Armistice of 22 June 1940

The Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed at 18:36[1] near Compiègne, France, by officials of Nazi Germany and the French Third Republic. It did not come into effect until after midnight on 25 June.

Signatories for Germany included senior military officers like Wilhelm Keitel,[1] the commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces), while those on the French side were more junior, such as General Charles Huntziger. Following the decisive German victory in the Battle of France (10 May–21 June 1940), this armistice established a German occupation zone in Northern and Western France that encompassed all English Channel and Atlantic Ocean ports and left the remainder "free" to be governed by the French. Adolf Hitler deliberately chose Compiègne Forest as the site to sign the armistice due to its symbolic role as the site of the 1918 Armistice with Germany that signaled the end of World War I with Germany's surrender.

Coordinates: 49°25′38″N 2°54′23″E / 49.42736111°N 2.90641944°E

Hitler and german-nazi officers staring at french marechal foch statue 21 June 1940
Adolf Hitler (hand on hip) looking at the statue of Ferdinand Foch before starting the negotiations for the armistice at Compiègne, France (21 June 1940)
Fochs Railway Car Second Time Around 1940
Ferdinand Fochs Railway Car, at the same location as after World War One, prepared by the Germans for the second armistice at Compiègne, June 1940

Battle of France

The best, most modernised French armies had been sent north and lost in the resulting encirclement; the French had lost their best heavy weaponry and their best armored formations. Between May and June, French forces were in general retreat and Germany threatened to occupy Paris. The French government was forced to relocate to Bordeaux on 10 June to avoid capture and declared Paris to be an open city the same day.

By 22 June, the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) had losses of 27,000 dead, more than 111,000 wounded and 18,000 missing.

French losses were 92,000 dead and more than 200,000 wounded.

The British Expeditionary Force suffered 68,000 casualties, with around 10,000 killed.

Choice of Compiègne

When Adolf Hitler received word from the French government that they wished to negotiate an armistice, Hitler selected Compiègne Forest as the site for the negotiations. As Compiègne was the site of the 1918 Armistice ending the Great War with Germany's conflict cessation, Hitler used this place as a supreme moment of revenge for Germany over France. Hitler decided that the signing should take place in the same rail carriage, the Compiègne Wagon, where the Germans had signed the 1918 armistice. However, in the last sentence of the preamble, the drafters inserted "However, Germany does not have the intention to use the armistice conditions and armistice negotiations as a form of humiliation against such a valiant opponent", referring to the French forces. Furthermore, in Article 3, Clause 2, the drafters stated that their intention was not to heavily occupy North-West France after the cessation of hostilities with Britain.

William Shirer, who was present on that day, reports, "I am but fifty yards from him. […] I have seen that face many times at the great moments of his life. But today! It is afire with scorn, anger, hate, revenge, triumph."[2] Then, in the same railway carriage in which the 1918 Armistice had been signed (removed from a museum building and placed exactly where it was in 1918), on 21 June 1940, Hitler sat in the same chair in which Marshal Ferdinand Foch had sat when he faced the representatives of the defeated German Empire. After listening to the reading of the preamble, Hitler – in a calculated gesture of disdain for the French delegates – left the carriage, as Foch had done in 1918, leaving the negotiations to his Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces) Chief, General Wilhelm Keitel. Then negotiations lasted one day, until the evening of 22 June 1940: General Huntzinger had to discuss the terms by phone with the French government representatives who had fled to Bordeaux, mainly with the newly nominated defence minister, General Maxime Weygand.


13June 25June1940 FallRot
Fall Rot in June exploited and sealed the stunning German success of Fall Gelb in May.

Adolf Hitler had a number of reasons for agreeing to an armistice. He wanted to ensure that France did not continue to fight from North Africa, and he wanted to ensure that the French Navy was taken out of the war. In addition, leaving a French government in place would relieve Germany of the considerable burden of administering French territory, particularly as he turned his attentions towards Britain. Finally, as Germany lacked a navy sufficient to occupy France's overseas territories, Hitler's only practical recourse to deny the British use of them was to maintain a formally independent and neutral French rump state.

