The German campaign of conquering Britain - Page 3




 
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September 22nd, 2006  
MightyMacbeth
 
 
Guys you have so much knowledge. Wonder if you can use it to help little ol' helpless me
September 23rd, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
Why did France fall so quickly, well much of it's defence budget was spent on the Maginot line which the Germans by passed. Allies tried to rerun WW2 on WW1 tactics. At the start of WW2. France did not have much of a modern Air Force and their tanks like the British ones were under gunned even if they were well armoured. Okay the French did have one tank with a large gun but it was built into the front of the tank and could not be moved quickly or trained on target with any great ease. What saved the Britain was the channel which stopped the Germans and gave us the time to build up our strength and this took several very painful years. As Churchill said I promise you nothing but Sweat, Blood and Tears and he was very correct on this.
September 23rd, 2006  
perseus
 
 
LeEnfield

Quote:
France did not have much of a modern Air Force and their tanks like the British ones were under gunned even if they were well armoured.Okay the French did have one tank with a large gun but it was built into the front of the tank and could not be moved quickly or trained on target with any great ease.
You must be referring to the Char B1, true this was a bit of a dinosaur. However, I thought the accepted view was that it was the way the tanks were used tactically, the amount of support available to repair them, their reliability, and the way they were fuelled are the main differences between the respective armoured forces at this time.

The initial engagements East of the Meuse did not go well for the Germans, but the French still retreated behind the river seeing this as a permanent defence line, thereby losing tanks which were only slightly damaged, whereas the Germans repaired theirs.

The French Somua S35 was regarded by Len Deighton in 'Blitzkrieg' as the best tank in Europe at that time. This tank had a larger caliber than all of the German tanks but the Pz Kw IV which had a much lower muzzle velocity. About half of the German tanks were Pz Kw ll s with a 2cm barrel with the minimum allied calibres being almost twice that.

Looking at the other specifications of the Allied and German tanks, it is far from clear that the Germans had any significant technical advantage in number or quality of tanks at that time.
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September 24th, 2006  
perseus
 
 
There is a good summary regarding the reasons for the fall of France here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France

An extract relevant to the last few posts is copied below

Outdated tactics. It is often assumed that there was a neglect of tank warfare by the French, exemplified by the rejection of Colonel Charles de Gaulle's tank warfare tactics by the French high command. The French had built a larger number of modern tanks than the Germans and these were on average better armed and armoured. Also it is untrue that they were divided among the infantry in "penny-packets" or even individually assigned to infantry units as support vehicles; even the independent tank battalions were combined in Groupements and allocated at army level. However, the French suffered from an inflexible division in infantry tanks and cavalry tanks: ironically the former were insufficiently trained to cooperate with the infantry and so couldn't execute modern combined arms tactics. In theory the operational doctrine of both armies was based on partly mechanized maneuver warfare; in practice the French shied away from it, while the best German field commanders were so bold as to let it develop into pure Blitzkrieg if the situation allowed.
September 24th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
In theory the operational doctrine of both armies was based on partly mechanized maneuver warfare; in practice the French shied away from it, while the best German field commanders were so bold as to let it develop into pure Blitzkrieg if the situation allowed.
It has to be pointed out that the best German field commanders were so bold that they were actually disobeying their own senior commanders. Guderian and Rommel spring to mind. There were many in the German Generalstab who still thought along traditional lines and who were no more forward-thinking than the French General Staff. Von Kluge springs to mind as a prime example.

One can surmise then that the difference between the French and German armoured formations was that a) the difference in the importance of individual empowerment within each army and b) the lack of a Guderian or Rommel in the French Army as a whole.
September 25th, 2006  
MightyMacbeth
 
 
Hey since you are talking about France, I thought of asking a few questions.

So ok, why did France quickly loose to Germany? if someone can summarize and give us a point form like reasons.

Also, when Germany conquered France, the French were not united, some fought against the allies and other French right? what happened, exactly ?
September 25th, 2006  
perseus
 
 
Mighty MacBeth if you have read the earlier part of this thread surely the reasons beahind the fall of France are clear?

