Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 258 May 15, 1940

At 7:30 AM, French PM Reynaud phones Churchill saying “We are beaten. We have lost the battle”. At 10:15 AM, Dutch commander General Winkelman signs the surrender of armed forces in the Dutch homeland.

British, Belgian and French troops believe they face bulk of the German army (it is, in fact, Bock’s Army Group B) on a line from the Channel coast in Zealand, Holland, South to Sedan on the French/Luxembourg border. Meanwhile, the Panzers of Rundstedt’s Army Group A prepare to spring the trap. Reinhardt gets his 2 Panzer divisions across the Meuse at Monthermé, Guderian begins to break out from Sedan and Rommel advances 40km West from Dinant to Cerfontaine.

Battle of Gembloux. In the morning, Germans again attack the French line but they are pushed back French 75mm artillery & Hotchkiss 25mm anti-tank guns. In 4 days of attacking the Gembloux Gap, General Hoepner has lost about 250 tanks, the equivalent of an entire Panzer division. However, due to the Allied collapse at Sedan, the French pull back to the French border overnight.

Following the Rotterdam Blitz, British Bomber Command reverses a policy banning deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones. In the first bombing of German interior, 99 RAF bombers attack industrial targets in the Ruhr overnight.

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