According to William Shirer's book Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, French General Charles Huntziger complained that the armistice terms imposed on France were harsher than those imposed on Germany in 1918. They provided for German occupation of three-fifths of France north and west of a line through Geneva and Tours and extending to the Spanish border, so as to give Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine access to all French Channel and Atlantic ports. All persons who had been granted political asylum had to be surrendered and all occupation costs had to be borne by France, approximately 400 million French francs a day. A minimal French Army would be permitted. As one of Hitler's few concessions, the French Navy was to be disarmed but not surrendered, for Hitler realized that pushing France too far could result in France fighting on from the French colonial empire. An unoccupied region in the south, the Zone libre, was left relatively free to be governed by a rump French administration based in Vichy, which also administered the occupied zones, albeit under severe restrictions.

This was envisaged to last until a final peace treaty was negotiated. At the time, both French and Germans thought the occupation would be a provisional state of affairs and last only until Britain came to terms, which was believed to be imminent. For instance, none of the French delegation objected to the stipulation that French soldiers would remain prisoners of war until the cessation of all hostilities. Nearly one million Frenchmen were thus forced to spend the next five years in prisoner of war camps (about a third of the initial 1.5 million prisoners taken were released or exchanged as part of the Service du Travail Obligatoire forced labour programme by the Germans, before the war ended).[3]

However, a final peace treaty was never negotiated, and the unoccupied zone was occupied by Germany and its Italian ally in Operation Anton following the invasion of French North Africa by the Allies in November 1942.

Article 19 of the Franco-German armistice required the French state to turn over to German authorities any German national on French territory, who would then frequently face deportation to a concentration camp (the "Surrender on Demand" clause).[4] Keitel gave verbal assurances that this would apply mainly to those refugees who had "fermented the war", a euphemism for Jews, and especially German Jews who until then had enjoyed asylum in France. Keitel also made one other concession, that French aircraft need not be handed over to the Germans.[5]

The French delegation – led by General Charles Huntziger – tried to soften the harsher terms of the armistice, but Keitel replied that they would have to accept or reject the armistice as it was. Given the military situation that France was in, Huntziger had "no choice" but to accede to the armistice terms. The cease-fire went into effect at 00:35 on 25 June 1940, more than two days later, only after another armistice was signed between France and Italy, the main German ally in Europe.

The armistice did have some relative advantages for the French, compared to worse possible outcomes, such as keeping the colonial empire and the fleet, and, by avoiding full occupation and disarmament, the remaining French rump state in the unoccupied zone could enforce a certain de facto independence and neutrality vis-à-vis the Axis.

Destruction of the armistice site in Compiègne

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P50288, Compiègne, "Denkmal des gallischen Triumphes"
Shortly before its destruction, the 1918 "Alsace-Lorraine monument", depicting a German eagle impaled by a sword, now covered with the Third Reich flag, and guarded by a German soldier.
Rethondes Wagon de l'Armistice
A reproduction of the wagon where the Armistice of 22 June 1940 was signed between Germany and France, and where the Armistice of 11 November 1918 was signed between Germany and the Allies, at the museum Clairière de l'Armistice (Rethondes).

The Armistice site was demolished by the Germans on Hitler's orders three days later.[6] The carriage itself was taken to Berlin as a trophy of war, along with pieces of a large stone tablet which bore the inscription (in French):


The Alsace-Lorraine Monument (depicting a German Eagle impaled by a sword) was also destroyed and all evidence of the site was obliterated, except notably the statue of Marshal Foch: Hitler ordered it to be left intact, so that it would be honoring only a wasteland. The railway carriage was later exhibited in Berlin, and then taken to Crawinkel in Thuringia in 1945, where it was destroyed by SS troops and the remains buried. After the war, the site and memorials were restored by German POW labour.

