Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 Hide
113 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: We told ourselves that the battle was lost, so it was lost rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Steve Pole

Winkleigh
Devon
msg tools
designer
Which do you think is History's most ill-judged decision to surrender? To start the ball rolling I suggest Percival's decision to surrender Singapore in February 1942 as a result of his gross overestimation of Yamashita's strength.

23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Owen Edwards
United Kingdom
Durham
County Durham
flag msg tools
badge
Together down the ages we have fought the long defeat.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've read good defences of Percival.

Joe Hooker stopped believing in Joe Hooker.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Richbourg
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
This is Kyoshi, our adopted Shiba Inu.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Giving up Suomenlinna in 1808 should be considered.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan Valdez
msg tools
Apparently the the defense of France, 1940.

At least some of the French on the ground put up a very stiff fight. Stonne, apparently, was a close run thing, as was Rommel's crossing at Dinant.

As I understand it, the French high command basically rolled over, and squandered any defense slowing down the German advance.

There are many here with far more knowledge than myself about this, hopefully they'll weigh in with more detail (or set me straight, either is good).
13 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick Thompson
United States
Taylor
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Old Ironsides being overflown by the Blue Angels
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Hull surrendering Detroit at the beginning of the War of 1812.

Believing he was outnumber by thousands of British and Native troops, he hoisted the white flag, against advice, after a short bombardment that caused seven casualties. In reality, he outnumbered the British by about a 5:3 ratio and the reaction was probably spurred by fear for the safety of his daughter and grandchild who were with him at the fort.

He was later court-martialed for cowardice and neglect of duty and sentenced to death. President Madison remitted the sentence in view of his service to the country during the Revolutionary War.
30 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sweden
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mtngrown wrote:
Apparently the the defense of France, 1940.

At least some of the French on the ground put up a very stiff fight. Stonne, apparently, was a close run thing, as was Rommel's crossing at Dinant.

As I understand it, the French high command basically rolled over, and squandered any defense slowing down the German advance.


The Fall of France is probably the most debated surrender in history. Decadence and betrayal were popular explanations for a long time, and both stemmed largely from the French postwar debate which was a massive settling of scores. They also fitted well into British narratives since they left France’s major ally blameless.

Recent research is, unsurprisingly, more balanced. Germany’s economy was twice as big as France’s, and its military age population was three times as big. After the UK evacuated France was for all practical purposes alone. American help could not arrive in time, and the USSR was in a pact with Germany. In short the French position had totally collapsed compared to 1939, and none of France’s WWI allies could or would help.

Having said that, France still had a few options. It could continue the fight from overseas. This sort of happened with De Gaulle later, but from a worse position than if they had tried to evacuate the army in 1940 and kept the colonies. Britain wanted France to do this but at the same time would not send more reinforcements and even made veiled threats about the French navy, which didn’t go down well.

Still, the French fought better than they are given credit for in the final part of the battle (Fall Rot) but it was too little too late. The war had already been lost with the defeat of the best French and British units in the North, and that together with the fall of the capital normally means surrender. The political circumstances around that surrender remain hotly contested though, and there is a school that sees it more or less as a coup d´etat by the right wing. France had a strong extreme right in the 1930s centered on the ultra-Catholic Croix de Feu, a fact not much discussed during the postwar period. But the facts on the ground certainly pointed towards surrender even without a conspiracy.

As for the military reasons for the defeat, the Germans were certainly better at the tactical level (even if the French had some forgotten successes in Belgium) but the main reason for the defeat was that the French and British were totally outmaneuvered and cut off by the German thrust through the Ardennes. The fighting there pitted the Wehrmacht’s best against French reserve divisions, so the outcome is not really a good judge of anything besides the soundness of the German plan (and French and Belgian operational mistakes in the sector).
39 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It wasn't a surrender, but the USA leaving Vietnam fits the title of the this thread pretty well.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It was lost
Duckman wrote:
After the UK evacuated France was for all practical purposes alone...none of France’s WWI allies could or would help.
The British left the 51st Highland division to fight on after Dunkirk and it was largely annihilated. There was nothing left to give. Had the RAF responded to additional demands to reinforce France with fighters it is likely the Battle of Britain would have been over from day 1.

The French could have fought on from exile. They didn't even defend their capital.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cracky McCracken
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The defeat of Italian forces during WW2 by the British in N Africa defies explanation.

