France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
What if France would have fought on in 1940 (after metropolitan France would have fallen) *and* the US would have already entered WWII on the Anglo-French side by that point in time (which might actually be pretty doable if Woodrow Wilson dies of his stroke in late 1919 and new US President Thomas Marshall is able to get the US Senate to subsequently ratify the Security Treaty with Britain and France and thus create a post-WWI alliance between the US and these two countries)? What would Allied (Anglo-Franco-American) strategy be after the Fall of France and what exactly would Hitler's and Mussolini's strategy be in this scenario? Specifically, does Mussolini still enter the war on Hitler's side? Also, how do the Allies plan to get back into Western Europe? In addition, does Hitler still launch Operation Barbarossa in 1941 in this scenario or does he instead aim to finish off the (Western) Allies before actually turning on the USSR and attacking them so that he doesn't have to simultaneously fight a war on two fronts? Also, does Japan still invade French Indochina and/or attack Pearl Harbor in 1940-1941? Indeed, just how does WWII proceed in the months and years after the Fall of France in this scenario?

Any thoughts on all of this?
 
Sep 2013
468
France
I'm not sure to understand. Italy entered war and fought against France in 1940 (with very few success though...). So in your scenario, when the US would enter war, Italy was already at war.
Then France needed an other army to fight on after the may-june campaign. As you may know, after the stubborn german breakthru at Sedan and the rush to the sea, the main forces in Belgium were cut off their supply lines with all the heavy equipment... So it would not have changed a lot.
With her soil occupied, France would need foreign help to re-build an army (which is what occured), and the US would need some time to be able to land in Europe with a big and effective fighting force (which is also what occured).
Barbarossa would still happened in 1941, with the same consequences. (germans needed to crush the soviets in order to be oil independent and before the US become too strong).
 
Aug 2013
219
Finland
Does this mean that the official French government would have become a government in-exile and the French military would have continued the fight under that government even after Germany conquers all of France proper?

I guess Mers-el-Kébir would never have happened for example and overall what was the Free French would just now be the French and would have been a lot stronger. Perhaps more troops would have been evacuated to Africa for example from where they might have attempted an invasion of Libya? If not that, Italy would at least want to do something about Tunisia and French Morocco, so there would in any case be more fighting in North Africa.

Corsica would have remained in French hands initially and the Axis would have needed to make a naval invasion to take it.

It might also mean there is no Vichy France set up at all and the whole of Metropolitan France would be under military occupation.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
I'm not sure to understand. Italy entered war and fought against France in 1940 (with very few success though...). So in your scenario, when the US would enter war, Italy was already at war.
The US would enter WWII in September 1939 in this scenario. So, theoretically speaking, this might be enough to deter Italy from going to war against the Allies in 1940.

Then France needed an other army to fight on after the may-june campaign. As you may know, after the stubborn german breakthru at Sedan and the rush to the sea, the main forces in Belgium were cut off their supply lines with all the heavy equipment... So it would not have changed a lot.
With her soil occupied, France would need foreign help to re-build an army (which is what occured), and the US would need some time to be able to land in Europe with a big and effective fighting force (which is also what occured).
If the French government will fight on, though, might more people volunteer to join the Free French? After all, in real life, De Gaulle was essentially a rebel--with Vichy being recognized even by the Allies as France's legitimate government until 1944.

Barbarossa would still happened in 1941, with the same consequences. (germans needed to crush the soviets in order to be oil independent and before the US become too strong).
OK.

Also, do you see any difference in the Mediterranean campaign in WWII in this scenario--such as a quicker Allied victory in this theater?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
Does this mean that the official French government would have become a government in-exile and the French military would have continued the fight under that government even after Germany conquers all of France proper?
Yes, it does.