See also


  1. ^ a b Maury, Jean-Pierre. ""Convention d'armistice" – Text of the armistice signed in Rethondes on 22 June 1940". University of Perpignan. Retrieved 11 June 2015..
  2. ^ Shirer, William, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, Simon & Schuster, 2011, ISBN 978-1451651683p. 742
  3. ^ Durand, La Captivité, p. 21
  4. ^ "The Varian Fry Foundation Project/IRC". Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  5. ^ Lacouture 1991, pp.233–4
  6. ^ Lehrer, Steven. "Compiègne". Retrieved 7 December 2013.


  • United States Department of State, Publication No. 6312, Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918–1945, Series D, IX, 671–676. Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1956.

Further reading

  • Gates, Edward. End of the Affair: The Collapse of the Anglo-French Alliance, 1939–1940 (1980)
  • Jackson, Julian. France: The Dark Years, 1940–1944 (2001) ch 6
  • Lacouture, Jean. De Gaulle: The Rebel 1890–1944 (1984; English ed. 1991), ISBN 084190927X
  • Potts, William J. The German-French Armistice of June, 1940, and the German Armistice Commission, 1940–1942 1966.
  • Shirer, William. The Collapse of the Third Republic (1969)
Armistice Army

The Army of the Armistice (Armée de l'Armistice) was the army of the French State (Etat Francais), more commonly known as Vichy France. It was in existence from the Armistice of 22 June 1940 to the start of Operation Anton when it was officially 'disbanded'.

Demarcation line (France)

The French Demarcation line was the boundary line marking the division of Metropolitan France into the territory occupied and administered by the German Army (Zone occupée) in the northern and western part of France and the Zone libre (Free zone) in the south during World War II. It was created by the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after the fall of France in May 1940.

The path of the demarcation line was specified in the Articles of the Armistice. It was also called the green line because it was marked green on the joint map produced at the Armistice Convention. In German, the line is known as the Demarkationslinie, often shortened to Dema-Linie or even Dema.Papers were required in order to cross the line legally, but few had this privilege.

The demarcation line became moot in November 1942 after the Germans crossed the line and invaded the Free Zone in Operation Anton. After this, all of France was under German occupation, and the occupied zone north of the line became known as the "northern Zone" (Zone nord) and the former Zone libre became the "southern zone" (Zone sud). The line was officially annulled on 1 March 1943.

Forest of Compiègne

The Forest of Compiègne (French: Forêt de Compiègne) is a large forest in the region of Picardy, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Paris.The forest is notable as the site of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany which ended World War I on 11 November 1918, as well as the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after the Battle of France in World War II.

France during World War II

The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:

Maginot Line and Alpine Line of fortifications and defences along the borders with Germany and Italy

Phoney War, or drôle de guerre ("strange war"), the period of little military activity between the defeat of Poland in October 1939 and April 1940.

Anglo-French Supreme War Council set up to organize a joint Entente Cordiale strategy against Germany

The Battle of France, in which the German victory led to the fall of the Third Republic in May and June 1940.

Free France (La France Libre) the government-in-exile in London and provisional government over unoccupied and liberated territories, and the forces under its control (Forces françaises libres or FFL), fighting on the Allies' side after the Appeal of 18 June of its leader, General de Gaulle.

French Liberation Army (Armée française de la Libération) formed on 1 August 1943 by the merger of the FFL and all other Free French units, principally the Army of Africa

French Forces of the Interior (Forces françaises de l'intérieur) elements of the Resistance loyal to London and under its operational military command

Free French Air Force

Free French Naval Forces

Vichy France, the rump state established in June 1940 under Marshal Philippe Pétain in the non-occupied Zone libre, officially neutral and independent until invaded by the Axis and the Allies in November 1942

Vichy French Air Force

Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon

Axis occupation of France:

German occupation of France during World War II - 1940-1944 in the northern zones, and 1942-1944 in the southern zone

French Resistance and the National Council of the Resistance which coordinated the various groups that made up the resistance

