Panzer IV Vs Char B1 Bis: France 1940 (Duel 33)

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Duel Panzer IV vs Char B1 Bis France 1940 Osprey Books

A responsible case must handle modern buildings who are its on-page, cultural-economic Exhibits may anytime Learn upper colleges, but they may be not to be. Heavy French fire continued from the bunkers in front of Donchery on the south side of the Meuse. It was not until , in darkness, that regular ferrying missions enabled the reinforcement of the German bridgehead. The 10th Panzer Division, like the 2nd Panzer Division, had detached its heavy artillery batteries to support neighbouring units.

The Luftwaffe had not helped the 10th Panzer Division as most of the air attacks were in support of the 1st Panzer Division in the central sector. This meant all of the French artillery and machine gun positions in the area of Wadelincourt were undisturbed. Near the town of Bazeilles , the Engineers and assault infantry had gathered to prepare the boats for the crossing of the Meuse at Wadelincourt when an artillery barrage from the French positions destroyed 81 out of 96 rubber boats.

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The 69th Infantry Regiment was kept in reserve to follow the 86th as reinforcements. The 10th Panzer Division's assaults failed all along the Meuse front. The only success came from a small man team five engineers and six infantrymen of the 2nd Company, Panzerpionier-Batailion 49 49th Panzer Engineer Battalion placed under the 1st Battalion, 86th Infantry Regiment.

Unsupported and acting on their own initiative, this small force led by Feldwebel Walter Rubarth opened a decisive breach by knocking out seven bunker positions. Follow-up units from the 1st Battalion 86th Rifle Regiment had crossed over by and stormed the remaining bunkers on Hill , where the main French defence positions were located. By the end of the day, the bridgehead had been consolidated and the objective taken.

In the central sector, at Gaulier, the Germans began moving 3. By on 14 May, a pontoon bridge had been erected over which Sd. French reports spoke of German tanks crossing the bridges. Such reports were in error, as the first Panzers only crossed at on 14 May.


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Prior to this masses of lorries, armoured cars and other traffic had passed through but not tanks. The capture of Sedan and the expansion of the bridgeheads alarmed the French who called for a total effort against the bridgeheads at Sedan, to isolate the three Panzer Divisions. General Gaston-Henri Billotte, commander of the First French Army Group, whose right flank pivoted on Sedan, urged that the bridges across the Meuse be destroyed by air attack, convinced that "over them will pass either victory or defeat!

Priority between Sedan and Houx is at 1,, to 1". In the process they suffered only one loss in a forced landing. Between —, 71 RAF bombers took off escorted by Allied fighters. The impressive escort was offset by the presence of German fighter units that outnumbered the Allied escort fighters by No 2 Group RAF also contributed with 28 sorties. They flew only an average of one sortie per day, including strategic defensive missions. The missions cost the French five bombers, two from ground fire.

The major efforts were now made by the AASF. The Allied bombers received mostly poor protection. Only 93 fighter sorties, 60 by the French were flown. The attacks failed as they were uncoordinated. Along with fighter aircraft, the Germans had assembled powerful flak concentrations in Sedan.

The FlaK battalions of the 1st, 2nd and 10th Panzer Divisions numbered anti-aircraft guns. Allied bomber pilots called it "hell along the Meuse". The German Generals, in particular Guderian, were relieved that the Luftwaffe had prevented the Allied bombers from knocking out their supply bridges. By nightfall, at least tanks, including those of the 2nd Panzer Division which had to use the 1st Panzer Division's bridge at Gaulier owing to theirs not having yet been constructed , were across the Meuse.

The German victory in the air battle had been decisive. Charles Huntziger , commanding the Second Army was unconcerned by the capture of Sedan, or of the collapse of French defences in the face of air attack. He expected considerable French reserves, particularly X Corps, to stabilise the front. The forces at the French commander's disposal were formidable. Guderian's decision to strike north west left the 10th Panzer Division protecting the bridgehead alone. X Corps, with the 12th and 64th Reconnaissance Battalions, elements of the 71st Infantry Division, th Infantry Regiment, the 4th Tank Battalion were also to join the attack.

