24 MAY 1940, Page 1

M. Reynaud's Frankness

The course of events has run swiftly. Within two days after the military and Cabinet changes M. Reynaud with courageous frankness told the French Senate the whole story of the tragic events which made them necessary. As he spoke the spear- head of the German mechanised columns had already passed the vital line between Amiens and Arras and appeared to be pressing on to the coast. M. Reynaud did not shrink from exposing the grim series of errors which enabled the German army to break through in force at a point of the Allied line which should have been the strongest. It was the pivotal point between Sedan and the Meuse. His disclosures reveal a series of circumstances favourable to the enemy which appear to transcend the possibilities of coincidence. The French line was weakly held with inferior divisions, and half of those which should have been there, though they had the shortest distance to move, arrived too late. This also was the point which the Germans, through intuition or information, chose for their strongest, and indeed main, attack. Finally, as a result of " in- credible mistakes, which will be punished," the bridges over the Meuse were not destroyed, and the invading mechanised forces crossed over to attack scattered and ill-cadred divisions. Such were the causes of the debacle which led to the German army's successful rush across northern France in the direction of the sea-ports and the British bases, and the consequent withdrawal of the British and Belgian armies from their advanced positions in Belgium.