Service du travail obligatoire - the provision of French citizens as forced labour in Germany

The Holocaust in France

Italian occupation of France during World War II - limited to border areas 1940-1942, almost all Rhône left-bank territory 1942-1943

Japanese and Thai occupation of French Indochina - beginning with the Japanese invasion in September 1940 and with the Franco-Thai War which started in October 1940

Liberation of France

Operation Overlord - the invasion of northern France by the western Allies in June 1944

Operation Dragoon - the invasion of southern France by the western Allies in August 1944

Liberation of Paris - the freeing of the French capital in August 1944

Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine - advance (as the right flank of the western front) into Alsace-Lorraine in 1944

Western Allied invasion of Germany - invasion (as the right flank of the western front) of Baden-Württemberg in 1945

French prisoners of war in World War II

During World War II, the French prisoners of war were primarily soldiers from France and its colonial empire captured by Nazi Germany. Although no precise estimates exist, the number of French soldiers captured during the Battle of France between May and June 1940 is generally recognised around 1.8 million, equivalent to around 10 percent of the total adult male population of France at the time. After a brief period of captivity in France, most of the prisoners were deported to Germany. In Germany, prisoners were incarcerated in Stalag or Oflag prison camps, according to rank, but the vast majority were soon transferred to work details (Kommandos) working in German agriculture or industry. Colonial prisoners, however, remained in camps in France with poor living conditions as a result of Nazi racial ideologies.

During negotiations for the Armistice of 22 June 1940, the Vichy French government adopted a policy of collaboration in hopes for German concessions allowing repatriation. The Germans nevertheless deferred the return of prisoners until the negotiation of a final peace treaty, which never occurred due to the United Kingdom's refusal to surrender and Germany's loss in the Battle of Britain. The absence of a large proportion of the male population of France also had important consequences on the position of women in occupied France and charity fundraising on behalf of the prisoners played an important role in French daily life until late in the occupation. Limited repatriation of certain classes of POWs did occur from 1940 and the government was keen to encourage the return of prisoners, even launching the unpopular relève system in order to exchange prisoners of war for French labourers going to work in Germany. Nevertheless, many prisoners remained in German captivity until the defeat of Germany in 1945. Prisoners who returned to France, either by repatriation or through escaping, generally found themselves stigmatised by the French civilian population and received little official recognition.

Glade of the Armistice

The Glade of the Armistice (French: Clairière de l'Armistice) is a French national and war memorial in the Forest of Compiègne in Picardy, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Paris. It was built at the location where the Germans signed the Armistice of 11 November 1918 that ended World War I. During World War II, Adolf Hitler chose the same spot for the French and Germans to sign the Armistice of 22 June 1940 after Germany won the Battle of France. The site was destroyed by the Germans but rebuilt after the war.

Today, the Glade of the Armistice contains a statue of World War I French military leader and Allied supreme commander Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and the reconstructed Alsace-Lorraine Memorial, depicting a German Eagle impaled by a sword.

Henri Navarre

Henri Eugène Navarre (31 July 1898, Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Aveyron – 26 September 1983, Paris) was a French Army general. He fought during World War I, World War II and was the seventh and final commander of French Far East Expeditionary Corps during the First Indochina War. Navarre was in overall command during the decisive French defeat at the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ.

