On 17 May 1940, the French 4th Division, under de Gaulle, attempted two attacks on German-held Montcornet. The first attack, in the early hours, took the Germans by surprise but they easily overcame the French. That afternoon, de Gaulle tried again, but the Division was overcome by gunfire and German air intervention. The 4th Division was ill-equipped and under-trained, having been assembled in a hurry and lacking anti-tank guns and air support. Two days later, de Gaulle led another unsuccessful counterattack near Laon. Neither attack had any impact on the German advance.
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