The 10th Hussars sailed to Cherbourg in France from Southampton in May 1940. After losing most of their tanks near Abbeville in Normandy, they withdrew west through Brittany to Brest and returned to Plymouth in June.
In 1940 the 10th Hussars were in 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division. Squadrons were equipped with light tanks (Mark VIB) armed with machine guns, and A13 Cruiser tanks armed with 2-pounder guns. Sailing from Southampton on 21st May, they landed at Cherbourg. After a train journey to north of Rouen, they joined French forces preparing a counter-attack against the German bridgehead over the River Somme. By 26th May the British evacuation from Dunkirk had begun.
The counter attack started on 27th May, near the village of Huppy, roughly three miles south of the River Somme at Abbeville. The 10th set off as planned at 5am, unaware due to poor radio communications that the French and the 2nd Dragoon Guards (the Queen’s Bays) had delayed by an hour. They quickly ran into strong German artillery and anti-tank fire in Huppy. Before long most of B and C Squadrons had been knocked out. Twelve A13s and 18 light tanks went into action. Seven A13s and 13 light tanks were lost, together with 9 men killed, with 11 men taken prisoner. The remaining tanks of both regiments were amalgamated into one squadron, and 2nd Armoured Brigade had to withdraw.
The 10th Hussars were then used as infantry until, on 7th June, orders were received to retire to the River Seine, where they were tasked with destroying bridges. The retreat continued to Le Mans and then west into Brittany. On 15th June they were ordered to proceed to Brest, some 250 miles away. On 16th June the survivors embarked on the Manxmaid. Only 2 light anti-aircraft guns could be brought, so tanks, trucks and heavy equipment were abandoned. On 17th June, they docked at Plymouth. The 10th Hussars lost 21 killed, and 3 officers and 32 men were captured.