What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

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Von Schadewald
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Re: What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

Post by Von Schadewald » 01 Apr 2020 17:16

The English held the Pale of Calais for 212 years, and resolve to rehold it in 1940.

The distance from Calais to Dover is 27 miles.

There is no Dynamo, and the entire BEF retreats in full order to Calais with all their artillery, tanks and equipment, with the RN's battleships, shore bombardment monitors, RAF and British Dover Strait coastal batteries duelling across the Channel ferociously with the Germans.

Losses are heavy on both sides, and the Germans decide to leave the British pocket be, preferring to gradually attrit the Anglo revictualing flotilla-bridge rather than a costly all out assault.

Unless the French army, as part of a peace deal, willingly join the Germans in ousting Les Anglais.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Apr 2020 23:12

This is a variant on the Brittany Redoubt proposed in one of Churchills war meetings in June, Discussed was the practicality were the remaining BEF in France retreated into the Bereton peninsula & entrenched there. The idea was dropped as impractical. Churchill mentions it in his history of the war.

In this case the first problem that jumps out at me is keeping a port open to supply the enclave. A ground force in this enclave of 300,000 combat and support troops, no air units based in it, would require about 500 tons per day per division slice for sustained combat. If the Germans put a lot of pressure on them, or/and a lot of material must be replaced the cost could go up to 700 tons daily per division slice. Placing that at a low number of 35,000 men per slice (it was placed at 44,000 for OVERLORD planning) that suggests eight divisions would need between 4,000 & 5,600 tons daily. Fuel won't be a large requirement, but local material will run out quickly, so things like concrete, barbed wire, construction steel, will be added to the burden. Then there is the cost of feeding the civilians until they can be removed.

Numbers vary depending on who's you use for port capacity. During the latter 1930s the port of Calais averaged between 4,000 tons daily and 6,000 daily. In theory that should be adequate however docked cargo ships are vulnerable to air attack, and a ship sunk at the docks cuts the port capacity significantly. Losing the local electrical generation does too. Then there ea losses from the material & vehicle transport lost on the docks. At least for the first couple weeks its going to be a tight one getting enough material ashore. Once the civilians are evacuated and superfluous units it will be easier, but it could be 2-3 weeks before results are seen.

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Re: What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Apr 2020 23:23

Von Schadewald wrote:
01 Apr 2020 17:16
...The distance from Calais to Dover is 27 miles.
The relevant distances are from major ports like London, Plymouth, Liverpool. Dover was a small low capacity port. Plus it is high risk loading ago ships so close to enemy airfields. Hitler had trouble understanding this in 1944. It seems Rommel did too. Which helped deceive them about where the main invasion might be. Dover embark or loading capacity could support a corps of a couple divisions, but not much more. Certainly not a army.
... RN's battleships, shore bombardment monitors, RAF and British Dover Strait coastal batteries duelling across the Channel ferociously with the Germans.
Actually it would be cruisers, destroyers, & maybe the monitors. Its too difficult to protect the major ships from air attack this close to enemy territory. Very few coastal batteries could range coast to coast. Theres not going to be much of a cross Channel artillery duel.

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Sheldrake
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Re: What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

Post by Sheldrake » 01 Apr 2020 23:42

The serious option was for France to continue from its overseas possessions as the Dutch did and the British thought they might.

This is the nub of the "Darkest Hour" proposition. The French government realised the allies had made a catastrophic strategic error and allowed the Germans to win. They hoped that if the British agreed to an armistice with Hitler they would, jointly, have enough bargaining power to get good terms.

Churchill was trying to persuade Reynaud via de Gaulle to carry on the fight and offered joint sovereignty - a point that was much debated in the Brexit debate. The Petain government refused to consider the idea. By this time the Germans had millions of French PW as hostages.

Fran ce carrying on from its overseas territories changes the war in the Mediterranean. The Italians would have been on the back foot from 1940. The war in the Pacific might have been different if the Japanese could not simply occupy Indochina in 1940.

Allies win the war. The experiment of joint sovereignty is championed by the British Conservative party as a mechanism for rebuilding a democratic Europe and London becomes the a capital of a United Free Europe... ;)

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: What would it have taken for the Allies to permanently hold onto a part of France in 1940?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Apr 2020 04:46

Sheldrake wrote:
01 Apr 2020 23:42
... The war in the Pacific might have been different if the Japanese could not simply occupy Indochina in 1940. ...
I've always argued this means no Pacific war. With no occupation of FIC the US is not panicked into trying to force Japan into neutrality & does not enact the embargos. Japan is approaching bankruptcy in 1941 & at some point negotiate a face saving peace with China. This of course has radical consequences in Europe.

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