Gamelin's replacement?

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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Dec 2018 07:42

Steen Ammentorp wrote:
06 Nov 2018 22:22
...

Carl raises an interesting question. Would it have change anything, maybe not. However had Gamelin been sacked on the 9th of May, would the new CinC have initiated plan D? It was Gamelins scheme, and especially if the new CinC were Giraud, previously commander of 7th Army - the Army that according to the plan were to advance through Belgium to southern Netherlands. Changing not only the CinC but also the commander of 7th Army at that moment may have postponed the initiation of the plan, perhaps long enough to give the French the strategic reserve they later lacked.
The only clue I have are remarks by some historians concerning a telephone call between Georges and Gamelin mid morning on 10 May. Georges is supposed to have asked 'So its Plan D then? Gamelin replies 'Yes. What else can we do?' Since this is not a complete summary of the telephone conversation, & a translation of unknown quality its difficult to draw conclusions about Georges independence in this.

As for the Dyle vs the Escaut Plan; I have gamed this campaign quite a bit and found the Escaut plan places the Allies in a worse situation. It leaves the Belgian army isolated and subject to east destruction unsupported. The Belgians can neither fight for long in their isolated forward deployment, nor have a chance of retreating to France. They are typically pocketed and destroyed in several groups. The deployment of the French British field armies from the Escaut River in Flanders, to Givet significantly extends the front, but has fewer combat units to cover it since the Belgian army is lost. There is a argument the Escaut Plan takes advantage of the French frontier fortifications. This I think overlooks how easily the German 19th Corps smashed the frontier defense at Sedan, which had eight months worth of entrenchment and bunker construction. Randal Reed remarked that the Dyle Plan would require aggressive and swift execution for success. While some portions of the French Army may have been capable of such, there were too many poorly trained Series C units, and commanders/staff who were incapable of rapid action.

Dili
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Dili » 31 Dec 2018 08:25

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
31 Dec 2018 07:18
Dili wrote:
05 Dec 2018 14:04
...
I also have a question, what Reynaud know that made him want to replace Gamelin already in 9 May?
Reynaud had been determined to replace Gamelin since March or early April. It had taken some weeks to arraign the political support as Gamelin still had support within the government. This was further dragged out when Reynaud contracted a sinus infection and was slowed in his activity. Why replace Gamelin? First he had held his position fairly long and there was a feeling fresh leadership was needed. Second there was disappointment in the preparation of French soldiers for the Norwegian campaign. Crticism of incomplete & inappropriate equipment was made. There was also a sense that training of the French reservists had not progressed fast enough. The Series B units had accomplish very little training since their mobilization in September/October 1939, unlike the Active & Series A echelons. Reynaud had also heard criticism of Gamelins preference for the doctrine of the Methodical Battle. In simple terms Reynaud felt Gamelin had outlived his usefulness and a more energetic man with fresh perspective was needed. In English language histories Chapman, Horne, and jackso all discuss briefly Reynauds decision concerning Gamelin, but they leave out much detail.
Thanks Carl. Don't see any "methodical battle" from Gamelin, i guess he was always being surpassed by events.

I wonder if Georges wasn't seriously wounded in assassination of Yugoslav King in 1934 he would have got career precedence over Gamelin and arrived to the top first.

Dili
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Dili » 31 Dec 2018 08:40

Some information here:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Dyle


« – Alors mon général, c'est la manœuvre à la Dyle ?
– Puisque les Belges nous appellent, voyez-vous que nous puissions faire autre chose ?
– Évidemment non. »

— Échange téléphonique entre le général Gamelin et le général Georges, le 10 mai 194065.

À 6 h 35, ordre est donné au GA1 d'entrer en Belgique ; à 6 h 50, l'état-major du général Billotte demande si l'ordre concerne les Pays-Bas ; le GQG précise alors : « hypothèse normale : donc BH », c'est-à-dire Bréda–Hollande. L'ordre est retransmis aux différentes armées et à la BEF.

Commission d'enquête sur les événements survenus en France de 1933 à 1945, Témoignages et documents recueillis par la Commission d'enquête parlementaire, vol. 3, Paris, PUF, 1952-1953, p. 724 et Gamelin 1946-1947, tome 3, p. 388-389.

But that does not mean that if it was Georges in Gamelin place that question would have been asked.

