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  • For the Frenchmen among us

    I'm sure they tired of being bashed constantly so:

    By G. Brecher

    The new big thing on the web is all these sites with names like "I Hate France," with supposed datelines of French military history, supposedly proving how the French are total cowards. If you want to see a sample of this dumbass Frog bashing, try this:

    www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/france.html

    Well, I'm going to tell you guys something you probably don't want to hear: these sites are total bullcrap, the notion that the French are cowards is total bullcrap, and anybody who knows anything about European military history knows damn well that over the past thousand years, the French have the most glorious military history in Europe, maybe the world.

    Before you send me more of those death threats, let me finish. I hate Chirac too, and his disco foreign minister with the blow-dry 'do and the snotty smile. But there are two things I hate more than I hate the French: ignorant fake war buffs, and people who are ungrateful. And when an American mouths off about French military history, he's not just being ignorant, he's being ungrateful. I was raised to think ungrateful people were trash.

    When I say ungrateful, I'm talking about the American Revolution. If you're a true American patriot, then this is the war that matters. Hell, most of you probably couldn't name three major battles from it, but try going back to when you read Johnny Tremaine in fourth grade and you might recall a little place called Yorktown, Virginia, where we bottled up Cornwallis's army, forced the Brits' surrender and pretty much won the war.

    Well, news flash: "we" didn't win that battle, any more than the Northern Alliance conquered the Taliban. The French army and navy won Yorktown for us. Americans didn't have the materiel or the training to mount a combined operation like that, with naval blockade and land siege. It was the French artillery forces and military engineers who ran the siege, and at sea it was a French admiral, de Grasse, who kicked the crap out of the British navy when they tried to break the siege.

    Long before that, in fact as soon as we showed the Brits at Saratoga that we could win once in a while, they started pouring in huge shipments of everything from cannon to uniforms. We'd never have got near Yorktown if it wasn't for massive French aid.

    So how come you bastards don't mention Yorktown in your cheap webpages? I'll tell you why: because you're too ignorant to know about it and too dishonest to mention it if you did.

    The thing that gets to me is why Americans hate the French so much when they only did us good and never did us any harm. Like, why not hate the Brits? They're the ones who killed thousands of Americans in the Revolution, and thirty years later they came back and attacked us again. That time around they managed to burn Washington DC to the ground while they were at it. How come you web jerks never mention that?

    Sure, the easy answer is because the Brits are with us now, and the French aren't. But being a war buff means knowing your history and respecting it.

    Well, so much for ungrateful. Now let's talk about ignorant. And that's what you are if you think the French can't fight: just plain ignorant. Appreciation of the French martial spirit is just about the most basic way you can distinguish real war nerds from fake little teachers'pets.

    Let's take the toughest case first: the German invasion, 1940, when the French Army supposedly disgraced itself against the Wehrmacht. This is the only real evidence you'll find to call the French cowards, and the more you know about it, the less it proves. Yeah, the French were scared of Hitler. Who wasn't? Chamberlain, the British prime minister, all but licked the Fuhrer's goosesteppers, basically let him have all of Central Europe, because Britain was terrified of war with Germany. Hell, Stalin signed a sweetheart deal with Hitler out of sheer terror, and Stalin wasn't a man who scared easy.

    The French were scared, all right. But they had reason to be. For starters, they'd barely begun to recover from their last little scrap with the Germans: a little squabble you might've heard of, called WW I.

    WW I was the worst war in history to be a soldier in. WW II was worse if you were a civilian, but the trenches of WW I were five years of Hell like General Sherman never dreamed of. At the end of it a big chunk of northern France looked like the surface of the moon, only bloodier, nothing but craters and rats and entrails.

    Verdun. Just that name was enough to make Frenchmen and Germans, the few who survived it, wake up yelling for years afterward. The French lost 1.5 million men out of a total population of 40 million fighting the Germans from 1914-1918. A lot of those guys died charging German machine-gun nests with bayonets. I'd really like to see one of you office smartasses joke about "surrender monkeys" with a French soldier, 1914 vintage. You'd **** your dockers.

    crap, we strut around like we're so tough and we can't even handle a few uppity Iraqi villages. These guys faced the Germans head on for five years, and we call them cowards? And at the end, it was the Germans, not the French, who said "calf rope."

    When the sequel war came, the French relied on their frontier fortifications and used their tanks (which were better than the Germans', one on one) defensively. The Germans had a newer, better offensive strategy. So they won. And the French surrendered. Which was damn sensible of them.

