Stanisław Franciszek Sosabowski CBE was a Polish general in World War II. He fought in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 as commander of the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. Stanisław Sosabowski was born in Stanisławów, in a railway workers' family, he graduated from a local gymnasium and in 1910 he was accepted as a student of the faculty of economy of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. However, the death of his father and the poor financial situation of his family forced him to abandon his studies and return to Stanisławów. There he became a member of Drużyny Strzeleckie, a semi-clandestine Polish national paramilitary organisation, he was soon promoted to the head of all Polish Scouting groups in the area. In 1913, Sosabowski was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. After training, he was promoted to the rank of corporal. After the outbreak of World War I he fought with his unit against the Imperial Russian Army in the battles of Rzeszów, Dukla Pass and Gorlice. For his bravery, he was promoted to First Lieutenant.
In 1915, he was badly withdrawn from the front. In November 1918, after Poland regained its independence Sosabowski volunteered for the newly formed Polish Army, but his wounds were still not healed and he was rejected as a front-line officer. Instead, he became a staff officer in the Ministry of War Affairs in Warsaw. After the Polish-Soviet War Sosabowski was promoted to Major and in 1922 he started his studies at the Higher Military School in Warsaw. After he finished his studies he was assigned to the Polish General Staff. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, in 1928 he was assigned to a front-line unit, the 75th Infantry Regiment, as commanding officer of a battalion; the following year he was assigned to the 3rd Podhale Rifles Regiment as its deputy commander. From 1930 he was a professor of logistics at his alma mater. In 1937 Sosabowski was promoted to colonel and became the commanding officer of the 9th Polish Legions Infantry Regiment stationed in Zamość. In January 1939 he became the commander of the prestigious Warsaw-based 21st "Children of Warsaw" Infantry Regiment.
According to the Polish mobilisation scheme, Sosabowski's regiment was attached to the 8th Infantry Division under Col. Teodor Furgalski. Shortly before the German invasion of Poland started his unit was moved from its garrison in the Warsaw Citadel to the area of Ciechanów, where it was planned as a strategic reserve of the Modlin Army. On 2 September the division was moved towards Mława and in the early morning of the following day it entered combat in the Battle of Mława. Although the 21st Regiment managed to capture Przasnysz and its secondary objectives, the rest of the division was surrounded by the Wehrmacht and destroyed. After that Sosabowski ordered his troops to retreat towards Warsaw. On 8 September Sosabowski's unit reached the Modlin Fortress; the routed 8th Division was being reconstructed, but the 21st Regiment was attached to the corps led by general Juliusz Zulauf. After several days of defensive fights, the corps was moved to Warsaw, where it arrived on 15 September. Upon arrival, Sosabowski was ordered to man the Grochów and the Kamionek defensive area and defend Praga, the eastern borough of Warsaw, against the German 10th Infantry Division.
During the Siege of Warsaw the forces of Sosabowski were outmanned and outgunned, but managed to hold all their objectives. When the general assault on Praga started on 16 September, the 21st Infantry Regiment managed to repel the attacks of German 23rd Infantry Regiment and successfully counter-attacked and destroyed the enemy unit. After this success, Sosabowski was assigned to command all Polish troops fighting in the area of Grochów. Despite constant bombardment and German attacks repeated every day, Sosabowski managed to hold his objectives at low cost in manpower. On 26 September 1939, the forces led by Sosabowski bloodily repelled the last German attack, but two days Warsaw capitulated. On 29 September, shortly before the Polish forces left Warsaw for German captivity, General Juliusz Rómmel awarded Col. Sosabowski and the whole 21st Infantry Regiment with the Virtuti Militari medal. Following the Polish surrender, Sosabowski was made a prisoner of war and interned at a camp near Żyrardów.
However, he escaped and remained in Warsaw under a false name, where he joined the Polish resistance. He was reached France to report on the situation in occupied Poland. After a long trip through Hungary and Romania, he arrived in Paris, where the Polish government in exile assigned him to the Polish 4th Infantry Division as the commanding officer of infantry; the French authorities were reluctant to hand over the badly needed equipment and armament for the Polish unit. Sosabowski's soldiers had to train with pre-World War I weapons. In April 1940, the division was moved to a training camp in Parthenay and was handed the weapons awaited since January, but it was too late to organise the division. Out of more than 11,000 soldiers, only 3,150 were given arms. Knowing this, the commander of the division General Rudolf Dreszer ordered his unit to withdraw towards the Atlantic coast. On 19 June 1940, Sosabowski with 6,000 Polish soldiers arrived at La Pallice, whence they were evacuated to Great Britain.