Never before has so much been surrendered, by so many, to so few.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Mooney
United States
Quincy
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dixon Miles at Harper's Ferry, allowing Jackson to reinforce Lee at Sharpsburg.
8 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jacob Ossar
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It may not ultimately have had significant consequences for the overall course of the war, but I think Vice Admiral Kurita's decision to withdraw from the Battle off Samar deserves a mention.

EDIT:
Taffy 3 had 6 escort carriers, 3 destroyers and 4 destroyer escorts. Kurita's fleet contained 4 battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers.

When Kurita started to withdraw, a US sailor supposedly exclaimed "Damn it, boys, they're getting away!"
19 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Rubenpup wrote:
. . . I suggest Percival's decision to surrender Singapore in February 1942 as a result of his gross overestimation of Yamashita's strength.

I believe Percival can be faulted for the defeat in Malaya. There were a number a contributing and mitigating factors, but Percival's performance was abyssmal.

Once Percival's force had retreated into Singapore, other factors come into play.

1 - He had to be concerned about the non-combatant population. Singapore was not prepared for a siege, and Britain could no longer maintain it through naval supremacy. Thousands of civilians would've died needlessly,

2 - No relief was imminent.

3 - Low morale was a factor, and Percival can be at least partially blamed for this. Yamashita had 'psyched' them out.

Once the Japanese crossed the shallow strait and captured the water reservoirs, Percival's superior numbers mattered little. Ironically, Yamashita's numerically inferior force was also exhausted.
Duckman wrote:
As for the military reasons for the defeat, the Germans were certainly better at the tactical level (even if the French had some forgotten successes in Belgium) but the main reason for the defeat was that the French and British were totally outmaneuvered and cut off by the German thrust through the Ardennes. The fighting there pitted the Wehrmacht’s best against French reserve divisions, so the outcome is not really a good judge of anything besides the soundness of the German plan (and French and Belgian operational mistakes in the sector).

An outstanding study of the decisions by all sides between the World Wars and right up to France's surrender in 1940 is Ernest May's Strange Victory.

Fearing a repeat of the destruction on French soil that the Great War had wrought led to the grandiose commitment to constructing the Maginot Line as deterrence. As deterrence failed in the late '30s, France and Britain resorted to appeasement. Neither strategy would satiate Hitler, who was determined to go to war. Even after the German invasions of Poland, Denmark, and Norway, France and Britain awaited the German attack in France rather than launch an offensive at the German industrial base.

Diplomatic malpractice was subsequently compounded by strategic military incompetence in 1940. I think May would argue that the roots of Allied surrender began in the decades prior to 1940.
DownriverRick wrote:
Hull surrendering Detroit at the beginning of the War of 1812.

The surrender of Detroit in 1812 fits the OP description well.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon M
United Kingdom
Hitchin
Herts
flag msg tools
Avatar
Cracky wrote:
The defeat of Italian forces during WW2 by the British in N Africa defies explanation.

Never before has so much been surrendered, by so many, to so few.


You can't drink sand.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Zurunkel
United States
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Jon_1066 wrote:
Cracky wrote:
The defeat of Italian forces during WW2 by the British in N Africa defies explanation.

Never before has so much been surrendered, by so many, to so few.


You can't drink sand.


Nor use it to boil pasta.
34 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shaun Morris
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cracky wrote:
The defeat of Italian forces during WW2 by the British in N Africa defies explanation.

Never before has so much been surrendered, by so many, to so few.


An Army At Dawn by Rick Atkinson does a fantastic job of explaining the North Africa Campaign.

While the Allies were initially really inept they quickly found their footing as the Yanks adjusted to being an army at war. Peacetime officers that demonstrated themselves to be poor combat leaders were purged. The coalition forces figured out how to work with each other. And the Yanks accrued the combat experience that they sorely lacked.

The Italians by contrast, had their supplies cut off, lacked reinforcements, and suffering from an increasingly low morale. The morale situation probably wasn't helped much by the limited forces provided by German high command. The Italians were essentially abandoned in North Africa by their supposed allies.

It should also be remembered that British forces never left North Africa and had already stopped the Axis western advance at Tobruk by mid-1941 and by early 1942 had begun advancing east. By the time Operation Torch launched in November 1942, British Western forces were holding El Alamein.

