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

Mar 2014
53
Paris (France)
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.
Well actually one need to see this the other way around : the Versailles treaty forbade Germany to have military power (only 100000 man, no tank, no artillery and no plane - even though they managed to break it via the treaty of Rapallo). Consequently they didn't have to invest a lot in their military and could take benefit of the "peace dividend" and improve significantly their economy. On the other side, France, while having half of Germany population and economy, had to keep a strong military in order to preserve the status in Europe.

As Etienne Mantoux showed in "The Carthaginian Peace or the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes ", the German started their massive rearmament in 1933 by investing annually seven times what they should have paid annually as WWI reparation. They were able to profit from their strong (and not impacted by WWI) economy while the French one was hampered by the WWI destruction and the weight of their military.

So technically French had military superiority (at least in numbers) but it was from more than 20 years investing, using WWI technology and only a small number of very good technology equipment (S35, B1bis, Dewoitine 520) while the German had only very recent equipment (less than 7 years).

So actually, I would say the Versailles treaty did not screw over Germany very hard (see World War I reparations - Wikipedia )
 
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Lord Fairfax

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Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
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.
British & American tactics in 1944 were vastly different than Allied understanding of mechanized warfare in 1940.
The British organization of an armoured division also changed multiple times, unlike infantry which retained its 3 brigade organization throughout the war.

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.
The British didn't have a full armoured division in France until parst of the 1st were hastily sent on 14th May.
The allies didn't have the organization capability to mount a large coordinated battle, as the action at Arras showed. Had the French launched an attack from the south at the same time it might have succeeded.

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.
Again, the issue wasn't that they'd gambled on the Dyle plan, the issue was that French planning hadn't included a reserve army that could move to block any German breakthrough
 

Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
6,851
At present SD, USA
British & American tactics in 1944 were vastly different than Allied understanding of mechanized warfare in 1940.
The British organization of an armoured division also changed multiple times, unlike infantry which retained its 3 brigade organization throughout the war.
In terms of understanding mechanization sure... but then it should be remembered that much of this was in using trucks and halftracks to move infantry, artillery, and supplies, things that were major problems in 1940. The French and British had more tanks than the Germans, but they were often spread out along the entire line. About the closest thing in 1940 to what the Germans had would have been the French Cavalry Tank units, including the SOMUA's that were sent to areas like Hannut and Gembloux. But like the Germans, the French infantry and artillery were heavily reliant on horses for transport and logistics in 1940.

However, the methodology in which the Allied armies operated in 1944 had not changed that much from 1940. The Allies still operated heavily in a head on and methodical manner of battle rather than rapid flanking maneuvers that were seen in German tactics. The great difference that would happen in later battles, from El Alamein to Normandy was that the Allies were able to anchor their entire line and force the Germans into hitting them head on rather than leaving either an open flank or a critically weak point in the line that could be overwhelmed.

The British didn't have a full armoured division in France until parst of the 1st were hastily sent on 14th May.
The allies didn't have the organization capability to mount a large coordinated battle, as the action at Arras showed. Had the French launched an attack from the south at the same time it might have succeeded.
Which shows the problem in how the plan in1940 was flawed... It expected a repeat of the Schlieffen Plan and had nothing for when they discovered that the Germans weren't running under that plan. They were pulled into a mobile battle which they weren't prepared for.

Again, the issue wasn't that they'd gambled on the Dyle plan, the issue was that French planning hadn't included a reserve army that could move to block any German breakthrough
I agree with that... my thoughts was that much of the plan and expectation of the Schlieffen Plan being the German plan for 1940 was the reason for why there was no committed reserve.
 
May 2017
1,186
France
Thank you very much dear specialists.Please who had the biggest numbers of efectives,guns,tanks and planes ? Hitler or France,UK,Poland,Holand,Belgica ?
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
5,184
Sydney
the allied had the most , but that not really relevant
what matter is how much at the point of attack
the first with the most
German only clear superiority was in the air and in radios communication , but it was decisive
 
Oct 2016
1,168
Merryland
no doubt Czech resources aided the nazis.

read a commentary somewhere; Germany obtained lots of industrial resources in annexing Austria, taking Czechoslovakia, and taking France.
compare to Japan, whose conquests were almost all poor agricultural domains. example given; the only dry dock facility taken by Japan was in Malaysia.

even the agricultural / resource aspect was neutralized as the allies almost isolated Japan with air and sea (submarine) power. tons of rice and rubber rotted in docks as ships were unavailable to transport.

