14th May 1940

Stories from A Blunted Sickle
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Pdf27
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14th May 1940

Post by Pdf27 »

The German advance from Sedan continues, with the leading Panzers reaching Sault-les-Rethel and Vouziers by the end of the day.
The French forces opposing them are a mixture of rear-echelon troops swept up by some enterprising officer or other, units in training locally who were thrown into action and the remaining fragments of the few units that didn't break and run on the first day. The best that can be said about them is that they are keeping the Germans honest – they have to launch attacks in order to advance rather than just driving straight to their destination. However, those units that will stand and fight are the exception rather than the rule - “sauve qui peut” is rapidly becoming the watchword of the troops in the Sedan sector.

In an effort to stem the German tide, the AASF launches an all-out attack against the German-held bridges at Sedan. 35 of 63 Battles are lost, as are 5 of 8 Blenheims. The AASF is almost crippled by the end of today stage, and is amalgamated with the Air Component of the BAFF. The Battle force has suffered so badly as to be considered combat-ineffective under normal circumstances, while the Blenheim force is at maybe 70% of its pre-war strength. The only bright spot is that the Hurricanes are holding their own against the German fighters.

The AdA launch a series of attacks at the same time, a typical example being the 10 Amiot 143 bombers led by Commandant de Laubier launching an attack on the advancing Panzers. Thanks to a fighter escort, they only lost 3 aircraft, and succeeded in doing some damage. French losses per sortie so far are actually slightly lower than those of the British.

The Canadian brigade is now fully unloaded in Zeeland. The final troops to arrive were delivered by a pair of RN destroyers, which then helped to transport the Dutch troops formerly on Walcheren to Oud-Beijerland. These troops will then join the counterattack on the German paratroopers at Dordrecht.

The first RAF Hurricane squadron also arrives at Flushing AFB from England to provide air cover to the Canadian troops and to assist the BEF south of the Scheldt estuary. The first Transportable Radio Unit to arrive in the Netherlands travels with the ground crew, and sets up near the airfield. While nothing like as efficient as the Chain Home system, it is felt that without some sort of radar warning the Hurricanes on Walcheren will be extremely vulnerable to German air raids.

In Belgium, the situation of the Belgian army has continued to deteriorate. The leading Panzers have now reached the Dyle line and are attacking the Gembloux gap, despite the best efforts of the 2nd Belgian Cavalry Division to delay them. Given the massive disparity in combat power between the German and Belgian forces, it seems unlikely that the Belgians will be able to hold the line for very long. Already, over a million Belgian refugees have fled the German advance and that number will only grow as the Germans advance further.
War is less costly than servitude. The choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd
Belushi TD
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Re: 14th May 1940

Post by Belushi TD »

I see the Battle is living up (down?) to its current day reputation. Its truly unfortunate for the aircrew involved that they were committed to battle in Battles. It was the wrong aircraft at the wrong time in the wrong place and got slaughtered for it.

I know you go to war with what you have, but in this case the choice should have been made to not go to war. Admittedly, its early in the campaign, and so far there's not a lot of data to go on, but the Battle force is getting hammered every time it takes to the air.

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Pdf27
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Re: 14th May 1940

Post by Pdf27 »

Belushi TD wrote: Mon Dec 19, 2022 7:45 pmI see the Battle is living up (down?) to its current day reputation. Its truly unfortunate for the aircrew involved that they were committed to battle in Battles. It was the wrong aircraft at the wrong time in the wrong place and got slaughtered for it.

I know you go to war with what you have, but in this case the choice should have been made to not go to war. Admittedly, its early in the campaign, and so far there's not a lot of data to go on, but the Battle force is getting hammered every time it takes to the air.
They've figured out that the Battle isn't doing what it is supposed to, but not why this is the case or what they should be doing instead. That takes longer, and in the mean time they've got an absolute top priority target - a bridge whose continued survival is threatening an entire army group. That means a maximum effort attack, accepting that casualties will be gruesome.
War is less costly than servitude. The choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd
Belushi TD
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2022 11:20 am

Re: 14th May 1940

Post by Belushi TD »

Yes, they had to go with it to the detriment of the crews. And they had to suffer the casualties to learn to change the doctrine, but I can still look back with the advantages of hindsight and say "oh, what a waste" even though I know the wastage had to happen to prevent worse in the future.

Belushi TD
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