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In the evening of 12 June, Weygand ordered all troops still fighting to break off at once along the whole front, and to fall back as far south as possible so as to save what was left of the rest of the French army from being totally destroyed. It didn’t take long for the Germans to cotton on to the fact that the French were falling back and they launched all their units in hot pursuit of the retreating troops to prevent them from saving what could still be saved. The result was a race during which, on one side, men sacrificed themselves for a lost cause whereas, on the other, men fell for a cause which was already won. Unlike
what one could imagine, the fighting during the second fortnight of June turned out to be just as heavy as the previous weeks and there was bloody fighting on both sides, as much for capturing Cherbourg as Champagne, in Burgundy or in the Alps, or along the Swiss border which was blocked by Guderian’s Gruppe, trapping all the Armies of the East in a gigantic snare.
It is the tale of this often unrecognised, or even unknown, fighting that this book wants to tell, in more than 400 pages and more than a thousand photos, most of them unpublished. History, it seems, has only wanted to remember the last days of the campaign, the defence of Saumur or the fighting at Voreppe; but this is to play down what the men died for, those who fell along the Marne Canal, at Saint-Hippolyte, along the Vosges passes, or in the valley of the Moselle, just to mention a few places where French soldiers honoured their flag till the end.
More than a thousand period and present-day photos in colour.
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