Battle of France

Nazi German invasion of France in 1940 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Battle of France (French: bataille de France) (10 May – 25 June 1940), also known as the Western Campaign (Westfeldzug), the French Campaign (German: Frankreichfeldzug, campagne de France) and the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France during the Second World War.

Battle of France
Part of the Western Front of the Second World War

Clockwise from top left:
Date10 May25 June 1940 (6 weeks)

German victory


Parts of France placed under German and Italian military occupation

 Italy (from 10 June)
Commanders and leaders
Walther von Brauchitsch
Gerd von Rundstedt
Fedor von Bock
Wilhelm von Leeb
Albert Kesselring
Hugo Sperrle
Prince Umberto
Maurice Gamelin[lower-alpha 1]
Alphonse Georges[lower-alpha 1]
Maxime Weygand[lower-alpha 2]
Gaston Billotte 
Georges Blanchard
André-Gaston Prételat
Benoît Besson
René Olry
Leopold III (POW)
Lord Gort
Henri Winkelman (POW)
Units involved
Germany: 141 divisions
7,378 guns[2]
2,445 tanks[2]
5,638 aircraft[3][lower-alpha 3]
3,350,000 troops
Italians in the Alps
22 divisions
3,000 guns
300,000 troops
Allies: 135 divisions
13,974 guns
3,383–4,071 French tanks[2][4]
<2,935 aircraft[3][lower-alpha 4]
3,300,000 troops
French in the Alps
5 divisions
~150,000 troops
Casualties and losses

49,000 dead[lower-alpha 5]
111,034 wounded
18,384 missing[5][6][7]
1,129 aircrew killed[8]
1,236 aircraft lost[5][9]
795–822[10] tanks lost[lower-alpha 6]
German: 179,547
Italian: 6,029–6,040[lower-alpha 7]

Total: 185,587

73,000 killed
240,000 wounded
15,000 missing[lower-alpha 8]
1,756,000 captured
2,233 aircraft lost[23]
1,749 French tanks lost[lower-alpha 9]
689 British tanks lost[lower-alpha 10]

Total: 2,084,000

On 3 September 1939, France declared war on Germany following the German invasion of Poland. In early September 1939, France began the limited Saar Offensive and by mid-October had withdrawn to their start lines. German armies invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and attempted an invasion of France. France and the Low Countries were conquered, ending land operations on the Western Front until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944.

In Fall Gelb ("Case Yellow"), German armoured units made a surprise push through the Ardennes and then along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium to meet the German armies there. British, Belgian and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the Germans; the British and French navies evacuated the encircled elements of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French and Belgian armies from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo.

German forces began Fall Rot ("Case Red") on 5 June 1940. The sixty remaining French divisions and the two British divisions in France made a determined stand on the Somme and Aisne but were defeated by the German combination of air superiority and armoured mobility. German armies outflanked the intact 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 1940, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by France and Germany. The neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain replaced the Third Republic and German military occupation began along the French North Sea and Atlantic coasts and their hinterlands. The Italian invasion of France over the Alps took a small amount of ground and after the armistice, Italy occupied a small area in the south-east. The Vichy regime retained the zone libre (free zone) in the south. Following the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, in Case Anton, the Germans and Italians took control of the zone until France was liberated by the Allies in 1944.