Upon his arrival in London, Sosabowski turned up at the Polish General Staff and was assigned to 4th Rifles Brigade, to become a core of the future 4th Infantry Division. The unit was to be composed of Polish Canadians, but it soon became apparent that there were not enough young Poles in Canada from which to create a d
Île de Ré
Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, on the northern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait. Its highest point has an elevation of 20 metres, it is five kilometres wide. The 2.9 km Île de Ré bridge, completed in 1988, connects it to La Rochelle on the mainland. Administratively, the island is part of the Charente-Maritime département, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine région; the island is a part of the Charente-Maritime's 1st constituency. Located in the arrondissement of La Rochelle, Île de Ré includes two cantons: Saint-Martin-de-Ré eastwards and Ars-en-Ré westwards; the island is divided into 10 communes, from East to West: Rivedoux-Plage, La Flotte, Sainte-Marie-de-Ré, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, La Couarde-sur-Mer, Ars-en-Ré, Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, Les Portes-en-Ré. During Roman times, Île de Ré was an archipelago consisting of three small islands; the space between the islands was progressively filled by a combination of human activity and silting.
In the seventh and eighth centuries the island, along with Oléron, formed the Vacetae Insulae or Vacetian Islands, according to the Cosmographia. Since Vaceti is another name for the Vascones, this reference is evidence of Basque settlement or control of the islands by that date. In 745, the Duke of Aquitaine, retired to a monastery on the island. In the mid-twelfth century, a Cistercian monastery was founded on the isle, where the Abbot Isaac of Stella sojourned amid the Becket controversy; the island became English in 1154, when Eleanor of Aquitaine became queen of England through her marriage with Henry Plantagenet. The island reverted to France in 1243, when Henry III of England returned it to Saint Louis through a treaty. In 1360, with the Treaty of Bretigny, Île de Ré became English again, until the 1370s. In February 1625, the Protestant Duke of Soubise led a Huguenot revolt against the French king Louis XIII, after publishing a manifesto and occupied the island of Ré, he seized Ré with 100 sailors.
From there he sailed up to Brittany, where he led his successful attack on the royal fleet in Blavet, although he could not take the fort after a three-week siege. Soubise returned to Ré with 15 ships and soon occupied the Ile d'Oléron as well, thus giving him command of the Atlantic coast from Nantes to Bordeaux. Through these actions, he was recognized as the head of the reform, named himself "Admiral of the Protestant Church." A few months in September 1625, Duke of Guise organized a landing in order to recapture the islands, with the support of the Dutch and English navies. The fleet of La Rochelle was defeated, as was Soubise with 3,000 men, when he led a counter-attack against the royal troops who had landed on the island; the island was invested forcing Soubise to flee to England. In 1627, an English invasion force under the command of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham attacked the island in order to relieve the Siege of La Rochelle. After three months of combat in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré against the French under Marshal Toiras, the Duke was forced to withdraw.
The English lost 5,000 out of 7,000 troops during the campaign. The main port, Saint-Martin, was fortified by Vauban in 1681 as a component of the belt of forts and citadels built to protect the military harbour of Rochefort, it was used as a depot for convicts on their way to the penal settlements of New Caledonia and French Guiana. Prisoners included Alfred Dreyfus, en route to the penal colony of Devil's Island after his conviction for treason; the old city of Saint-Martin, within the walls of the citadel, was added in 2008 to the World Heritage Site list, along with 11 others Fortifications of Vauban across France. During World War II, the beaches of the Île de Ré were fortified by German forces with bunkers, in order to block a possible seaward invasion. Many of the bunkers are still visible, in a less derelict state. Several scenes of the 1962 movie The Longest Day were filmed on the beaches of the island. In 1987, a three-kilometre bridge was built to connect the island to the mainland.
