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Siege of Lille (1940)


Siege of Lille (1940)

Siege of Lille
Part of the Battle of France in World War II

Situation, 21 May – 4 June 1940
Date 28–31 May 1940
Location Lille, France
Result See the 'Aftermath' section
 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
Jean-Baptiste Molinié (POW)
Gustave Mesny (POW)
Fritz Kühne (POW)
Erwin Rommel
Joachim Lemelsen
Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn
Ludwig Ritter von Radlmeier
5 divisions[1]
(40,000 men)
4 infantry divisions
3 armoured divisions[1]
(110,000 men, 800 tanks)
Lille is located in France
Lille, capital of Nord-Pas de Calais region and the prefecture of the Nord department

The Siege of Lille or Lille Pocket was a Second World War battle fought during the Battle of France. It took place from 28–31 May 1940 in the vicinity of Lille, France during the Battle of France. It involved the 40,000 men of the French IV Corps and V Corps of the First Army (General René Prioux), after the III Corps managed to retreat to the Lys river with the BEF divisions nearby. The surrounded portion of the army fought seven German divisions, including three armoured divisions, which were attempting to cut off and destroy the Allied armies at Dunkirk. The defence of Lille was of great assistance to the Allied troops retreating into the Dunkirk perimeter.


On the night of 27/28 May, the BEF divisions near Lille were able to retreat over the Lys but only the III Corps of the French First Army (General René Prioux) managed to get away. Many of the French units had retreated from much further south and were still around Lille, when German units attacking from the west and east met behind the city.[2][1] The 4th Panzer Division, 5th Panzer Division and 7th Panzer division and the 11th Infantry Division, 217th Infantry Division, 253rd Infantry Division and 267th infantry Division surrounded most of the First Army in Lille.[3]


The IV Corps (Général de corps d'armée Aymes) and V Corps (General René Altmeyer) attempted a breakout on the west side of Lille to retreat towards the Lys at 7:30 p.m. on 28 May, when the 2e Division d'infanterie nord-africaine (2e DINA, Major-General Pierre Dame) tried to cross the Deûle river over the bridge to Sequedin (just south of Lomme). The 5e Division d'infanterie nord-africaine (5e DINA, Major-General Augustin Agliany) tried to escape over the Moulin Rouge bridge on the Santes road, south of Haubourdin.[4]

Another attempt was made during the morning of 29 May. The Germans had mined the bridge but two

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