What if France had prepared differently for WW2?

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jwilly48519
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What if France had prepared differently for WW2?

Post by jwilly48519 » 20 Feb 2010 23:39

Split from http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 12&t=36440



A list of things the French could have done better, starting Spring 1940:

1. The French train elements of infantry divisions to which either B or R tanks are detailed for combined-arms counterattacking and holding captured territory, using tanks, close support infantry on the tanks and in APCs, and mechanized AA, mortar and direct-fire-artillery equipment. Tanks are no longer to attack independently without support to hold captured territory; infantry are no longer to delay operations due to foot movement, waiting for artillery prep, or slowness to jump off.
2. The French plan how to advance into Belgium against escaping civilian traffic, involving a willingness to aggressively use noise and fear weapons and immediate bulldozing of civilian breakdowns and blockages to clear roads ahead of moving forces and prevent all stoppages, irrespective of civilian reaction, for the greater good of Belgium and France.
3. The French train on how to conduct tactical air close-support actions against heavy concentrations of light autocannon AA.
4. More French ground forces are equipped with radios for two-way communication with aircraft, and realistic training is conducted on field coordination between ground units under fire and air units in contested airspace.
5. The French conduct road-movement testing to determine real-world breakdown rates of various AFVs, so as to avoid tactical uses of units that predictably would sustain excessive road losses.

6. The French discover and correct the breakdown propensity of the B tank's hydraulic fine-rotation system.
7. All tank crews are trained in their vehicles against realistic targets, then are further trained for unit operations and communications.
8. French adoption of a much greater emphasis on landmine defense, including rapid road mining techniques and AP mining to hinder clearing.
9. Corap is replaced with an inspirational, aggressive general with greater skills and an understanding of morale and rapid counterattack.
10. 9th Army, independently of the Belgians, prepares a redundant plan to blow all the significant bridges in the Ardennes and all the Meuse crossings including dam-top catwalks upon French advance initiation into Belgium, and to breach the Meuse dams above any threatened zone so as to disrupt prior planning for bridgability and make river crossing operations more difficult to sustain.

11. 9th Army conducts exercises in which reservists are exposed to aerial bombing and strafing, to prepare them for likely attacker tactics. Planned front-line units are equipped with extra AA weapons and ammo.
12. 9th Army verifies its logistics organization and tests its movement procedures, so as to avoid mistakes like leaving its 75mm AP ammo stocks behind.
13. 9th Army is assigned Class A elements, and prepares and trains a mobile counterattack force battalion in each division, armed with tanks, infantry in APCs, mechanized artillery, and with organized radio communications with a specific tactical-air-support element. This force is stationed no more than 1-2 km back from the primary crossable river nexus in each division's frontage, and practices tactical-formation night/inclement-weather movement and counterattack through their own forces.
14. 9th and 2nd Armies prepare a plan for 2nd Army's mobile reserve to conduct a shock counterattack to the Meuse at Sedan on short notice, and hold the bridgable river extent there.
15. 9th Army prepares a comprehensive map of secondary roads in its zone so as to attain an understanding of where road logistical movement can be interdicted if a Meuse crossing is attained. Plans for enveloped foot divisions to "hedgehog" themselves so as to block Class 1 roads are abandoned for any location where bypass is readily possible, in favor of lateral withdrawal to the edge of the breakthrough, if need be by infiltration and night movement.

16. FAF prepares and practices attacks against pontoon bridges with drifting semi-submerged naval mines and with surface-running torpedoes, as a means of avoiding AA concentrations.
17. 7th Army plans to reinforce the Dutch in mid-Holland are abandoned as impractical given existing equipment breakdown rates, logistical needs and movement rates. Instead 7th Army's high-mobility equipment is redistributed for mobile reserves in 9th Army, and 7th Army is given heavier equipment and assigned to hold the Belgian Army's left flank no farther than the Dyle Line. Previously-Belgian frontage reassigned to 7th Army allows the Belgian Army to establish stronger reserves behind their frontage.
18. The top of Fort Eben Emael is heavily AP-mined, staked and barricaded against glider landings and infantry operations, and anti-infantry-attack forces are prepared and trained for immediate reaction during night and early morning hours.
19. Bridges covered by Fort Eben Emael are more redundantly prepared for demolition, with the possibility of surrepticious night efforts by pre-attack commandoes to neutralize such preparations in mind. (Welded-in-place demo charges, more heavily protected and highly redundant control wiring, etc.)
20. Drifting-mine capabilities are prepared upstream of the bridgeable Meuse extent opposite Fort Eben Emael.