The French tanks had heavier armour and armament than the Panzers. In an open field engagement, Guderian's armour stood little chance. Two-thirds of his units were equipped with Panzer I and IIs.

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Just 30 of the Panzer IVs were on his order of battle. However, one crucial disadvantage of the French tanks, considered as a very broad whole, was their low endurance. They needed refuelling after just two hours. They were also slow in speed, complicating high tempo operations. The French had prepared, to an extent, for a German breakthrough at Sedan, and accordingly placed X Corps available for a counter-attack. The terrain included heavily wooded areas, and the units left behind convinced General Charles Huntziger, commander of the French Second Army, that they would be able to hold Bulson, and the Germans would not be able to exploit their tactical victory at Sedan on 14 May.

The Germans suffered a seven-hour delay in getting their armour across the bridge from , which could have been disastrous for the Panzer divisions. The French had already initiated plans for counter-attacks with armour on the German-held bridgehead during the night but delays in bringing up forces, procrastination inclined towards momentary adaptation towards defensive stancing and posturing , and hesitation on the part of local overall French command at large, made worse by mistaken intelligence-reports and by the resulting confusion from the panic and retreat of the infantry who had also abandoned their positions and artillery as part of the "panic of Bulson", [72] made an attack possible only in the morning of 14 May.

The commander of X Corps' artillery, Colonel Poncelet, had tried to keep his units where they were, but had reluctantly ordered a retreat. On 13—14 May, the Germans were vulnerable. A strong attack at this point by the French armoured units could have prevented Guderian from breaking out of the Meuse bridgeheads and changed the outcome of the campaign. However, the French commanders, already deeply schooled and versed in the rather staunchly defensively-focused broad, generalized doctrine of methodological warfare, were located far to the rear, which meant they lacked a real-time and up-to-date picture of the battle.

The French forces in the area were also hindered by mistaken intelligence-reports of which suggested that German tanks had already crossed the Meuse river, several hours before when the first German tank actually crossed the Meuse river. When intelligence did filter through, it was out-of-date. This was to prove fatal, especially coupled with the case of the matter that the French generalship at large was expecting a considerably more prolonged process of initial German assault phase and overall attack effort as a whole.

The race to Bulson ridge began at on 13 May. At on 14 May, French armour advanced to Bulson ridge with a view to seizing the high ground vacated by the infantry of the 55th Infantry Division on 13 May.

Download Panzer Iv Vs Char B1 Bis France 1940 Duel 33

While that may have been possible on 13 May, the odds had shifted against the French. The X Corps attack involved a strike on the left flank by the th Infantry Regiment and 7th Tank Battalion, and on the right flank by the th Infantry Regiment and 4th Tank Battalion. They found the Germans had beaten them there by a few minutes. Lafontaine had hesitated over the 24 hours since the afternoon of 13 May. He spent hours reconnoitring the terrain, sometimes trying to contain and reason with fleeing, routing scores of French infantrymen and artillerymen of the 55th and 71st Infantry Divisions, and travelling around the area to various regimental headquarters, looking for his Corps commander, General Gransard whom was deliberately reconnoitring the terrain, for some time, at that relative point in time , for an order to attack, and, in the meantime, extemporarily assessing and conferring with some local command personnel.


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Owing to this Lafontaine also delayed issuing orders to the tactical attack units until on 14 May, by which time the Germans had consolidated their bridgehead and the Panzer divisions' combined arms infantry teams were already advancing inland to Bulson. Lafontaine had had a mission plan since on 13 May to defeat the Germans and retake the Meuse bridgeheads, but he waited for an order to proceed. Lafontaine's need for an order was contrary to the unit actions of the Germans, who operated the tactically more efficient Auftragstaktik Mission Command system. Ultimately, Lafontaine had squandered valuable hours essential for a prompt, perhaps opportune and timely, perhaps potentially decisive counter-attack effort.

