16 May 1940
  • German 6th Army broke through the Dyle Line; British troops withdrew west of Brussels and the Belgian government evacuated to Ostend. From its Meuse River bridgeheads, German Army Group A tanks broke through the French lines, capturing thousands of surrendering French troops. Guderian's units reached Montcornet, while Rommel's units reached Avesnes-sur-Helpe. Fearful that this advance into France would expose the invasion's flanks, the German High Command ordered Army Group A to halt its spearheads so that the infantry could catch up. ww2dbase [Invasion of France and the Low Countries | TH]
  • French Prime Minister Reynaud ordered Maxime Weygand to return from Syria to Paris, France. ww2dbase [Maxime Weygand | CPC]
  • Remy Van Lierde was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Belgium, becoming captured. ww2dbase [Remy Van Lierde | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt requested the US Congress to appropriate US$546,000,000 for the US Army, US$250,000,000 for US Navy and US Marine Corps, and US$100,000,000 for his own office for national defense purposes. He also requested the authorization for the military and his own office to issue contracts in the amount of US$186,000,000 and US$100,000,000, respectively. ww2dbase [Franklin Roosevelt | CPC]
  • US President Roosevelt responded to British Prime Minister Churchill's telegraph from the previous day, noting that any military aid to Britain must have the authorization from the US Congress, and that the US fleet would remain concentrated at Hawaii in the Central Pacific for the time being. ww2dbase [Start of the Battle of the Atlantic | CPC]
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Paris, France to meet with his French counterpart Paul Reynaud; witnessing the burning of government archives, he inquired about the strategic reserve, and received the answer "Aucune" ("There is none"). On the same day, Churchill also sent his Italian counterpart Benito Mussolini a message, urging him to keep Italy out of the European War. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | Paris | TH, CPC]
Photo(s) dated 16 May 1940
Scuttled French Char B1 heavy tank in Beaumont, Belgium, 16 May 1940, photo 2 of 2Map noting German advances in France and the Low Countries between 10 and 16 May 1940HMS Effingham at anchor in Norway, 16 May 1940A Belgian civilian and a German soldier looking at an abandoned French Char B1 heavy tank, Ermeton-sur-Biert, Belgium, mid-May 1940

16 May 1940 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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