Navarre entered l'École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1916 and in May 1917 was sent to the front with a cavalry unit, 2e régiment de hussards. By 15 August 1917 he earned command of a platoon. He was given a field promotion to Lieutenant 21 April 1918. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with bronze star for his exemplary service between 28 September 1918 and 4 October 1918. In March 1919, he was transferred to Syria, then in 1922 to Germany with the Occupation Force. In 1927 he was sent to École supérieure de guerre, the War College. He participated in the pacification of the Atlas and southern Morocco from 1930 to 1934. From 1934 to 1936 he was a Captain in the 11e régiment de cuirassiers. From 1938 to 1940 he was assigned to the German section of the Intelligence Service of the General Staff. While there, he submitted a proposal code named "Desperado", outlining a plan to assassinate Hitler. The project drew little support from his superior, Colonel Louis Rivet, and was ultimately rejected by Prime Minister Édouard Daladier.After the Armistice of 22 June 1940, Navarre was appointed head of the intelligence and counter-espionage bureau of General Maxime Weygand in Algiers. When he was recalled in 1942 for his anti-German activities, he went underground, joining the Resistance as head of the ORA. He commanded an armored regiment of the 1st Army in the liberation of France.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1945 and posted to Germany, where he held various positions including that of commander of 5e division blindée (5th Armored Division) and Chief of Staff of Marshal Alphonse Juin. He remained in Germany until May 1953, except for a brief assignment as a Division Commander in Algeria from 1948 to 1949.

Navarre was appointed Général de corps d'armée, equivalent of Lieutenant General, in 1952.

In May 1953, Navarre replaced Raoul Salan as Commander of French forces in Indochina, in the midst of a war with the Viet Minh that was going badly. The French government wanted to stabilize the situation so that they could begin peace negotiations on favorable terms: military victory was no longer an objective.Navarre's instructions were to insure the safety of the troops under his command. Instead, he undertook Operation Castor on 20 November 1953. Five French battalions parachuted into Điện Biên Phủ in the Mường Thanh Valley, a 20-km-long, 6-km-wide basin surrounded by hills. Navarre hoped to draw the Viet Minh into a pitched battle where he hoped to defeat them.Authorities in France did not learn of the operation until six hours after it started.

Things went wrong almost immediately. The French position came under heavy, unanticipated artillery fire from the surrounding hills. Troops were unable to execute any missions beyond the valley floor, limiting actions to patrols and local counterattacks. It became increasingly difficult to bring in supplies by air, or to provide air support.

After intelligence reports on 3 December 1953 showed four enemy Divisions closing on Điện Biên Phủ, Navarre issued instructions accepting battle and calling for Điện Biên Phủ to be held at all costs. By January 1954 he started exploring plans for withdrawal. He soon realized any breakout attempt would be suicidal. No significant attempt to break out was ever made.

Complicating the situation, Navarre initiated a second offensive operation on 12 December 1953, committing nearly twice as many troops to Operation Atlante in south central Vietnam, over 400 miles from Điện Biên Phủ. Navarre saw Operation Atlante as his main effort; he did not believe that Điện Biên Phủ would be a decisive operation. He even speculated that the loss of Điện Biên Phủ Dien was strategically acceptable.Navarre failed to consider the devastating effect the loss would have on Army morale, and the resulting loss of political support for the war at home.

By 13 March 1954 the attack on Điện Biên Phủ had begun. The French garrison numbered about 13,000; the Viet Minh massed more than 50,000 men.After some initial success, Operation Atlante quickly bogged down into a series of Viet Minh ambushes on French convoys. The French eventually terminated Operation Atlante with no tangible gains while Điện Biên Phủ was lost on 7 May 1954, after a siege of 54 days.

Peace talks began in Geneva the next morning. Any negotiating advantage the French government had expected had been lost by Navarre's miscalculations. The First Indochina War was over.

Considered responsible for the loss, Navarre was replaced 3 June 1954 by General Paul-Henri-Romuald Ely. He remained in the Army, retiring in 1956. In the same year he published Agonie de l'Indochine, a work which blamed the Indochina defeat on the nature of the French political system, intellectuals, politicians, journalists, and Communists. The book warned of the possible necessity for an army coup to replace the French Fourth Republic. He died in Paris in 1983.

Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

Jean Joseph Marie Gabriel de Lattre de Tassigny, GCB, MC (French: [ʒɑ̃ də latʁ də tasiɲi]; 2 February 1889 – 11 January 1952) was a French military commander in World War II and the First Indochina War. He was posthumously promoted to Marshal of France.

