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

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,503
The main strategic issue for French planing was the horrendous loses of men during WW1
there was a total commitment to be on the defensive and avoid as much casualties as could be possible
Germany would be blockaded into starvation and submission

hence a strong defensive line of fortification , which wouldn't be obsolete within a life time
and the all important British alliance to enforce a blocus
There was also the increading demograhic shift (in part but not whiolely related to ww1 losses) . With the size of french conscipt classes (age groups maturing for universal miliatry service) declining very much compared to German ones (this is why the French did not want Anchluss) . French planning was delaing with the situation that they woudl have much less manpower than germany and neither Britian or the US could be relied upon. How could the French equalise the efefctive strength against Germany with less manpower?

The Maginot line also worked agianst the French allaince system, Belgium, Poland, Czechsolvakia
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,623
San Diego
Your analysis is completely wrong.
The Maginot line was created to:
1. Protect French industrial regions bordering Germany.
2. Make the Germans go around it and funnel most of the German army through the low countries, so that minimal fighting would occur on French soil.
Historically, it worked exactly as intended and exactly as predicted by French defensive plans. The narrative that they teach in high school history about this subject is just flat out wrong. In my opinion, it is done because there is simply not enough time in a school year to cover this subject in detail and get through the rest of WW2 material. Also, modern military strategy & tactics is not a part of high school curriculum.

Also, as a historical note: Out of ~140 German divisions involved in the invasion of France, only 10 of them were mechanized panzer divisions. The vast majority of the German army in early 1940 were simple infantry divisions.
Um- bull. purest bull and revisionist history.

If the threat was from germany, why not build the maginot line all the way across the border with the low countries? What possible 'defense' could it offer if their entire plan was that germany could just go around it.
If they foresaw Germany could just go around it... then why didn't they stop germany ?

Surely if their entire Intention was to direct german invasion thru the low countries then PART of that plan Must have been STOPPING germany at the belgian border?

In fact- they did not build it fronting the low countries because that would be politically sensitive, and because they simply did not have the funds. They assumed that any gripe Germany had with France would NOT involve the low countries and so the Germans would not cross them.

In fact they did not stop Germany because they flat out lacked the armaments and manpower to stop them- which is because of all the money and resources and manpower sucked up by that imbecilic fortification.

The French imagined another WWI- so they built a Super Trench. They utterly failed to imagine what could be done with tanks and modern air power.


Oh- and Mechanized warfare does not refer only to tanks. Infantry was transported by trains, trucks, and AIR.
It refers to the ability to Move materiel forward in your logistics chain at the same speed your aircraft can gain superiority and your tanks can advance.

Germany built autobahns- france still relied on a maze of dirt/mud roads that passed thru the heart of every village.


France not only failed on the battlefield- not only failed in diverting massive resources to a useless series of bunkers-
they strategically failed in terms of infrastructure.

They built something enormous that played ZERO part in the war. When they could have built paved highways so they could move armaments and men more rapidly.


Sorry, but apologias over the moronic Maginot are as toothless as was the Maginot line.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,503
Um- bull. purest bull and revisionist history.

If the threat was from germany, why not build the maginot line all the way across the border with the low countries? What possible 'defense' could it offer if their entire plan was that germany could just go around it.
If they foresaw Germany could just go around it... then why didn't they stop germany ?

Surely if their entire Intention was to direct german invasion thru the low countries then PART of that plan Must have been STOPPING germany at the belgian border?

In fact- they did not build it fronting the low countries because that would be politically sensitive, and because they simply did not have the funds. They assumed that any gripe Germany had with France would NOT involve the low countries and so the Germans would not cross them.
Just worng. the French fiully expectaed and p0lanned for teh gemrans attacking through Belgium. they did noyt build massive fortications behind Belguim as it was ally and part of their defense plans.


In fact they did not stop Germany because they flat out lacked the armaments and manpower to stop them- which is because of all the money and resources and manpower sucked up by that imbecilic fortification.
NO the French had enough araments and manpower to stop the Germans. The Franch amry fought reasonable well in General.
There msiatkes were s (a) trategic planning, the revised dyle pl;an was poor, no resevres, (b) extremely poor command and control system. (c) doctrine.


The French imagined another WWI- so they built a Super Trench. They utterly failed to imagine what could be done with tanks and modern air power.
Yes the French doctrine of warfare "methodical warfare " repsonse to the ww1 was 180 degrees to the German. And pretty much wrong.

Oh- and Mechanized warfare does not refer only to tanks. Infantry was transported by trains, trucks, and AIR.
It refers to the ability to Move materiel forward in your logistics chain at the same speed your aircraft can gain superiority and your tanks can advance.
.
For which the German army was often relying on horses.

the german mobile forces were fairly well integrated combined arms focres with co-oridnated air support, Which the other nations could well learned about themsleves. But most of the German army ralied on horse drawn transport and supply.

Germany built autobahns- france still relied on a maze of dirt/mud roads that passed thru the heart of every village.
.
Autobahns have zero military use Moving large amunt of troops, supplies, industrial goods by road is a massively slowly on ineffecient compared to rail.
. Mass transit was railways, which Germany had under invested in.

They built something enormous that played ZERO part in the war. When they could have built paved highways so they could move armaments and men more rapidly.
It did exatcly waght it was designed to do. Highways were a waste of resoures.
 
