Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How mobile was the French army in 1940?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How mobile was the French army in 1940?

    I started wondering after seeing many many photos of captured French military softskins: If the French had all this stuff, how mobile was the French army in 1940?
    I have to admit that there could always be a skew looking at photographic "evidence".
    The Landser might photograph captured vehicles being contemporary objects of interest.
    So possibly the same vehicles turn up in a large selection of pictures.
    On this thought one does not find things on the topic of "Beute Pferde" (booty horses) or horse drawn captured carts/wagons.
    Yes, I have seen so-called non-Wehrmacht carts introduced into the Heer, but these seem to be of the confiscated farm type.

    Ed.
    Last edited by dutched; 04 Sep 12, 05:17.
    The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

  • #2
    Didn't they actually outnumber the germans in tanks?

    It's been a while since I looked at the campaign in detail, but as I remember it the problem was that there were no fully motorized units, i.e. units where the infantry could keep up with the tanks.

    I doubt there was a lack of motor vehicles or tanks, just no fully motorized divisions, AFV's used in a support role for infantry units.

    Without checking any sources, so take it for what it is
    Last edited by Snowygerry; 04 Sep 12, 06:31.
    Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

    Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
      Didn't they actually outnumber the germans in tanks?

      It's been a while since I looked at the campaign in detail, but as I remember it the problem was that there where no fully motorized units, i.e. units where the infantry could keep up with the tanks.

      I doubt there was a lack of motor vehicles or tanks, just no fully motorized divisions, AFV's used in a support role for infantry units.

      Without checking any sources, so take it for what it is
      Yes they did, but the stats sill include a cart load of FT 17 to make the numbers seem even more impressive. But I am not after the Armour, I am interested in the mobility of the non-armoured units.


      Ed.
      The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

      Comment


      • #4
        I doubt the French had less vehicles than the British, and most likely quite a few more than the Germans. The French had motirised their army already in the later stages of WWI, and were pretty happy with themselves for it. The difference would lie in how they were supposed to be used it seems. The French were geared towards fighting a slow and steady kind of war between heavily fortified and entrenched adversaries. Everything, from how the tanks were supposed to be used to how communication and information was supposed to flow was geared towards a much slower pace than the one the Germans set.

        Comment


        • #5
          IIRC the French had more motor vehicles than the Germans, but less mobile divisions than the Germans.

          A greater proportion of their artillery was motorised but at the same time they had recce. units composed of a mix of horses and motor vehicles.

          I don't think their thinking was very good on this issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            The DCRs and DLMs were supposed to be highly mobile mobile tank / lorry-equipped formations though had not reached maturity. Not sure any army was terribly mobile in 1940, barring the small number of armoured formations.

            Had 1940 unfolded like 1914 and the Germans been stopped, the next year would likely have seen 'proper' French armoured units as these were the the process of being formed and equipped (but not in time for 1940).
            History is not tragedy; to understand historical reality, it is sometimes better to not know the end of the story.

            Pierre Vidal-Naquet

            Comment


            • #7
              They never seem to have a problem with mobility... in a direction away from the enemy!

              The long toll of the brave
              Is not lost in darkness
              Over the fruitful earth
              And athwart the seas
              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
              Unquenchable forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                A French Division d'Infanterie was as mobile as a German Infanteriedivision in 1940. The infantry regiments were obviously on foot in both cases, with the AT integral element truck-towed in both cases. The artillery regiment were horse-drawn in both cases. The anti-tank battalion was truck-towed in both cases. In the recon department, the French were advantaged, since their battalion was fully motorized, with trucks and motorcycles, while the Germans included a cavalry and a bicycle squadron, or two bicycle ones, in their recon battalion. The engineers were slightly more mobile in the German army, with part of the battalion being motorized.
                But the difference was in the infantry division's supply and support troops. The Germans usually attached a bridging column to first-class divisions, and they were more lavishly equipped with motorized supply columns.

                Naturally this comparison only takes into account the "leg" infantry divisions - which were however the most numerous type in both armies. Then you'd need to compare the DIM, DLC, DLM and DCR with the Infanteriediv. (mot.), Leichte Div., and Panzerdiv.
                Michele

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
                  They never seem to have a problem with mobility... in a direction away from the enemy!

                  Were they not just following suit?

                  Ed
                  The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    France:

                    7 motor infantry divisions
                    5 mech cav divisions
                    4 DCR (a heavy armoured division, light on infantry)
                    3 DLM (a well balanced medium armoured division)

                    30 independent tank battalions generally deployed in regiments of two battalions and assigned to army and corps reserve formations.

                    Corps/Army artillery was mostly truck or half-track drawn.

                    19 motor/mech divisions and 30 tank battalions plus hundreds of FT-17s deployed in coy and platoon formations guarding bridges, airfields, fortifications, ports, etc.

                    Germany:

                    5 Motor infantry divisions
                    2-3 Motor infantry regiments
                    10 Panzer divisions (of various strength depending on mission)

                    Corps/Army artillery was mostly horse drawn

                    15 motor/mech divisions and 2 motor regiment.
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      DCR OOB with heavy tanks: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dcr.html
                      DLM OOB with medium tanks: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dlm.html
                      DLC OOB with armoured cars: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dlc.html

                      General French OOB's 1940 http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/oobs.html
                      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                      Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        French armor was tied to the assaulting infantry for support by doctrine, making them useless in achieving anything meaningful, and reducing mobility enormously, even though French tanks were better.

                        They served the same function that tanks served in WWI, while facing entirely new tactics and strategy from the Germans.

                        French infantry was mobile enough on paper, but in reality they were still mired in WWI strategies of static defenses.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          DCR OOB with heavy tanks: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dcr.html
                          DLM OOB with medium tanks: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dlm.html
                          DLC OOB with armoured cars: http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/dlc.html

                          General French OOB's 1940 http://enpointe.perso.infonie.fr/oobs.html
                          Thanks for that Nick, bril.

                          Ed
                          The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OOB with armoured cars:
                            It should be noted that the DLC had more light tanks (AMR, AMC and H-35/39 than armoured cars. The DLC had a demi-brigade of tanks and a mounted "dragoon" regiment on horses. The AMR and AMC were roughly equivalent to the Pz I and some of the better models mounted light guns ranging from 13 to 25mm.
                            The Purist

                            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              [FONT=Lucida Sans Unicode]French armor was tied to the assaulting infantry for support by doctrine, making them useless in achieving anything meaningful, and reducing mobility enormously, even though French tanks were better.

                              They served the same function that tanks served in WWI, while facing entirely new tactics and strategy from the Germans....
                              Only partly true. The 30 battalions used to support the armies accounted for only about 1/3 of French tanks (roughly 900). The US army in 1944 deploy 45 battalions in a similar manner. The cavalry fielding 3 DLM and 5 DLC accounted for slightly more than a third of the tanks (about 1100). The four DCR, being reserve divisions were intended to counterattack penetrations of the line and lead assaults, accounted for another 550 tanks. The balance of the roughly 3000 tanks were either spares within units, in depots to replace losses or used to support the Maginot line (mainly the FT-17C, M and BS models).

                              Germans strategy and tactics were not that different from WWI, they simply used the internal combustion engine to increase the tempo of operations with their mobile formations. In head-to-head fights between Germans and French infantry the Germans did not show themselves all that superior and were repulsed in numerous actions.
                              The Purist

                              Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X