Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.
Alexander McCarrell "Sandy" Patch was a senior United States Army officer who fought in both World War I and World War II, rising to rank of general. During World War II he commanded U. S. Army and U. S. Marine Corps forces during the Guadalcanal Campaign, the U. S. Seventh Army on the Western Front. With an invasion of Japan still an apparent likelihood, Patch returned to the U. S. in August of 1945 to take charge of the Fourth Army headquartered at the Presidio of San Francisco, California. He died in November 1945 at 55, his health having been ravaged during his time in the Pacific early in the war. Patch was, along with James Van Fleet and Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. one of the few senior American commanders to command a division and field army on active service during World War II. A major general at the time of his passing, he was posthumously promoted to four star general in July of 1954. Patch was born in Fort Huachuca, although he was raised in Pennsylvania, his father, Captain Alexander M. Patch, was a former cavalryman in the United States Army and an 1877 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and his mother was Annie Moore Patch, the daughter of Congressman William S. Moore of Pennsylvania.
Of German and Irish descent, Patch attended Lehigh University for a year, before receiving an appointment to West Point in 1909. Patch's eldest brother, Joseph Dorst Patch and known as "Dorst" enlisted in the army the same year, he wanted to join the Cavalry Branch, realizing that it was becoming obsolete, he instead chose the Infantry Branch of the U. S. Army, was commissioned on June 12, 1913 after graduating 75th in a class of 93; some of his classmates, all of whom were, like Patch, destined to become general officers, included William R. Schmidt, Henry B. Lewis, Henry B. Cheadle, Paul Newgarden, Charles H. Corlett, Robert L. Spragins, Douglass T. Greene, Willis D. Crittenberger, William A. McCullogh, Robert M. Perkins, Carlos Brewer, Geoffrey Keyes, Louis A. Craig, Lunsford E. Oliver, Richard U. Nicholas, Francis K. Newcomer. Upon being commissioned, Patch's first assignment was with the 18th Infantry Regiment based in Texas City, Texas, he saw action in the Pancho Villa Expedition into Mexico in 1916, was promoted to first lieutenant.
In November that year he married Julia A. Littell, the daughter of an army general, who Patch had met while he was a cadet at West Point. In June 1917, two months after the American entry into World War I, he was promoted to the rank of captain and was, along with his brother Dorst, sent overseas with his regiment, which became part of the 1st Infantry Division, to join the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front where he remained until November, he attended the British Army's Machine Gun School in England and commanded the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 1st Division until April 1918, when he went on to direct the U. S. Army's Machine Gun School until October. Towards the end of 1918, returning to the 18th Infantry, he fought in the Second Battle of the Marne, the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the largest battle in the history of the United States Army, his leadership came to the attention of Colonel George Marshall a member of General John J. Pershing's staff.
The war came to an end on November 11, 1918, at 11:00am, by which time Patch was a lieutenant colonel, having been promoted to the rank a month before, major the previous January. In February 1919 he was a staff officer at AEF Headquarters. After serving on occupation duties, Patch returned to the United States in May 1919 and chose to remain in the army during the interwar period. After four years at Fort Benning and Washington, D. C. he spent the next few years as professor of military science and tactics at Staunton Military Academy, Virginia. He returned to this post twice in the interwar years, from 1925–28 and 1932–36. In 1922 he attended the Field Officer's Course at the U. S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning. In 1924 he attended the U. S. Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth and graduated there with distinction a year later; this was followed by service with the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment from 1929–31 at Fort Washington, Maryland. He entered the U. S. Army graduated the following year.
Promoted again to lieutenant colonel, he was a member of the Infantry Board at Fort Benning, from 1936–39, where he helped to develop the army's transformation from the old square division, with four infantry regiments, into the triangular division, with three. In November 1940 he was promoted to colonel and assumed command of the 47th Infantry Regiment part of the 9th Infantry Division commanded by Major General Jacob L. Devers. General George Marshall, impressed with Patch's leadership in France in World War I, was appointed Army Chief of Staff in 1939, just before World War II, he promoted Patch to the one-star general officer rank of brigadier general in August 1941, sent him to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to supervise the training of new soldiers there. Patch was promoted to major general in November 1941 and was assigned to command Task Force 6814, a hastily assembled force of divisional size, composed of two Army National Guard infantry regiments; the following month the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, followed shortly after by the German declaration of war on the United States bringing the United States into World War II.
