Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 267 May 24, 1940

10th Panzer Division attacks Calais but British and French defenders hold them off.

Further North, 1st Panzer reaches the Aa Canal 10 miles from Dunkirk, threatening encirclement of French and British armies in Belgium. Only 1 BEF battalion defends Dunkirk. However, Hitler halts the Panzers, not risking his precious armour against Allied armies in the coastal wetlands of Belgium. He is assured by Göring that the Luftwaffe can prevent any evacuation. Generals Brauchitsch and Halder rail against the order but are told it comes from the very top. Even Guderian, who has bent and ignored orders to get to the coast, had no choice but to comply.

With BEF trapped in Belgium and British Isles potentially under threat of invasion, British War Cabinet decides to bring home their remaining troops in Norway. They inform French General Béthouart, in command of the attack, who decides to continue with the capture of Narvik anyway before evacuation. Revenge anyone?

At 2.48 AM, 200 miles West of Brest, France, U-37 sinks Greek SS Kyma carrying 6000 tons of maize and 90 tons of trucks from Argentina to England (7 lives lost).

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