Futurist
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Futurist » 31 Dec 2018 08:56

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
31 Dec 2018 07:42
Steen Ammentorp wrote:
06 Nov 2018 22:22
...

Carl raises an interesting question. Would it have change anything, maybe not. However had Gamelin been sacked on the 9th of May, would the new CinC have initiated plan D? It was Gamelins scheme, and especially if the new CinC were Giraud, previously commander of 7th Army - the Army that according to the plan were to advance through Belgium to southern Netherlands. Changing not only the CinC but also the commander of 7th Army at that moment may have postponed the initiation of the plan, perhaps long enough to give the French the strategic reserve they later lacked.
The only clue I have are remarks by some historians concerning a telephone call between Georges and Gamelin mid morning on 10 May. Georges is supposed to have asked 'So its Plan D then? Gamelin replies 'Yes. What else can we do?' Since this is not a complete summary of the telephone conversation, & a translation of unknown quality its difficult to draw conclusions about Georges independence in this.

As for the Dyle vs the Escaut Plan; I have gamed this campaign quite a bit and found the Escaut plan places the Allies in a worse situation. It leaves the Belgian army isolated and subject to east destruction unsupported. The Belgians can neither fight for long in their isolated forward deployment, nor have a chance of retreating to France. They are typically pocketed and destroyed in several groups. The deployment of the French British field armies from the Escaut River in Flanders, to Givet significantly extends the front, but has fewer combat units to cover it since the Belgian army is lost. There is a argument the Escaut Plan takes advantage of the French frontier fortifications. This I think overlooks how easily the German 19th Corps smashed the frontier defense at Sedan, which had eight months worth of entrenchment and bunker construction. Randal Reed remarked that the Dyle Plan would require aggressive and swift execution for success. While some portions of the French Army may have been capable of such, there were too many poorly trained Series C units, and commanders/staff who were incapable of rapid action.
What was the long-term result of gaming the Escaut Plan? Did France still fall? If so, how long did it take?

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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Dec 2018 19:47

Futurist wrote:
31 Dec 2018 08:56
...
What was the long-term result of gaming the Escaut Plan? Did France still fall? If so, how long did it take?
Yes. About as fast, or faster.

On the game board the Allied armies were spread to thin on a longer front. The game rewarded a early capture of Paris, so the German player always charged off in that direction. This split the Allied armies and so throughly disrupted communications the defense turned into a bunch of uncorrdinated pockets.

Of course that was just a few games with a single game system. However the problem of the broader Plan E front and abandonment of the Belgian Army look valid whatever the PoV.

Futurist
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Futurist » 01 Jan 2019 00:41

Did the Escaut Plan also involve sending the French Seventh Army to the Low Countries?

chevalier
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by chevalier » 15 Mar 2019 11:30

Hi, in the Dyle Plan without Breda case the 7th army must go to west of Anvers, as a reserve of GQG. So i think its the same for Escaut plan, except for the 16 th army corps witch is supposed to be the link between BEF and Belgian army.

At the beginning most of French generals were opposed to Dyle plan witch was supported by Gamelin. Eventually, the May 9th it wasnt the case, they were agree with the plan. But Breda was still pushed by Gamelin against them.

Sorry for my poor English.

ljadw
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by ljadw » 20 Mar 2019 16:08

There was not much difference between both : a Dyle/Escaut plan was possible with/without the Breda variant .With Giraud would try to go to Breda ( he never arrived ) ,without ,he would go to Antwerp .

Futurist
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Futurist » 04 Apr 2019 05:12

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
31 Dec 2018 19:47
Futurist wrote:
31 Dec 2018 08:56
...
What was the long-term result of gaming the Escaut Plan? Did France still fall? If so, how long did it take?
Yes. About as fast, or faster.

On the game board the Allied armies were spread to thin on a longer front. The game rewarded a early capture of Paris, so the German player always charged off in that direction. This split the Allied armies and so throughly disrupted communications the defense turned into a bunch of uncorrdinated pockets.

Of course that was just a few games with a single game system. However the problem of the broader Plan E front and abandonment of the Belgian Army look valid whatever the PoV.
Wouldn't attacking Paris have created a huge salient for the Germans, though?

Also, how exactly would you win in this war game if you were playing the French?

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Apr 2019 18:02

Futurist wrote:
04 Apr 2019 05:12
...