The island was connected through roll-on roll-off ferries, which could accommodate vehicles and passengers. In peak summer time periods, the waiting time to board a ship could reach several hours; the bridge was built by Bouygues. Since tourism on the island has developed with real estate prices reaching high levels; the easier transportation system has stimulated the purchase of holiday homes by people from as far as Paris, who can visit for week-ends in spring and summer. Using the bridge requires the payment of a toll and makes it the most expensive road to use per kilometre in France; the Paris-La Rochelle high-speed train trip takes just three hours, taxis or buses can be taken to the island. Île de Ré can be reached from Paris by plane. It takes only 45 minutes to fly from Paris to La Rochelle airport, five minutes from the bridge, assuming no traffic delay; the area is a popular tourist destination. It has the same number of hours of sunshine as the southern coast of France; the island has a constant light breeze, the water temperature is cool.
The island is surrounded with sloping, sandy beaches. The island has a winter resident population of 20,000 residents and a summer resident population of about 220,000. Since the local population is distributed all over the island, it gets crowded; the island has a network o
Charente-Maritime is a department on the southwestern coast of France named after the Charente River. A part of Saintonge and Aunis, Charente-Inférieure was one of the 83 original departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. On 4 September 1941, it was renamed Charente-Maritime; when first created, the commune of Saintes was assigned as the prefecture of the department. This changed in 1810 when Napoleon passed an imperial decree which moved the prefecture to La Rochelle. During World War II, the department was invaded by the German army and became part of occupied France. To provide defence against a possible beach landing, the Organisation Todt constructed a number of sea defences in the area. Defences such as pillboxes are noticeable on the beaches of the presqu'île d'Arvert and the island of Oléron. At the end of the war there were only two pockets of German resistance: La Rochelle, in the north and Royan in the south. Despite being completely destroyed during an RAF bombing raid on 5 January 1945, the town of Royan wasn't liberated by the French resistance until April of the same year.
La Rochelle was captured on 9 May 1945. Charente-Maritime is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine administrative region, it has a land area of 6864 km² and 628,733 inhabitants as of 2012. The important rivers are the Charente and its tributaries, the Boutonne and the Seugne, along with the Sèvre Niortaise, the Seudre, the Garonne, in its downstream part, the estuary of the Gironde; the department includes the islands of Île de Ré, Île d'Aix, Ile d'Oléron, Île Madame. The department forms the northern part of the Aquitaine Basin, it is separated from the Massif Armoricain by the Marais Poitevin to the north-west and from the Parisian basin by the Seuil du Poitou to the north-east. The highest point in the department is in the woods of Chantemerlière, near the commune of Contré in the north-east, rises to 173 m. Charente-Maritime is surrounded by the departments of Gironde, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée; the climate is mild and sunny, with less than 900 mm of precipitation per year and with insolation being remarkably high, in fact, the highest in Western France including southernmost sea resorts such as Biarritz.
Average extreme temperatures vary from 38 °C in summer to−5 °C in winter. The economy of Charente-Maritime is based on three major sectors: tourism, maritime industry, manufacturing. Cognac and pineau are two of the major agricultural products with maize and sunflowers being the others. During the summer months, families flock from all over Europe to bask in the sun and enjoy the local seafood. Royan, popular for its extensive beaches and attractions, is one of the most famous seaside resort of atlantic coast. Charente-Maritime is the headquarters of the major oyster producer Marennes-Oléron. Oysters cultivated here are shipped across Europe. Rochefort is a shipbuilding site and has been a major French naval base since 1665. La Rochelle is a seat of major French industry. Just outside the city is a factory for the French engineering giant Alstom, where the TGV, the cars for the Paris and other metros are manufactured, it is a popular venue for tourism, with its picturesque medieval city walls. The inhabitants of the department are called Charentais-Maritimes.
