Diary for Wednesday, June 5, 1940:
BATTLE OF FRANCE BEGINS – Operation Rot (Red): 119 German divisions (with 10 armored) against 65 French divisions (3 armored, 3 mechanized cavalry) and 1 British division.
German Army Group B (50 divisions) attacks on the Somme. Army Groups A and C in state of readiness. French defend fortified villages and road blocks tenaciously (Weygand Line). By nightfall Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division is 13 km south of Somme.
Hauptmann Mölders, leading German fighter ‘ace’, shot down in his Me 109E near Compiegne and taken prisoner.
30 German bombers attack airfields near British East Coast, little damage. RAF bomb railways in Rhineland (night June 5-6), similar raid on night June 6-7.
France – Cabinet changes: Prime Minister Reynaud takes personal responsibility for Foreign Affairs; General de Gaulle becomes Under-Secretary for Defense, ex-Prime Minister Daladier leaves Government (at the insistence of Petain and of Reynaud’s domineering mistress, Countess de Portes).