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Old December 18th, 2015, 12:53 AM   #31

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Well yes, when you send your best forces you will do well, but what I am saying is that it is not representative of Frances ability to fight a major war. You cant use limited involvement to extrapolate general fighting ability. Much the same way people bring up Libya as an example of good military performance when all that showed is that the European countries lack the will and projection power to even enforce a no-fly zone in their back door without the help of America.
And why one can't "use limited involvement to extrapolate general fighting ability"? Isn't that fighting ability ? After all the whole is based on it's the components.

Btw, I am not sure what are we discussing, finally: "European countries lack the will and projection power to even enforce a no-fly zone in their back door without the help of America." That's a political aspect. If there is no political will, there is no projection of military power. That’s obvious. It doesn't mean that there is no military capability. And France has and had that military capability. It demonstrated it more than once trough history.

We can discuss it from a political angle, ofcourse. But I think that's a different debate.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 02:57 AM   #32
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And why one can't "use limited involvement to extrapolate general fighting ability"? Isn't that fighting ability ? After all the whole is based on it's the components.

Btw, I am not sure what are we discussing, finally: "European countries lack the will and projection power to even enforce a no-fly zone in their back door without the help of America." That's a political aspect. If there is no political will, there is no projection of military power. That’s obvious. It doesn't mean that there is no military capability. And France has and had that military capability. It demonstrated it more than once trough history.

We can discuss it from a political angle, ofcourse. But I think that's a different debate.
What I mean is that a limited involvement is less of a strain on the state both financially and politically and is often fought by the best trained and equipped troops available. A large scale war puts a states warmaking capability to a very different test.

The comment about will has to do with the ethos and military spending of European countries. Like it or not they needed America.

Keep in mind I am not talking about individual soldiers.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 03:32 AM   #33

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What I mean is that a limited involvement is less of a strain on the state both financially and politically and is often fought by the best trained and equipped troops available. A large scale war puts a states warmaking capability to a very different test.
And from that point of view, in the 20th century French made their proof.

In both WW they were in from the beginning to the end. And the WW2 it's even more conclusive: inspite of the initial shock, disaster, they were in the war till the end, and really not as cheerleaders.

If that's not a proof of capability to take the strain
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Old December 18th, 2015, 04:17 AM   #34

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It's one of the biggest problem with Anglo-American historiography (coupled with the fact that generally Anglophones don't read foreign books and thus they have only a limited perspective).
It wouldn't be a problem if it was intended as a criticism of the leadership but it is used often to insult French soldiers and mock them.
Funnily from countries whose soldiers never made a much better figure than French soldiers overall.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 09:37 AM   #35

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From the middle aged until after the time of Napoleon, the French were the number one land power in Europe. The French were decisively beaten in 1870's by Germany, and if it hadn't been for its allies like the British in WW1, the Germans probably could have beaten them again if it was one on one, they came pretty close to it in tne first part of WW1.
The trouble with this, though, is that in 1914... the British really weren't that critical to the victory on the Marne. Their force, while well trained and certainly capable, was too small to be of great effect. In fact their charge into the gap between the German armies on the Marne wasn't alone. French units ALSO went into that same gap.

Britain's importance to the Western Front really doesn't come until 1916 and if the French hadn't been able to man the lines between the 1914 and 1915, the British wouldn't have had ground to fight on...

And in reality, the Schlieffen Plan shot itself in the foot. The Germans, even if they had committed ALL of their available forces in the West lacked the logistics to supply them and would have still been forced to fall short of Paris.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 11:11 AM   #36

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What I mean is that a limited involvement is less of a strain on the state both financially and politically and is often fought by the best trained and equipped troops available. A large scale war puts a states warmaking capability to a very different test.
But for the most part, no one has really faced a major war since World War II, and to a great extent, even America might not be able to really commit to large scale fighting with a nation on equal or near equal strength.
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Old December 18th, 2015, 12:16 PM   #37
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But for the most part, no one has really faced a major war since World War II, and to a great extent, even America might not be able to really commit to large scale fighting with a nation on equal or near equal strength.
Perhaps not but America has demonstrated the ability to commit to large scale wars. IIRC Iraq involved almost 200k men not 3k. Bit of a difference.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 02:00 AM   #38
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Perhaps not but America has demonstrated the ability to commit to large scale wars. IIRC Iraq involved almost 200k men not 3k. Bit of a difference.
Factor for size and 200k Americans amount to about 6k Swedes. Not that onerous relatively speaking.

Was that a large scale war for the US? It certainly wasn't enough troops to effectively occupy Iraq, and it was done on the cheap.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 07:57 AM   #39

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Factor for size and 200k Americans amount to about 6k Swedes. Not that onerous relatively speaking.

Was that a large scale war for the US? It certainly wasn't enough troops to effectively occupy Iraq, and it was done on the cheap.
And in the end the victory was a Pyrrhic one as the American people got tired of it by 2006...

And the victory hasn't made things more stable in the region...

It's why France's actions with its former colonies in the conflict with Mali is far more impressive and they went in... defeated the Al Qaeda affiliated group, allowed the actually government of Mali to reestablish control and leave without the massed chaos that America created in Iraq.
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Old December 19th, 2015, 10:17 AM   #40
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Factor for size and 200k Americans amount to about 6k Swedes. Not that onerous relatively speaking.

Was that a large scale war for the US? It certainly wasn't enough troops to effectively occupy Iraq, and it was done on the cheap.
200k Americans =/= 3k French. Period. That would be like saying that 2 guys fighting each other in a village of 30 is the same when factoring for size as the Iraq war. Commanding 200k men in an actual large scale conflict takes a lot more organization, poltical will and military know-how than commanding 3k men in a country where government forces are friendly fighting against a collection of irregulars. The Gulf and Iraq wars actually involved large-scale modern combat. Its silly to compare them to Mali.

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And in the end the victory was a Pyrrhic one as the American people got tired of it by 2006...

And the victory hasn't made things more stable in the region...

It's why France's actions with its former colonies in the conflict with Mali is far more impressive and they went in... defeated the Al Qaeda affiliated group, allowed the actually government of Mali to reestablish control and leave without the massed chaos that America created in Iraq.

The French were not trying to replace the government of Mali, it was friendly to them to begin with. They were assisting the existing government, not invading a hostile country. Iraq was orders of magnitude more difficult than Mali.


I mean put it this way: has France demonstrated the ability to maintain a large number of men and materiel over a longer period of time? Nope
Has France engaged in any air-to-air combat of meaningful quantity in recent memory? Not that I know of
Does France have any experience with armored combat in recent years? Same as above.

Mali only proves that France is capable of small-scale conflicts with the aid of the local government. It does not prove Frances warmaking capacity in any large-scale conflict and is not even in the same ballpark as Iraq.

Last edited by Bares; December 19th, 2015 at 10:26 AM.
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