The President of the General Council is Dominique Bussereau of the Union for a Popular Movement. Popular destinations include, La Rochelle, Saintes, St Jean d'Angely, Rochefort, Île d'Aix, Île de Ré and Île d'Oléron; the department is served by the TGV at La Rochelle. It can be reached by motorway by the A10 and A837. Cantons of the Charente-Maritime department Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department Éclade des Moules "Charente-Inférieure". Encyclopædia Britannica. 5. 1911. Charente Maritime website News Charente Maritime Official Tourism Guide of Charente-Maritime Official Tourism Guide of Charente-Maritime Charente Maritime News Zoo de la Palmyre Ile d'Oléron Ile de ré Tourisme Ile de re
Das Boot is a 1981 German submarine film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by Günter Rohrbach, starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann. It has been exhibited both as a theatrical release and as a TV miniseries, in several different home video versions of various running times, in a director's cut version supervised by Petersen in 1997. An adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, the film is set during World War II and follows German U-boat U-96 and its crew, as they set out on a hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic, it depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country. Development began in 1979. Several American directors were considered three years earlier. During production, Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the captain of the real U-96 and one of Germany's top U-boat "tonnage aces" during the war, Hans-Joachim Krug, former first officer on U-219, served as consultants.
One of Petersen's goals was to guide the audience through "a journey to the edge of the mind", showing "what war is all about". Produced with a budget of 32 million DM, the film's high production cost ranks it among the most expensive films in the history of German cinema; the film grossed $84.9 million worldwide. Columbia Pictures released both a German version and an English-dubbed version in the United States theatrically, but the film's German version grossed much higher than the English-dubbed version at the United States box office; the film received positive reviews and was nominated for six Academy Awards, two of which went to Petersen himself. Today, the film is seen as one of the greatest of all German films. Lt. Werner, has been assigned as a war correspondent on the German submarine U-96 in October 1941, he is driven by its captain, chief engineer, to a raucous French bordello where he meets some of the crew. Thomsen, another captain, gives a crude drunken speech to celebrate his Ritterkreuz award, in which he mocks Adolf Hitler.
The next morning, the U-96 sails out of the harbour of La Rochelle and Werner is given a tour of the boat. As time passes, he observes ideological differences between the new crew members and the hardened veterans the captain, embittered and cynical about the war; the new men, including Werner, are mocked by the rest of the crew, who share a tight bond. After days of boredom, the crew is excited by another U-boat's spotting of an enemy convoy, but they are soon spotted by a British destroyer, are bombarded with depth charges, they escape with only light damage. The next three weeks are spent enduring a relentless North Atlantic gale. Morale drops after a series of misfortunes, but the crew is cheered temporarily by a chance encounter with Thomsen's boat. Shortly after the storm ends, the boat encounters a British convoy and launches four torpedoes, sinking two ships, they are spotted by a destroyer and have to dive below test depth, the submarine's rated limit. During the ensuing depth-charge attack, the chief machinist, Johann and has to be restrained.
The boat sustains heavy damage, but is able to safely surface when night falls. A British tanker they torpedoed is still afloat and on fire, so they torpedo it again, only to learn there are still sailors aboard; the crew swim towards them. Unable to accommodate prisoners, the captain orders the boat away; the worn-out U-boat crew looks forward to returning home to La Rochelle in time for Christmas, but the ship is ordered to La Spezia, which means passing through the Strait of Gibraltar—an area defended by the Royal Navy. The U-boat makes a secret night rendezvous at the harbour of Vigo, in neutral although Axis-friendly Spain, with the SS Weser, an interned German merchant ship that clandestinely provides U-boats with fuel and other supplies; the filthy officers seem out of place at the opulent dinner prepared for them, but are warmly greeted by enthusiastic officers eager to hear their exploits. The captain learns from an envoy of the German consulate that his request for Werner and the Chief Engineer to be sent back to Germany has been denied.
The crew finishes resupplying and departs for Italy. As they approach the Straits of Gibraltar and are just about to dive, they are attacked and damaged by a British fighter plane, wounding the navigator, Kriechbaum; the captain orders the boat directly south towards the North African coast at full speed determined to save his crew if he loses the boat. British warships begin shelling and they are forced to dive; when attempting to level off, the boat does not respond and continues to sink until, just before being crushed by the pressure, it lands on a sea shelf, at the depth of 280 metres. The crew works to make numerous repairs before running out of oxygen. After over 16 hours, they are able to surface by blowing their ballast tanks, limp back towards La Rochelle under cover of darkness with only one engine still operational; the crew is exhausted when they reach La Rochelle on Christmas Eve. Shortly after Kriechbaum is taken ashore to a waiting ambulance, Allied planes bomb and str
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 249,023. Kiel lies 90 kilometres north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centres of Germany. For instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, the biggest sailing event in the world; the Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in the Bay of Kiel. Kiel has been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy's Baltic fleet, continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding centre. Located in Kiel is the GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel at the University of Kiel. Kiel is an important sea transport hub, thanks to its location on the Kiel Fjord and the busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal. A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway and other countries operate from here.