The Italians were essentially left alone to fight a two front war against a coalition of more than 5 nations (US, British, Canadian, Australian, French, along with British Colonials and other smaller nations).

Even the German forces only lasted 10 months once the full force of the Allied juggernaut was turned on them in June 1944.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DerTroof wrote:
Dixon Miles at Harper's Ferry, allowing Jackson to reinforce Lee at Sharpsburg.


Interesting comment!

Yes, the colonel failed to defend the crucial heights and found himself (and his 12000 men) under the guns of the Confederate artillery. As the Union cavalry demonstrated by escaping, the trap was not entirely closed. Stiff resistance could have led to heavy Union casualties but probably would have delayed a march to the north by any large portion of Jackson's command.

Here is the strange irony: If Miles had offered more resistance and delayed Jackson it could have helped Robert E. Lee. The battle at Sharpsburg would never have been fought so 10000 additional men from the Confederate army would have been available for a fall campaign after Lee withdrew quickly across the Potomac. The Army of Northern Virginia would not have been battered and exhausted. Thousands of Federal prisoners taken by Jackson at Harper's Ferry would still have been paroled (and later "exchanged" for Rebel prisoners) anyway after the inevitable capitulation. The supplies captured at Harper's Ferry would still be in Confederate hands.

Perhaps the inept Dixon Miles (who paid for his mistakes with his life during the bombardment of Harper's Ferry) inadvertently aided the Union war effort.
14 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
morris9597 wrote:
An Army At Dawn by Rick Atkinson does a fantastic job of explaining the North Africa Campaign.

Well, not all of it. The last half year of it.

morris9597 wrote:
While the Allies were initially really inept they quickly found their footing as the Yanks adjusted to being an army at war.

Montgomery's assumption of command of the British Eighth Army predates Operation Torch, and that made the difference in Egypt.

morris9597 wrote:
The coalition forces figured out how to work with each other. And the Yanks accrued the combat experience that they sorely lacked.

There were no American ground troops in North Africa prior to Torch. The Eighth Army had pretty much reformed and rebounded without them.

morris9597 wrote:
The Italians were essentially left alone to fight a two front war against a coalition of more than 5 nations (US, British, Canadian, Australian, French, along with British Colonials and other smaller nations).

The Germans had significant air and ground forces in North Africa, and were more effective than the Italians. Even when the Axis forces were push back into Tunisia by the Allied force from the west and the Eighth Army from the east, Hitler unwisely airlifted over 100,000 German troops to Tunisia to stave off defeat.

I'm not aware of any significant Canadian forces in North Africa, unless they were flying with the RAF.
8 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Zurunkel
United States
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I think Jon M was referring to the initial Italian defeat at Beda Fomm, before the Germans arrived.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexandre Santos
Belgium
Brussels
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Probably the Inca defeat at the Battle of Cajamarca should be mentioned.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shaun Morris
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eldard wrote:
morris9597 wrote:
An Army At Dawn by Rick Atkinson does a fantastic job of explaining the North Africa Campaign.

Well, not all of it. The last half year of it.

morris9597 wrote:
While the Allies were initially really inept they quickly found their footing as the Yanks adjusted to being an army at war.

Montgomery's assumption of command of the British Eighth Army predates Operation Torch, and that made the difference in Egypt.

morris9597 wrote:
The coalition forces figured out how to work with each other. And the Yanks accrued the combat experience that they sorely lacked.

There were no American ground troops in North Africa prior to Torch. The Eighth Army had pretty much reformed and rebounded without them.

morris9597 wrote:
The Italians were essentially left alone to fight a two front war against a coalition of more than 5 nations (US, British, Canadian, Australian, French, along with British Colonials and other smaller nations).

The Germans had significant air and ground forces in North Africa, and were more effective than the Italians. Even when the Axis forces were push back into Tunisia by the Allied force from the west and the Eighth Army from the east, Hitler unwisely airlifted over 100,000 German troops to Tunisia to stave off defeat.

I'm not aware of any signficant Canadian forces in North Africa, unless they were flying with the RAF.
Even the German forces only lasted 10 months once the full force of the Allied juggernaut was turned on them in June 1944.


Eldard wrote:
morris9597 wrote:
An Army At Dawn by Rick Atkinson does a fantastic job of explaining the North Africa Campaign.

