Dowding's Costly Blunder in the Battle of France - Page 2




 
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November 20th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Contrary to stereotype, the French fought quite well. The gallant French troops, with heavy losses stalled the German offensive enough for the British to abandon France in Dunkirk. However, it is futile for infantry and artillery without planes to oppose a well coordinated army and air force.

If the British could send planes, mechanics, spares, etc, to India, Aden, Malta (over 1,500 km from Gibraltar or Alexandria), Africa, Singapore, Burma, Australia, Norway, Greece, etc, they should definitely have been able to send a few hundred planes, mechanics, etc, to nextdoor France during the long Phoney war.
November 20th, 2011  
lljadw
 
That the Battle of Britain was lost because of the stupidity of Goering and Hitler,is nonsens :the Germans lost the Battle of Britain,because Fighter Command was to strong,and the LW to weaken (because of the losses during the Battle of France).
But,of course,some people will refuse to face reality:that most battles were lost or won,because A was stronger than B.and not,because the stupidity of B .I should like to see an exemple of a battle that was lost because the stupidity of one of the opponents .
The fact also is
a)that Hitler was not engaged in the Battle of Britain,as he was in the Battle of France
b)that the German strategy during the BoB was quite defensible .
November 20th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
First of all we were producing more planes than we had pilots for, and if we had that many spare plane why were they not sent to Malta, North Africa, Burma and Malaya, let alone Australia, most of the stuff was out dated and easy pickings. One of the reasons that the Germans paused was a large counter attack by Matilda Mk 1 tanks, now these gave the Germans just a bit of scare as the German tanks could not knock them out nor could the British knock out German tanks. It was Rommel that first used the 88mm guns as anti tank weapons to stop the British Tanks in fact Rommel's No 2 was killed beside him during this attack. This caused the Germans to slow for a while while all their other forces caught up with them before driving on to the coast.
The problem was that the French had spent nearly all their defence budget on the Maginot line and there modern fighters were still in development and RAF was not equipped either with enough modern aircraft or the men to fly to them till 1941
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November 20th, 2011  
lljadw
 
About the battle of Arras:the Germans attacked with 60 Matilda I tanks,which could be penetrated by the 20 mm ATG,and only 16 Matilda II.
The attack was drived back by a combination of 20 mm,88 mm and 105 mm guns (I have seen no reports that German tanks were used).
The 7PD only had 4 88mm guns,and maybe 8 88mm Flak guns ,there also are no indications how many of those were committed at Arras .
Thus,IMHO,although the 88 mm was used at Arras,it is wrong to say that the Germans were saved at Arras by the 88 mm gun.
November 20th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
LeEnfield, precisely because there were more planes than experienced pilots were the French and Belgian and the experienced British pilots invaluable, so Dowding should not have left them to fight for their lives with 2 blade Hurricanes, Ms.406s, etc, against the LW hoardes.
It seems obvious to me that had there been 450 modern fighters to reinforce the 1,100 plus mediocre or obsolete fighters, the Germans would have lost an arm and a leg the first week of the invasion. Instead of causing panick inthe allied infantry, the German generals would have panicked from the plane losses, without which the Blitzkrieg was imposible.

You are right, the German tanks were vulnerable to the Matilda and the French tanks, whose armor they could not penetrate. The only thing that saved Guderian was the airplanes, which blasted a path and thwarted counter offensives and enemy supplies with the most intense and prolonged air support in history. The obsolete planes that provided this support would have been promptly wiped out by the mediocre allied fighters, had the latter been protected by Spits and 3 blade Hurries.
November 20th, 2011  
LeEnfield
 