Moreover, today Kiel Harbour is an important port of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea. Kiel's recorded history began in the 13th century, but the city was a Danish village, in the 8th century; until 1864 it was administered by Denmark in personal union. In 1866 the city was annexed by Prussia and in 1871 it became part of Germany. Kiel was one of the founding cities of original European Green Regi51 Award in 2006. In 2005 Kiel's GDP per capita was €35,618, well above Germany's national average, 159% of the European Union's average; the city is home to the University of Kiel. Kiel Fjord and the village of Kiel was first settled by Vikings who wanted to colonise the land that they had raided, for many years they settled in German villages; this is evidenced by the architecture of the fjord. The city of Kiel was founded in 1233 as Holstenstadt tom Kyle by Count Adolf IV of Holstein, granted Lübeck city rights in 1242 by Adolf's eldest son, John I of Schauenburg. Being a part of Holstein, Kiel belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and was situated only a few kilometres south of the Danish border.
Kiel, the capital of the county of Holstein, was a member of the Hanseatic League from 1284 until it was expelled in 1518 for harbouring pirates. In 1431, the Kieler Umschlag was first held, which became the central market for goods and money in Schleswig-Holstein, until it began to lose significance from 1850 on, being held for the last time in 1900, until when it has been restarted; the University of Kiel was founded on 29 September 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. A number of important scholars, including Theodor Mommsen, Felix Jacoby, Hans Geiger and Max Planck, studied or taught there. From 1773 to 1864, the town belonged to the king of Denmark. However, because the king ruled Holstein as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire only through a personal union, the town was not incorporated as part of Denmark proper, thus Kiel belonged to Germany. Though the empire was abolished in 1806, the Danish king continued to rule Kiel only through his position as Duke of Holstein, which became a member of the German Confederation in 1815.
When Schleswig and Holstein rebelled against Denmark in 1848, Kiel became the capital of Schleswig-Holstein until the Danish victory in 1850. During the Second Schleswig War in 1864, Kiel and the rest of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were conquered by a German Confederation alliance of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the war, Kiel was administered by both the Austrians and the Prussians, but the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 led to the formation of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the annexation of Kiel by Prussia in 1867. On 24 March 1865 King William I based Prussia's Baltic Sea fleet in Kiel instead of Danzig; the Imperial shipyard Kiel was established in 1867 in the town. When William I of Prussia became Emperor William I of the German Empire in 1871, he designated Kiel and Wilhelmshaven as Reichskriegshäfen; the prestigious Kiel Yacht Club was established in 1887 with Prince Henry of Prussia as its patron. Emperor Wilhelm II became its commodore in 1891.
Because of its new role as Germany's main naval base, Kiel quickly increased in size in the following years, from 18,770 in 1864 to about 200,000 in 1910. Much of the old town centre and other surroundings were levelled and redeveloped to provide for the growing city; the Kiel tramway network, opened in 1881, had been enlarged to 10 lines, with a total route length of 40 km, before the end of the First World War. Kiel was the site of the sailors' mutiny which sparked the German Revolution in late 1918. Just before the end of the First World War, the German fleet stationed at Kiel was ordered to be sent out on a last great battle with the Royal Navy; the sailors, who thought of this as a suicide mission which would have no effect on the outcome of the war, decided they had nothing to lose and refused to leave the safety of the port. The sailors' actions and the lack of response of the government to them, fuelled by an critical view of the Kaiser, sparked a revolution which caused the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of the Weimar Republic.
