Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

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rcocean
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Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by rcocean » 12 Aug 2013 04:49

Does anyone have firm numbers on the strength of the French Armed Forces in June 1940? My belief is that France had mobilized all its available manpower and had no reserves. Total males 18-39 were approximately six million. If you deduct 20% for the unfit and industry that's 4.8 million available. Deduct estimated 300,000 for Navy and Air force, that gets you down to 4.5 million.

Since France mobilized over 100 divisions at 17,000 men each, a division slice of only 45,000 men would equal full mobilization.

By comparison the US/UK division slices were over 60,000 men, and the German once you toss in the Luftwaffe and Kriegmarine ground forces must have been at least 45,000.

But that's all assumption, and I'm looking for hard facts, which seem difficult to locate in the USA.

Any help appreciated.

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Loïc
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Loïc » 12 Aug 2013 16:01

hello

The French Army had 97 "Divisions" including 2 Polish (6 having the size of a brigade in the DCr and CEFS) in Metropolitan France & CEFS the 10th may 1940 but of course there were too a lot of organic units for the Armies, Army Corps, some Fortified Sectors having the size of a Division or a brigade, the General Reserve, Interior and etc...and 14 Divisions Overseas : 11 Divisions in North Africa 3 Divisions in the Levant, not counting created but still embryonic divisions in France (17e DI, 1st Czechoslovak...) and the "Divisions" in Indochina

not for june 1940 but only for may :

Pierre Le Goyet La défaite 10 mai-25 juin 1940 gives for Metropolitan France 1. may 1940

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)
53 466 in the hospitals


sub-total Army Metropolitan France 3 985 320 (75 638 foreigners 140 734 indigenous)


North Africa 420 497
Levant 83 654
Overseas 250 158

Armée de l'Air 181 000
Marine 176 000

Grand total = 5 096 629 men not including 1 600 000 "affectés spéciaux"


Regards
Loïc

rcocean
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by rcocean » 12 Aug 2013 21:56

Thanks a lot for information. Much appreciated.

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 04 Apr 2016 20:27

Loïc wrote:hello

The French Army had 97 "Divisions" including 2 Polish (6 having the size of a brigade in the DCr and CEFS) in Metropolitan France & CEFS the 10th may 1940 but of course there were too a lot of organic units for the Armies, Army Corps, some Fortified Sectors having the size of a Division or a brigade, the General Reserve, Interior and etc...and 14 Divisions Overseas : 11 Divisions in North Africa 3 Divisions in the Levant, not counting created but still embryonic divisions in France (17e DI, 1st Czechoslovak...) and the "Divisions" in Indochina

not for june 1940 but only for may :

Pierre Le Goyet La défaite 10 mai-25 juin 1940 gives for Metropolitan France 1. may 1940

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)
53 466 in the hospitals


sub-total Army Metropolitan France 3 985 320 (75 638 foreigners 140 734 indigenous)


North Africa 420 497
Levant 83 654
Overseas 250 158

Armée de l'Air 181 000
Marine 176 000

Grand total = 5 096 629 men not including 1 600 000 "affectés spéciaux"


Regards
Loïc

Hi, Loic, what different betwen des formations du territoire and Depots et Centres d'Organisation ? All were under arms on May 10 1940 ?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Apr 2016 21:51

A bit of context.

Metropolitan France had a population of about 40 million. Hitler's Reich had some 80 million by 1939.

On top of this, the French birth rate was lower than Germany's.

In addition, Germany introduced two-year conscription before the French.

As a result, from the mid 1930s Germany was training two conscripts for every one Frenchman.

France's strategic timidity in 1939-40 was largely because of this. It needed a major British Army to even up the numbers of fit, trained young troops and this could not be fielded until 1941, at the very earliest.

In effect, French mobilization was a shield for the more time consuming mobilization of the British, who were initially almost completely unprepared for continental-scale land warfare. The French, while much better prepared than the British, were not in a position to tackle Germany head on themselves with any prospect of success by 1940.

Cheers,

Sid..

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Loïc
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Loïc » 05 Apr 2016 01:08

hello

what different betwen des formations du territoire and Depots et Centres d'Organisation ? All were under arms on May 10 1940 ?

the "formations of the Territory" are mainly badly poorly armed oldest reservists of the Regional Regiments and unarmed Labour units, machine-gun and AAA batteries to protect industrial cities, regional Ordnance, Quatermaster, Medical Services...

the Depots, less some specialized Artillery Transport Cavalry Organisation Centers, are regimental instruction Depots/Training units to receive news conscripts and convert them into soldiers, were also poorly badly armed as they were only training units of the Interior, in june 1940 in some garrisons last conscripts were captured in their barracks before they handled a firearm

Regards
Loïc L.

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 05 Apr 2016 06:21

Loïc wrote:hello

what different betwen des formations du territoire and Depots et Centres d'Organisation ? All were under arms on May 10 1940 ?

the "formations of the Territory" are mainly badly poorly armed oldest reservists of the Regional Regiments and unarmed Labour units, machine-gun and AAA batteries to protect industrial cities, regional Ordnance, Quatermaster, Medical Services...

the Depots, less some specialized Artillery Transport Cavalry Organisation Centers, are regimental instruction Depots/Training units to receive news conscripts and convert them into soldiers, were also poorly badly armed as they were only training units of the Interior, in june 1940 in some garrisons last conscripts were captured in their barracks before they handled a firearm

Regards
Loïc L.

Hi, Loic, thank for your help. I remember 235-241 DLI were came from Depot unit, in the long term, if the war in France lasted longer, 675,000 depot units possibly can produce more experienced troops.

