The Nazi invasion of France was a clear definitive show of the Blitzstreig. It was the trigger to the start of the war. Over 800,000 soldiers of 16 different regiments, battalions and korps filed into France across a 20 km wide front on the 22nd June 1941. The whole of France except Paris had been conquered within five weeks. The entirety of the French army, 300,000 was inside Paris, and the B.E.F. had retreated to England. However, it would take another 229 days before France surrendered on the 13th March 1942
Assault on the Maginot Line
By 1939 the Maginot was completed. It stretched all the way through the Ardennes. It consisted of a series of concrete bunkers with tank turrets and machine gun emplacements. However, it had one key flaw. The military barracks for the majority of the French soldiers were not underground. Throughout the entirety of the Ardennes problems of soft soil prevented sub-terranean construction. Plans stolen by a Nazi spy, his name remains still unknown, indicated this. The Nazi Luftwaffe was able to attack the barracks attached to the Maginot Line in the Ardennes. A large number of French troops were killed in the air raid but the Maginot line was still well manned. On the 22nd of June Nazi soldiers crashed into the Maginot line expecting little resistance. Under waves of machine gun fire the Nazi soldiers were forced to lie low. One Battalion, though way at the back of the line, continued advancing through the gunfire and charged through the defences of the Maginot line. This led the rest of the Frankreich Korps to be able to outflank the Maginot Line fairly easily. The III Sturmkreiger were made heroes on that day. The French armies organised retreat was very efficient. 350,000 troops were successful at leaving the Maginot line. However, the French retreat fell apart. After landing at Calais on the 1st July the 100,000 strong B.E.F. was quick in joining the slowly retreating French. The organised retreat was well planned. British and French Generals planned to retreat to Paris and for a 400,000 B.R.F. (British Relief Force) to lift the siege. However, disaster struck when the B.E.F. and 50,000 French soldiers attempted to cross the Somme river. An unprecedented massive Nazi attack led to the the 150,000 strong force being cut off from the remaining French army. General De Gaulle, despite General Lord Gort's protest that the force would not be able to break through and regroup, continued with the plan to retreat to Paris. The separated army retreated in the general direction of Cherbourg
Siege of Paris
With the whole of Paris encircled, the Nazi army felt very confident, they both outgunned and outnumbered the entrenched French.
B.E.F. retreated and in a different direction from that of the main French army. The II Sturmkreiger, I Sturmpanzer, IX Panzer Korp took responsibility for destroying this break away
Hitler was furious as to how the French managed to decimate his army. To make the French pay for this