Regarding the French regimes:


Under the 1940 Armistice terms, much of the southern part of France was allowed self-government, this was known as Vichy France. While officially neutral in the war, Vichy France was largely a puppet government under Nazi influence, and collaborated with them especially on racial policies. It was opposed to the Free French Forces, based first in London and later in Algiers. Nazi Germany later invaded the zone under its control.

Also in the armistice terms with Germany, the Vichy regime had been allowed to keep control of the Navy. However, this wasn’t enough for the Churchill government, its ships were seized, attacked or destroyed by the Royal Navy.
September 26th, 2006  
Ollie Garchy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMacbeth
Hey since you are talking about France, I thought of asking a few questions.

So ok, why did France quickly loose to Germany? if someone can summarize and give us a point form like reasons.

Also, when Germany conquered France, the French were not united, some fought against the allies and other French right? what happened, exactly ?
Germany, as already described, defeated France in 1940 owing to a few "intellectual" factors:

1. War of Movement: German generals like Guderian understood the potential of armoured warfare to shock and confuse an opponent. They fought a war of speed. Battlefield events changed at a pace too great for French officers. The war of movement negated superior French technology and numbers. The organization of effective defensive countermeasures proved extremely difficult.

2. Junior Officer Empowerment: The Prussian military tradition handed the lower ranks the authority to make quick decisions without undue interference from above. This confidence helped create a general spirit of improvisation that only increased the speed of operations.

3. Combined Operations: Artillery, infantry and armour (plus airpower) worked together to achieve a breakthrough. The tanks poured through the holes and forced the defender to confront a war of constant change and fast movement.

B. Technologically, one factor stood out. The German developments in radio communications and therefore reece helped their military attain the speed in coordination needed to stun and then defeat the French. Basic French weapons were still generally better and more plentiful than that of the Germans. The Germans therefore had to organize local superiority in order to attack or repel the enemy. This ability to organize counted.


In conclusion, however, it should be pointed out that a French invasion in 1939 would probably have taken the Nazis out of the war. Poland was far more of a drain on Germany than most people think or thought at the time. It took the German military many months to reorganize. Almost half of the tanks employed, for example, needed repairs. Germany was not the juggernaut created by Anglo-French and Nazi propaganda during the 1930s. Therefore, Allied propaganda probably played a role as great as the intellectual achievements of the German military.
September 26th, 2006  
perseus
 
 
Quote:
In conclusion, however, it should be pointed out that a French invasion in 1939 would probably have taken the Nazis out of the war.
Ollie

In the early stages of the war I am not convinced France would have been successful. They would not only have to conquer the border defence but also cross the Rhine, it is difficult to see this happening before large reinforcements arrived.

At the time of France's declaration of War the French Army in the field totaled 30 infantry divisions, 14 of which were in North Africa, 9 on the Alpine front and only 7 on the western front plus a few battalions in the Pyrenees area. In Defence the Germans had 34 divisions rising to almost 44 by the 10th September 1939.

It took 3 weeks for France to mobilize and obviously these troops would have required substantial training. The French were also not well equipped for attack.

Perhaps the best chance was mobilizing earlier, through a combined Polish, British, Czech and French Effort. The Czech Army was strong , although the country was politically weak. Their Skoda tanks helped to make the attack in the West possible in 1940, so Chamberlains peace deal did not really buy time, it lost it.
September 26th, 2006  
Doppleganger
 
 
I have to agree with Perseus. It would have taken until September 20th before the French would have been in any position to attack. The war in Poland was virtually over by September 17th and any attack by a French Army geared to the defensive would have been a big mistake. Furthermore, General Kutrzeba, Director of the Polish Military Academy, had stated before the conflict that Poland would have to rely on her own forces for 6-8 weeks to defend any German aggression, even if the French reacted as quickly as possible. As history records, they lasted 18 days.

The French, as it happens, did attack Germany on September 7th in 'Operation Saar'. It was a complete fiasco and can't have done anything to improve French confidence in their own offensive ability.

http://militaryhistory.about.com/b/a/207534.htm
 


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