Germany had the advantage of 'interior lines' as they could send their army to Poland and train them west for the fight in France (not that they needed to hurry). Japanese forces were left to 'whither on the vine' on many a Pacific isle.

I wonder how much morale affected the outcome. I remember seeing newsreel footage of German troops running and jumping all enthusiastic, while the French plodded glumly to their posts.
were the French beaten, in their minds, before the fighting even started?
 
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Lord Fairfax

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Which shows the problem in how the plan in1940 was flawed... It expected a repeat of the Schlieffen Plan and had nothing for when they discovered that the Germans weren't running under that plan. They were pulled into a mobile battle which they weren't prepared for.
They should have been prepared to deal with any German plan

I agree with that... my thoughts was that much of the plan and expectation of the Schlieffen Plan being the German plan for 1940 was the reason for why there was no committed reserve.
They expected to have weeks or months of lead time to muster and deploy reserves, not just a few days
 

Lord Fairfax

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Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
In terms of understanding mechanization sure... but then it should be remembered that much of this was in using trucks and halftracks to move infantry, artillery, and supplies, things that were major problems in 1940. The French and British had more tanks than the Germans, but they were often spread out along the entire line. About the closest thing in 1940 to what the Germans had would have been the French Cavalry Tank units, including the SOMUA's that were sent to areas like Hannut and Gembloux. But like the Germans, the French infantry and artillery were heavily reliant on horses for transport and logistics in 1940.
.
British Army BEF was fully mechanized, they didn't use horses.
British had operational failures, not transport problems.


However, the methodology in which the Allied armies operated in 1944 had not changed that much from 1940. The Allies still operated heavily in a head on and methodical manner of battle rather than rapid flanking maneuvers that were seen in German tactics. The great difference that would happen in later battles, from El Alamein to Normandy was that the Allies were able to anchor their entire line and force the Germans into hitting them head on rather than leaving either an open flank or a critically weak point in the line that could be overwhelmed.
.
Unlike the Americans who had reserves to burn, the British were always trying to outmanouver and outflank the Axis, from Compass to El Alamein, Mareth Line to Market Garden, the goal was to win without. A costly head on assault.
 
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Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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British Army BEF was fully mechanized, they didn't use horses.
British had operational failures, not transport problems.
I believe I was referring more to the French with regard to the use of horses... perhaps I was unclear... but I wasn't trying to imply that the British had that specific limitation.

Unlike the Americans who had reserves to burn, the British were always trying to outmanouver and outflank the Axis, from Compass to El Alamein, Mareth Line to Market Garden, the goal was to win without. A costly head on assault.
But El Alamein WAS a head on fight, and on a narrow front. When the British pulled back there after the fighting at Gazala, they found that the terrain was quite good. To the south there was a massive depression that Rommel would bog down in if he tried to go through it and to the north the Mediterranean Sea. In this they dug in along the hills and ridges and when Rommel arrived, he couldn't just swing around the British lines and envelop their rear. He could attack on the edge of the British line, yes, but he couldn't get around it in the way that Rommel had done in previous battles. It also meant that when the British attacked Rommel, they would have to deal with the same issue. They could attack at the edge of the German line, but they couldn't go around it. But unlike Rommel, Monty had the artillery and shells to open corridors into the German defenses, where, if the line was penetrated, they could then turn the flanks of the lines pierced or they could grind down the Germans under artillery. And there it worked. Rommel was beaten and forced to retreat.

Normandy followed the same sort of method. Supported by naval artillery at first and then progressively with artillery brought ashore or with heavy bombers in large numbers to essentially serve as heavy artillery, as would be the case in both Goodwood and Cobra. And this in turn ground the Germans down. The final German defeat in Normandy was more the result of Hitler wanting to attack the American point of break out by a time when many of his generals were looking at wanting to withdraw behind the Seine to recover their forces. Which in turn set up the Falaise gap.

In this, I'd stand by my argument that when the Allies could anchor their lines and force the Germans into a more methodical battle, they did well. Which was not something they got into in 1940.
 
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Sam-Nary

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They should have been prepared to deal with any German plan

They expected to have weeks or months of lead time to muster and deploy reserves, not just a few days
Indeed they should have... but in the end they didn't. Which caused problems. Which if Gamelan honestly expected the Germans to give him more time, after the Western Front had largely been silent through 1939, would be a further symptom of the problems the French had to deal with in 1940.