The rapid victory of Hitler against France and UK (1940).

Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#11
Do you think that, had the French properly secured the Ardennes, the German invasion would have still succeeded? Or would such a French move have allowed France to survive in spite of its other weaknesses (such as not being able to react rapidly and not recognizing that warfare has changed since 1918)?
Well suited tactics & strategy would have stopped Germany. French/British/Belgian coalition wasn't in any way inferior to Germany.


Problem is that muscles without brain doesn't help that much in a fight.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,960
SoCal
#12
Well suited tactics & strategy would have stopped Germany. French/British/Belgian coalition wasn't in any way inferior to Germany.

Problem is that muscles without brain doesn't help that much in a fight.
Agreed with this.

BTW, it's interesting that France had military superiority over Germany (or at least was believed to have this) even though it was three times less industrialized than Germany was in a total sense in 1938. Versailles must have really screwed over Germany hard.
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#13
Agreed with this.

BTW, it's interesting that France had military superiority over Germany (or at least was believed to have this) even though it was three times less industrialized than Germany was in a total sense in 1938. Versailles must have really screwed over Germany hard.
Not only that, my friend.

There's that thing called stereotypes, like "Germans mecano, French intelo" ...

French were (and still are) very good in innovation, technical things aso (some Mercedes models have .... Renault engine ... )
Germans were (and still are) very good in arts (the most avantgardiste avant-garde after WWI was to be found in Berlin, not in Paris ... )
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,960
SoCal
#14
Not only that, my friend.

There's that think called "stereotypes": Germans mecano, French intelo ...

French were (and still are) very good in innovation, technical things aso (some Mercedes models have .... Renault engine ... )
Germans were (and still are) very good in arts (the most avantgardiste avant-garde after WWI was to be found in Berlin, not in Paris ... )
I thought that the Germans won more Nobel Prizes than the French did. Am I wrong in regards to this?

I know that Imperial Germany was a huge hub for science and scientific research. I don't know about post-1918 Germany, though.
 
Jan 2015
3,358
Front Lines of the Pig War
#15
Do you think that, had the French properly secured the Ardennes, the German invasion would have still succeeded? Or would such a French move have allowed France to survive in spite of its other weaknesses (such as not being able to react rapidly and not recognizing that warfare has changed since 1918)?
The major issue wasnt the weak defence of the Ardennes, it was the lack of a large mobile reserve.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
#16
The major issue wasnt the weak defence of the Ardennes, it was the lack of a large mobile reserve.
I am trying these two issues into one because they're related.

Had Gamelin avoided sending the French Seventh Army to the Low Countries, then France would have had a large mobile reserve ready to go. Of course, I just hope that France would have actually had enough troops to adequately watch over its entire front line.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,782
Sydney
#17
there were many failing of the French Army
it had a very slow reaction time , they fought a division battle with a time delay of days when Panzer divisions reacted in minutes
the armored troops were not properly trained on their equipment and the officers had not had training in large units movements
the high command was cautious to the point of timidity , much given to wait for further information before pondering what the most appropriate counter move was
Germany provided excellent air cover , giving good info and preventing allied observation, their air force was trained to provide devastating tactical support in a matter of minutes

it took days for the French HQ to take seriously the crossing of the Meuse , for days they though it was a local attack of diversion
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,782
Sydney
#18
A deeper reason for the the French army performance was the poisonous relationship between the politicians and the officer corps
the later was perceived as crypto-monarchists , contemptuous of the Republic and and a permanent danger of plotting a coup
this was not totally paranoia , there were a lot of ex-nobles in the officer corp ( still is )
many inter-war countries had seen military junta ruling over the civilians
the 1936 saw the arrival of the popular front ,composed of Social democrats , Socialists and Communists
Spain had a pronunciamento by its military against its popular front , the French government was very concerned of having snakes in its bosom
several large street insurrections by the "croix de feu" ,did make the situation very tense
there were a multitude of strike in the armament industry , nationalization of the planes manufacturers and of course severe budgetary constraints
both because of the great depression and the desire to spend more on social programs

Further , among the population at large , the memory of the French officers sending their men to the slaughter of WW1 still rankled
there was absolutely no appetite to engage in the same level of butchery
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,784
At present SD, USA
#19
Correct, also the failure to recognise the changes in warfare brought about by mechanization, the French envisioned tanks would be used more like mobile pillboxes in static warfare, rather than the "Schwerpunkt" or mobile battle envisioned by Germany.
British tactics weren't that different... and wouldn't really change through the course of WW2. British/Free French tactics weren't that different in 1944 when Normandy was invaded from where they were in 1940 when Germany struck in the west. And in 1940, when the French and British could get the sort of head on battles they wanted, they actually did rather well. The problem in 1940 was that Gamelan's Dyle Plan was just as much an all or nothing gamble as what the Germans were operating under with regards to Manstein's plan. Which meant that if French and British couldn't anchor the line or get the massed head to head battle of ALL of their available armor that was intended, the French and British would be pulled into the more mobile war that the Germans sought as a means to avoid to sort of headlong slogging matches that hurt the Germans in WWI.

And in 1940, this is precisely what happened. Gamelan expected the main thrust to be in northern Belgium and committed everything to it. With no real reserves, the French had nothing to stop the Germans when they arrived at Sedan. It also meant that the Allies best forces were all caught out of position.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,782
Sydney
#20
The fall of France was a bit of a fluke ,
the original German plan was exactly what Gamelin was expecting ,
finding the revised plan in a crashed plane could well have been a ruse

the German high command was indignant about launching the bulk of the panzers through four small roads in hilly country which could be very easily blocked
and would anyway create a monstrous traffic jam .
the Belgian forces totally stuffed their job and didn't cut the roads , there was a 120 km traffic jam , the panzers came in position in drip and drab
the French HQ though the German would wait for their heavy artillery before launching an attack ,
... they didn't
Kleist divisional commanders went attack crazy and jumped the gun
then in spite of formal orders to stop and regroup send "strong reconnaissance" elementsI.E, everything they had which could move ,
toward the channel , with absolutely no concern for their supplies , the infantry or anything else
they simply didn't give radio answers or grossly misleading reports

Those tactics worked by being totally against what any rational operation should have been
they threw the French and British in fits of indecision , half baked counterattacks on obsolete information
meanwhile Hitler ,Hadler and the High command sweated in fear of such audacity
of course Hitler took the credit afterward
 
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