Well, not all of it. The last half year of it.


True. Atkinson picks up the N. Africa Campaign with the forming plans for Operation Torch.

Eldard wrote:
morris9597 wrote:
The coalition forces figured out how to work with each other. And the Yanks accrued the combat experience that they sorely lacked.

There were no American ground troops in North Africa prior to Torch. The Eighth Army had pretty much reformed and rebounded without them.


Agreed. I never intended to imply otherwise.

Eldard wrote:
morris9597 wrote:
The Italians were essentially left alone to fight a two front war against a coalition of more than 5 nations (US, British, Canadian, Australian, French, along with British Colonials and other smaller nations).

The Germans had significant air and ground forces in North Africa, and were more effective than the Italians. Even when the Axis forces were push back into Tunisia by the Allied force from the west and the Eighth Army from the east, Hitler unwisely airlifted over 100,000 German troops to Tunisia to stave off defeat.


You're correct. It's been awhile since I read Atkinson's book. Just went. Hitler initially committed 1 Panzer Division which he subsequently followed with 2 more Armored Divisions and a Mechanized Division. It was simply too late to change the course of the campaign.

Eldard wrote:
I'm not aware of any signficant Canadian forces in North Africa, unless they were flying with the RAF.
q="morris9597"]Even the German forces only lasted 10 months once the full force of the Allied juggernaut was turned on them in June 1944.


Probably right. Like I said it's been awhile since I've done any real reading on the N. Africa Campaign. Doing some additional quick Google-fu it turns out that the British Colonials, particularly the South Africans and Indians, had a pretty significant presence in N. Africa.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I think Jon M was referring to the initial Italian defeat at Beda Fomm, before the Germans arrived.


I think so, too, but I don't think "defies explanation" is a good summary. The Italians had a huge advantage in numbers, but the British were superior in every other respect. Better weapons and material, better mobility, better leadership, better training, better morale, better supplies ... did I miss anything?

Quote:
Montgomery's assumption of command of the British Eighth Army predates Operation Torch, and that made the difference in Egypt.


Poor Auchinlek, who had already stopped the Afrika Korps dead in its tracks by this point, never gets never credit.

Quote:
Hitler initially committed 1 Panzer Division which he subsequently followed with 2 more Armored Divisions and a Mechanized Division.


A decision that apparently used the following logic: "Look, it's a crocodile with its jaws wide open. I wonder how many limbs I can jam into its mouth before it closes."
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Daglish
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Duckman wrote:
The Fall of France is probably the most debated surrender in history. Decadence and betrayal were popular explanations for a long time, and both stemmed largely from the French postwar debate which was a massive settling of scores. They also fitted well into British narratives since they left France’s major ally blameless.

Recent research is, unsurprisingly, more balanced. Germany’s economy was twice as big as France’s, and its military age population was three times as big. After the UK evacuated France was for all practical purposes alone. American help could not arrive in time, and the USSR was in a pact with Germany. In short the French position had totally collapsed compared to 1939, and none of France’s WWI allies could or would help.

Having said that, France still had a few options. It could continue the fight from overseas. This sort of happened with De Gaulle later, but from a worse position than if they had tried to evacuate the army in 1940 and kept the colonies. Britain wanted France to do this but at the same time would not send more reinforcements and even made veiled threats about the French navy, which didn’t go down well.

Still, the French fought better than they are given credit for in the final part of the battle (Fall Rot) but it was too little too late. The war had already been lost with the defeat of the best French and British units in the North, and that together with the fall of the capital normally means surrender. The political circumstances around that surrender remain hotly contested though, and there is a school that sees it more or less as a coup d´etat by the right wing. France had a strong extreme right in the 1930s centered on the ultra-Catholic Croix de Feu, a fact not much discussed during the postwar period. But the facts on the ground certainly pointed towards surrender even without a conspiracy.

As for the military reasons for the defeat, the Germans were certainly better at the tactical level (even if the French had some forgotten successes in Belgium) but the main reason for the defeat was that the French and British were totally outmaneuvered and cut off by the German thrust through the Ardennes. The fighting there pitted the Wehrmacht’s best against French reserve divisions, so the outcome is not really a good judge of anything besides the soundness of the German plan (and French and Belgian operational mistakes in the sector).

