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4e Division cuirassée

Insignia of the 4e DCr.

The 4e Division cuirassée (4e DCr, "4th armoured division") was a short-lived armoured unit of the French Army. Formed on 10 May 1940 on the battlefield, it comprised mainly tank battalions. It fought without interruption for forty days.

The Battle Of France

Formation

Formed under Colonel De Gaulle on 15 May 1940

Fighting The Blitzkrieg

The 4DCr launched an attack on 17 May at the Battle of Montcornet, where it successfully threw back the German defenses but had to retreat on its starting positions for lack of support and air cover. It then moved south of Abbeville to attack German bridgeheads across the Aisne river, fighting the Battle of Abbeville on 28/29 May with the aim of breaking through to the encircled Allied units trapped in Dunkirk.

On 1 June, the 4e DCr was relieved by the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division and regrouped at Marseille-en-Beauvaisis to attach itself to the armoured group under General Charles Delestraint. On 6 June, De Gaulle was relieved of his command to rejoin his new commission as State under-secretary for War in the government. De Gaulle was replaced by Colonel Chaudesolle, General de la Font took command of the division on 7 June.

On 10 June, the armoured group was attached to the Paris Army, and on 12 June, the division was assigned to the 10th Army Corps. From then on, it took part in rear-guard fights during the retreat, notably on the Loire river from 12 to 19 June, and until the cease-fire on 26 June.

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