I guess Mers-el-Kébir would never have happened for example and overall what was the Free French would just now be the French and would have been a lot stronger. Perhaps more troops would have been evacuated to Africa for example from where they might have attempted an invasion of Libya? If not that, Italy would at least want to do something about Tunisia and French Morocco, so there would in any case be more fighting in North Africa.
Agreed. Also, would the Allies win more quickly in North Africa?

Corsica would have remained in French hands initially and the Axis would have needed to make a naval invasion to take it.
Or an aerial invasion a la Crete, no?

It might also mean there is no Vichy France set up at all and the whole of Metropolitan France would be under military occupation.
Yep. Interestingly enough, this might have even worse consequences for France's Jewish population in comparison to real life, no?
 
Aug 2013
219
Finland
120 000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk and more troops from other ports. AFAIK almost all of them returned to France to continue the fight. But with the French government still existing, I think it likely that a lot more of these troops would be sent to reinforce the colonies in Africa or stayed in the UK for the time being. The problem with these troops is that they lacked equipment and the British are in no position to equip even their own troops quickly, not to mention 100 000+ French troops.

Agreed. Also, would the Allies win more quickly in North Africa?
It most likely depends on what Italy decides to do. If Italy goes ahead and invade either Egypt, like in OTL or Tunisia which is an option ITL, the allies have a chance to catch Italy in a two-front war in Libya and might indeed just smash them completely before any German assistance can arrive. Since logistics is a huge problem in the area, it might just be that it's not possble for the Allies to take all of Libya in one coordinated offensive though.

For sure France and Britain with coordinated fleets and the entire pre-war French fleet assigned to the Mediterranean should manage to extensively blockade Italy from sending reinforcements to Libya, which means it's just a matter of time before Libya falls early. This opens up a lot of questions though:

1. Does Churchill instead double down on Greece, since France is now there as well, leaving the British troops so undermanned in Egypt that Britain can't mount an effective attack into Libya? For sure the French will have an equipment problem at this time and are not in shape to attack Libya alone in 1940 or early 1941.
2. If Libya is taken or blockaded, there is no Rommel and no German divisions sent there. Where do they go instead (probably the USSR?) and what difference can they make there?
3. What will Italy do next, do they build up better defenses on Sicily or what would be their next move if Libya is lost?
4. Will the Allies try to invade parts of Italy proper before the involvement of the US if they secure Africa earlier?

Or an aerial invasion a la Crete, no?
Maybe, I guess it depends on how many troops are on Corsica and the naval situation in the region.

Yep. Interestingly enough, this might have even worse consequences for France's Jewish population in comparison to real life, no?
Probably yes and probably worse for the rest of the French population as well. But I am sure you are right the Jews would get the worst of it.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
24,557
SoCal
120 000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk and more troops from other ports. AFAIK almost all of them returned to France to continue the fight. But with the French government still existing, I think it likely that a lot more of these troops would be sent to reinforce the colonies in Africa or stayed in the UK for the time being. The problem with these troops is that they lacked equipment and the British are in no position to equip even their own troops quickly, not to mention 100 000+ French troops.
Could the US--in spite of it not being in the war yet--help with supplying equipment to the Anglo-French in this scenario?

It most likely depends on what Italy decides to do. If Italy goes ahead and invade either Egypt, like in OTL or Tunisia which is an option ITL, the allies have a chance to catch Italy in a two-front war in Libya and might indeed just smash them completely before any German assistance can arrive. Since logistics is a huge problem in the area, it might just be that it's not possble for the Allies to take all of Libya in one coordinated offensive though.
Agreed.

For sure France and Britain with coordinated fleets and the entire pre-war French fleet assigned to the Mediterranean should manage to extensively blockade Italy from sending reinforcements to Libya, which means it's just a matter of time before Libya falls early. This opens up a lot of questions though:

1. Does Churchill instead double down on Greece, since France is now there as well, leaving the British troops so undermanned in Egypt that Britain can't mount an effective attack into Libya? For sure the French will have an equipment problem at this time and are not in shape to attack Libya alone in 1940 or early 1941.
Maybe doubling-down on Greece would actually be a good idea if this would allow the Western Allies to have a permanent foothold in Europe. After all, such a foothold would reduce the need for an extremely massive amphibious invasion along the lines of D-Day.