21. British, French and Belgian air forces practice finding, identifying and attacking enemy motorized road columns in the presence of autocannon AA fire. British air forces concentrate on their own and the Belgians' frontage, and practice coordination and communication in advance.
22. British, French and Belgian air forces do not utilize equipment that is not task-effective against active opposition, so as to avoid wasting aircrew resources and morale for little gain.
23. Belgian resources allocated to anti-tank fences are re-directed to purchase of more anti-tank SPGs and tanks.
24. The Renault version of the G tank is greenlighted in early 1940 for late 1941 fielding, notwithstanding the illicit influence exerted by Renault on the decision process. Significant parts of the production process are spread among the other competitors in the design competition. The G tank is to equip new armored/mechanized combined-arms divisions, with all B tanks assigned as companies to form armored-infantry divisions.
25. All production of the Lorraine 38 APC is shifted as quickly as possible to the 39 model, and is speeded up to equip mechanized divisions ASAP.

26. Fielding of the 47mm armed Panhard 178B via conversion of 25mm-armed 178s, and of Laffly W15 TCC tank destroyers, is speeded up. As these become available, they are assigned to self-contained mobile-defense elements, deployed as Army reserves.
27. Abandonment of the Sau40 and ARL39 projects in favor of faster progress on the larger S35 turret and more S35 production.
28. Speeding-up of the project to re-arm H and then R tanks with long 37mm guns.
29. Speeding-up of the project to re-equip 75mm Mle 1897 cannons for high speed towing capability, to equip them with direct fire optical sights, and to revise their basic ammo load to include a greater amount of AP ammo.
30. Maximization of production of autocannon and HMG AA weapons; initiation of a project to obtain autocannon AA weapons from allied and neutral nations; re-allocation of naval weapons stocks and production to ground use to the extent possible; and initiation of a project to mount these weapons on SP mounts.

31. Increased reliance on fighter-interceptors to defend cities and economic targets against bombing; speeding up of the development of the 75mm CAMle 1940 split-trail AT gun configuration; and extensive conversion of existing 75mm L/51 AA guns for this purpose.
32. Immediate deployment of the already-manufactured stock of Brandt 50mm HEAT rifle grenades to forward elements, pending training of forces in its use, and initiation of a project to manufacture large additional volumes.
33. Greenlighting of the Brandt 60mm and 80mm infantry-weapon-fired HEAT grenades for immediate production.
34. Greenlighting of the Brandt 75mm tungsten-core APCR rounds for the Mle 1897 series cannons, and engagement of American manufacturers to rapidly produce APCR ordnance in 75mm, 47mm and 37mm (long and short) calibers.
35. Greenlighting of the Brandt 75mm HEAT round for the Mle 1897 cannon.

36. Greenlighting the project to install the CA Mle 1935 2x 37mm autocannon AA system on the Le Hardi destroyer class, then the Mogador cruiser class (as originally designed).
37. Initiation of a general project to replace naval HMG AA armament with 20mm or 25mm autocannons as rapidly as possible and to generally remove a part of surface armament to allow addition of more autocannon AA armament on ships of destroyer size and below, beginning with ships serving in the Channel area.
38. Speeding up of the project to procure American fighter, bomber and transport aircraft, including an effective task-specific dive bomber.
39. Initiation of a project for American contract manufacturing of S and eventually G tanks; Panhard 178B ACs; and Lorraine 39 APCs.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Puma11 » 21 Feb 2010 18:55

The French and British forces were defeated in the battle for France mainly because during the interwar years they forgot the basic "if you want peace prepare for war" and allowed their war machine to deteriorate. It's easy to blame the Generals for the defeat but the politicians of those interwar and even early war years shoulder a great deal of the blame for those defeats. All too late did the Allies wake up to the threat and reluctently start to rearm.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 21 Feb 2010 20:44