    This was the WEHRMACHT. In two years, they conquered all of Western Europe and lost only 30,000 troops in the process. That's less than the casualties of Gettysburg. You get the picture? Nobody, no army on earth, could've held off the Germans under the conditions that the French faced them. The French lost because they had a long land border with Germany. The English survived because they had the English Channel between them and the Wehrmacht. When the English Army faced the Wermacht at Dunkirk, well, thanks to spin the tuck-tail-and-flee result got turned into some heroic tale of a brilliant British retreat. The fact is, even the Brits behaved like cowards in the face of the Wermacht, abandoning the French. It's that simple.

    Here's a quick sampler of some of my favorite French victories, like an antidote to those ignorant websites. We'll start way back and move up to the 20th century.

    Tours, 732 AD: The Muslims had already taken Spain and were well on their way to taking the rest of Europe. The only power with a chance of stopping them was the French army under Charles "the Hammer" Martel, King of the Franks (French), who answered to the really cool nickname "the Hammer of God." It was the French who saved the continent's ass. All the smart money was on the Muslims: there were 60,000 of them, crazy Jihadis whose cavalry was faster and deadlier than any in Europe. The French army was heavily outnumbered and had no cavalry. Fighting in phalanxes, they held against dozens of cavalry charges and after at least two days of hand-to-hand combat, finally managed to hack their way to the Muslim center and kill their commander. The Muslims retreated to Spain, and Europe developed as an independent civilization.

    Orleans, May 1429: Joan of Arc: is she the most insanely cool military commander in history or what? This French peasant girl gets instructions from her favorite saints to help out the French against the English invaders. She goes to the King (well, the Dauphin, but close enough) and tells him to give her the army and she'll take it from there. And somehow she convinces him. She takes the army, which has lost every battle it's been in lately, to Orleans, which is under English siege. Now Joan is a nice girl, so she tries to settle things peaceably. She explains in a letter to the enemy commanders that everything can still be cool, "...provided you give up France...and go back to your own countries, for God's sake. And if you do not, wait for the Maid, who will visit you briefly to your great sorrow." The next day she put on armor, mounted a charger, and prepared to lead the attack on the besiegers' fortifications. She ordered the gates opened, but the Mayor refused until Joan explained that she, personally, would cut off his head. The gates went up, the French sallied out, and Joan led the first successful attack they'd made in years. The English strongpoints were taken, the siege was broken, and Joan's career in the cow-milking trade was over.

    Braddock's Defeat (aka Battle of Monongahela) July 1755: Next time you're driving through the Ohio Valley, remember you're passing near the site of a great French victory over an Anglo-American force twice its size. General Edward Braddock marched west from Virginia with 1,500 men-a very large army in 18th-c. America. His orders were to seize French land and forts in the Valley-your basic undeclared land-grab invasion. The French joined the local tribes to resist, and then set up a classic ambush. It was a slaughter. More than half of Braddock's force-880 men-were killed or wounded. The only Anglo officer to escape unhurt was this guy called George Washington, and even he had two horses shot out from under him. After a few minutes of non-stop fire from French and Indians hidden in the woods, Braddock's command came apart like something out of Nam, post-Tet. Braddock was hit and wounded, but none of his troops would risk getting shot to rescue him.

    Austerlitz, Dec. 1805: You always hear about Austerlitz as "Napoleon's Greatest Victory," like the little guy personally went out and wiped out the combined Russian and Austrian armies. The fact is, ever since the Revolution in 1789, French armies had been kicking ass against everybody. They were free citizens fighting against scared peasant and degenerate mercenaries, and it was no contest. At Austerlitz, 65,000 French troops took on 90,000 Russians and Austrians and destroyed them. Absolutely annihilated them. The French lost only 8,000, compared to 29,000 of the enemy. The tactics Bonaparte used were very risky, and would only have worked with superb troops: he encouraged the enemy to attack a weak line, then brought up reinforcements who'd been held out of sight. That kind of tactical plan takes iron discipline and perfect timing-and the French had it.

    Jena, Oct. 1806: just a quick reminder for anybody who thinks the Germans always beat the French. Napoleon takes on the Prussian army and destroys it. 27,000 Prussian casualties vs. 5,000 French. Prussian army routed, pursued for miles by French cavalry.

    You eXile guys might want to remember that the French under Napoleon are still the only army ever to have taken all of continental Europe, from Moscow to Madrid. I could keep listing French victories till I had a book. In fact, it's not a bad idea. A nice big hardback, so you could take it to the assholes running all the anti-French-military sites and bash their heads in with it.
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

  • #2
    As much as the French today may be disagreeable you can't discount history!
    Good read.
    "Have you forgotten the face of your father?"

