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Old 06-09-2020, 09:56 AM
 
Location: New York Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
Simply put, France punches well above its weight militarily. Thus, your premise that France's performance in World War II is due to some inherent French deficiency in military operations is demonstrably wrong.
France was severely depleted by WW I and was not interested in a repeat performance. Sort of a variation on "better Red than dead." Indefensible but logical.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:49 PM
 
138 posts, read 27,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
In fairness, it must have been difficult to look at WWI and not draw the conclusion that well-built defense systems would dominate warfare for decades to come.

You're probably right. But the Germans calculated differently. And so did the British to some extend. The British Expeditionary Force sent to France was a highly mobile mechanized force, except that it numbered only 9 divisions out of the 110 or so Allied divisions. British thinking may have been more advanced than given credit for. Just that they were too small in numbers to make an impact and were junior partners to the French who called the shots.



French planners opted for defense since they calculated that they could not match German manpower reserves and war production, and this thinking apparently influenced their great reluctance to go on the offensive. It is ironic since Germany was limited by the Versailles treaty to only 100,000 troops and even by 1939, they were still rebuilding from those restrictions. Even by the time of the invasion of France, the Germans still had slightly fewer troops.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:56 PM
 
Location: southern california
58,903 posts, read 77,762,214 times
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To be fair that is not true
They died in great numbers
Very poor Top command Judgement
This happened again in Yugoslavia
Commanding UN general was French withdrew and caused the death of thousands
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:16 AM
 
10,405 posts, read 10,155,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
France was severely depleted by WW I and was not interested in a repeat performance. Sort of a variation on "better Red than dead." Indefensible but logical.
France lost 1.3 million soldiers in World War I. This was a lot of people for a country with a total population of 40 million. Nor, does the figure describe those badly hurt in the war such as amputees or traumatic brain injuries which was not even remotely understood at the time.

The intervening years between 1918 and 1940 were not kind to France either. The country was beset by internal divisions between right and left. Radical socialist groups wanted to create a government similar to the one in the USSR. On the other hand, the French military was very fascist in its orientation and many officers were prepared to fight a shooting war against leftist elements in their country. Many governments came and went during this twenty-two year period. There were frequent riots, strikes, and protests.

In some ways, its amazing despite all this that France constructed the Maginot Line. It was an enormous and expensive undertaking. Unfortunately, it was built for the wrong war and turned out to be utterly fruitless.

I think the final blows for France when it came to World War II were these though:

1. When war came, the British Expeditionary Force was small. It was 10% or less of the soldiers that the French were contributing to the fight.

2. Despite the Gamelin Plan, the German strategy of attacking in the north and going around the Maginot Line worked better and faster than anyone could have imagined.

The moral that I take from this story is that countries that are badly divided internally do poorly in wars against other countries.
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:13 PM
 
Location: New York Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
France lost 1.3 million soldiers in World War I. This was a lot of people for a country with a total population of 40 million. Nor, does the figure describe those badly hurt in the war such as amputees or traumatic brain injuries which was not even remotely understood at the time.
You make very good points. I didn't want to copy the whole post but France to this day has not fully recovered from the French Revolution and Napoleon, much less WWI.
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
France was severely depleted by WW I and was not interested in a repeat performance. Sort of a variation on "better Red than dead." Indefensible but logical.
Tosh. France was heavily invested in its defense, spent untold amounts of manpower and treasure. They simply miscalculated the form of warfare they were about to encounter.
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundAdvice4U View Post
You're probably right. But the Germans calculated differently. And so did the British to some extend. The British Expeditionary Force sent to France was a highly mobile mechanized force, except that it numbered only 9 divisions out of the 110 or so Allied divisions. British thinking may have been more advanced than given credit for.
The Brits had the right ideas - Liddell Hart's thoughts on mechanized warfare were as advanced as anything in the Wehrmacht. Of course, they were still somewhat stuck in the mindset of the "army as a projectile fired by the navy".

Quote:
Just that they were too small in numbers to make an impact and were junior partners to the French who called the shots.
The French generals were extremely well prepared to re-fight WWI. The Germans forced a battle on their own terms, which is of course how you win the upper hand in military engagements, from squad and upwards.

The French soldiers fought hard and well when in the face of the enemy, but their leaders had no idea how to respond to the form the German attack took. (No one had, in 1940.)
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
In fairness, it must have been difficult to look at WWI and not draw the conclusion that well-built defense systems would dominate warfare for decades to come.
I agree, but they should have looked at the Spanish Civil War to see what was to come. Everyone should have.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:51 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
4,253 posts, read 1,927,374 times
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Default It was a kind of prelude to WWII

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot1 View Post
I agree, but they should have looked at the Spanish Civil War to see what was to come. Everyone should have.
Germany, Italy & Portugal backed Franco; the USSR, Mexico & France backed the Republicans. Other countries hesitated, & the International Brigades were an attempt to get around that (to aid the Republicans). Germany, Italy & the USSR definitely had military people on the ground, assessing equipment, doctrine & tactics.

I can't tell if US or UK militaries also kept an eye on military developments in the fighting in Spain.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
26,523 posts, read 11,750,630 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
Germany, Italy & Portugal backed Franco; the USSR, Mexico & France backed the Republicans. Other countries hesitated, & the International Brigades were an attempt to get around that (to aid the Republicans). Germany, Italy & the USSR definitely had military people on the ground, assessing equipment, doctrine & tactics.

I can't tell if US or UK militaries also kept an eye on military developments in the fighting in Spain.
I was talking about France but also England and the U.S.
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