The French Army in WWII - Page 3




 
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July 28th, 2009  
Chukpike
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
To a large degree I think you are doing the French a disservice here as the French Military in WW2 generally performed extremely well with the exception of the German invasion of France where they were poorly led and using outmoded tactics/thinking for the time.
However if you look at the exploits of the Free French forces from 1941 - 1945 you will see a very different story, even if you look at the Vichy forces in Africa they put up far a far greater fight than was ever expected of them.

Personally I would be inclined at this point to say that France was beaten tactically in 1940 but it was not a true representation of the French ability to fight.
Not sure what this means:

"even if you look at the Vichy forces in Africa they put up far a far greater fight than was ever expected of them."

I guess if you mean the Vichy forces fighting the US for 3 days and allowing Rommel to establish a beach head in Tunisia a good fight, then you are correct. The Allies were hoping the Vichy wouldn't fight at all.



"Troops landing at Casablanca consisted of the I Armored Corps of three divisions under Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., shipped directly from the United States, the only instance in World War II in which a force of more than division size was combat-loaded in United States ports for landing directly on a hostile beach. The forces landing near Oran and Algiers included the U.S. II Corps, Maj. Gen. Lloyd W. Fredendall commanding, with elements of three divisions.
During this operation a battalion of paratroopers made the first U.S. combat jump of the war.
The Allies achieved strategic surprise, but the operation was delayed by the French forces, who fought back in every case but one. By 11 November negotiations had succeeded both in ending French resistance and winning French cooperation, and an Allied column headed for Tunisia. Meanwhile, the Germans had moved into Tunisia in force by water from Sicily, and were able to stop the Allied drive short of the Tunisian capital (Tunis)."

source: http://www.worldwar2history.info/North-Africa/

I doubt the French see the Vichy actions in support of Germany as a plus.
July 28th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukpike
Not sure what this means:

"even if you look at the Vichy forces in Africa they put up far a far greater fight than was ever expected of them."

I guess if you mean the Vichy forces fighting the US for 3 days and allowing Rommel to establish a beach head in Tunisia a good fight, then you are correct. The Allies were hoping the Vichy wouldn't fight at all.



"Troops landing at Casablanca consisted of the I Armored Corps of three divisions under Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., shipped directly from the United States, the only instance in World War II in which a force of more than division size was combat-loaded in United States ports for landing directly on a hostile beach. The forces landing near Oran and Algiers included the U.S. II Corps, Maj. Gen. Lloyd W. Fredendall commanding, with elements of three divisions.
During this operation a battalion of paratroopers made the first U.S. combat jump of the war.
The Allies achieved strategic surprise, but the operation was delayed by the French forces, who fought back in every case but one. By 11 November negotiations had succeeded both in ending French resistance and winning French cooperation, and an Allied column headed for Tunisia. Meanwhile, the Germans had moved into Tunisia in force by water from Sicily, and were able to stop the Allied drive short of the Tunisian capital (Tunis)."

source: http://www.worldwar2history.info/North-Africa/

I doubt the French see the Vichy actions in support of Germany as a plus.

Either way it was still French troops in action but originally I was thinking of French North Africa as a whole which includes the Allied invasion of Syria in 1941.

If we want to go further you can look at Free French actions in Italy where despite the focus on the Polish capture of Monte Cassino it was French mountain forces that actually broke the Gothic line making Monte Cassino and the Gothic line untenable.
There is a very good write up on Free French actions in a book called Cassino: The Hollow Victory - The Battle for Rome January-June 1944 by John Ellis.

I would however avoid it if you are a fan of Mark Clark as the writer clearly is not.
July 28th, 2009  
Proud Texan
 
 
I have one thing to say about this..... french military vehicles only have 6 gears, 5 in reverse and 1 to go forward just in case they get attacked from behind hahahahahah
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July 28th, 2009  
Mikefrombelgium
 
 
mmarsh said: Almost 90% of WWI was fought in France (and not in the UK or Germany which were almost unscathed). Over 1/3 the country was utterly devestated -raized flat. If you visit Verdun or Somme today there isnt a 1 meter flat piece of earth for miles, it is just littered with shellholes