Wouldn't attacking Paris have created a huge salient for the Germans, though?
Attacking to the Channel created a huge salient. All the German generals involved thought it a serious risk. Most thought it would fail from attacks on the flanks.
Also, how exactly would you win in this war game if you were playing the French?
Preventing the Germans from achieving a decisive strategic victory. This was the typical result in the war-games run over the autumn, winter, and spring of 1939-40. That the German armies were stalled in northern France, their offensive power in ammunition, tanks, and aircraft expended, and the Allied forces intact. Hlader & the rest had a fair idea of the Allied ammunition reserves, their tank park, operational aircraft, and their ability to replace losses. If the Germans achieve no more than a operational or tactical victory the first time around, then within a few months they'd be facing a now veteran army with more ammunition, tanks, and aircraft.

Futurist
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Futurist » 07 Apr 2019 04:16

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Apr 2019 18:02
Futurist wrote:
04 Apr 2019 05:12
...

Wouldn't attacking Paris have created a huge salient for the Germans, though?
Attacking to the Channel created a huge salient. All the German generals involved thought it a serious risk. Most thought it would fail from attacks on the flanks.
True, but at least the Channel route had the potential to trap a significant part of the French Army if it would have been successful. Capturing Paris would not have resulted in such a positive result in the event of success--would it?
Also, how exactly would you win in this war game if you were playing the French?
Preventing the Germans from achieving a decisive strategic victory. This was the typical result in the war-games run over the autumn, winter, and spring of 1939-40. That the German armies were stalled in northern France, their offensive power in ammunition, tanks, and aircraft expended, and the Allied forces intact. Hlader & the rest had a fair idea of the Allied ammunition reserves, their tank park, operational aircraft, and their ability to replace losses. If the Germans achieve no more than a operational or tactical victory the first time around, then within a few months they'd be facing a now veteran army with more ammunition, tanks, and aircraft.
How would you prevent the Germans from achieving a decisive strategic victory, though?

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Gamelin's replacement?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Apr 2019 17:40

Futurist wrote:
07 Apr 2019 04:16
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Apr 2019 18:02
Futurist wrote:
04 Apr 2019 05:12
...

Wouldn't attacking Paris have created a huge salient for the Germans, though?
Attacking to the Channel created a huge salient. All the German generals involved thought it a serious risk. Most thought it would fail from attacks on the flanks.
True, but at least the Channel route had the potential to trap a significant part of the French Army if it would have been successful. Capturing Paris would not have resulted in such a positive result in the event of success--would it?
The French feared it. The Germans seriously considered it. It was intact a alternate right up to the breakout. On 14 May as Guderian was consolidating his corps bridgehead at Sedan he asked Kliest if the direction of attack was the Channel, or was Paris. If I'm reading the accounts correctly the German leaders saw the Channel as a preferable goal, but would have been fine with Paris were the western thrust not practical.

Attacking to Paris still badly disrupts French communications. A look at the railway map of France shows how Paris was a central hub beyond the usual sense of the term. Redirecting traffic would require extended detours, over routes not laid out for such traffic.
Also, how exactly would you win in this war game if you were playing the French?
Preventing the Germans from achieving a decisive strategic victory. This was the typical result in the war-games run over the autumn, winter, and spring of 1939-40. That the German armies were stalled in northern France, their offensive power in ammunition, tanks, and aircraft expended, and the Allied forces intact. Hlader & the rest had a fair idea of the Allied ammunition reserves, their tank park, operational aircraft, and their ability to replace losses. If the Germans achieve no more than a operational or tactical victory the first time around, then within a few months they'd be facing a now veteran army with more ammunition, tanks, and aircraft.
How would you prevent the Germans from achieving a decisive strategic victory, though?
[/quote]

The Germans considered their map and field exercises failures because they did not destroy much more than the Dutch and Belgian armies. In all but one exercise the front stalemated in Belgium or northern France, the Pz Corps failing to make a major break through. Lots of tactical victories on the map, but no major operational successes without fudging the rules. Because of the larger Allied ammunition and weapons production and the far larger population to draw from The German military leaders understood that either they won the war immediately, or they would lose badly later.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question? In the operational context of the 1940 campaign it was necessary to defeat either the crossings of the Meause River by the German armored corps, or defeat their breakout. The former would be preferable, tho the complete destruction of a pz corps or two is possible in the second case.

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