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The Bug

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Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


0 posted 03-03-2006 07:26 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


How was it that France, which had a larger and better equipped army
on the field, failed to defend itself so as to be totally  defeated by Hitler in  six weeks
in 1940?  How was it that it was almost a year and a half after before the
first German soldier was killed by any resistance movement?


Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


1 posted 03-04-2006 09:22 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
How was it that France, which had a larger and better equipped army
on the field, failed to defend itself so as to be totally defeated by Hitler in six weeks
in 1940?


Bad French tactics
Good German tactics

France expected a campaign similar to WW1, the Maginot line was designed and built as a fixed and immovable barrier to act as a defensive line in a ‘trench warfare’ scenario.

Germany outflanked the defences of the Maginot line and split the BEF from the main French battalions by a concentrated Panzer attack through the Ardennes using the newly developed tactic of Blitzkrieg.

quote:
How was it that it was almost a year and a half after before the
first German soldier was killed by any resistance movement?


Good Free French Tactics

The French surrendered on 25th June after which Vichy France was not at war with Germany, having seemingly no support (the British sank the French fleet which didn’t help allied relations) the Free French opposed to the Vichy government laid low and set to work planning and building a viable network of resistance. This resistance movement grew as animosity replaced apathy towards the occupying forces until resistance became not only possible but also sustainable. Also by this point the Allies had re-forged links with the resistance movement which gave them access to weapons and supplies.

Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


2 posted 03-04-2006 01:24 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Yes, but France was attacked in May
of 1940 where as the war began in September
of the previous year and during
that interval much of Hitler's might in
the form of armor, guns, and planes had
been in the East and then had to be brought
back to the West.  There's the why's of the
"Phony War" to be considered.
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


3 posted 03-04-2006 05:02 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


The phoney war came about because the French were reluctant to rush headlong into another re-run of WW1’s trench warfare instead it had built a complex, and frontally impenetrable, defence - the Maginot Line, to advance and abandon those defences would have been seen as stupid in light of such a belief. Their whole strategy was based around defence not attack so they decided to sit in their concrete bunker system and wait for the Germans to attack them – this turned out to be a bad move but at the time it would have made perfect sense.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


4 posted 03-05-2006 12:46 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


From the "World at War" to Occupation
by Ian Ousay which I'm reading now and
which brought my question there is an
element spoken of which seems to have been
critical and that is a failure of will,
a loss of nerve on the part of the French
as a whole which significantly contributed
to their lack of response and their defeat.

I found interesting the attitude on the part
of an influential number of French that
they had been dragged into the war by
the English.  That Hitler invading Poland,
(my parents' country), was not reason enough
for them to go to war.

Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


5 posted 03-05-2006 07:09 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

A loss of nerve is a little too strong, it seems to fall just this side of branding them cowards.

Of course there was a reluctance to engage in another re-run of WWI but that didn’t just affect the French, I’m sure that the memory of WWI was fresh in the minds of everyone involved, some nations even avoided confronting Germany in 1939 based, in part, on such a reluctance. You could even argue that Germany used that reluctance, in fact relied upon it, when annexing land before the outbreak of war, Poland was just one annex too many.

Almost 200,000 Allied lives were lost defending France, that has to be evidence for at least some will and a little nerve.

Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


6 posted 03-05-2006 11:57 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

"Almost 200,000 Allied lives were lost defending France"


A little high but you may be including
civilians along with soldiers killed
in the retreat, ( retreats are often
more expensive).  The Germans captured
two million French soldiers.  All accounts
indicate morale broke very quickly.

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (03-06-2006 12:02 AM).]

Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


7 posted 03-07-2006 06:04 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


The figures are hard to establish precisely, the number I used was an approximation from several sources of total combatants killed, one of which quotes the following statistics:

France - 90,000 killed
Britain - 68,111
Belgium - 23,350
The Netherlands - 9,779
Poland - 6,092

From "Battle of France" Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


8 posted 03-07-2006 08:28 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


In the first year after its defeat
France was occupied and administered
by thirty thousand Germans.
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


9 posted 03-09-2006 12:03 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


It wouldn’t have made a difference if there were only thirty.

If five heavily armed men turned up at your house and put a feather on your lawn and told you there’d be serious consequences if you moved it, would you pick the feather up and throw it in the trash as soon as they left? It wouldn’t be hard; after all a feather’s not heavy, throwing it in the trash would be easy, wouldn’t it?

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


10 posted 03-10-2006 12:52 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


It does matter if first two million heavily
armed men supposedly armed to protect you
gave up their weapons.

There was a critical failure of will, spirit;
it was not cowardice but a lack of urge to
be brave.  Why is the question.

Huan Yi will be notified of replies
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