Jwilly, a couple of those are outside the scope of what France could have done to avoid defeat...
4. More French ground forces are equipped with radios for two-way communication with aircraft
Might be worth checking how far along other nations were at doing this :wink: There were some large nations' armed forces who weren't yet using VHF for ground-to-air communications for ground vectoring by their air force command-and-control systems, let alone tactical support ops' tasking.
5. The French conduct road-movement testing to determine real-world breakdown rates of various AFVs, so as to avoid tactical uses of units that predictably would sustain excessive road losses
If you look at Montefiore, the effect of mechanical reliability is perhaps LESS pronouced than far more simple mistakes like idiotic general officers not letting their tanks fuel-up after significant road mileage BEFORE entering combat!
10. 9th Army, independently of the Belgians, prepares a redundant plan to blow all the significant bridges in the Ardennes and all the Meuse crossings including dam-top catwalks upon French advance initiation into Belgium, and to breach the Meuse dams above any threatened zone so as to disrupt prior planning for bridgability and make river crossing operations more difficult to sustain.
That's the epitome of retrospectivity - the French weren't entering Belgium to prepare the landscape for subsequently abandoning to the Germans - they were as THEY thought entering it to HOLD it against them :wink:
16. FAF prepares and practices attacks against pontoon bridges with drifting semi-submerged naval mines and with surface-running torpedoes, as a means of avoiding AA concentrations
These come under Alien Space Bat technology; naval mines weren't SUPPOSED to drift semi-submerged, they did so when they broke free. And they and "surface-running torpedoes" have the SAME very major disadvantage - they FIRST require many feet of depth to drop into THEN level out.

P.S. exactly who had "surface running" torpedoes in 1940?
18. The top of Fort Eben Emael is heavily AP-mined, staked and barricaded against glider landings and infantry operations, and anti-infantry-attack forces are prepared and trained for immediate reaction during night and early morning hours.
19. Bridges covered by Fort Eben Emael are more redundantly prepared for demolition, with the possibility of surrepticious night efforts by pre-attack commandoes to neutralize such preparations in mind. (Welded-in-place demo charges, more heavily protected and highly redundant control wiring, etc.)
20. Drifting-mine capabilities are prepared upstream of the bridgeable Meuse extent opposite Fort Eben Emael.
Given that Eben Emael is in Belgium, defensive preparations there OR at the Albert bridges are beyond the abilities or reach of the FRENCH...
21. British, French and Belgian air forces practice finding, identifying and attacking enemy motorized road columns in the presence of autocannon AA fire. British air forces concentrate on their own and the Belgians' frontage, and practice coordination and communication in advance.
Belgium WAS still a Neutral nation; what cooperation it DID carry out in advance with the French and British was covert. It's a little difficult to hide joint air exercises...
22. British, French and Belgian air forces do not utilize equipment that is not task-effective against active opposition, so as to avoid wasting aircrew resources and morale for little gain.
...which WOULD of course mean that the bomber aircraft of the AASF and BEF Air Element simply never leave the UK at all... 8O
23. Belgian resources allocated to anti-tank fences are re-directed to purchase of more anti-tank SPGs and tanks.
First of all - BELGIUM'S defensive measures are outside the ability of France to influence or control.

Secondly - Belgium didn't have nor didn't want "tanks". It's purchase and conversion of "tractors" into SPGs that could function in an AT role was a political decision to preserve their Neutrality.

Thirdly - Cointent AT fencing actually worked quite well when used properly; what happened was the Belgians messed about several times with the positioning of the fence line in the region of the Gembloux Gap, moving it too far back from it's matching flooded river bottoms....and large sections of the line simply hadn't been reassembled yet when the Germans arrived 8O
38. Speeding up of the project to procure American fighter, bomber and transport aircraft, including an effective task-specific dive bomber.
They can't do this UNTIL they initiate their own aerial rearmament and find out that they can't do so quickly enough using domestic companies. The purchase of American export types was done not on their own merits but BECAUSE the French aviation industry hadn't been "grown" through the 1930s as the British and Germans had done.

