Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 284 June 10, 1940

France. Rommel continues his charge down the Channel coast, West of Paris. Northeast of Paris, Guderian’s Panzers advance towards Chalons-sur-Marne. Demonstrating the value of German flexibility & mobility, 16th Panzer Corps are withdrawn from Péronne & sent East to support Guderian’s breakthrough. With Paris threatened, the French government flees to Tours. They declare Paris an open city to avoid the destruction by bombing & street fighting seen in Warsaw & Amsterdam.

In a second Allied evacuation from the French coast (Operation Cycle), 3321 troops embark at St-Valery-en-Caux & 11,059 troops are evacuated from Le Havre. Overnight, 9000 men are taken from Le Havre to Cherbourg to continue fighting. Destroyers HMS Bulldog & Boadicea (6 lives lost) are badly damaged by German bombing off Le Havre. HMS Boadicea is towed back to Dover & will be out of commission until February 1941.

Italy declares war on France and Britain, effective June 11, expecting to make easy gains in Southern France. Benito Mussolini says cynically "I only need a few thousand dead to sit at the peace conference as a man who has fought." Equally cynical, Churchill reacts to the news “People who go to Italy to look at ruins won’t have to go as far as Naples and Pompeii again”.

Norway. British armed boarding vessel HMS Vandyck is sunk by German bombing off Andenes (7 lives lost, 161 men row ashore and are taken prisoner). The first convoy of troopships carrying men from Narvik (Group I) arrives unmolested in the Clyde at 6 AM.

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