As an officer during World War I, he fought in combat in various battles, including Verdun and was wounded five times, surviving the war with 8 citations, the Légion d'honneur and the Military Cross. During the Interwar period, he took part in campaigns in Morocco where he was wounded in action again. He then pursued a career in the general staff headquarters and as a commander of a regiment.

Early in World War II, from May to June 1940, he was the youngest French Général. He led his division during the Battle of France, at the battles of Rethel, Champagne-Ardenne, and Loire and until the Armistice of 22 June 1940. During the Vichy Regime, he remained in the Armistice Army, first in regional command posts, then as commander-in-chief of troops in Tunisia. After the disembarking of Allied forces in North Africa, on 11 November 1942, the Germans invaded the free zone; de Lattre, Commander of the 16th Military Division at Montpellier, refused the orders not to fight the Germans and was the only active général to order his troops to oppose the invaders. He was arrested but escaped and defected to Charles de Gaulle's Free France at end of 1943. From 1943 to 1945 he was one of the senior leaders of the Liberation Army, commanding the forces which landed in the South of France on 15 August 1944, then fought up to the Rivers Rhine and Danube. He was the only French general of World War II to command large numbers of American troops, when the US XXI Corps was attached to his First Army during the battle of the Colmar Pocket. He was also the French representative at Berlin on 8 May 1945, with Eisenhower, Zhukov and Montgomery.

Commander-in-Chief of French Forces in Germany in 1945, then Inspector Général of the French Army (Inspection générale des armées) and General Headquarters of National Defence (Chef d'État-Major général de la Défense nationale) in 1947, he was the vice-president of the Supreme War Council. From 1948 to 1950 he served as Commander-in-chief of the Western Union's ground forces. In 1951, he was the High Commissioner, commander-in-chief in Indochina and commander-in-chief of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps, winning several battles against the Việt Minh. His only son was killed there, then illness forced him to return to Paris where he died of cancer in 1952. He was elevated to the dignity of Marshal of France posthumously in 1952 during his state funeral.

Lioré et Olivier LeO 45

Lioré-et-Olivier LeO 45 was a French medium bomber that was used during and after the Second World War. It had been originally designed and developed for the newly formed Armée de l'air as a modern medium bomber capable of performing independent strategic operations, unlike the majority of previous French bombers.

The LeO 45 was a low-wing monoplane, all-metal in construction, equipped with a retractable undercarriage and powered by two 1,060 hp Gnome-Rhône 14N engines. The prototype, which made its maiden flight on 15 January 1937, had been outfitted two 1,100 hp Hispano-Suiza engines. The LeO 45 had been developed with the aim of providing a modern and advanced bomber for the new Armée de l'air, which had gained its independence on 1 April 1933. Introduced to operational service in 1938, it was a very effective and capable bomber.

As only a handful of aircraft had been introduced into the French Air Force by the outbreak of the Second World War, the LeO 45 had effectively appeared too late in order for the type to provide any substantial contribution during the Battle of France in the face of an invasion by Nazi Germany. As a result of the Armistice of 22 June 1940, the LeO 45 was being operated in quantity by both sides of the conflict; while the type continued to be manufactured and operated by occupied Vichy France, the Free France forces also operated the aircraft. The LeO 45 participated in combat missions throughout the remainder of the war, and continued to be used for some time after its end by the post-war French Air Force. The last examples in active service were finally retired in September 1957.

List of World War II weapons

World War II saw rapid technological innovation in response to the needs of the various combatants. Many different weapons systems evolved as a result.

Note: This list does not consist of all weapons used by all countries in World War II.

List of military awards of World War II

Military awards of World War II were presented by most of the combatants.

The following is from the article World War II, removed from that article for clarity, and represents an incomplete list of some of the awards.