P.S.what ground-based "effective task-specific dive bomber" was being produced in the U.S. in 1939-40?
39. Initiation of a project for American contract manufacturing of S and eventually G tanks; Panhard 178B ACs; and Lorraine 39 APCs.
Why on earth would American companies have been willing to do this? They were unwilling to manufacture BRITISH designs because doing so would have developed and grown production lines and capacity for designs the Pentagon didn't want. Ditto for the French types.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Feb 2010 00:06

"P.S.what ground-based "effective task-specific dive bomber" was being produced in the U.S. in 1939-40? "

The USN types. Production capacity in 1939-40 is problematic. The French wanted to order quite a few, but only fifty of the DB7 were delivered. Unsure if thats due to a French decision or because of production capacity & competing USN orders.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Feb 2010 00:32

That's why I specified "ground-based" ;) For items like the SBD Dauntless, the USN only placed it's first production orders in April 1939, and received IT'S first aircraft well after the USMC, for it took some time for it to get homologated for carrier use :wink: The USN's for carrier use began being delivered between December 1940 and May 1941. It was the success of the Stuka in France that led to the larger SBD-3 order for 174 aircraft being placed...and of course the hugely-larger SBD-4/5/6 orders came much later.

So it looks like SBD production ramped up at Douglas AFTER the French capitulated; they wouldn't have been able to fill BOTH the domestic orders AND any French orders with any real speed.

As for the DB-7, I think the issue was time-to-delivery; I'm not sure WHEN the french placed their FIRST order for them, but they only received and began operating their first in january 1940 in Morocco...whereas a further 249 of the French orders were diverted to the UK STARTING in the summer ;) So it was obviously taking some time for Douglas to complete and deliver them to the French...for the BRITISH had ALSO put in their own order to Douglas on the 20th of February :wink:

Don't forget - FDR was planning to use French and British orders to ramp up the U.S.' own production capacity :) And that capacity was still quite low in late 1939/early 1940....

(remember - the French {along with the British} were initially planning to maximise their striking potential for 1941 and after :wink: AFAIK they were never planning to replace combat-attrited U.S. aircraft with new orders - the American items were just stop-gap UNTIL French designs of all classes started flowing out of the ramped-up DOMESTIC production lines...for they would be got at a price MINUS the cost of shipping and re-assembly! )

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by takata_1940 » 22 Feb 2010 10:02

Carl Schwamberger wrote:"P.S.what ground-based "effective task-specific dive bomber" was being produced in the U.S. in 1939-40? "

The USN types. Production capacity in 1939-40 is problematic. The French wanted to order quite a few, but only fifty of the DB7 were delivered. Unsure if thats due to a French decision or because of production capacity & competing USN orders.
Douglas DB-7 was not a USN type and there was no USN orders to compete with French ones on this project. The DB-7 was the A-20 or "Boston" which first production batches were French (actually 133 reached France or North Africa).

What you are talking about are the 50 Curtiss SBC-4 "Helldiver". This was an USN gift (under FDR pressure) to the French and the USAAF contributed also with 93 Northrop A-17 of its own stock. Contrary to the legend, there never was any French "order" for any of those types and this was accepted without any clear idea of what to do with those aircraft (in fact, they were supposed to be used for advanced training).

This deal was to provide the French, as quickly as possible, with fully operational aircraft (including armament and accessories on US standards). But those aircraft had to be refurbished at factories before being delivered (paintings and new engines fitting) and, subsequently, the delivery was too late as none reached France (the 49 SBC-4 were at sea in transit - one lost during ferry flight and all the A-17 were still parked in California).

As a matter of fact, the capacity for placing French orders in the USA was utilized to its maximum during the second half of 1938 to 1940 - huge aero engines orders - but the problem was industrial above all. Nobody could make the aircraft/engine production capacity to rise faster than it could at this time nor the new aircraft development faster than it was. If the French wanted more US aircraft to be delivered in 1940, they had to place their orders in 1936 instead of 1938... but they were not interested in 1936-1937 US technology. The main types ordered in 1939 were still not fully developed by the time of the German attack and most will be considered very disapointing in their early versions: P-40, p-39, P-38, P-43, G-36 (F4F)... not to mention the Brewster model 340 (later SB2A) which was the US dive-bomber in French order (200 units): http://www.wwiivehicles.com/usa/aircraf ... caneer.asp

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by daveh » 23 Feb 2010 18:15

I am never quite sure how to respond to the type of list jwilly48519 has produced.

While it is interesting to highlight the possibilities that could have been available to the French under certain circumstances no real consideration is given to the likelihood that each of these points could be met.

