Is the Manstein Plan (Sickle Cut) main reason of France's defeat in 1940 or are there other main reasons ?

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
5,635
Ontario, Canada
Was Manstein's Ardennes breakthrough at Sedan with all panzer divisions and rapid march to Channel idea main reason for French defeat that turned to debacle afterwards ? Or were there other fundementai reasons like German operational warware culture of missin oriented approach (that allowed leeway to commanders like Guderian , Hoth , Rommel to march as much as they could regardless of Halt orders from above) weakness of French high command organisation , communication , slow reactişon of French High Command General Staff ?
The Allies had most of their forces committed to covering Belgium and the Maginot Line. Just about any attack through the Ardennes would hit them at their weakest point. Then take Sedan... the way to Paris is pretty much open, while the Allied forces to the north and south are split in half.

Could Manstein Plan , Sedan beakthrough and Sickle Cut though Northern France be beaten ?
To put it simply, no.
The French did not have a contingency plan for a German attack in that area. If they covered that area with more troops or had a significant reserve which could be rushed to the scene. But they didn't, so they had no way to deal with the attack.
 
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pugsville

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Oct 2010
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Video with some interesting commets of French command failures around sedan preventing immediate counter attacks, needless delays, confusion, lack of co-ordination and urgency.

 
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Jul 2019
43
london
France had yet to fully recover from the First World War. Her commanders were aged and out of touch - quite literally in fact, as their commander in chief, Gamelin, had very poor communications at his headquarters.

French strategy relied heavily on the defensive - hence the Maginot Line, built at enormous cost. Their tanks, although equal in quality to those of the Germans, and combined with those of Britain, greater in quantity, were spread out thinly across French lines in support of infantry. This made the task of massing them for a decisive counterattack very difficult. The allies were basically set up to fight the last war.

Even worse, moral among French troops was fairly low. They had suffered an extremely brutal winter during which drunkenness and desertion of positions became major problems. French soldiers were starting to fail to salute their officers. A certain apathy was present in the French army on the eve of the German invasion.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
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Ontario, Canada
Taking into account domestic matters and military, the French were probably weaker in 1940 than they were in 1914. Politically France was on its way to an Italy scenario, some even suspected a civil war like in Spain. During the 1930's the French took to political repression and disbanding political groups. The French government even sidelined good generals because of their political affiliations, fearing that they could become political competition or would attempt to carry out a coup.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,654
France had yet to fully recover from the First World War. Her commanders were aged and out of touch - quite literally in fact, as their commander in chief, Gamelin, had very poor communications at his headquarters.

French strategy relied heavily on the defensive - hence the Maginot Line, built at enormous cost. Their tanks, although equal in quality to those of the Germans, and combined with those of Britain, greater in quantity, were spread out thinly across French lines in support of infantry. This made the task of massing them for a decisive counterattack very difficult. The allies were basically set up to fight the last war.

Even worse, moral among French troops was fairly low. They had suffered an extremely brutal winter during which drunkenness and desertion of positions became major problems. French soldiers were starting to fail to salute their officers. A certain apathy was present in the French army on the eve of the German invasion.
Almost all of the French armor were in the cavalry (DLM) and Amoured (DCR) Divsions. for organization see

dlm

French troops generally fight well. What;s you source for poor morale?
 
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Larrey

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Sep 2011
5,828
Even worse, moral among French troops was fairly low. They had suffered an extremely brutal winter during which drunkenness and desertion of positions became major problems. French soldiers were starting to fail to salute their officers. A certain apathy was present in the French army on the eve of the German invasion.
The poor moral bit is at best a misunderstanding of the situation, at worst a myth.

The Germans never attributed their defeat of the French to poor moral on the French part. The Germans first had to defeat them. And then French moral might flag, but only as a consequence of being outfought, not as a reason for being outfought.
 
Oct 2016
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Merryland
="Futurist, post: 3159934, member: 28379]
An alliance with the US would have also helped France, no? Of course, like the UK, the US would have probably been unlikely to help much militarily in the early stages of the war. It could have helped with the military supplies, but AFAIK, the US was already doing that in real life with the Cash and Carry policy.
no way the USA would have entered into such an alliance with France. FDR had to cheat to get lend-lease through, and that had opponents.
and as pointed out any relief would have taken months and been too late to make a difference.

in re; communications; someone referred to Gamelin's HQ as 'a submarine without a periscope'.

we see this now and then in sports; two seemingly equally matched teams, but one does everything right and one can't tie its shoes.
I wonder if Imperial Germany could have swept through France had they tanks and air.