'Surrender' is an odd word to give to the sort of very honourable peace Hitler liked, with half the country unoccupied. To describe Britain as 'blameness' is odd too. One might think Mers-el-Kebir still hasn't quite been forgotten. Britain got a somewhat unenthusiastic France into a world war of its making, by declaring war on Germany [which surprised the Germans], following which French military forces were undone in hours rather than days. France was left post-war as a country that lost a battle, and this became the primary French late-20th century political influence. A big, military-type man out walking his dog was assassinated in France in the early 1980s, and this stemmed from the politics of 40 years before.

Seven years before the fall of France, Germany had no tanks or military aircraft, or much in the way of expertise in their manufacture or usage. A few Panzer III types made of mild steel, with experimental suspensions, took part in the invasion of Poland.
France had an empire, and lots of 'black Frenchmen' defended metropolitan soil in 1940 with enthusiasm. Germany meanwhile had to prop up Italy. The British contribution represented a few percentage points of the total, and they covered the whole range from the finest Guardsmen to RAF auxiliaries driving bread vans, who'd been plumbers a year before [and who were very keen not to get shot].

The idea of continuing the war from North Africa was considered, but anyway the local forces eventually became a military force with its own political power [this time comprising felonious Algerian goumiers], which was the situation the politicians in Bordeaux were keen to avoid. Interestingly, at this time, the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean moved to stop French reinforcements going to Indochina, where they were fighting expansionist Thais, as British policy wanted a strong Siam as a buffer state between Burma and Japanese-occupied Vietnam.

The right wing found that the Nazis swept away most of their opponents and others they disliked. The Algeria Hotel in Vichy housed their 'Jewish Affairs' department. Thereafter they found they disliked each other very much, so they concentrated mainly on this. Some younger functionaries did OK, for example Mitterand won his medal for social work among PoWs.

There was no plan for the invasion of France. The progressive panzer generals formulated strategy day-by-day, and in this way took over Hitler's authority. Hitler re-established control via the stop order outside Dunkirk, and this episode is one of many that demonstrate his grip on power. German forces were remarkably well co-ordinated, at a time when their enemies were struggling with the concept of their armies using their own aircraft, let alone actual practice. Note how rarely actual German tanks are found in combat. The desperate emergency actions were in places like Montcornet [cooks & clerks], Arras [anti-aircraftmen] or Abbeville [37mm gunners who found their guns didn't work versus Char Bs].

France in 1940 was a battle lost, but this was due to Hitler taking a gamble, which paid off in part for reasons of which he was unaware; but its hard to deny that in a very short period of time he made the world's military professionals of the 1920s & 30s look as competent as baboons with blue bottoms. Thank God for Monty.


5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Rich
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
British historian James Holland points out a significant under appreciated factor: The French army lacked effective radio communications, so when the telephone lines went down they were unable to coordinate, fill gaps in the lines, counterattack in unison.

In contrast, the Wehrmacht had state of the art radio communications.
8 
 Thumb up
0.07
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Who do you think you are kidding?
aforandy wrote:
'Surrender' is an odd word to give to the sort of very honourable peace Hitler liked, with half the country unoccupied.
Seems apt to me, with half the country occupied and the other half on a leash. Not very honourable for France at least.

Quote:
To describe Britain as 'blameness' is odd too. One might think Mers-el-Kebir still hasn't quite been forgotten.
One might think that the only thing standing between Britain and defeat at that point was naval superiority. What was a Vichy Navy for?

Quote:
Britain got a somewhat unenthusiastic France into a world war of its making, by declaring war on Germany [which surprised the Germans], following which French military forces were undone in hours rather than days.
And there I was thinking it was appeasement and revenge for Versailles. Bad luck on the Poles; clearly they should also have been treated as irrelevent victims of 'a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing...'

The French were undone in hours because of intelligence/reconaissance incompetence and a wish to deny Belgium to Germany.

Quote:
France was left post-war as a country that lost a battle, and this became the primary French late-20th century political influence. A big, military-type man out walking his dog was assassinated in France in the early 1980s, and this stemmed from the politics of 40 years before.
If you say so. I think the French obsession with reclaiming their empire post war indicates their extreme political myopia.

Quote:
Seven years before the fall of France, Germany had no tanks or military aircraft, or much in the way of expertise in their manufacture or usage. A few Panzer III types made of mild steel, with experimental suspensions, took part in the invasion of Poland.
Hello? Czechoslovakia 1938, Skoda tank works. Types so good their chassis were still being used in tank destroyers in 1945.

