The battle of Montcornet

The battle of Montcornet

On May 17, 1940, the battle of Montcornet (Aisne) took place between the Germans and the French. Charles de Gaulle, then a colonel, led the French troops, which included Renault, B1bis and R35 tanks. The outcome of this battle was favorable to the Germans, allowing them to continue their route towards Cambrai.

The battle of Montcornet celebrated its 80th anniversary on May 17, 2020. Marking Charles de Gaulle's entry into the war, this battle, well conducted strategically, suffered from the lack of manpower available to Colonel de Gaulle, who wrote in his Mémoires de Guerre: "So at the sight of this distraught people and this military rout, at the account of this contemptuous insolence of the adversary, I feel raised with a boundless fury. Ah! it is too stupid! The war starts infinitely badly. It must therefore continue. There is space in the world for that. If I live, I will fight wherever I have to, as long as I have to, until the enemy is defeated and the national stain is washed away. What I was able to do thereafter, that was the day I resolved."

On May 11, 1940, Colonel Charles de Gaulle took command of the 4th Reserve Armored Division (DCR) at Le Vésinet, shortly before being engaged in the battle of Montcornet.

On May 11, 1940, Colonel Charles de Gaulle took command of the 4th Reserve Armored Division (DCR) at Le Vésinet, shortly before being engaged in the battle of Montcornet.