For example the idea of placing obstacles against a glider attack on the surface of Fort Eben Emael presupposes there was some reason to do so. Such obstacles would have created problems for a glider landing. However in the 1930s there was no concept (outside Germany) of using gliders in a military role so why put up the obstacles?
The possibility of providing the fort with an infantry component rather than relying on units deployed outside the fort is a point more worthy of discussion, especially as this had been done prior to WW1.

To have fulfilled all the ideas presented all you need is to know what the Germans planned with what strategy, tactics and equipment some 5 or so years before they did and alter the French political, economic, social and military situation and attitudes many years earlier than those 5 years, so they can prepare to meet a German Army and a German attack not yet conceived of

Simple!

Oh yes and the Belgians have to do exactly what the French need/wanted despite being an independent country. And the French can do what ever they want in Belgium.

And of course the Germans would do nothing different as the French changed their strategy etc

Having said that I can suggest one way to use such a list:
If each point is taken in turn perhaps it could be analysed with a view to seeing why it did not happen. This may help highlight the weaknesses of the French state and Army as found in 1940.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Tim Smith » 24 Feb 2010 14:25

So, France could have avoided defeat in 1940 if Belgium (or at least the southeastern half of it) had been part of France, rather than an independent country? Interesting.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talleyrand ... or_Belgium
This is a rejected French proposal for solution of 'the Flanders problem' in 1830, with Belgium being divided between France, Prussia, the Netherlands, and a 'Free State of Antwerp'. (Naturally France proposed this because she wanted to annex the French-speaking parts of Belgium, and naturally the other major European powers were opposed to this!)

Also, France may have avoided defeat if she spent millions of francs on a massive codebreaking facility like Bletchley Park pre-war, cracked Ultra in 1938, and the French were reading all German signals, just like America with Operation Magic were reading Japanese diplomatic signals in 1941 word for word. Backed up by a spy network equivalent to the British SOE.
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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Feb 2010 16:49

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talleyrand ... or_Belgium
This is a rejected French proposal for solution of 'the Flanders problem' in 1830, with Belgium being divided between France, Prussia, the Netherlands, and a 'Free State of Antwerp'. (Naturally France proposed this because she wanted to annex the French-speaking parts of Belgium, and naturally the other major European powers were opposed to this!)
Well, that's a nice early POD! :lol: However, it COULD have made matters even worse...
Belgium being divided between France, Prussia, the Netherlands, and a 'Free State of Antwerp'.
Great, the territory of France increases...so THEY have to worry directly once again about being invaded over the Belgian Plain! So they require extra defences...
the Netherlands, and a 'Free State of Antwerp'
...except the real urban and industrial centres of Belgium aren't part of the deal for France! Suddenly those extra defences over open ground are going to be a distinct financial DRAIN on France...
being divided between France, Prussia
...with the ADDITIONAL problem that the Germans get to advance quite far UP to that indefensible border line across open ground with few obstacles without getting out of their beds :wink:

THAT might indeed have politically stabilised a 19th century Western Europe...but potentially militarily doomed a France of 1914 by saddling them with a terrible vulnerability. So, yes, it WOULD have prevented a French defeat in 1940....for it might have been part of the Greater Prussia by 1915!

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Tim Smith » 24 Feb 2010 22:28

phylo_roadking wrote:
Well, that's a nice early POD! :lol: However, it COULD have made matters even worse...

THAT might indeed have politically stabilised a 19th century Western Europe...but potentially militarily doomed a France of 1914 by saddling them with a terrible vulnerability. So, yes, it WOULD have prevented a French defeat in 1940....for it might have been part of the Greater Prussia by 1915!
:lol: :lol: :lol:

You're right! Little Antwerp might even have stayed neutral in 1914, robbing the French of most of the 'Belgian' divisions that historically protected their northern flank. Maybe enough to tip the Battle of the Marne against France.... Oops! :lol:

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Feb 2010 22:52

Funny that Talleyrand foresaw a British-protected enclave on the coast eighty years early...this is what happened eventually in 1914 for as long as it lasted!