He was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations to organize the reinforcement and defense of New Caledonia, arriving there in March 1942. En route he was struck with pneumonia, recoveri
Dijon is a city in eastern France, capital of the Côte-d'Or département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. The earliest archaeological finds within the city limits of Dijon date to the Neolithic period. Dijon became a Roman settlement named Divio, located on the road from Lyon to Paris; the province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th centuries and Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power, one of the great European centres of art and science. Population: 151,576 within the city limits; the city has retained varied architectural styles from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian and Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town houses in the city's central district date from the 18th century and earlier. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green and black and arranged in geometric patterns. Dijon holds an Gastronomic Fair every year in autumn. With over 500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors every year, it is one of the ten most important fairs in France.
Dijon is home, every three years, to the international flower show Florissimo. Dijon is famous for Dijon mustard which originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon substituted verjuice, the acidic "green" juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe; the historical centre of the city has been registered since July 4, 2015 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The earliest archaeological finds within the city limits of Dijon date to the Neolithic period. Dijon became a Roman settlement called Divio, which may mean sacred fountain, located on the road from Lyon to Paris. Saint Benignus, the city's apocryphal patron saint, is said to have introduced Christianity to the area before being martyred; this province was home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th century, Dijon was a place of tremendous wealth and power and one of the great European centres of art and science. The Duchy of Burgundy was a key in the transformation of medieval times toward early modern Europe.
The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy now houses a museum of art. In 1513, Swiss and Imperial armies invaded Burgundy and besieged Dijon, defended by the governor of the province, Louis II de la Trémoille; the siege was violent, but the town succeeded in resisting the invaders. After long negotiations, Louis II de la Trémoille managed to persuade the Swiss and the Imperial armies to withdraw their troops and to return three hostages who were being held in Switzerland. During the siege, the population called on the Virgin Mary for help and saw the town's successful resistance and the subsequent withdrawal of the invaders as a miracle. For those reasons, in the years following the siege the inhabitants of Dijon began to venerate Notre-Dame de Bon-Espoir. Although a few areas of the town were destroyed, there are nearly no signs of the siege of 1513 visible today. However, Dijon's museum of fine arts has a large tapestry depicting this episode in the town's history: it shows the town before all subsequent destruction and is an example of 16th-century art.
Dijon was occupied by anti-Napoleonic coalitions in 1814, by the Prussian army in 1870–71, by Nazi Germany beginning in June 1940, during WWII, when it was bombed by US Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses, before the liberation of Dijon by the French Army and the French Resistance, 11 September 1944. Dijon is situated at the heart of a plain drained by two small converging rivers: the Suzon, which crosses it underground from north to south, the Ouche, on the southern side of town. Farther south is the hillside, of vineyards that gives the department its name. Dijon lies 310 km southeast of Paris, 190 km northwest of Geneva, 190 km north of Lyon; the average low of winter is −1 °C, with an average high of 4.2 °C. The average high of summer is 25.3 °C with an average low of 14.7 °C. Average normal temperatures are between 2.3 °C and 5.3 °C from November to March, 17.2 to 19.7 °C from June to August. The climate is oceanic but with a greater temperature range than closer to the Atlantic coastline. Dijon has a large number of churches, including Notre Dame de Dijon, St. Philibert, St. Michel, Dijon Cathedral, dedicated to the apocryphal Saint Benignus, the crypt of, over 1,000 years old.
The city has retained varied architectural styles from many of the main periods of the past millennium, including Capetian and Renaissance. Many still-inhabited town houses in the city's central district date from the 18th century and earlier. Dijon architecture is distinguished by, among other things, toits bourguignons made of tiles glazed in terracotta, green and black and arranged in geometric patterns. Dijon was spared the destruction of wars such as the 1870 Franco-Prussian War and the Second World War, despite the city being occupied. Therefore, many of the old buildings such as the half-timbered houses dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries are undamaged, at least by organized violence. Dijon is home to many museums, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon in part of the Ducal Palace, it contains, among other things, ducal kitchens dating back to the mid-15th century, a substantial collection of European art, from Roman times through the present. Am
Cross of Lorraine
The Cross of Lorraine, known as Cross of Anjou in the 16th century, is a heraldic two-barred cross, consisting of a vertical line crossed by two shorter horizontal bars. In most renditions, the horizontal bars are "graded" with the upper bar being the shorter, though variations with the bars of equal length are seen; the Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top. The Cross of Lorraine consists of one vertical and two horizontal bars, This cross has been referred to on the Flag of the Dominican Republic The Cross of Lorraine came from the Kingdom of Hungary to the Duchy of Lorraine. In Hungary, Béla III was the first monarch to use the two-barred cross as the symbol of royal power in the late 12th century, he adopted it from the Byzantine Empire, according to historian Pál Engel. René II, Duke of Lorraine inherited the two-barred cross as a symbol from his ancestors from the House of Anjou, his grandfather, René the Good, who used it as his personal sigil, laid claim to four kingdoms, including Hungary.