    Comment


    • #3
      Frog bashing

      Well, what can I add except merci pour cet article?

      Could you be more precise and give the references of that post? Who is this irascible G. Brecher? In my opinion, he hits the nail in his article even if the subject in itself did not perhaps deserve such a temper

      It is true that these "frog bashing" sites have had a certain popularity lately (though their contents are similar if not identical). As a frenchman, I tend to look at this phenomenon with a humorous distance - I firmly believe that any form of "bashing" (be it the French, the Spanish, the Italian, the English, the Martian or whatever group) tends to cause more harm on the long run to the basher than to the bashed ones...

      A bon entendeur,

      nemo

      Comment


      • #4
        Good summary...
        a brain cell

        Comment


        • #5
          On ALL major countries of the World the only one we never declare war is The United State of America

          And if you read well in 1940, German lost 30.000 soldiers
          We lost in one month 100.000 soldier 100.000 deads, for coward it is not so bad!!!

          What has most marked the people of those periods when looking at Cinema information was the long lines of Prisonners in june 1940.

          So Prisonners -> surrenders, France collapse because French soldiers surrenders, refuse to fight -> cowards

          The real reasoning is German out manouever French units, who fought hard but at the end surrounded they can't do nothing else as surrender.

          Please note the Mussolini send 35 division in the Alps against French Army of the Alp, no French territory was seized. They were only 50.000 soldiers left there, and Italian army was blocked.

          Could you imagine US folks that in 30 days the whole US federal system collapse I say COLLAPSE, yours soldiers, lost ,surrounded and at the end surrending, and day after day hearing Mexican or Canadian just telling that US are crap just good enough to surrended

          in WWI we lost 1.400.000 deads (16% of conscripts, 10% of working force, destroyed in 4 years) but how many were wounded more than 4.000.000 (42% of conscripts), losing a arm, a leg sometime both, broken faces, gazed as my Grand father etc....

          For cowards it is not too bad.

          Thxs for this thread Mike,

          DerWanderFrench
          Last edited by jlbetin; 20 Oct 03, 11:47.
          The Best weapon ever:a good Joke. The Best shield ever: Humour
          JLBETIN© Aka Der Wanderer TOAW Section Leader is a █ WHQ/SZO/XG/Gamesquad® product since 01/2003
          The Birth of European Army Tournament round Three is opened

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          • #6
            http://www.exile.ru/175/175052003.html

            This guy writes funny stuff... a highly sarcastic look at mostly current military affairs.

            http://exile.ru/browse?author=3&position=20

            As most of you no doubt already know, I'm a fan of sarcasm. It may be the lowest form of debate, but I guess I'm just easily amused .
            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MikeJ
              Well, I'm going to tell you guys something you probably don't want to hear: these sites are total bullcrap, the notion that the French are cowards is total bullcrap, and anybody who knows anything about European military history knows damn well that over the past thousand years, the French have the most glorious military history in Europe, maybe the world.
              Certainly the world.

              Anyway, as one of my French friend playing ASL says, quoting G Orwell : "the quickest way to end a war is to lose it". I could say too that you measure your power to the number of your enemies.

              LaPalice.
              Monsieur de La Palice est mort
              Mort devant Pavie.
              Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
              Il était encore en vie...

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello,

                With all due respect, I don't think French has the most glorious military history in the world. I can think of far better nations or city-states that were once the envy of the world than France.

                If one work very hard, then every country could probably claim to have glorious military history, for all we know, Vietnam could claim in having the most glorious military history. After all, Vietnam did defeat: China, Japan, France, and America, all of them virtually superior to Vietnamese Army in terms of training and equipments. What about Israel? Israel managed to hold off five Arab countries in various wars all alone on her own. Israel is the real envy of Middle East militarily.

                For many people, they tend to look at the aftermath of various wars, did a country hold its ground or conquered another country? It's no small feat that somehow throughout history, France managed to retain its national sovereignity even after its defeat in wars. Tallyenard must have been one heck of an extraordinary foreign minister, how he did keep France intact....oh well....

                For such people, the term "glorious military history" is rather about winning a war and having the lasting impact on the world. In that, they missed an important part of any history, how the people responded during the wars, did they stand steadfast on the battlefields? Did they use good tactics? Good equipments? Things like that.

                Dan
                Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                "Aim small, miss small."

                Comment


                • #9
                  As an American and a southerner, (family here since before 1752) I am well aware of France's contribution to us.

                  France did stand well in WW2. Prior military planing and weapons development mostly lead to their defeat. Not a lack of willingness to fight.

