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In 1940, France, is considered the strongest power of the European continent, it collapsed under the blows of the German troops. French humiliating truce signed at Compiegne, in a railway carriage. The city and the car were the same as 22 years ago where the Germans signed the instrument of surrender in World War II.

English-speaking historians, referring to the period of 40-41-second period, involuntarily compared the rapid fall of France with respect to the successful evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk, with the Battle of Britain, and fought in North Africa. And it was very difficult to resist the conclusion that the French army was unimportant, and they fought badly.

But a German officer after the war, he said he will never forget the three battles: in Ston, Stalingrad and Monte Cassino. By the way, groans – this is in France, the one that “did not know how to fight.”

Rock in a turbulent flow

One of the worst attacks in the French May 40th got there, whence did not wait: Heinz Guderian German tanks passed through the forested Ardennes Mountains. The estimate unlucky French division, which turned in his way, “Heinz-speed” went to the river Maas. Part of the German troops crossed to the other side, crossing sappers quickly put things to the art, and a foothold in the morning, “was discovered.” German divisions rushed to the heights south of the French city of Sedan, which was a small village groan.

French counterattack in anguish as two drops of water similar to the situation on the Eastern Front in the 41-year, as soon as the Germans opened fire on the infantry, it is lain down and the tanks did not go [1,999,003]

At dawn on May 15th battalion of the German division “Greater Germany”, backed by tanks moved into the attack on the village. At this point, the French defended Stonn infantry, armored cars, and a pair of anti-tank guns of 25 mm caliber. It is these pushchonki “greeted” with enemy tanks at the entrance to the village, leaving the battlefield two padded PzIV. More brisk PzIIsumeli to break into a new city. The German infantry, which was first distilled machine gun fire, perked up and was able to gain a foothold on the outskirts of groans. While the fight was going, large German forces bypassed the village from the other flank. Under the threat environment the French retreated, losing armored cars. Reassure Germans snooping was followed, but lost another two tanks. The first round was for the Germans.

After receiving a report of the German attack, the French command sent a moan than a dozen tanks HotchkissN39. Description of the counterattack as two drops of water resembles reports of tank commanders of the Red Army of the Great Patriotic War, as soon as the Germans opened fire on the infantry, she lain down and the tanks did not go, despite all efforts to the commander. And the result of the French attack was also similar to what was on the eastern front the Germans were repulsed, the French lost a few military vehicles.

Stonn the time of unremarkable village has become a key point on the map. And it has moved very different French tanks – ten armored colossi B1bis.

Day of fire and metal

Heavy tanks were V1bis design similar to the British “diamonds” – their caterpillars covered the body. Archaic scheme for early forties. But when you consider the thick armor and powerful weapons – 75 mm howitzer in the hull and a 47-mm gun in the turret, in his French class she was definitely the best heavyweight in the world.

Traditionally, each B1bis, except rooms, have also a proper name. For example, the machine Karaveo lieutenant, company commander, advancing a groan, called “Tula” (a city in Morocco).

Стонн, 40-й год. Как дрались французы
German tank Pz. IV, destroyed in battle. 1940

May 15 was for Stoney one continuous battle, during which the village several times passed from hand to hand. At the same time the French infantry was still not enthusiastic in their support of armored vehicles. And without the support of even the most powerful tank vulnerable. After two attacks on the go just three B1.

Gathering his strength, pulling a few “Gochkissov” and FCM 36 noon Frenchmen still kicked soldiers “Greater Germany” from Ston. The Germans responded with artillery raid and the attack dive bombers, so what’s next fight was not for the village and for its ruins. By evening Stonn was for the Germans.

The night. Opponents of breath and pulled up reinforcements. Nobody doubted that the point in history has not been set. The morning was going to be terrible.

tragic heroism

Before dawn on Stoney “fulfilled” the French artillery. After the artillery bombardment of the French again took the offensive. Now, they were involved in a fight 14 B1bis.

Famous French tanker captain Pierre Biyot commanded this battle tank with the proper name “Air”. On one of the streets of Ston, he met a column of German tanks. Ordered the destruction of the 75-mm gun lead car, Biyot methodically destroyed one tank after the other and moved on. The relics of German tank guns was not enough to cause him how some tangible harm. The second column, greeted the captain, shared the fate of the previous one. All in all B1bis «Er” in that day there were 13 German tanks and two anti-tank guns. After the battle on the armor car Biyota there were almost a hundred and fifty tracks from enemy shells. There was a break through.

Стонн, 40-й год. Как дрались французы
destroyed tank “Jeanne d’Arc”

The following day, only two tanks “Tunisia” and “Mistral” – for some half an hour of battle turned into scrap metal fifty German trucks, tractors and armored personnel carriers, several light tanks and anti-tank guns.

The battle for Stonn lasted another week after that. B1 But they did not participate because they were transferred to other sectors. It is impossible not to talk about the battle of the tank with the name of “Joan of Arc” on 28 May. He lost a battle in 75-mm howitzers, but continued to fight, firing from machine guns and crushing the enemy caterpillars. Two more German getting wedged tower and damage the unit of observation. Tank got 90 hits, but only 88 mm projectile anti-aircraft guns could stop him. At the same time the crew was able to leave the car and go out to his.

Such tankers could be proud of any army. And it is not their fault that to win the war need not only heroic, but the interaction and supply troops, tactics, and many other components.

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