The cross was still known as the "cross of Anjou" in the 16th century. René II placed the symbol on his flag before the Battle of Nancy in January 1477. In the battle, René defeated the army of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who had occupied the Duchy of Lorraine, regained his duchy. All coins struck; the Cross of Lorraine is an emblem of Lorraine in eastern France. Between 1871 and 1918, the north-eastern quarter of Lorraine was annexed to Germany, along with Alsace. During that period the Cross served as a rallying point for French ambitions to recover its lost provinces; this historical significance lent it considerable weight as a symbol of French patriotism. During World War II, Capitaine de corvette Thierry d'Argenlieu suggested the Cross of Lorraine as the symbol of the Free French Forces led by Charles de Gaulle as an answer to the Nazi swastika. In France, the Cross of Lorraine was the symbol of Free France during World War II, the liberation of France from Nazi Germany, Gaullism and includes several variations of a two barred cross.
The Cross was displayed on the flags of Free French warships, the fuselages of Free French aircraft. The medal of the Order of Liberation bears the Cross of Lorraine. De Gaulle himself is memorialised by a 43-metre high Cross of Lorraine in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises; the Cross of Lorraine was adopted by Gaullist political groups such as the Rally for the Republic. French Jesuit missionaries and settlers to the New World carried the Cross of Lorraine c. 1750–1810. The symbol was said to have helped the missionaries to convert the native peoples they encountered, because the two-armed cross resembled existing local imagery; the coat of arms of Hungary depicts a double cross, attributed to Byzantine influence as King Béla III of Hungary was raised in the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century, it was during his rule when the double cross became a symbol of Hungary. The'dual cross' is the consonant'gy' in ancient Hungarian runic writing which reads "egy" when it stands alone if not always, with "God" meaning.
A golden double cross with equal bars, known as the Cross of Jagiellons, was used by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Jogaila since his conversion to Christianity in 1386, as a personal insignia and was introduced in the Coat of Arms of Lithuania. The lower bar of the cross was longer than the upper, since it originates from the Hungarian type of the double cross, it became the symbol of Jagiellon dynasty and is one of the national symbols of Lithuania, featured in the Order of the Cross of Vytis and the badge of the Lithuanian Air Force. The double-barred cross is one of the national symbols in Belarus, both as the Jagiellon Cross and as the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polatsk, an important religious artifact; the symbol is supposed to have Byzantine roots and is used by the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church as a symbol uniting Eastern-Byzantine and Western-Latin church traditions. The Belarusian Cross can be found on the traditional coat of arms of the Pahonia. Silver double cross, on a mountain with three peaks, forms the coat of arms of Slovak Republic.
It is considered national symbol of Slovaks, its history in present territory can be traced back to Great Moravia in 9th century. The "Cross of Lorraine" symbol appears in Unicode as U+2628 ☨ CROSS OF LORRAINE, it is not to be confused with U+2021 ‡ DOUBLE DAGGER. The cross of Lorraine was used in the Sabre and Worldspan global distribution systems as a delimiter in various input formats, the latest version of the Graphical User Interface for each system uses a different symbol: Apollo displays it as a plus sign, Worldspan as a number sign, Sabre as a yen symbol. For its defense of France in World War I, the American 79th Infantry Division was nicknamed the "Cross of Lorraine" Division; the German 79th Infantry Division of World War II used the cross of Lorraine as its insignia because its first attack was in the Lorraine region. The insignia was redesignated effective December 1, 2009, for the 79th US Army Reserve Sustainment Support Command in Los Alamitos, California; the cross is used as an emblem by the American Lung Association and related organizations through the world, as such is familiar from their Christmas Seals program.
