Generals Maurice Gamelin and Alphonse Georges , were they the best canditates to lead French Army in 1940 ?

Apr 2014
Istanbul Turkey
In 1940 there were several other Marshall of France or French generals to lead entire French Army other than Maurice Gamelin who was methodical , slow , out of touch and easily duped by Sickle Cut in May 1940 or Alphonse Geoges who was indecisive and fatalistic especially after wounded during an assasination attempt on Yugoslav King visiting France in 1934 (when Georges was wounded instead) It seems that French premier Daladier kept them because they were politically reliable when Third Republic was under severe strain due to internal factionalism from Far Left and Far Right and open about dissolution of Republic.

Who else could be French Commander in Chief ? Should Maxime Weygand be recalled a few months earlier from Syria ? (he said at the end of May 1940 "He took command a few weeks too late" when 1st French Army Group was disintegrating and BEF was on its way bck to Britain via Dunkirk.)


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
You have to understand the impact of WW1 on that generation of men born in the 1880s and 1890s. All three generals named in the OP were born prior to 1880 and in 1940 the youngest of the three was 65 years old. Most of the best officers born between 1880 and 1900 never made it to general. They died as lieutenants and captains in battles like the Marne and Verdun. DeGaulle (b. 1890) is about the only exception. When looking for command talent in the French Army in 1940, there was a serious whole among men in the fifties. In 1940 most French generals were either too old or too inexperienced.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Yeah, something like that.

De Gaulle was a colonel, bumped up to general de brigade (à titre temporaire). De Lattre was also a general de brigde in 1940. When joining the Free French de Gaulle instantly bumped him straight to Field Marshall. De Lattre certainly made good on that confidence, but everything one might assume about the ladder of promotion sort of goes out the window. Leclerc when first turning up in Africa as a rep of the Free French found that he could use the heft of a higher rank than his actual, so he blithely auto-promoted himself on the spot, and de Gaulle and London got to sort out the paperwork afterwards. Leclerc clearly also earned it never mind how he got it.