Battle of Abbeville

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The Battle of Abbeville took place from the 28 May to 4 June 1940 near Abbeville. While the Dunkirk evacuation was under way, General Maxime Weygand attempted to take advantage of the immobilisation of German forces to cut an escape route through and rescue the trapped Allied forces of the Dunkirk pocket.

The Allied attack, carried out by the French 2e Division cuirassée (2e DCr) and 4e Division cuirassée (4e DCr), and the British 1st Armoured Division, constituted the largest attack sustained by German forces until the Battle of Kursk. It comprised 500 tanks and 4 Infantry divisions.

In spite of Allied success which effectively shattered German defences on the ground, the battle was ultimately a failure due to the general breakdown of the French and British armies.

The repeated frontal attacks of Mont Caubter by Colonel De Gaulle have been later criticised by Henri de Wailly as reminiscent of the attitude of French knights at the Battle of Crécy. Nevertheless, De Gaulle was promoted to acting brigade general on 24 May, with effect on 1 June, and was Mentioned in Despatches: "On 7 May 1940, having just been formed, the 4e DCr, under orders of Colonel De Gaulle, was thrown into battle. Isolated from any fighting unit North of Aisne river during action at Montcornet, Crécy-en-Serre and in Laon mountains, gained initiative on the enemy. A few days later, through a series of spiritful attacks, stopped the enemy arriving from Abbeville (...) the 4e DCr has gained recognition from the Fatherland."