Generals KIA in May-June 1940

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David Lehmann
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Generals KIA in May-June 1940

Post by David Lehmann » 09 May 2006 16:48

Hello,

AFAIK, 13 French generals were KIA among the 100,000 French KIAs:
• General Barbe (4e DLC) on May 15
• General d'Humières (2e Brigade de Cavalerie) on May 16
• General Bouffet (2e Corps d'Armées) on May 17
• General Deslaurens (60e DI) on May 17 at Flessingue (Vlissingen) in the Netherlands
• General Augereau on May 18 [French Air Force]
• General Olivier-Charles-Marie Thierry d'Argenlieu (Chief of Staff 9th Army) on May 19
• General Husband on May 19
• General Gaston Billotte (Groupe d'Armées 1) on May 23 (car accident)
• General Caille on May 25 in Boulogne
• General Janssen (12e DIM) in Dunkirk on June 2
• General Ardant du Pic (84e DIA) on June 8
• General Berniquet (2e DLC) on June 11
• General Maurice-Georges-Marie de Courson de la Villeneuve on June 15

On the German side, among the 45,218 KIAs of the 1940 western campaign there was a single general.
Generalleutnant Ritter von Speck commander of the XVIIIth Army Corps (25.ID, 81.ID and 290.ID) was KIA on June 15 at Pont-sur-Yonne. The German XVIIIth Army Corps met French troops from the 2e DLIC (Division Légère d'Infanterie Coloniale). This light division has been formed on June 8 with elements of the former 2e DIC [8e RTS, 72e GRDI and 2e RAC (reduced to 24 75mm Mle1897 field guns and 12 155mm C Mle1917 howitzers)] completed by the 4e DBCPy (Pyrenean Chasseurs Half Brigade). Retreating French elements like those of the 7e DI pushed back by a German armored corps will reinforce the French lines. At the town of Pont-sur-Yonne (on the Yonne River) on June 15, the 81.ID encounters the 72e GRDI (Groupe de Reconnaissance de Division d'Infanterie). The 72e GDRI has been reinforced by various remnants from the 40e GRDI and 24e GRCA. One 75mm Mle1897 field gun (probably from 316e RAP) is deployed in the axis of the bridge at Pont-sur-Yonne. On June 15, at 10h00 the bridge is blown away. The German spearheads are increasing their pressure and the French are often bombed by enemy planes. The first German elements are not able to cross the River and engineers are sent to the first line. General Ritter von Speck, General von Loeper (commander of the 81.ID) and a staff officer move to the frontline to see what is happening. They are caught by French infantry fire at 16h15: Ritter von Speck is KIA and the commander of 81.ID is WIA.

Corrections or additional data are welcome. Are they British (BEF), Belgian or Dutch generals who were KIA in May-June 1940 ?

Regards,

David

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Steen Ammentorp
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Post by Steen Ammentorp » 09 May 2006 19:36

David,

Do you have additional info on general Husband? An Air Force officer?

To my knowledge no Belgian, British or Dutch generals was KIA during May-June 1940. The closet thing would be Major-General Philip de Fonblanque, who died as a result of the stress endured during the campaign but this was following the evacuation of BEF and some sources claims him terminal ill of cancer. Admittely I haven't tracked all the British brigadiers yet.

However the following Belgians with the strange rank of Colonel-brigadier died in 1940 and several were KIAs:

Colonel-Brigadier Marcel Baily 1940
Colonel-Brigadier Oscar Gomy 1940
Colonel-Brigadier Pierre Harroy 1940
Colonel-Brigadier Albert Jacob 1940
Colonel-Brigadier Noël Antoine Leaucour 1913-1940
Colonel-Brigadier Florimund Petit 1940

But not being generals I haven't noted any further on them and I can't say which were KIAs.

Kind Regards
Steen Ammentorp
The Generals of World War II

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 May 2006 20:23

Hello Steen,

I don't really know who he is but I think he is from the Army. I have read in several sources that 13 French generals were KIA but for those where I did not indicate the unit or the command I don't really know and I am trying to find information.

• General Husband ? Is that a spelling mistake ?

• General Caille ? I think there was a colonel Caille in the staff of the 21e DI beginning 1940. Did he become general later ? I did not found where/when exactly.
IN "Boulogne 1940 - mourir en chantant" by André-Georges Vasseur there is a mention of General Caille's death. According to various sources he was KIA in Boulogne or he managed to leave Boulogne and was KIA in front of the fort of Ambleteuse.

• General Maurice-Georges-Marie de Courson de la Villeneuve ? I know for sure he was KIA but I don't know what command or responsability he had.

I thought you might know these officers actually :)

Regards,

David

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JPK
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Post by JPK » 09 May 2006 21:27

Bonsoir David

-Général de Brigade THIERRY d'ARGENLIEU Olivier tue le 18 mai 1940 à GOUY
(AISNE)
-Général de brigade aérienne AUGEREAU Raoul, tue à l'ennemi le 18 mai 1940

Both were killed the same day and in the same place: GOUY / Le Catelet (BTW not far from where I live )

http://batailles-1939-1940.forumpro.fr/ ... n-1940.htm

http://batailles-1939-1940.forumpro.fr/ ... n-1940.htm

http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/GE ... 1060692485

Amitiés
Jean.

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 09 May 2006 21:34

Hello Jean,

Many thanks !
Ok then d'Argenlieu was KIA on May 18 and not 19 as I wrote at first.

The last links gives us several locations and first names. Do you have an idea of what command had Husband, Caille and de Courson de la Villeneuve ?

Regards,

David

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Steen Ammentorp
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Post by Steen Ammentorp » 10 May 2006 15:58

Hi David,

Yes I knew about the generals but I was actually unsure whether you wanted their first names or not.

Regarding Husband then I think we are talking about Général de brigade Edouard-Auguste-Albert Husband (13/05/1862-19/5/1940). I have him on the reserve list as of 1st of January 1940 and though I know that there was a tendency to recall older rather than promote younger and more energitic generals during the crisis in 1940 I very much doubt that he was one of them, at 78!

Regarding Caille then I have him as commander of the infantry of 21e DI as his last position and I have Courson as commander of a cavalry group depot at Lunéville but I don't if this was the position he held at the time of his death.

Kind Regards
Steen Ammentorp
The Generals of World War II

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 10 May 2006 20:26

Hi Steen,

Thanks for additional details Steen :)

Regards,

David

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