i really like youre post mmarsh and you make some good points but please do not forget that ww1 was fought in Belgium to and we suffered greatly (civilian,Military and infrastructure). I do not want to wine but people always forget about that and as a Belgian myself and decendant of soldiers who fought in ww1 i feel obliged of mentioning it.
July 29th, 2009  
mmarsh
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefrombelgium
mmarsh said: Almost 90% of WWI was fought in France (and not in the UK or Germany which were almost unscathed). Over 1/3 the country was utterly devestated -raized flat. If you visit Verdun or Somme today there isnt a 1 meter flat piece of earth for miles, it is just littered with shellholes

i really like youre post mmarsh and you make some good points but please do not forget that ww1 was fought in Belgium to and we suffered greatly (civilian,Military and infrastructure). I do not want to wine but people always forget about that and as a Belgian myself and decendant of soldiers who fought in ww1 i feel obliged of mentioning it.
No your're absolutely right. I did say France but I really meant to include Belgium as well.
July 29th, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
I had two Uncles on HMS Hartland who the French managed to kill. There were two ships from the RN that were sent in to Oran harbour a few hours after the Torch landings. Now Hams Hartland had about 300 American Marines on her decks when the French warships opened up on her with every thing they had blowing her out of the water and killing all the American troops on board. The second ship suffered much the same fate although the captain survived and was awarded the VC for his actions, except that the plane he was on taking him home was shot down and he was killed as well. Now it was reckoned that if these ships had entered the harbour at the same time as the landings then their mission would have been successfull but the planners thought the French would not oppose them and a lot of brave men died needlessly
July 30th, 2009  
mmarsh
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
I had two Uncles on HMS Hartland who the French managed to kill. There were two ships from the RN that were sent in to Oran harbour a few hours after the Torch landings. Now Hams Hartland had about 300 American Marines on her decks when the French warships opened up on her with every thing they had blowing her out of the water and killing all the American troops on board. The second ship suffered much the same fate although the captain survived and was awarded the VC for his actions, except that the plane he was on taking him home was shot down and he was killed as well. Now it was reckoned that if these ships had entered the harbour at the same time as the landings then their mission would have been successfull but the planners thought the French would not oppose them and a lot of brave men died needlessly
Yes they did. But that happened on both sides. My Great Uncle ship was Sunk by friendly RN Swordfish, and then got strafed in the Water by a RAF Blenheim which killed many of his comerades in the water. Needless to say, he doesnt have such a great admiration for the British.

Concerning the Torch landings, the Allies made a major blunder by letting the RN steam into Oran in 1942. You might recall that the RN shelled the French Fleet anchored at port of Algiers a 2 years earlier which killed 1300 French sailors in a unwarrented attack because they were (erronuously) afraid the French Fleet might fall into German hands (although the armistice signed with Germany specifically prohibited that, and the French Navy had no intention of letting their fleet be used by Hitler as was later discovered in Toulon). One really cannot fault the French Navy, who still felt betrayed, for seeing the same British Navy that attacked the exact same port 2 years earlier and not reasonibly expect them to defend themselves.

The allies made a tactical error in assuming the attack in 1940 had been forgotten. They should have defused the situation with the FN before attempting a landing. The made a agreement with Resistence fighters in ALgeria, but opted not to inform the French Government until they showed up with a Invasion fleet.
August 8th, 2009  
lljadw
 
For those that can read French,an excellent source:"Les causes de la défaite de 1940"
August 13th, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
The shelling of the French fleet in 1940........Could Britain allow these ships to fall under German control. The French may have had to give these ships up if their arms were twisted enough by the Germans in France and if they had done this then the whole of Naval balance of power would have changed over night. Lets face it the French had signed away most things to Germans and were in a right defeatist mood. Now if the French had sailed these ships to a neutral port as requested this would not have happened.
August 13th, 2009  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
The shelling of the French fleet in 1940........Could Britain allow these ships to fall under German control. The French may have had to give these ships up if their arms were twisted enough by the Germans in France and if they had done this then the whole of Naval balance of power would have changed over night. Lets face it the French had signed away most things to Germans and were in a right defeatist mood. Now if the French had sailed these ships to a neutral port as requested this would not have happened.
What neutral port? Spain would hardly be acceptable to G.B. In WWI a German Battleship & Cruiser sailed to neutral Turkey, just before they joined the Germans. S. America? Viewed as very pro German, @ 1 point the US Military was planning an invasion of Brazil.
 


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