During the Second World War, Kiel remained one of the major naval bases and shipbuilding centres of the German Reich. There was a slave labour camp for the local industry; because of its status as a naval port and as production site for submarines, Kiel was bombed by the Allies d
Military history of France during World War II
The military history of France during World War II covers three periods. From 1939 until 1940, which witnessed a war against Germany by the French Third Republic; the period from 1940 until 1945, which saw competition between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle for control of the overseas empire. And 1944, witnessing the landings of the Allies in France, expelling the German Army and putting an end to the Vichy Regime. France and Britain declared war on Germany when they invaded Poland in September 1939. After the Phoney War from 1939 to 1940, within seven weeks, the Germans invaded and defeated France and forced the British off the continent. France formally surrendered to Germany. In August 1943, the de Gaulle and Giraud forces merged in a single chain of command subordinated to Anglo-American leadership, meanwhile opposing French forces on the Eastern Front were subordinated to Soviet or German leaderships; this in-exile French force together with the French Forces of the Interior played a variable-scale role in the eventual liberation of France by the Western Allies and the defeat of Vichy France, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, the Japanese empire.
Vichy France fought for control over the French overseas empire with the Free French forces, which were aided by Britain and the U. S. By 1943, all of the colonies, except for Indochina, had joined the Free French cause; the number of Free French troops grew with Allied success in North Africa and subsequent rallying of the Army of Africa which pursued the fight against the Axis fighting in many campaigns and invading Italy, occupied France and Germany from 1944 to 1945 by demanding unconditional surrender to the Axis Powers in the Casablanca Conference. On October 23, 1944, the United States, the Soviet Union recognized de Gaulle's regime as the Provisional Government of the French Republic which replaced the in-exile Vichy French State and preceded the Fourth Republic. Recruitment in liberated France led to enlargements of the French armies. By the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, France had 1,250,000 troops, 10 divisions of which were fighting in Germany. An expeditionary corps was created to liberate French Indochina occupied by the Japanese.
During the course of the war, French military losses totaled 212,000 dead, of which 92,000 were killed through the end of the campaign of 1940, 58,000 from 1940 to 1945 in other campaigns, 24,000 lost while serving in the French resistance, a further 38,000 lost while serving with the German Army. France had several regular and irregular army forces during World War II. Following the lost Battle of France in 1940, the country switched from a democratic republican regime fighting with the Allies to an authoritarian regime collaborating with Germany and opposing the Allies in several campaigns; these complex opposing forces were called, in a simplistic manner, Vichy French forces and Free French forces. They fought battles all over the world from 1940 to 1945, sometimes fighting against each other; these forces were composite, made of colonial troops. The military participation of the French ground armies and air forces on the Allied side in each theater of World War II before and after the Battle of France though it was on various degrees, secured France's acknowledgment as a World War II victor and allowed its evasion from the US-planned AMGOT.
As a result, Free French General François Sevez signed the first German Instrument of Surrender, as witness, on 7 May 1945, French 1st Army General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny signed the second declaration on 8 May 1945 as witness, French General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Provisional Government of the French Republic on 15 August 1945. The complex and ambiguous situation of France from 1939 to 1945, since its military forces fought on both sides under French, German, Soviet, US or without uniform – subordinated to Allied or Axis command – led to some criticism vis-à-vis its actual role and allegiance, much like with Sweden during World War II; the French Army on the eve of the German attack in 1940 was commanded by General Maurice Gamelin with its headquarters in Vincennes, on the outskirts of Paris. It consisted of 117 divisions with 94 committed to the North-Eastern front of operations; the North-Eastern Front Command was held by its Commander-in-Chief, General Alphonse Georges, at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre.
The French air force was commanded by General Joseph Vuillemin, whose headquarters was located in Coulommiers. After the French armies surrendered, Germany seized 2 million French prisoners of war and sent them to camps in Germany. About one third were released on various terms. Of the remainder, the officers and noncommissioned officers were kept in separate camps and did not work; the privates were sent out to work. About half of them worked in German agriculture, where food supplies were adequate and controls were lenient; the others worked in mines, where conditions were much harsher. Free French Forces were created in 1940 as a rebel faction of the French Army, refusing both the armistice and Vichy's authority, its allegiance was toward General de Gaulle and its HQ was in London. Starti
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po