21st May 1940

Stories from A Blunted Sickle
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Pdf27
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21st May 1940

Post by Pdf27 »

French resistance around Paris comes close to collapse, with the Panzer “reconnaissance” forces advancing almost at will. By early afternoon, Paris is almost surrounded. At this point Georges Bonnet and Camille Chautemps appear in Paris and broadcast a radio message declaring that the war is lost and Paris is now an open city. Following this broadcast, General Huntziger orders his troops in and around Paris to lay down their arms. Gamelin is captured by the Germans in his Chateau that evening, while Georges is injured when they attempt to arrest him but manages to escape and hide nearby.

At half past six that evening, the squad of German soldiers stationed at the Arc de Triomphe to enforce the curfew are astonished to see two elderly Frenchmen marching towards them in full dress uniform, complete with swords. They are Edmond Ferrand and Charles Gaudin, both veterans of the First World War and both holding the honoured position of Guardians of the Flame. Instinctively, the Germans snap to attention as the two men solemnly extinguish the flame that has burned without interruption for almost twenty years. Then Ferrand and Gaudin march away, the tears glistening on their cheeks in the evening sunlight.

When news of Bonnet and Chautemps' broadcast reaches OKH, the effect is a queer mix of elation and panic. The fall of Paris is clearly a major victory, but at the same time they were putting the finishing touches to orders for Panzergruppe Kleist to return from their positions between Meaux and Chateau Thierry in order to launch a counterattack on the British and French forces attacking towards Reims. If the Panzers are in fact west of Paris, it will take at least one day and probably two days longer than they planned before this attack can be launched. The attack had been scheduled for the 23rd – and will now have to be delayed to at least the 25th if not later.

Meanwhile, the Cavalry Corps and II Corps of the BEF continue their attack past Reims, pushing to meet 5th Army. Care must be taken since the Cavalry Corps is proving able to advance faster than the BEF, and neither commander is willing to risk the Germans having their own version of the “Miracle of the Marne”. At the same time, 1st (French) Corps is attacking towards Rethel, with orders to widen the salient in German lines in preparation for the inevitable counterattack. 3rd and 4th Corps are following on, with orders to fortify the Eastern and Western edges of the salient respectively.
By evening 1st Corps has taken Rethel while the Cavalry Corps has reached Bouzy. The BEF are lagging slightly, but still making good progress. It is also apparent that the 1e and 2e Division Légère Mécanisée formations are doing much better than the 4e Division Cuirassée had done a few days previously. They are rapidly learning the lesson that tanks are extremely vulnerable without infantry and artillery support, and that this support has to be under the same commander and have practised working with the tanks to be effective.
It is becoming clear to General Blanchard that nothing short of an Act of God will now stop him from linking up with 5th Army, and his thoughts turn to defending what he has gained. It is clear that the Germans will try to break through his troops, since if he manages to hold his position it will force the surrender of Germany's most powerful army. He therefore sends ten identical despatches via different despatch riders to Reynaud begging for reinforcements and promising a major victory if he gets them. Brooke sends a copy of the same message by radio to London, requesting that it be forwarded on to the French as rapidly as possible. Thus, Reynaud has the humiliation of being woken at 2am to be told by an ally about a major French victory only 100km from his capital!
War is less costly than servitude. The choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd
Belushi TD
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by Belushi TD »

Ahhh, communications. Its amazing how many defeats and victories have been caused by the lack of, or presence of good communications.

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craigr48
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by craigr48 »

It looks like the Germanaren't the ony ones stalled.
craigr48
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by craigr48 »

It looks like the Germans aren't the only ones stalled.
Belushi TD
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by Belushi TD »

craigr48 wrote: Thu Mar 02, 2023 12:49 am It looks like the Germans aren't the only ones stalled.
No, they're not. However, the Germans KNOW why they're stalled, and once they resupply, they will no longer be stalled.

The French, on the other hand, are not even aware that they've stalled.

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Nik_SpeakerToCats
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by Nik_SpeakerToCats »

Is 'Sickle' on Hiatus ??

Sadly, seems to have wedged in a stump: Such does happen due 'Real Life' priorities and/or Muse Outages...
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Pdf27
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by Pdf27 »

No, it's actually written up the start of 1942 over at AH.com. However, my life is a bit manic at the moment (I spent 3 days in Paris this week, and only succeeded in breaking a prototype jet engine) so I frequently forget about posting. Please feel free to poke for updates!
War is less costly than servitude. The choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd
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jemhouston
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by jemhouston »

Pdf27 wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 1:29 pm No, it's actually written up the start of 1942 over at AH.com. However, my life is a bit manic at the moment (I spent 3 days in Paris this week, and only succeeded in breaking a prototype jet engine) so I frequently forget about posting. Please feel free to poke for updates!
On the prototype, that's the best way to get rid of faults in it.
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Pdf27
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Re: 21st May 1940

Post by Pdf27 »

jemhouston wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 2:52 pmOn the prototype, that's the best way to get rid of faults in it.
100% NOT THIS. The instrumentation picked up the fault (an incorrectly set parameter) prior to failure, but we didn't have an alarm set so the test continued until something expensive went twang.
War is less costly than servitude. The choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd
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