Naval Battle of Casablanca

The Naval Battle of Casablanca was a series of naval engagements fought between American ships covering the invasion of North Africa and Vichy French ships defending the neutrality of French Morocco in accordance with the Second Armistice at Compiègne during World War II. The last stages of the battle consisted of operations by German U-boats which had reached the area the same day the French troops surrendered.Allied military planners anticipated an all-American force assigned to seize the Atlantic port city of Casablanca might be greeted as liberators. An invasion task force of 102 American ships carrying 35,000 American soldiers approached the Moroccan coast undetected under cover of darkness. French defenders interpreted the first contacts as a diversionary raid for a major landing in Algeria; and Germany regarded the surrender of six Moroccan divisions to a small commando raiding force as a clear violation of French obligations to defend Moroccan neutrality under the Armistice of 22 June 1940 at Compiègne. An escalating series of surprised responses in an atmosphere of mistrust and secrecy caused the loss of four U.S. troopships and the deaths of 462 men aboard 24 French ships opposing the invasion.

Operation Aerial

Operation Aerial (also Operation Ariel) was the name given to the Second World War evacuation of Allied forces and civilians, from ports in western France, from 15 to 25 June 1940. The evacuation followed the military collapse in the Battle of France against Nazi Germany, after Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk and Operation Cycle, an embarkation from Le Havre, which finished on 13 June. British and Allied ships were covered from French bases by five Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter squadrons and assisted by aircraft based in England, to lift British, Polish and Czech troops, civilians and equipment from Atlantic ports, particularly from St Nazaire and Nantes.

The Luftwaffe attacked the evacuation ships and on 17 June, evaded RAF fighter patrols and sank the Cunard liner and troopship HMT Lancastria in the Loire estuary. The ship sank quickly and vessels in the area were still under attack during rescue operations, which saved about 2,477 passengers and crew. The liner had thousands of troops, RAF personnel and civilians on board and the number of the passengers who died in the sinking is unknown, because in the haste to embark as many people as possible, keeping count broke down. The loss of at least 3,500 people made the disaster the greatest loss of life in a British ship, which the British government tried to keep secret on the orders of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister.

Some equipment was embarked on the evacuation ships but lack of reliable information about the progress of the German Army towards the coast, rumours and alarmist reports, led some operations to be terminated early and much equipment was destroyed or left behind. The official evacuation ended on 25 June, in conformity with the terms of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 agreed by the French and German authorities but informal departures continued from French Mediterranean ports until 14 August. From the end of Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk, Operation Cycle from Le Havre, elsewhere along the Channel coast and the termination of Operation Aerial, another 191,870 troops were rescued, bringing the total of military and civilian personnel returned to Britain during the Battle of France to 558,032, including 368,491 British troops.

Operation Cottage

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June 1942.

The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Allied forces suffered over 313 casualties in total during the operation, due to stray Japanese mines, friendly fire incidents, and battlefield combat.

Operation Keelhaul

Operation Keelhaul was a forced repatriation of former Soviet Armed Forces POWs of Germany to the Soviet Union, carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.

Operation Royal Marine

Operation Royal Marine was a military operation in May 1940 during the Second World War, in the Battle of France (10 May – 25 June 1940). Fluvial mines were floated down rivers from France into Germany, to destroy bridges, barges and other water transport. After several postponements insisted on by the French government, fearful of German retaliation, the operation began on 10 May 1940, when the German offensive in the west began. The mines caused some damage and delay to German river traffic on the Rhine, from Karlsruhe to Koblenz and damaged bridges and protective barriers. Part of the plan was for Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers to drop the mines into rivers and canals on moonlit nights but this had hardly begun when the campaign ended. The success of the plot was nullified by the Allied defeat and the Franco-German Armistice of 22 June 1940.

Operation Starvation

Operation Starvation was a naval mining operation conducted in World War II by the United States Army Air Forces, in which vital water routes and ports of Japan were mined from the air in order to disrupt enemy shipping.


"Quisling" (; Norwegian pronunciation: [²kvɪslɪŋ]) is a term originating in Norway, which is used in Scandinavian languages and in English for a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force – or more generally as a synonym for traitor. The word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II.

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