On this day in 1940, just 10 days into the attack, elements of Gerd von Rundsted's German Army Group A, the XIX Panzer Corps, under Heinz Guderian, reached Abbeville on the Somme River a few miles from the English Channel, having severed communication between the British Expeditionary Force (with surviving elements of French, Dutch and Belgian forces attached) on their right and the bulk of the French Army on their left; and right there Nazi Germany won the Battle of France, although fighting would continue until June 25th, 1940.
I've read Guderian's memoirs (Panzer Leader
) but the book doesn't begin to account for how the Germans beat most of the rest of Western Europe so quickly and seemingly effortlessly. I do know he often pushed his faster but outgunned tanks past where his orders allowed. Looks like they just outfought the Allies at concentrated points and then outquicked the retreating forces so they never could recover. Guderian survived the war and died in May, 1954, 14 years to the day after his breakthrough over the Meuse at Sedan
Labels: Battle of France, WWII history; European theater; Western Front