I am surprised to see France had over 5 million men under arms. I think France was under great pressure and was considered as guardian of European Peace in 1940. He needed to face German aggression. Italian threat in her southern Frontier and North African and East Africa were another problem for her. When Russia invaded Finland in Nov 1939. French also planned to bomb Caucasus oilfield from Levant but rejected by British. And British army was too tiny for European land war. So , French established so big army in 1940.

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 06 Apr 2016 19:28

Hi, Lioc, I forget to ask you what is affectes speciaux ?

And manpower of French navy was quite small. Soviet navy had 351,622 men on june 22 1941. I don't think Soviet navy was larger than French navy. The number of manpower of France is quite impressive. Even USSR only had 4,275,713 men in Army on June 1 1941.

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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Paul_Atreides » 06 Apr 2016 19:35

Kelvin wrote:Even USSR only had 4,275,713 men in Army on June 1 1941.
Mobilized Soviet army should be over 9 mlns.
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

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Loïc
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Loïc » 06 Apr 2016 20:15

maximally 12 400 000 in the whole armed forces in 1944 for around 170 millions of inhabitants, so around 7.5%
only 3 countries during WWII France, Germany and if I remember Japan maybe reached the 11 to 12.5%

the special assigned are workers or cadres maintained or sent in France's key-strategic economic sectors for the war like the industry...

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 07 Apr 2016 06:35

Thank both.

If counting total manpower mobilitzation ratio, German is the top. Mobilize 17.9 million men , about 22.5% in 80 million German population. And Russia mobilized 35 million in total out of 199 million population in 1941.

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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Paul_Atreides » 07 Apr 2016 08:14

Kelvin wrote:Thank both.

If counting total manpower mobilitzation ratio, German is the top. Mobilize 17.9 million men ,
You forget prewar army (1,1 mln).
There is no waste, there are reserves (Slogan of German Army in World Wars)

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 08 Apr 2016 20:35

Sid Guttridge wrote:A bit of context.

Metropolitan France had a population of about 40 million. Hitler's Reich had some 80 million by 1939.

On top of this, the French birth rate was lower than Germany's.

In addition, Germany introduced two-year conscription before the French.

As a result, from the mid 1930s Germany was training two conscripts for every one Frenchman.

France's strategic timidity in 1939-40 was largely because of this. It needed a major British Army to even up the numbers of fit, trained young troops and this could not be fielded until 1941, at the very earliest.

In effect, French mobilization was a shield for the more time consuming mobilization of the British, who were initially almost completely unprepared for continental-scale land warfare. The French, while much better prepared than the British, were not in a position to tackle Germany head on themselves with any prospect of success by 1940.

Cheers,

Sid..
France extended its conscription law to 2 years in 1936 and many German male had not received military training between 1918 and 1933 while France still maintained its concscription during this period albeit with shorter period ( 1.5 years during 1923-1928 and 1 year during 1928-1935. French weakness was not so obvious. Also French had colonial manpower to bolster up its armed forces and helped build North African infantry divisions and Colonial Infantry diviskons.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Apr 2016 10:59

Hi Kelvin,

It is certainly true that France introduced two-year conscription in 1936 but, as I posted above, only after Germany had done so. France was thereafter playing catch-up.

Furthermore, Germany could conscript twice as many men as France. As a result, there were already more active divisions of young conscripts in the German Army by 1938 than there were equivalent active divisions of young conscripts in the French Army. The differential increased further in 1939. Germany's offensives in 1939-40 were all headed by such active divisions, all of which had modern equipment.

The French accumulation of one-year/18 month conscripts in the 1920s and early 1930s was of limited value by 1939. Apart from the long time since their induction, which meant they were aged between about 25 and 40, they had been trained on now obsolete tactics and equipment and were still largely equipped with it in 1940. It was on such "B" Category divisions that the German active and mechanized divisions fell at Sedan in May 1940.

The Colonial and North African Divisions were an attempt to make up some of the massive male manpower deficit vis-a-vis Germany that France faced. The Battle of the Gembloux Gap in 1940 showed that they could be effective, even against panzer divisions. However, there was almost no trained manpower reserve behind them, as there was no interwar conscription in the colonies.

While I agree that "French weakness was not so obvious", it was nevertheless there and the French were aware of it. That was why they were not prepared to undertake major offensive action until the British were also in the line in large numbers - which was not expected until 1941 at the earliest.

Cheers,

Sid.

Kelvin
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Re: Extent of French Mobilization in 1940.

Post by Kelvin » 11 Apr 2016 21:37

Loïc wrote:hello

what different betwen des formations du territoire and Depots et Centres d'Organisation ? All were under arms on May 10 1940 ?

the "formations of the Territory" are mainly badly poorly armed oldest reservists of the Regional Regiments and unarmed Labour units, machine-gun and AAA batteries to protect industrial cities, regional Ordnance, Quatermaster, Medical Services...

the Depots, less some specialized Artillery Transport Cavalry Organisation Centers, are regimental instruction Depots/Training units to receive news conscripts and convert them into soldiers, were also poorly badly armed as they were only training units of the Interior, in june 1940 in some garrisons last conscripts were captured in their barracks before they handled a firearm

Regards
Loïc L.
The number of Regional Regiment were impressive : I find 112 regional regiments in 1939. if Petain did not call for an armistice, French regional regiments would protect each city to the very end. Is is possbile option ? And exactly Class B reserve divsion average age was 39, so how old for regional regiment really in average age, I suppose not over age 55 ?

Regarding depot units, GUI ( Groupes unites instruction) were regarded as field army or just depot units ? I find many A class reserve units had GUI units like 8e, 32e and 44e DI and also later 200 series 200 DLI.

One of DLI, perhap one regiment of 237 DLI were recruited from 44 depots, that mean each depot had average 50 men something.

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