 
Have you read Rommel's report on all of this. This was the only time that a massed attack by allied tanks took place during the 1940 battle for France. Now you keep on about the RAF should have sent more planes to France but as none of the Airfields were secure where do you think that they should have operated from. Also there was quite an amount of RAF fighter cover for Dunkirk but not so much over the breaches but further inland before the Germans got to the beaches. Now grew up through all of this and knew many of the people that took part in these conflicts, and I am not just commenting on what some author thought about the whole thing who also probably was not there.
You keep on going on about the two bladed prop on the on the Hurricane and Spitfire but when these planes first came out the props were made in the traditional way out of wood, but they soon found out during combat the stresses put on these wooden props caused them to break up. It was then they started to put on the all metal three bladed prop and by the time France was falling there would not have been enough to make much difference and many of these units were purchased from the US and were fitted during the lull before BoB started
November 20th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Yes I've read Rommel's report, I said Guderian, which was at the Front, not Rimmel who was protecting the line of supplies. I've also read a book by Saint Exupery whose bomber was sent to Arras to blast the German tanks and encountered German planes and was extremely lucky to excape. There were several tank encounters, in one of them a single French tank promptly blew up 12 German tanks. In another ocassion a whole french tank division was refueling when it was destroyed by German planes, etc,
The German tanks (mostly Pz I and II) were junk compared to the allied tanks, except that Guderian had installed radios in all his tanks and the allies relied on signals. Had the LW been mamed in the first week, the allies would have had time to install radios in their tanks and learnt the weaknesses of the very deficient German tanks.
November 20th, 2011  
Alan P
 
Britain Lost an estimated 1393 planes between 10th May and 28th of June 1040 in France. This was the reason for Dowdings sensible strategy in withdrawing our fighters
To echo Winston Churchill's words.We will defend our Islands whatever the cost may be.
No matter how you twist the tale that is precisely what happened. The bravery shown by the R.A F pilots in 1940 gave the springboard for victory and freedom which we all enjoy today. All the pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain are held in high esteem in the British Isles today, tomorrow and always.
November 21st, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Hi Alan P,
I don't agree with your figure, which comes closer to allied, not British losses. Anyway most of the British losses during the German offensive were bombers (Battles, Wellingtons, etc,), Gladiators and Hurricanes with 2 blades. Only during the evacuation (once the battle was lost) did Britain lose good fighters.
I repeat, the problem is that Dowding did not send the good planes during the long Phoney war and allowed the best French, Polish and Belgian pilots to learn to fly them., so that they could be useful when the invasion began.
I repeat if Dowding knew that the battle was lost he should not have sacrificed his pilots with bad planes. Once he sent them, he had to provide them with the best, not the worst planes.
It's absurd and unconscionable to ask pilots to die fighting in a Gladiator, MS.406, Hurricane with 2 blades, etc, while the best planes are idle in England.
Churchills nonsense is extremely popular, the fact is that never in the history of the British empire were excellent men with excellent weapons led more incompetently. Far from the finest hour, Norway, France, Belgium, Greece and Africa were the darkest hours in British history. Rommel with ridiculous resources beat Ritchie with huge resorces in Gazala and could not be crushed after the two el Alamein battles, eventhough Auchinleck and Monty had huge forces available (in large part American equipment, fuel, etc,). Not only did the Americans have to send Churchill 31,000 million dollars in equipment and Stalin 11,000 million dollars, they also had to beat the Japanese and destroy the LW so Britain and the USSR could beat Germany.
November 21st, 2011  
BritinAfrica
 
 
In 1939, several changes were made to the Hurricane. The powerplant was changed to the Merlin III driving a*de Havilland*or*Rotol*constant speed metal propeller. Ejector exhaust stacks were fitted for added thrust.

If any blame should be laid for the fall of Norway, France, Belgium, Greece and Africa, it should be laid firmly at the feet of consecutive British governments after WW1 cutting back the armed forces to a bare minimum, or in many cases below the bare minimum, and should not be laid at the feet of Churchill or Dowding.

Exactly the same was happening after WW2, during my time and for years afterwards, including today.

I repeat and will continue to repeat, Dowding made the right choice.
 


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