How would you influence France so that it would build a better Maginot Line?

#1



The Premise:
1. Because of this forum and others, I know that the Maginot Line does extend to the English Channel in some fashion. However, only weak fortifications (gun emplacement, strong houses, etc.) were present in the Belgian border (most of Ardennes and Low Countries).
2. Most of the strong sectors of the original Maginot from 9 to 16 are already in curing in their historical places. You cannot demolish them, render them inoperable, or make them unusable in any reasonable fashion. You may, however, demolish other sectors of the original Strong Maginot and use the materials on your new extensions.
3. You traveled back in time with full knowledge but you cannot expose your true identification; in other words, you can only use the power of reasonable 'premonitions' when you are expressing yourselves.
4. Extending the strong Maginot to the sea is infeasible so your goal is to only extend the strong sector of the Maginot to cover a significant portion of the Ardennes.
5. You are given permission to build multiple Petite Ouvrages but only 3 additional Gros Ouvrages at the most.
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The Challenge:
How would you make the extension desirable to any political parties that would come to power in France?
Would you point out that the sacred site of Verdun needed protection?
Would you suggest that the Ardennes is perhaps a great site for extending the railway/building an airforce base and the bunkers there would provide good command centers?

How would you assuage the Belgians?
Would you point out that the Ardennes is relative uninhabited by the Belgians and that they apparently don't want to bother defending it anyways?

Finally, where would you place the 3 Gros Ouvrages in the Ardennes Sector and how would you parse out the troops throughout the line (keep in mind that the Germans may not attack the Ardennes after your enlightened influence)?
 
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Jul 2016
8,684
USA
#3
Finishing the line of defenses to the sea would have been a grand idea. Unfortunately, the idea to fight a land battle in Belgium instead of France, their relationship with Belgium itself and politics, and Belgium itself stalling for time trying to be neutral meant the line that should have been completed never was. Had it, Germany would have had a very tough time trying to breach it and make it inside France, while French mobile forces wouldn't have been uselessly sitting in the Low Countries having been flanked, they'd have been positioned in reserve behind the Mag Line waiting to counterattack any breaches created.

The Germans could probably have still defeated France, but it would have been quite bloody.
 
Likes: Futurist
Aug 2014
207
New York, USA
#4
Don't need to do this, the Maginot line more or less worked as designed.
If the French had better intelligence and could check/counter-attack sooner at German thrust from the Ardennes, they could possibly avoid everything that followed later.
...I think even most Germans were surprised at how well everything went, and the ineptitude of the formidable on paper French army.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,748
SoCal
#5
Finishing the line of defenses to the sea would have been a grand idea. Unfortunately, the idea to fight a land battle in Belgium instead of France, their relationship with Belgium itself and politics, and Belgium itself stalling for time trying to be neutral meant the line that should have been completed never was. Had it, Germany would have had a very tough time trying to breach it and make it inside France, while French mobile forces wouldn't have been uselessly sitting in the Low Countries having been flanked, they'd have been positioned in reserve behind the Mag Line waiting to counterattack any breaches created.

The Germans could probably have still defeated France, but it would have been quite bloody.
How long do you think that it would have taken Germany to defeat France in this scenario?

Also, does Germany still invade the USSR afterwards?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,077
#6
The French could have made it a much longer and bloodier campaign for the Germans – possibly holding them off long enough for Germany to start running into sufficient logistics problems to stop it from conducting the war at the Blitz pace it wanted – simply by keeping the bulk of its quality forces on the French border, instead of ending up with them behind the German lines, cut off and irrelevant up by the Dutch border. In which case WWII would likely have ended up much more like WWI.

There's a reason no WWII game simulation trying to do France in 1940 manages to get a historical outcome unless it either nerfs the French to ridiculous levels of weakness, or scripts all action to mirror history to such an extent a human player loses all control over the French army.
 
Apr 2018
833
Upland, Sweden
#8
Don't need to do this, the Maginot line more or less worked as designed.
If the French had better intelligence and could check/counter-attack sooner at German thrust from the Ardennes, they could possibly avoid everything that followed later.
...I think even most Germans were surprised at how well everything went, and the ineptitude of the formidable on paper French army.
Whenever something "works as designed" without making a difference I always become suspicious that the particular something is at best not very helpful and at best a complete waste of time money and energy.

I agree with @David Vagamundo , they should have spent their money on a larger airforce, or just on even more tanks - the early French models were pretty good from what I've understood.

"He who tries to defend everything will loose everything" - Sun Tzu.
 
Aug 2014
207
New York, USA
#10
Whenever something "works as designed" without making a difference I always become suspicious that the particular something is at best not very helpful and at best a complete waste of time money and energy.
But it DID make a difference. The French wanted to slug it out in the low countries, and not destroy their own cities like in WW1. Maginot line was used to funnel the bulk of German forces into Belgium and Netherlands, instead of directly into France (First part of the plan). It is the second part of the plan, defense of that German hammer is what backfired spectacularly.
I agree with Nordicdemosthenes. The SOMUA S35 tank would have been a far better investment. The defeat of France, as happened, was a blunder.
Had nothing to do with tanks. The Germans captured most of the tanks and other materials anyway. It was a total strategic & tactical defeat which resulted in a relatively easy campaign for the Germans.
 
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