Perceived threat from Japanese?

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Perceived threat from Japanese?

Post by OldBill » 30 Oct 2017 01:24

I received an email from a friend today, which got me to thinking. Just what were French plans regarding the Japanese prior to WWII? I've copied the email below, I'd appreciate some input from those who know more than I. My thought's were that most money was spent towards defending against German aggression, leaving little for the colonies. Your thoughts?

"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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Re: Perceived threat from Japanese?

Post by OpanaPointer » 30 Oct 2017 01:40

The "Magic" documents may contain some communiques from the Japanese ambassador to France and the Gaimudaijin.
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Re: Perceived threat from Japanese?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Dec 2017 14:48

There was a small naval base at Cam Ranh Bay (sp?), & a light Asiatic fleet. Some cruisers, destroyers, and coastal patrol boats. There were some long range 'cruiser' type submarines they could send. How suitable the rest of the fleet would be for war in the South china Sea I can't say. I suspect French strategy for war with Japan was based on the assumption the British & US would soon be involved.

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Re: Perceived threat from Japanese?

Post by Loïc » 23 Dec 2017 05:07

Seen from France, a potential direct Japanese threat against Indochina was not unthinkable but seemed quite far and dubious and Japan not really considered to be able to dominate the Seas, its army, even reaching the indochinese border, bogged down in China with others unfriendly powers in the area Soviet Union, Great Britain, United States more concerned than France...

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 ... 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...

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Re: Perceived threat from Japanese?

Post by OldBill » 10 Jan 2018 23:47

Thanks Loic. I'll forward the reply to my buddy. Co-incidentally, her served a couple years in Vietnam back in the sixties.

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