Quote:
France had an empire, and lots of 'black Frenchmen' defended metropolitan soil in 1940 with enthusiasm. Germany meanwhile had to prop up Italy.
Which had said it wouldn't enter the war before 1942 and did so when it thought victory was unstoppable. No propping needed during the Battle for France.

Quote:
The British contribution represented a few percentage points of the total, and they covered the whole range from the finest Guardsmen to RAF auxiliaries driving bread vans, who'd been plumbers a year before [and who were very keen not to get shot].
So which do you suggest? Formenting an unnecessary war, or getting caught unprepared, because Policy had been to avoid war until the Czech rump was conquered?

Quote:
The idea of continuing the war from North Africa was considered, but anyway the local forces eventually became a military force with its own political power [this time comprising felonious Algerian goumiers], which was the situation the politicians in Bordeaux were keen to avoid. Interestingly, at this time, the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean moved to stop French reinforcements going to Indochina, where they were fighting expansionist Thais, as British policy wanted a strong Siam as a buffer state between Burma and Japanese-occupied Vietnam.
Outside my area of knowledge, but if the French were still playing colonial wars, while squaring up to Germany, I can only say WTF?

Quote:
The right wing found that the Nazis swept away most of their opponents and others they disliked. The Algeria Hotel in Vichy housed their 'Jewish Affairs' department. Thereafter they found they disliked each other very much, so they concentrated mainly on this. Some younger functionaries did OK, for example Mitterand won his medal for social work among PoWs.
Moving on...

Quote:
There was no plan for the invasion of France. The progressive panzer generals formulated strategy day-by-day, and in this way took over Hitler's authority.
No, just no.

Quote:
Hitler re-established control via the stop order outside Dunkirk, and this episode is one of many that demonstrate his grip on power
You mean Runstedt. Bit embarrassing, so decided to blame Hitler.

Quote:
German forces were remarkably well co-ordinated, at a time when their enemies were struggling with the concept of their armies using their own aircraft, let alone actual practice. Note how rarely actual German tanks are found in combat.
A cursory reading of the British travails in the battles for the coast will put paid to this idea.

Quote:
If you read the accounts of Dunkirk The desperate emergency actions were in places like Montcornet [cooks & clerks], Arras [anti-aircraftmen] or Abbeville [37mm gunners who found their guns didn't work versus Char Bs].
If the cooks and clerks are in the front line, then it would seem the tanks had got there somehow. The British actually formed small mobile groups to protect their flanks during the retreat (a sort of nascent Kampfgruppe), something Montgomery detested. It worked well enough to make some difference, but of course only in the context of the overall debacle.

Quote:
France in 1940 was a battle lost, but this was due to Hitler taking a gamble, which paid off in part for reasons of which he was unaware; but its hard to deny that in a very short period of time he made the world's military professionals of the 1920s & 30s look as competent as baboons with blue bottoms. Thank God for Monty.
Hitler took the gamble because plans for the conventional Schleiffen + Holland had fallen into allied hands and the Germans knew it. By no measure were the French realistic about modern communication and command control, whereas the German Army had been chewing over the lessons of 1914 for a generation and largely solved their own issues. It is an irony that the German caution that allowed the BEF to escape was in no small part because they couldn't grasp that the French had no general reserve and so wouldn't spring a surprise as they did on the Marne in the First War.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
soccerref wrote:
British historian James Holland points out a significant under appreciated factor: The French army lacked effective radio communications, so when the telephone lines went down they were unable to coordinate, fill gaps in the lines, counterattack in unison.

In contrast, the Wehrmacht had state of the art radio communications.

The Germans generally had the advantage in command and control. Coordination between the French Army and French Air Force existed -- for as much as it did exist -- at very high levels of command. The French Air Force was essentially planning the next days' operations based on a ground situation that had already changed before they started planning, and there was little that could be done to make dynamic changes on the fly.

The Luftwaffe was designed to support the German Army's operations, and with lessons learned from Poland and Norway, they were able to get inside the Allies' OODA loop (homage to Boyd ), making the battlespace too dynamic for the French to adequately adjust and recover. In other words, they found themselves increasingly behind the curve and merely reacting to dated information.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.