The French had an opportunity to throw the Germans back into the Meuse but they missed their chance owing to poor staff-work. The 1st Panzer Division had struggled to advance as quickly as it would have liked, and was jammed on the roads leading out of Gaulier and Sedan. Moreover, the German soldiers were exhausted after a five-day advance. A quick counter thrust by just two infantry regiments and two tank battalions would have "plunged the Germans into crisis". That said, however, additionally, the French lacked neither relatively mobile tanks nor relatively offensively-intended tanks, in the local area of battle just as well so, for the most part, as in the whole broad Western European theatre of war and campaign of military operations of the time.

French military doctrine dictated that the tanks, mostly FCM 36s , predominantly and primarily designed and intended as basically defensive-oriented infantry-support units, were to advance with the infantry. Instead of making sure the medium Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks had priority in crossing the Meuse, the Germans had sent few across, and the van of the advance contained mostly lightly armed and lightly armoured although faster Panzer Is and Panzer IIs.

The initial encounters took place as the Battle of Hannut was being fought in Belgium. The results were much the same. On the southern face of Bulson, General Friedrich Kirchner , commander of the 1st Panzer Division, suffered several tactical reverses and saw the 37mm shells from his 3.

Kirchner was forced to send in his tanks in dribs and drabs, tactics which Guderian hated, but which he himself decided there was no other recourse. The speed of the German tanks also enabled them to offset their inferiority in combat power to the French tanks. The French artillery concealed in wooded areas proved more potent than the tanks. The German 1st Panzer Company was wiped out by French artillery, and pulled back with just one battleworthy tank. The Company retreated under the cover of part of the ridge, and moved its single tank back and forth, simulating the presence of many German tanks.

Diverted from their success at Gaulier, near Sedan, the 2nd Panzer Company was rushed to the spot and managed to delay the French armoured advance. They managed to eliminate the anti-tank lines and entrenched French infantry. Kirchner reacted quickly, ordering two anti-tank platoons to be set up at Connage. By this time, the French 7th Tank Battalion had been wiped out and the th Infantry Regiment had been devastated. The German High Command did not want to exploit the victory at Sedan and Bulson until the German infantry divisions had caught up with the three Panzer divisions.

To Guderian, this was madness and would throw away the victory at Sedan and allow the enemy time to recover and reorganise its still formidable armoured units. Guderian decided to push for the Channel, even if it meant ignoring the High Command and Hitler himself. Now that they were pushing largely at an 'open door', the 1st and 2nd Panzer Divisions advanced into the undefended French rear with speed.

The Sedan bridgeheads were still not safe. French forces were massing to the south. Guderian decided it was better to mount an aggressive defence given the lack of any suitable anti-tank weapons for a defensive battle. The better option would be to attack rather than defend. The advance of the 1st and 2nd Panzer Divisions had assisted his progress. They ran into and defeated elements of X Corps near Chemery. The French Corps was heading towards Sedan, but withdrew southward after the engagement.

Any potential threat on the German western flank had been removed. Part of Guderian's original plan had called for a feint south towards and behind the Maginot Line , to mask the intention to thrust to the channel. In this innocuous town, a vicious two-day battle took place in which the Germans came face to face with the premier French tank, the Char B1-Bis , for the only time. It transpired that the French had concentrated their own armour there to mount another attack on the Sedan bridgeheads. The battle of Stonne took place between 15 and 17 May, and the town changed hands 17 times.

Ultimately the failure of the French to hold it meant the final failure to eliminate the Sedan bridgeheads. The French offensive at Stonne was of vital importance. The town remained a base situated on high ground overlooking Sedan. The French could use it as a base from which to launch long-term attacks on Sedan. On 15 May, the battle began. The French infantry were slow in their advance, which meant the armour outran them. Alone, the tanks tried to attack and failed. As the French pressed forward, the weak German defence struggled to hold its ground.

However, when one German platoon managed to knock out three French Char B1s the French tank crews panicked, and drove away to the south. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order.

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