Its use was suggested in 1902 by Paris physician Gilbert Sersiron as a symbol for the "crusade" against tuberculosis. The Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit have used it as a symbol, notably on some merchandise a
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
The Cromwell tank Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, was one of the series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second World War. Named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, the Cromwell was the first tank put into service by the British to combine high speed from a powerful and reliable engine, reasonable armour; the intended dual-purpose high velocity gun could not be fitted in the turret and the medium velocity dual purpose gun fitted proved inadequate. An improved version with a high velocity gun became the Comet tank; the name "Cromwell" was applied to three vehicles during development. Early Cromwell development led to the creation of the A24 Cavalier. Cromwell development led to the creation of the competing Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Centaur design; the Centaur tank was related to the Cromwell, both vehicles being externally similar. The Cromwell and Centaur tanks differed in the engine used; the Cromwell first saw action in the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. The tank equipped the armoured reconnaissance regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps, in the 7th Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Division and the Guards Armoured Division.
While the armoured regiments of the latter two divisions were equipped with M4 Shermans, the armoured regiments of the 7th Armoured Division were equipped with Cromwells. The Centaurs were not used in combat except for those fitted with a 95 mm howitzer, which were used in support of the Royal Marines during the amphibious invasion of Normandy. Development of the Cromwell and Centaur dates to 1940, as the Crusader tank was being readied for service; the General Staff was aware that the Crusader would become obsolete, in late 1940 they set out the specifications for a replacement tank, expected to enter service in 1942, fitted with the QF 6 pounder gun. Vauxhall responded with the A23, a scaled down version of their A22 Churchill infantry tank; this would have had 75 mm of frontal armour, used a 12-cylinder Bedford engine, carried a crew of five and would have had the same suspension as the A22. Nuffield submitted the A24 based on its Crusader design and powered by its version of the Liberty engine, a V-12 design dating the late days of World War I and now outdated.
As the design was based on the Crusader, it was expected it could be put into production rapidly. The final entry was from Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon, their design tracks. The designs were received and examined in January 1941, with Nuffield's A24 being declared the winner on 17 January. Six prototypes of the Cromwell were ordered for the spring of 1942; these arrived four months late, by this time the design was outdated. It was put into production anyway. Only a small number were built. Delays in the A24 program led to demands to get the QF 6 pounder into service earlier; this led to a series of up-gunned Crusaders mounting the 6-pounder. With the start of the war, Rolls-Royce ended car production and set up a design team looking for other ways to use their design capability; the team formed under the direction of Roy Robotham at Clan Foundry near Belper, north of Derby. They began recovering and refurbishing parts from crashed Merlin engines with the intention of using them for non-aviation purposes.
In October 1940, Robotham met Henry Spurrier of Leyland Motors to discuss British tank design. The Tank Board needed a more powerful tank engine to replace the aging Liberty. Robotham and Spurrier decided to attempt to fit a refurbished and re-worked Rolls-Royce Merlin engine to a Leyland tank for testing. Design had three priorities: To remove the supercharger and make the engine operate on standard fuel, they removed the supercharger from a Merlin Mk. III to downgrade the performance to a suitable level for tank use, reversed the direction of engine rotation to match tank transmissions, fitted the resulting engine to a Leyland-built Crusader. Delivered to Aldershot on 6 April 1941, the test team had trouble timing its runs because it was so fast, estimating it reached 50 miles per hour. Leyland arranged to start production of 1,000 examples of the engine as the Meteor. With engine power doubled, it soon became apparent that the additional stresses placed on the Crusader components required significant re-work to increase reliability.
Leyland had no spare capacity, re-work commenced with the help of BRC&W. It was planned to fit this to BRC&W-built versions of their original A24 submission. Refitting the design of the A24 Cromwell for the Meteor engine was not acceptable to Nuffield, hence a new specification of tank was created working with Leyland, the A27 Cromwell. In mid-1941, Leyland changed its mind, concerned about cooling problems; this was a major concern for the Tank Board, as cooling issues had been a major problem for the previous generation of Crusader and Covenanter tanks. The Tank board was still committed to the Meteor, but to avoid dedicating all resources into a flawed design, the design was split into three separate vehicles: A24 Cromwell I under Nuffield known as Cavalier; this was based on the existing specification of Liberty engine and Wilson steering, working from experience learned with the Crusader. A27L Cromwell II under English Electric, but design taken over by Leyland known as Centaur. This
Maquis du Vercors
The Maquis du Vercors was a rural group of the French Forces of the Interior resistance that fought the 1940–1944 German occupation of France in World War II. The Maquis du Vercors used the prominent scenic plateau known as the Massif du Vercors as a refuge. Many members of the maquis, known as maquisards, died fighting in 1944 in the Vercors Plateau. From 16 to 24 April 1944 the Milice attacked the village of Vassieux, burning several farms and shooting or deporting some of the inhabitants; the local population continued to support the Resistance movement. On 5 June 1944 the Free French government in London called upon the people of Vercors to take up arms and tie down the German army, prior to the Allied invasion of Normandy as part of a wider series of resistance uprisings. In his BBC speech, de Gaulle pronounced the famous line "le chamois des Alpes bondit" which signalled the 4,000 maquisards to begin the uprising. To overcome the centre of resistance around Vassieux-en-Vercors, Luftlandegeschwader 1 landed two companies of Russian and Ukrainian troops of Fallschirm-Battalion "Jungwirth" of the Brandenburg Lehrbattalion by DFS 230 and Gotha Go 242 gliders on 23 July.