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sparky

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Jan 2017
4,992
Sydney
" Germany built autobahns- france still relied on a maze of dirt/mud roads that passed thru the heart of every village."
French roads were excellent , a central organism had been building and upgrading them for a century
in fact the construction of the auto-Bahn was motivated by the unsatisfactory state of Germany main roads
those were a regional responsibility of each German states and the level was variable
of course ,
following the theories of Keynes , a large program of government construction was also intended to jump sart the economy out of the great depression
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
Yeah sort of . There was areal horror of mass warfare that lingered from ww1, the infested the leaders in teh west leading up to ww2. They also believed that a second war would have greater civilian horrors, that aerial bombing would level cities with huge civilian casualties. This reluctance to start the fighting as it would lead to massive casualties drove the Phony war , though also the belief that time was on their side was also a factor,.

The French lack of empahiss of communications. Two Headquarters in northern France (the divided command structure was also just madness in of itself) communicating by dispatch riders. They *DID* had radios. They could have been used at this level quite easily. They was something very wrong at teh top of the French military, And it was not a money thing.
That "something was very wrong at the top of the French military, and it was not a money thing" is I think partly what was implied by "morale".

It seems to be largely psychological, besides the resources the French could have spent on their airforce for example: if you build a massive wall and expect it to work, for you you are not going to be very keen to adapt once new things happen. Building a wall is the exact opposite of flexibility.

"No plan survives contact with the enemy"
- von Moltke
 

Larrey

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Sep 2011
5,758
Germany built autobahns- france still relied on a maze of dirt/mud roads that passed thru the heart of every village.
In the 1920's and 1930's the world centre of motor sports was France.

Because in France there was an extensive road system you could actually race on. Unlike everywhere else in the world.
1555417886444.png
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,503
That "something was very wrong at the top of the French military, and it was not a money thing" is I think partly what was implied by "morale".

It seems to be largely psychological, besides the resources the French could have spent on their airforce for example: if you build a massive wall and expect it to work, for you you are not going to be very keen to adapt once new things happen. Building a wall is the exact opposite of flexibility.

"No plan survives contact with the enemy" - von Moltke
Morale. Hmm generally I think the Moral held up and units fought well.

I'm talking organization. Two Competing HQs. Poor communications. They had radios. They could have been widely used. (not talking tank radios or down to battalions) Head quarters using despsecth riders was bad choice for 1939. Lack of co-ordination between army and air force, intelligence.

The Air force had organization problems as well, both the production, testing, development of designa nd new aircraft were very slow.

I would argee that the maginot line did effect thinking. It did hwat it was deisgn to do. But that does not mean it was best investment of those resources. But most of the money was spent in early 1930s producing early 1930s aircraft would have been of little used in 1940. I'm just pionting out that the relation of money spent in early 1930s does not tranlate into simple so many planes at so much. Most of the problems are attitudinal and doctrine, communication and control.
 
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Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
Morale. Hmm generally I think the Moral held up and units fought well.

I'm talking organization. Two Competing HQs. Poor communications. They had radios. They could have been widely used. (not talking tank radios or down to battalions) Head quarters using despsecth riders was bad choice for 1939. Lack of co-ordination between army and air force, intelligence.

The Air force had organization problems as well, both the production, testing, development of designa nd new aircraft were very slow.

I would argee that the maginot line did effect thinking. It did hwat it was deisgn to do. But that does not mean it was best investment of those resources. But most of the money was spent in early 1930s producing early 1930s aircraft would have been of little used in 1940. I'm just pionting out that the relation of money spent in early 1930s does not tranlate into simple so many planes at so much. Most of the problems are attitudinal and doctrine, communication and control.
Interesting. They seriously used dispatch riders? I had literally no idea.

I agree with you, but I can't help but think that if they hadn't spent that money in 1930 they would have been forced to find something more useful to spend it on, and this would have snowballed and created even more useful things etc. If you build a wall and expect it to bear a large part of the fighting than it seems to me that besides the already mentioned passivising aspect you don't have the same need to fix up your organization.

A military that is more focused on maneuvering will by necessity have to improve its communication, control and probably oversee its doctrine more rigiorously than a military that is more defensive.

But anyway, it seems we might be largely in agreement!
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,758
Interesting. They seriously used dispatch riders? I had literally no idea.

I agree with you, but I can't help but think that if they hadn't spent that money in 1930 they would have been forced to find something more useful to spend it on, and this would have snowballed and created even more useful things etc. If you build a wall and expect it to bear a large part of the fighting than it seems to me that besides the already mentioned passivising aspect you don't have the same need to fix up your organization.

A military that is more focused on maneuvering will by necessity have to improve its communication, control and probably oversee its doctrine more rigiorously than a military that is more defensive.

But anyway, it seems we might be largely in agreement!
What's telling is that German commanders, doing the fighting on the other side, never maintained the theories that the French lost in 1940 because of some kind of inherent lack of moral within the French armed forces.

What they have always described are instances of French moral collapse as an effect of being defeated in the fighting, not some kind of cause behind why or how the French were defeated. The French were outmanouvered and eventually outfought. But it was only then that moral became an issue. And the Germans were aware of the amount of manouvering and fighting it had still involved. In 1940 they were however better at that than the French, and so decisively more successful.