French personnel quality in 1940

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TheMarcksPlan
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French personnel quality in 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Apr 2020 05:59

From the most general numbers, Germany mobilized 5.5mil men in May 1940 and France 5mil.

Yet France had ~half Germany's population, an older age-skew, and had suffered proportionately greater demographic losses in WW1.

...which leads me to believe that the French were scraping the manpower barrel to a far greater extent than Germany in 1940, accepting men that Germany would have rejected on account of age, health, etc.

There must be some research quantifying these effects and comparing the enlistment standards for Germany and France. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Paul_Atreides
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Paul_Atreides » 29 Apr 2020 15:05

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Apr 2020 05:59
From the most general numbers... and France 5mil.
It's not really true. Many of them went to agriculture, industries and other internal duties.
Servir_3t (240-241).jpg
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There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

TheMarcksPlan
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Apr 2020 19:58

Paul_Atreides wrote:
29 Apr 2020 15:05
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Apr 2020 05:59
From the most general numbers... and France 5mil.
It's not really true. Many of them went to agriculture, industries and other internal duties.

Servir_3t (240-241).jpg
Interesting, thanks. I can't read French - could you explain the categories a bit? Does this show soldiers working on military-run farms/factories? Or subcontracted by the military to farms/factories?

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Hikari
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Hikari » 02 May 2020 02:27

Paul_Atreides wrote:
29 Apr 2020 15:05
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Apr 2020 05:59
From the most general numbers... and France 5mil.
It's not really true. Many of them went to agriculture, industries and other internal duties.

Servir_3t (240-241).jpg
May I ask the reference?

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Loïc
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Loïc » 02 May 2020 16:33

The figure of 5 millions seems to concern initially the 20-48 years old French citizens mobilised in september 1939

despite the matter of the Affectés Spéciaux the French Army had again 5 millions of men under arms in may 1940 but this time including all the military personal in metropolitan France and Overseas

Goyet La défaite 10 mai-25 juin 1940 gives for Metropolitan France

2 651 802 "aux Armées" (means the Front)
529 028 des formations du territoire (Interior)
675 386 Depôts et Centres d'Organisation (Interior)
75 638 Foreigners (RMVE & Légion in Métropolitan France, Polish & Czechoslovak Armies of France)
53 466 in the hospitals

sub-total Army Metropolitan France 3 985 320

North Africa 420 497
Levant 83 654
Overseas 250 158
Armée de l'Air 181 000
Navy 176 000

Grand total = 5 096 629 men the 1st may 1940

not including the 1 600 000 affectés spéciaux
about this last point there are certainly more details in Crémieux-Brilhac, but I don't have it with me


the document published by Paul_Atreides for march 1940 seems come from Gamelin maybe, dividing the categories as following

I - Aux Armées means at the Front from Flanders to Switzerland - for the troops located in "Métropole" of course -

II - Territory means the rest of France not including in the Zones of the Armies above

-300 000 personal available for reinforcement or at training, so military personal from Regimental Depots, Camps and Training Centers etc...

-710 000 Affectés Spéciaux civilian workforce mobilised in situ for wartime Economy in the Industry and Armament etc...such key-strategic sector was disorganized by the Mobilisation and needed in the following months the return to work to an half-million of French soldiers and more

-250 000 Agriculture, also civilians from this essential sector for food not called under arms

-650 000 Passive Defense and Territory Service : military personal of the Regional Forces and others units mainly from older reservists

-140 000 miscellaneous : sick or wounded military personal in the Hospitals, convalescents, at point to be released from active military service for health reasons, refractories...

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Sheldrake
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Sheldrake » 02 May 2020 20:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Apr 2020 05:59
From the most general numbers, Germany mobilized 5.5mil men in May 1940 and France 5mil.

Yet France had ~half Germany's population, an older age-skew, and had suffered proportionately greater demographic losses in WW1.

...which leads me to believe that the French were scraping the manpower barrel to a far greater extent than Germany in 1940, accepting men that Germany would have rejected on account of age, health, etc.

There must be some research quantifying these effects and comparing the enlistment standards for Germany and France. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
You are right to identify the population difference as a major concern for the French Army. However, France could call on more than its metropolitan population. France Outremer had a much bigger population than Germany. Some of the best French soldiers were from North and Central Africa. There is more to the quality of soldiers than just their their age and physique. As the most famous French general Napoleon said, moral is to physical as three to one.

The weakness of the French soldiery may have been more in the mind. Read the Strange Defeat by Marc Bloch a veteran of 1940 and The collapse of the Third Republic by William Shirer.

Paul_Atreides
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Paul_Atreides » 03 May 2020 12:06

Hikari wrote:
02 May 2020 02:27
May I ask the reference?
Gamelin, Servir, vol. III
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Jun 2020 17:47

Sheldrake wrote:
02 May 2020 20:08
....

The weakness of the French soldiery may have been more in the mind. Read the Strange Defeat by Marc Bloch a veteran of 1940 and The collapse of the Third Republic by William Shirer.
I've found Strange Victory by Mays a interesting complement to Blochs examination.

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Sheldrake
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Re: French personnel quality in 1940

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Jun 2020 21:21

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
28 Jun 2020 17:47
Sheldrake wrote:
02 May 2020 20:08
....

The weakness of the French soldiery may have been more in the mind. Read the Strange Defeat by Marc Bloch a veteran of 1940 and The collapse of the Third Republic by William Shirer.
I've found Strange Victory by Mays a interesting complement to Blochs examination.
Add Frieser K-H. (2005). The Blitzkrieg Legend for a German perspective.

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