According to the order of battle of 8 July 1944 from General Niehoff, Kommandant des Heeresgebietes Südfrankreich, about operation Bettina against Maquis du Vercors, it appears that the Germans deployed nearly 10,000 soldiers and policemen under General Karl Pflaum:Almost all the 157. Reserve-Division of the Wehrmacht: 4 reserve mountain light infantry battalions. Other units: Kampfgruppe "Zabel". According to the daily reports of OB West on 23 and 24 July 1944, forwarded by the Militärbefehlshaber in Frankreich, the following troops landed at Vassieux-en-Vercors on 21 and 23 July 1944:On 21 July 1944 about 200 men from Fallschirmjäger-Bewährungstruppe forming the Fallschirm-Kampfgruppe "Schäfer", with several French volunteers, were airborne in 22 DFS-230 gliders towed by bombers Dornier-17 out of I/Luftlandegeschwader 1, from Lyons-Bron to Vassieux-en-Vercors. According to Peter Lieb, two gliders crashed and eight of them landed a bit further on, so the first wave of assault consisted only of about a hundred soldiers.
Peter Lieb spécifies that the commander of the Sipo-SD of Lyon, SS-Obersturmbannführer Werner Knab, was airborne on Vassieux on 21 July. Shot and wounded, he was evacuated in a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch on 24 July, he would have played an important part in the torture and the slaughter of the Maquisards of Vercors and the inhabitants of Vassieux. On 23 July 1944, 3 Go-242 gliders, towed by bombers Heinkel-111, 20 DFS-230 gliders transported one Ost-Kompanie and a paratrooper platoon from Valence-Chabeuil to Vassieux. According to Peter Lieb, at least two DFS-230 and two Go-242 gliders landed a further on, only one Go-242 with weaponry and supplies landed on Vassieux, so the second wave of assault consisted only of about a hundred and fifty soldiers. Thomas and Ketley wrote that the Fallschirm-Kampfgruppe "Schäfer" was detached from Kampfgeschwader 200 on 8 June 1944, it was made up of volunteers out of Fallschirmjäger-Bewährungstruppe, mustered at Tangerhütte and trained for three months at Dedelstorf in order to launch an attack from gliders.
Günther Gellermann says that the Fallschirm-Kampfgruppe "Schäfer" was under Luftflotte 3 command and no longer under Kampfgeschwader 200 command. This followed the declaration of freedom from the German occupation in some towns and villages on the plateau. On 3 July 1944 the Free Republic of Vercors was proclaimed, the first democratic territory in France since the beginning of the German occupation in 1940; the Free Republic had its own flag, i.e. the French Republic tricolour featuring the Cross of Lorraine and the "V" for Vercors and Victory, its coat of arms, the French Alpine Chamois. It was a short-lived regime. Maquisards appealed to Free French agencies based in London and Algiers to supply them with more arms and heavier weaponry to counter the German action, but none were forthcoming. "We shall not forget the bitterness of having been abandoned alone and without support in time of battle," wired the French Forces of the Interior commander to London. The Maquis de Vercors blamed the Allied leaders in London and Algiers for not supporting them, but no Allied leader authorized the insurgency at Vercors and help was explicitly denied.
The cause for the lack of support is unclear from the surviving documents but the Normandy front and the imminent Operation Dragoon landing in Southern France had priority and may have shifted resources elsewhere. The bloody suppression of the Vercors insurrection further inflamed the Maquis in the region, but ser