Futurist wrote: ↑
26 Jan 2019 03:33
This calculation does take into account the losses that the Germans would have sustained in Czechoslovakia, correct?
ObsessedNuker on AH.com is the originator of this argument, so full credit to him:
The German plan for Czechoslovakia envisaged two pincers closing from the north and south, with massive paratrooper drops being dropped to cut internal Czech lines of communication. The Czechs themselves didn't envision the defenses lasting more then a few months. The fortified frontier was found by German examinations to be poorly suited to stop the exact sort of massed armored assault assisted by dive-bombers and artillery the Germans envisioned.
The difference between the skill of French and Germans soldiers was far greater than just that that one had combat experience and one had not. The greatest deficiency is that due to intense, realistic large scale training, the Germans had a lot of experience with maneuvering brigades, divisions and corps. This is something that cannot be taught in a classroom, and has to be learned by actually handling real forces in the field. The French had run far fewer large-scale manuevers, in the interwar years, and only really got started with them in 1937. They were still sorting largescale manuevers by multiple combined arms formations out by 1940.
Their tank brigades lacked all arms support and many of their infantry divisions only received vital elements like anti-tank and engineers after mobilization in 1939 and had limited time to exercise with them. The invasion of Poland on the other hand shows that by 1939 the Germans had a very good handle on this kind of thing and their plans for invading Czechoslovakia in 1938 also show that they expected their army to be able to execute largescale combined arms operations with confidence. But then the Germans had had their first panzer divisions formed since 1935 and had practiced extensively over the years.
While Germany's panzer divisions were made up mainly of Panzer I and II tanks in 1938 (and Panzer IIs still made up the majority in 1940), at least Germany had panzer divisions, grouped and organized in a logical manner. Compared to the four Panzer divisions Germany possessed in October of 1938 (with a fifth forming in November) France had... none. Although France had two DLM on paper, in 1938 they were basically just two understrength brigades of light tanks, lacking most of their heavier equipment. The powerful S35 tank that would equip the DLM during the Battle of France had only just entered full production at the start of the year, and less than 100 had been completed by mid 1938. At the time Guderian assessed French armoured formations as only having firepower fit for reconnaissance units. [Horne, "To Lose a Battle, p.118] France's first real armored divisions, the DCR's, didn't even exist at that point as the first DCR was not stood up until January of 1940. German also had four Panzer divisions by October with a fifth forming in the next month; they only needed three at Sedan in 1940.
The Moraine MS.406 was a decent enough fighter, but the numbers in service with the French Air Force in late 1938 were tiny, with each aircraft basically hand crafted. Yearly production in 1938 stood at a paltry 65 aircraft. [Goldstein, "The Munich Crisis," p.142] While you can argue that the 109D did not significantly outclass the MS.406, in September of 1938 Germany had over 500 Messerschmitts (along with about 60 early model Bf.110s and a smattering of 300 or so older biplane fighters), while France had just a few dozen Moranes - basically just an extended run of prototypes. It wasn't until late 1938 that the French began ordering new planes in large enough numbers for mass production, and the first production MS.406 didn't fly until January of 1939. In October of 1938 by far the most common French fighters the Germans would have faced would have been the obsolete Dewoitine D.500s and D.501s, which had fixed landing gear and open cockpits. Even then the French fighter squadrons were badly outnumbered, with only about 300 Dewoitines in frontline service as of August 1938. Similarly the RAF had only one operational Hurricane squadron (16 planes) at the time of Munich, as that type was also just entering service, with just four more squadrons forming. [Isby, "The Decisive Duel,"] This is ignoring the gross deficiency in the ADA's organization and training compared to the Luftwaffe.