2. If Libya is taken or blockaded, there is no Rommel and no German divisions sent there. Where do they go instead (probably the USSR?) and what difference can they make there?
TBH, given just how many casualties the USSR managed to endure in WWII in real life, I don't think that a few additional German divisions are actually going to make or break the USSR.

3. What will Italy do next, do they build up better defenses on Sicily or what would be their next move if Libya is lost?
Building better defenses in Sicily and southern Italy does appear to be the best option for the Italians, no?

4. Will the Allies try to invade parts of Italy proper before the involvement of the US if they secure Africa earlier?
Very possibly Yes. The question is, though, what next?

Maybe, I guess it depends on how many troops are on Corsica and the naval situation in the region.
OK.

Probably yes and probably worse for the rest of the French population as well. But I am sure you are right the Jews would get the worst of it.
Agreed. Also, FWIW, even in this scenario, I don't actually expect the non-Jewish French population to suffer too badly since, unlike the war in the East, Nazi Germany did not view its war in the West as actually being a war of annihilation. French leftists and Communists might suffer (much?) more in this scenario than they did in real life, though.
 
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Aug 2013
219
Finland
Could the US--in spite of it not being in the war yet--help with supplying equipment to the Anglo-French in this scenario?
I think the French are not able to purchase much if anything under the Cash and Carry policy - they have to pay cash on delivery in US ports and ship the material over themselves. France might have the shipping capacity in this scenario, but where will they get the cash?

Under Lend-Lease the US supplied the Free French and would I think supply much more to France, but that's only from spring 1941. I don't think a French government in exile would change the timetable for implementing Lend-Lease very much. So the French army would probably not get any significant new heavy equipment until the second half of 1941 either way.

Maybe doubling-down on Greece would actually be a good idea if this would allow the Western Allies to have a permanent foothold in Europe. After all, such a foothold would reduce the need for an extremely massive amphibious invasion along the lines of D-Day.
Churchill would probably want to go this way. Assuming the strategy succeeds and Germany fails in their initial spring 1941 invasion of Greece, this could have significant implications on Barbarossa. It can't be delayed any longer so either Germany goes ahead with it while still sending troops to Greece or it's postponed. If they postpone it until Greece falls, I don't see how they can really fail there, surely by fall 1941 Greece is lost.

But that means a Barbarossa only in 1942 and potentially in between the USSR might very well attack and this time take Finland.
TBH, given just how many casualties the USSR managed to endure in WWII in real life, I don't think that a few additional German divisions are actually going to make or break the USSR.
Probably not, the only place I could imagine they might make a difference in 1941 is in army group north. If they reach the Svir, they link up with Finnish troops and perhaps more importantly completely seal off Leningrad. Whether that is actually any better for Germany in the long run, I can't really say.

Building better defenses in Sicily and southern Italy does appear to be the best option for the Italians, no?
In hindsight for sure. But that means officially giving up on becoming the new Rome and going on the defensive. It might be a difficult political decision to take for Mussolini until it's too late, especially if there is still fighting to do and the apparent chance for glory in Greece.

If they do go on the defensive it might actually be better for the Germans.
Very possibly Yes. The question is, though, what next?
I guess there are so many possibilities at this point one would have to pick some outcomes and start thinking ahead based on those from say spring 1941 onwards. It could also be that France is unwilling to spend their, at this point quite small, army in Italy and want to use them to retake Metropolitan France instead once Africa is secured.

France might have 150 000 troops just starting to be equipped with US weapons at this point that they could spare for any invasion in Europe + their fleet which could well at this point be concentrated and mostly intact. Their airforce would probably be very tiny.