The Battle at Cassel May 1940

Cassel- the BEF’s ‘Alamo’

The pages that follow document the heroic defence of Cassel between 25th May- 30th May 1940 by Brigadier Nigel Somerset's 145 Brigade, an ad-hoc mixture of regular British Army troops and Territorials, named 'Somerforce',  which included 367 Battery of the 140th Field Regiment. Mount Cassel was particularly important for reaching Dunkirk.  In effect, when using...

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Somerforce in Cassel 25th May 1940

Saturday 25th May 1940 367 Battery joins 145 Brigade (Somerforce) at Cassel The French army had managed to stall the German advance temporarily and so Macforce was disbanded.  New orders were given by Lord Gort to the commander of 145 Brigade, 46-year-old Brigadier Hon. Nigel Fitzroy Somerset, to proceed south from his position in Nomain...

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Cassel 26th-27th May 1940

Sunday 26th May 1940 Ready for Battle  By the 26th May 1940, 367 Battery's guns were ready, positioned at Chateau Masson (Regimental HQ), on the Mont St Recollets and at various sites around the perimeter of Cassel to face the expected German advance from the South-West. Monday 27th May 1940 Operation Dynamo begins at Dunkirk On...

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Cassel 28th May 1940

  Tuesday 28th May 1940 The Battle of Cassel continues Although there were no major infantry or tank assaults on Cassel on the morning of 28th May, there was heavy and continuous shelling.  German aircraft also dropped their iconic propaganda leaflets on the town (below) urging the defenders to surrender.  The civilians left in Cassel...

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Cassel 29th May 1940

Wednesday 29th May 1940 The Final Day, Cassel Holds Out Telegram to Lord Gort from King George VI dated 29/5/40.  Courtesy of Andrew Newson, British Army War Diary Copying Service The German forces did not attack after darkness had fallen on the night of 28th May 1940, although considerable movement was noticeable in the surrounding...

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East Riding Yeomanry at Cassel

East Riding Yeomanry- War Diary The East Riding Yeomanry (E.R.Y.) joined the B.E.F. in April 1940 having crossed the English Channel via Southampton to Le Havre; the same harbours and route taken by the 140th Field Regiment the previous month. The E.R.Y. had advanced into Belgium with the main thrust of the British advance into...

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Cassel aftermath, 30th May 1940 onwards

Aftermath of the Battle of Cassel, 25th - 29th May 1940 The eventual capture of Cassel on 30th May 1940 was of great significance to the German army, both as a strategic, and symbolic, victory.  Twenty-two years previously, during the Great War, the town had been under continuous Allied control and had been the headquarters...

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