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Mark V » 24 Feb 2010 23:17

Hi,
SASH155 wrote:thoroughly introduced to the new paradigm of combined arms armored warfare, with medium tanks like the Somua S-35 playing a leading role.
From where French would get such new doctrine ? Development does not happen in self-satisfied enviroment. Someone earlierly mentioned - losing WW1. That would had done the job.
SASH155 wrote:2. The army as a whole needed to place more emphasis on small unit tactics, fire and manoeuvre, marksmanship, gunnery, physical training, and unit morale building.
In reality quite the opposite happened. Conscription time was cut several times, and troops did rely fixed defence preparations. Their fathers (from 1880s till 1914) would had looked down to them. THAT army knew only offensive.

French Army was most aggressive army in world in 1914, but the massacre of first month of WW1, and years of trench warfare where defensive side seemed always win, affected their thinking too much. It did take time. Still 1918 and early 20s French Army was force to be recogned. In 30s it had fallen to vegetating their men in trenches - voluntarily. Times were though hard economically and politically, and admittedly France had carried the highest burden on Entente side (that fought till end) and suffered the most in that war. France could not had handled second such bloodletting inside couple decads. Maginot line was too good way to bury the head of nation into the sand after horrible casualties of WW1. After country had the false security of defensive line, all motivation in political side to maintain the army, and armys initiative to develope did go down the drain.

In the end: France had started to gave up offensive options in European geopolitics in 1929-30. By Rhineland re-armament the process was fullfilled. The fact that France was on negotiation partner in Czechoslovakian and Poland issues was only remrants of past potency and miscalculation and failure to estimate military power on part of countries that rely France as potent ally. France was still major country in mainland, but its military power had become solely defensive in nature.

Regards
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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Feb 2010 23:35

From where French would get such new doctrine ? Development does not happen in self-satisfied enviroment. Someone earlierly mentioned - losing WW1. That would had done the job.

Well...loosing WWI isn't the diametrical opposite of winning it...

For if they had lost WWI there wouldn't have been a "French" army TO learn new doctrines! :lol:

Unless the Prussian Occupation Police had an armoured wing :wink:

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by Mark V » 24 Feb 2010 23:41

phylo_roadking wrote: For if they had lost WWI there wouldn't have been a "French" army TO learn new doctrines! :lol:
Imperial Germany was not like Hitler. There is no way they would had wanted to administer French heartland for any lenght of time, even if they would had won the war. Even the French own authorities does not want the job, if honest opinion after bottle of wine is extracted :D

Ofcourse there would had been French Army after lost WW1.

Heck, even the really vengencefull Entente let Germany had an Army.

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Re: How could France have avoided defeat in WWII?

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Feb 2010 23:56

Imperial Germany was not like Hitler. There is no way they would had wanted to administer France mainland for any lenght of time, even if they would had won the war.

Ofcourse there would had been French Army after lost WW1.

Heck, even the really vengencefull Entente let Germany had an Army
Quite correct. But -

1/ that army was small...and not allowed armoured vheicles. They did drill with "tanks"....wooden and cardboard ones, there are pics on this forum of Reichswehr exercises with them :wink:

2/ They MIGHT however have wanted to do something useful like occupy French industrial assets and areas forever; after 1870 they had after all cut off Alsace-Lorraine apparently permanently into Germany...

3/ ...and possibly maintained a far greater right of inspection than the Allies did in Versailles. In fact - probably. Certainly the British wanted no long-term monitoring role under Versailles, and the arguing over the destruction of the German aviation industry was driven very much by the French by its last days in 1921-22 with the destruction of the large numbers of illegally-retained "police" aircraft. I can't see a military culture like Prussia/Imperial Germany not being willing to shoulder that monitoring/inspection burden with respect to a major defeated enemy....especially IF that defeat didn't also include the defeat of the offshore British, just like in 1940...

4/ theoretically a defeated Franch MIGHT have been able to hide a "Kazan-style" operation in the colonies...but quite openly Imperial Germany wanted to assume the mantle and territories of an imperial colonial power, with coaling stations and ports all around the world for its fleet. The price of peace by treaty at the end of a lost WWI could very well have been Germany taking control of those colonies.

(Certainly as late as May 1940, the eventual loss of overseas colonies to Germany was STILL one of the major fears of the British under the Italian offer-to-mediate of late May that the Cabinet discussed during DYNAMO)

5/ look at the size of an army the Germans DIDN'T leave the French in Metroplitan France in 1940... :wink:

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