When the German tanks crossed the Polish frontier, Colonel Charles de Gaulle, commander of the tanks of the Fifth Army, saw the German success in this campaign as vindicating the theories outlined in his book, The Army of the Future, published five years earlier. The forceful expression of his opinions on the failings of the French hierarchy and the need for more French armored divisions antagonized the upper echelons of the French military.
Despite this, on 15 May 1940, five days after the German Army swept through the Ardennes, de Gaulle, now at 49 the youngest General in the French Army, was appointed to command the 4ème Division Cuirassée, an armored division still in the process of forming. On 18 May de Gaulle took the initiative, ordering an attack with just a battalion of Char B-1 bis heavy tanks, and two battalions of Renault R-35 light tanks. He hoped an attack using his doctrine of surprise and rapid movement would throw the Germans off their stride and slow the German advance.
His bold attack captured Montcornet after an advance of 15 miles (25km). However, German artillery took its toll and his force retired to its start line near Laon with around 100 German prisoners. Although his attack had little overall effect, the encounter with French heavy tanks did scare the German High Command, leading to an order to halt the German spearhead until the infantry could catch up and protect their flanks.
The 4ème Division Cuirassée were then ordered to Abbeville to reduce the German bridgehead across the Somme. Once again, de Gaulle saw the opportunity to take the enemy by surprise. His tired troops and other hastily assembled formations attacked once again. The French took the Germans by surprise and gained their initial objectives but lost tanks at a rate they could not sustain, being forced to halt.
There was no doubting the valor of the French, but when the Germans organized a strong counterattack, the fighting became desperate. The division held on to the ground it gained until relieved on May 30 by the British 51st (Highland) Division that had been rushed over from the Maginot Line.
When France fell de Gaulle decided to carry on the fight from outside territorial France, becoming the leader of the Free French forces fighting in Africa.
Charles de Gaulle in Flames Of War
Général de Gaulle is a Warrior and a Higher Command Transport team rated as Fearless Veteran. De Gaulle is mounted motorcycle.
You may field de Gaulle in any Compagnie de Combat for +45 points. Light Tank Platoons in a force joined by de Gaulle must have R-35 tanks.
The blister also comes with an optional small base so that you can choose to use this very characterful figure to represent your Company Commander.