Nantes - BEF 2nd Base Sub Area 1939-40

Discussion in '1940' started by Bob Chandler, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Bob Chandler

    Bob Chandler Junior Member

    Looking for any information/photos of Nantes during this time, prior to a visit there next week. Didn't really know much about the part played by the town until we decided to go there, but now very interested to learn about its BEF connections, e.g. the post-Dunkirk evacuations etc.

    Anyone been there?


  2. MalcolmII

    MalcolmII Senior Member

    No but:

    HQ South District

    1st Sub Area (Cherbourg)

    2nd Sub Area (Le Mans)

    Rennes Sub area

    Rouen Sub Area

    1st Medical Base Sub area (Dieppe)

    2nd Base Sub Area (Nantes)

    3rd Base Sub Area (Havre)

    4th Base Sub Area (Boulogne)

    5th Base Sub Area (Marseilles)

    In April 1940 the following Divisions were sent to France as labour troops on the L of C. 18,347 Officers and men in 12th, 23rd and 46th Divisions.
    In May 1940 these three untrained Divisions were thrown in against the advancing German Army to help extricate Lord Gort's first-line Divisions.
    In the process these three despised Divisions, without their AA and artillery, delayed the Panzers but were destroyed in the process.
    The vast majority were killed, wounded or captured. Lord Gort's 1st line Divisions for the most part escaped, the 12th, 23rd and 46th for the most part did not.
    A good book about these three Divisions is
    The Day of Reckoning by Donald Edgar ISBN 0 906549 35 3

  3. Ady B-)

    Ady B-) Member

    Hi MalcolmII
    I'm quite new to this and I have just found this posting on the forum and hope you don't mind me asking a question.
    You say:
    "In the process these three despised Divisions"
    I was wondering why they where despised?
    (my father was in the 157th Rly Con Coy. which I believe might well have been involved in this as I am told that the "157th as of the 10th May when things really kicked off in France they were part of
    Rennes Base Sub Area, South District"
    Also you say:
    "In April 1940 the following Divisions were sent to France as labour troops on the L of C"
    What does the "L of C" stand for or mean.
    Many thanks in anticipation
    Ady B-)
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Ady,

    I don't think the members above visit too much anymore, if at all.

    Ref LoC: That stands for Line of Communication.

    As for despised I'm not sure that its a word I would have used to describe them. The labour divisions were sent to France quite poorly trained and equipped, many of them when older than average and some not 100% fit. They were tasked with as the name suggests 'labour tasks'. This could be anything from unloading stores at Ports and Depots, delivering stores, maintenance of roads and construction tasks. They were sent to France in the support role and were not classed or deemed to be anywhere near the front line or be part of any of the fighting divisions that were better equipped (used loosely) and trained.

    All that said the Germans caught the Allies by surprise when they pushed through the Ardenne and many of these units gave a 1st class account of themselves fighting some of Germany's best troops with little more than .303 rifles.

    Ady B-) likes this.
  5. Ady B-)

    Ady B-) Member

    Hi Andy
    Thanks for that (once again:)
    I actually found this link whilst doing a google search:] as I'm still fumbling around trying to find out more.
    I really wish I had your level of knowledge or even the capacity to store some of what I read.
    I find it amazing what these hero's did yet I don't seem to be able to walk down the street without taking a whack in the face and the police won't do anything about it.
    Just makes wonder if all the work these brave guys did was worth it:[
    Well P'd off at the minute
  6. Andy H

    Andy H Member

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