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"You guys know more about this sort of thing than I do;
The French built very short ranged Destroyers and Torpedo Boats prior to WWII, in spite of having a global
empire needing defense, especially in Asia. Britain built Singapore, the US built Manila Bay, but the French had no such fortifications. The Dutch stationed the preponderance of their fleet in the East Indies and Australia began
feeling antsy pre-war. Did the French envision no possibility of war with Japan?? I've never read anything to
suggest they thought of re-inforcing LaMotte-Piquette at Saigon with anything at all.
Every Western Power obviously considered Japan a threat, and the French whistled past the graveyard???
The French had professional soldiers, seamen, and airmen . . . none of them saw danger in the Far East? "
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after all for France the main threat was and remained nazi Germany and all the problems would be solved in Europe
obviously with the Japanese Army as neighbour in southern China in 1938 the French Military Command had identified and taken into account 4 potential cases of agressions, from most to least severe :
hypothesis "FSP" combined Japanese and Siamese attack
hypothesis "FP" Japanese
hypothesis "FS" Siamese
hypothesis "FC" Chinese
despiste this the level of risk didn't appear very probable because Indochina had to contribute to the war in Europe, it was planned to raise 2 or 3 divisions for France and Syria-Lebanon and 100 000 civilian workers more
even if Indochina was the "pearl of the Empire" the Army in Indochina was certainly not the pearl of the military forces, poorly equiped, mainly coming from indigenous, nicknamed the demoiselles due to the very low opinion of their military values* by their few Europeans cadres who were not themselves the best officers and NCO's of the French Army, the Air Force not at all modern and the fleet quite symbolic to maintain the french flag on the waves with the cruiser Lamotte-Picquet Avisos Amiral Charner, Tahure, Marne gunboats Francis Garnier Commandant Bourdais Avalanche Vigilante Tourane Mytho and some others ships listed here
http://atf40.forumculture.net/t11245-fo ... ne-en-1940
*something painfully verified in Langson in september 1940 when at the first fight against the Japanese a whole battalion of Thô Tonkinese mountaineers viewed as the best indigenous soldiers of Indochina melt away quickly...