Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Canadian_Super_Patriot, May 19, 2005.
what if the french had been under the leaderaship of their "good" commanders from the start of WW2 ?
Who would be politicians then? :wink:
(do you mean WW 2 ?)
Maybe the allies would have won the war some years earlier....
But all this is very speculative.
Would the war have started at all?
Was hitler not aware, whom he´s facing?
My question is: why wasn´t it until too late, that a nation with magnificent history, also of military victories during ages, sudenly gets impotent by itself. The process is fascinating and unexplainable for me.
The hardware was there. Looks like, at good quality and standard (I am very much francophile - buy only French cars, apart form my Trabant once, am very satisfied). I dunno... Poland was also a democracy at that time (they say - facistoid - but essentially it was a democratically ruled land with lots of personal freedoms). Poland, despite its poor economic condition, did a lot in order to defend itself. Maybe this outburst of patriotic feelings was because the country was resurrected just 20 ys ago after over 120 ys of foreign rule.
How is France´s defence doing now? what are priorities? Problems?
As in every european country, french defence spending has decreased after the cold war(- 10%).
Important for France is it's status as a nuclear power, which underscores it's role as a permanent member of UN security council.
France always placed much emphasis on maintaining and modernizing it's nuclear forces by indigenous means(unlike Britain for example who massively relies on US technology)
The focus on self reliance for military technology is a "sacred" principle in France since the late 1950's.
Main objectives of french military are the following:
-Dissuasion(Deterrence): based on sea and air launched nuclear weapons.
This ensures the ultimate guarantee of France's independence and is a contribution to equilibrum in the world.
- Prévention(Prevention): Based upon the use of high-performance surveillance technologies(Hélios satellites) and the stationing of troops in oversea territories.This is tought to reduce instability.
- Projction(Power projection):A high priortity task of the french military, involving land, air and maritime forces.Enables France to take part in missions throughout the world.
-Protection: Protection of France's domestic territories.
This has less priority since the end of the cold war.
Overview over french military:
The army is actually being restructures towards a more flexible figthing force.
There will be 10 combat brigades.(2 armored brigades, 2 mechanized brigades, 3 light armored brigades, 2 infantry brigades, 1 airmechanized brigade)
Support will be provided by 15 specialized battalions as well as 19 battalions for aditional fire power, engineers....
19(6 figther, 8 ground attack, 2 recon, 3 training)combat squadrons, in all 400 combat aircraft.Main figther is the Rafale.
13 transport squadrons
2 electronic warfare squadrons
6 helicopter squadrons
5 strategic nuclear submarines(each with 16 missiles)
8 attack submarines(6 nuclear, 2 conventional)
1 aircraft carrier(nuclear, second one planned for 2015)
Total of some 100 ships.
Naval airm has 75 planes.
The navy is also responsible for assuring the deployment of a figthing force of 30.000 outside Europe at any moment.
As in most countries, the budget is the biggest problem.
I hope this helpes answering your question.
Btw, what car do you drive Isaac?
We have these ever increasing threads going on the Battlecruisers site
http://p069.ezboard.com/falltheworldsba ... 1128.topic
http://p069.ezboard.com/falltheworldsba ... 1459.topic
Laguna 1.8 . Very nice and has good klima in 2 levels. I like the button-starter.
It sounds so logical and thought out. But, who in reality can be France´s likely enemy? Egypt? One can never totally exclude (and better be able to deter USA. One can bot exclude a psychopath as a Russian president.)
Thank you for this concise, informative review.
I like the Laguna too, but my financial situation only allowes me to drive one of it's ancestors....
No direct ennemy, but the world can be a rather unsafe place from time to time....
Why Egypt? :-?
the french air force used the Focke Wolf(which is a good strting point , and they had them in good numbers) , their tanks were better , their surface fleet was certainly better , there sub fleet was pretty good(if not a little un-orthodox ! ) , if they just had good commanders in charge of all this stuff .....
The Focke Wulf? When? This plane didn't appear until 1941.
It should have been " NOT exclude...." sorry.
