Aki Solomos

Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.

NEWS FLASH – May 16-18, 1940 – The Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, Covering The News 75 Years Ago Today

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May 18, 1940
As trouble continues on land and sea throughout the world, your Roving Reporter brings you the news as it happens to give you folks at home the stories of the day…

‘Hitler Gains Ground In Belgium And France

The British Army in Belgium -1940

The British Army in Belgium -1940

At the Meuse River, as Hitler’s forces broke through the defensive lines a couple of days ago, thousands of French troops were captured during their retreat.  On the same day, the city of Ostend was evacuated while British troops were forced to fall back west of Brussels.

With the gained momentum, the city of Brussels fell to German hands yesterday, and today Antwerp.

In the last 5 days alone, 10,000 French troops and tanks were captured by the invading Germans.

Meanwhile in France, Colonel Charles de Gaulle launched a massive counterattack at Montcornet with a force of 200 tanks.  And although successful, managing to capture 500 prisoners, the Germans launched their own counterattack forcing the French back several miles.  Today, the cities of Petonne and Amiens fell to German troops, bringing Hitler ever closer to Paris.

In their effort to slow or even stop the invasion, the RAF destroyed German oil storage facilities in Hamburg and Bremen yesterday.

Republic P-43 Lancer -1940

Republic P-43 Lancer -1940

U.S. Bolsters Military Budget’

2 days ago, President Roosevelt asked Congress for $1.2billion for the military.  In addition, he called for a Two-Ocean Navy, 50,000 aircraft, and a 280,000-man Army.  The breakdown of the budget comes to $250million for the Navy and Marines, $546million for the Army, $100million for National Defense, and $286million in military and office contracts.

With the arrival of the first Republic P-43 Lancer fighter plane for the Army yesterday, Roosevelt recommissioned 35 flush-deck destroyers as part of the plan to expand the fleet.

And in response to Churchill’s request for military aid, Roosevelt noted that it’s Congress that has to authorize any military help, and the U.S. fleet must concentrate its strength in the Pacific during this time.

French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud

French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud

Today, Churchill replied in a telegram to Roosevelt that “if American assistance is to play any part, it must be available soon.”  This comes after Churchill’s own visit to Paris 2 days ago to meet with French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud.  Upon seeing the Government archives being burned, Churchill asked about their strategic reserves.  Reynaud answered, “Aucune” -There is none.

Later that day, in a message to Mussolini, Churchill urged Italy to stay out of the war in Europe.

That’s all for now.  Your Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, signing off.


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