italy to France into the Axis fold - though Gallic motivations in this area remain quite murky.
It is unfair to say that the entire border war was a "comic opera" and silly; many people died in the naval and air attacks during the short conflict. There also is the not-so-minor detail that Italy and Great Britain remain at war. That conflict shows no signs of ending any time soon even though that war, at least at first, will only be carried out in the two nations' colonies and at sea. This "loose end" from Mussolini's "piling on" of the Battle of France continues to fester.
Western Front: The British commandos, still styled No. 11 Independent Company, launch their first raid during the night in the Boulogne area. Operation Collar sends 115 men across the Channel to land on beaches at Neufchâtel-Hardelot, Stella Plage, Berck and Le Touquet. It is almost a live-fire war game exercise, because the men get ashore around 02:00 on the 25th and do little but muddle about on the beaches without accomplishing anything of note. There is a brief firefight with a German patrol at Stella Plage and the killing of two unfortunate German sentries at Le Touquet who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The landing does provide useful practice on beach landings. It allows the fine-tuning of things like ship-to-air communication (the RAF, uninformed about Operation Collar, almost attacks the landing craft before being warned off) and ship-to-shore coordination (one of the landing parties returns to the beach and finds its ride home is gone, but they get off later).
The British Ministry of Information quickly puts out a communique that quietly overstates the actual minimal result of the entire operation for propaganda purposes. The German high command does notice the incident and puts out its own propaganda that the commandos "acted outside the Geneva convention." The whole incident does feed into Hitler's paranoia about the danger of British naval landings all along the lengthy coastline now occupied by the Wehrmacht, which affects decisions about the Atlantic Wall.
The Italian offense on the Riviera ends after having occupied 5 miles of territory at the cost of an estimated 5,000 casualties. Foreign Minister Count Ciano notes in his diary, "We sent men to useless deaths two days before the armistice. If we go on like this, bitter disappointments await."
Operation Ariel continues at St. Jean de Luz. There still are numerous troops from the Polish, Belgian and other Allied armed forces wishing to be taken off.
Admiral Darlan reiterates his orders that French warships are not to surrender to the Germans. The main problem in controlling the French Navy is that it is dispersed not just at multiple European ports, but also at Dakar (French West Africa), Alexandria (Egypt), Casablanca (Morocco), Algiers and Mers-el-Kébir (Algeria) and Plymouth & Portsmouth (England) - and also at ports overseas. The British, particularly Prime Minister Winston Churchill, remain deeply skeptical about the ability and long-term willingness of the French to fulfill this promise.
European Air Operations: The Luftwaffe raids the southeast and southwest regions of England.
RAF Bomber Command sends 103 planes against German targets during the night.
Battle of the Atlantic: U-47 (Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien) stops 1,885 ton Panamanian freighter Cathrine in the eastern Atlantic and, after disembarking the crew, sinks it by gunfire. All 19 aboard survive after Prien gives the men food and red wine.
Italian torpedo boats sink Royal Navy submarine HMS Grampus off Syracuse.
Kriegsmarine S-boots (fast torpedo boats) are active in the English Channel and sink British ships Kingfisher and Albuera.
Convoy OA 173G departs from Southend, Convoy OB 173 departs from Liverpool, Convoy HG Z departs from Gibraltar.
British corvette HMS Geranium (K 16, Lt. Alan Foxall) is commissioned.
Battle of the Indian Ocean: British sloop HMS Falmouth sinks Italian submarine Luigi Galvani in the Gulf of Oman. The Galvani had just sunk a British ship on the 23rd. The British make the interception based upon documents retrieved from the Italian submarine Galilei captured on 19 June 1940.
Georges Mandel arrives in French Morocco aboard the Massilia and tries to rally the local authorities to continue the war. He is accompanied by only 25 other deputies and one senator, and the locals do not recognize his "authority," continuing to recognize the existing government.
China: Japan, having closed off the Allied supply route to China via French Indochina (Vietnam), demands that the British stop using the Burma Road over the Himalayas and the port of Hong Kong to supply Chiang Kai-shek's military.
In the Battle of South Kwangsi, the Japanese 22nd Army captures Peichianghsu. This puts them astride the strategic Nanning - Lungtou highway.
US Navy: Charles Edison resigns as Secretary of the Navy. Lewis Compton, Assistant Secretary of the Navy since February 9, 1940, becomes Acting Secretary. Edison wants to become Governor of New Jersey.
Rear Admiral Charles A. Blakely replaces Rear Admiral Joseph R. Defrees as Commandant, Eleventh Naval District and Commandant Naval Operating Base, San Diego, California.
US Government: President Roosevelt issues a secret order to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to infiltrate Central and South American governments to gauge their degree of Nazi sympathies.
Holocaust: Dr. Nahum Goldmann of the World Jewish Congress warns that a Nazi victory would mean the deaths of 6 million Jews.
French Homefront: The Germans impose various restrictions over the 60% of the country they occupy. Among other things, civilians are banned from owning radios or telephones without license, and there is a 19:00 curfew.
American Homefront: The Republican National Convention opens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is scheduled to nominate Wendell Willkie of Indiana for President and Senator Charles McNary of Oregon for Vice-President.
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