Egypt - for no particular reason. Just a shot in the dark. Egypt has demographic explosion going on and an islamic movement growin, so who knows? I mentioned USA mainly in order to irritate Grieg a little. :lol: But, in principle, it´s good that there is some counterweight to the superpowers. Any monopolistic superpower has a potential to degenerate into a bad cop. Then, there is China, of course. A colossus going - nobody knows where....
If we are speaking of the high level commanders, then nothing.
The German success was not in the generals but in the whole style of leadership down to squad level. The low level commanders could (in case of emergency) lead one, two level higher formation, and the high-level commanders never (at least not really) give detailed orders down, only intention. This method made the low level commanders responsible, well-informed, brave, agile, and cooperative. If a French unit was encircled they were paralised, but in the same situation the German unit knew what to do, how to do things.
Auftragstaktik (mission based leading). It was a very unique feature of the German army, and it worked very well in the first phase when Germany was not the defender.
Mission based leading did not really work in defense, thou. Which led to Hitler stop orders in the second phase of the war.
Laslo, I think you may be wrong in the last sentence: maybe it´s precisely the initiative on low level that made units to seek a better defence positions, which, as hitler in some cases, maybe, rightly judged, gave a risk of route.
In Soviet army, for various reasons, it was stiff orders from above. Maybe therefore this unbelievable disaster in 1941, besides a total lack of training in defence. The last factor is the best circumstantial evidence that Stalin had no plans to counterattack but just attack.
I don´t really know how much freedom of action the French soldier had, but given the poor communications, it should have been substantial, if this army was to be a dangerous enemy. Do you have some facts about it?
You are right, they more easily look for better position, but usually it will threaten neighboring units, which is in attack usually not problem (open flanks) but in defense it is a mistake.
I have Soviet army orders from 1944, where the army commander decided on division sectors, daily advance rate, etc. that led to higher losses as there was little alternatives in the hand of division commander. Other interesting on Soviet soldiers (it was documented in German daily reports), many times I read Germans encircled about a battalion, and none of them gave up, about 90% KIA, and the reaminings were seriously wounded. It was in 1944.
As I remember the French units was prepared a WWI-type of battle, so the communication was based on wire. So I think the communication was not poor. I will look for evidences, thou...
I forgot Ben Turner's article at TDG:
http://www.tdg.nu/articles/historical%2 ... s_1940.htm
the french certainly had the Focke-Wolf in 1939 and 1940 , and it's a what if question , I think that something different would have happened if the french had their better leaders in charge. Instead of gamelin(hope it's spelled right) what if leaders that had the command and tacticsal abilities that were equalled to that of De Gaulle , instead of commanders who preffered to use their tanks in "peace-meal" battles , what if Petain had been in control for a lot more of the conflict , etc
Soviet soldiers could not surrender, no matter what the circumstances. In case of documented surrender, their families were considered as families of traitors and deported east, in all cases (incl. their chidren) had to bear the badge of traitor, had their food rations cut to nothing.
The Germans, not bounded by any conventions vs. Soviet POWs, treated them terribly. And I mean - terribly. Those who survived to be sent back home (also from the western sectors - the infamous "Operation Keelhaul" were shot or sent to camps, on arrival. Do you still wonder they preferred to die? In that case - the families got better rations and were treated as families of heroes of S.U. They were not stupid. They knew precisely, what they were doing. And, remember that they had the hated comissars with them.
Wire communications for mobile war. Better than nothing, but still...
You are also right, AFAIR, that open flanks are more dangerous in defence, but why, really? All depends on the balance of forces and surprise.
The additional factor in RKKAs route was that they had no maps of own territory whatsoever. According to, I don´t remember the name of the German general who wrote it, wagonloads of maps of western Europe were found on the border, partly burned, very high quality maps on quality paper. What is funny: the man who was responsible for cartography in RKKA was not removed or shot. He was later promoted.
Sorry, which Focke-Wulf?
The French had no German aircraft in sevice in 1939/40 AFAIK, and the Fw190 did not even enter German service until 1941.
I beg to differ .... I'll post some info the next time i get a chance.