                  Vietnam? Well we didn't exactly win that one either and you must understand the protaganist had been fighting since the Japannese occupation. They were getting pretty dang good at it by then.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    French in 1940

                    I used to have a copy of a Times Magazine (circa 1938) in which there was a lengthy interview with the leaders of the French army. It was clear that they were considered the foremost military thinkers in the world. To think that anyone else would have fared better against the Germans is indeed ignorant. All the major powers of the world were investigating mobile warfare and were creating units for same. The French were moving rapidly toward that organization when war broke out. The only reason that the new organization of armored divisions had higher priority in Germany was because of a radical at the helm; there was much resistance to this movement. As for the surprise move through the Ardennes the French were not the only ones who considered it impassable. The entire German General Staff thought it was madness also, with the exception of its author, Manstein. Hitler liked madness apparently.
                    It should also be pointed out that as bad as the situation was with the Germans approaching the channel there was hope of correcting the problem by cutting the spearhead off. Unfortunately, the French civilian government decided to sack the commander thus delaying the operation by a few days; time they did not have.
                    The truth of the matter is that the French army was well trained, well equipped and well led. And as was pointed out by Mike, if it wasn’t for that bit of dirty water to the south of England the Brits could have been over run by a tenth of the German army.
                    As for the years of occupation, if civilians want to be protected by the Genava Convention they must abide by a few rules also.
                    Well said Mike J.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hello,

                      Which brings me to another point, I am wondering if Hitler had any real grand designs on Europe? I mean, everybody made him out to be a kind of grand conqueror, however, I am sure at that time, Hitler did not know and couldn't predict that Poland and France would fall within the span of a month or two. I guess the success in France led Hitler to have believed Germany was invincible on the battlefields. Could this ultimate success led to Hitler's eventual Fall and grandeur delusions? Just curious...

                      Dan
                      Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                      "Aim small, miss small."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cheetah772
                        Hello,

                        Which brings me to another point, I am wondering if Hitler had any real grand designs on Europe? I mean, everybody made him out to be a kind of grand conqueror, however, I am sure at that time, Hitler did not know and couldn't predict that Poland and France would fall within the span of a month or two. I guess the success in France led Hitler to have believed Germany was invincible on the battlefields. Could this ultimate success led to Hitler's eventual Fall and grandeur delusions? Just curious...

                        Dan
                        No the plan was always to rule it all....
                        Read up on Lebensraum (Living space) and Drang nach Osten
                        "Have you forgotten the face of your father?"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 06 Maestro
                          I used to have a copy of a Times Magazine (circa 1938) in which there was a lengthy interview with the leaders of the French army. It was clear that they were considered the foremost military thinkers in the world. To think that anyone else would have fared better against the Germans is indeed ignorant. All the major powers of the world were investigating mobile warfare and were creating units for same. The French were moving rapidly toward that organization when war broke out. The only reason that the new organization of armored divisions had higher priority in Germany was because of a radical at the helm; there was much resistance to this movement. As for the surprise move through the Ardennes the French were not the only ones who considered it impassable. The entire German General Staff thought it was madness also, with the exception of its author, Manstein. Hitler liked madness apparently.
                          It should also be pointed out that as bad as the situation was with the Germans approaching the channel there was hope of correcting the problem by cutting the spearhead off. Unfortunately, the French civilian government decided to sack the commander thus delaying the operation by a few days; time they did not have.
                          The truth of the matter is that the French army was well trained, well equipped and well led. And as was pointed out by Mike, if it wasn’t for that bit of dirty water to the south of England the Brits could have been over run by a tenth of the German army.
                          As for the years of occupation, if civilians want to be protected by the Genava Convention they must abide by a few rules also.
                          Well said Mike J.
                          Just prior to 1940 the French Army was considered as the best in the world, a formidable force. And the German soldiers, and even the German generals, were afraid by the idea to go to war with the French, thinking that they would live the same scenario as in WW1. And when the French army collapsed all the Germans were very surprised. You are right about the armored warfare. The French started to build their own armored force before the war, but the reforms were too slow and came too late, and there was still too many people in the French GHQ who didn’t believe in this new kind of war. And in 1940 the French had their own panzer divisions : the DLMs and DCRs. Concerning the Ardennes, the French perfectly knew that the Germans could cross it. Just before the war they did a kriegspiel where the French general leading the German launched an attack (an armored attack !) across the Ardennes. The French put there two armies, the 9th and the 2nd. But they weren’t strong enough to stop the Germans who won there the battle of France. It is maybe surprising, but the French generals perfectly knew the armored tactics and strategies used by the Germans in 1940. And yes, the German general staff was as conservative as the French one. That would be interesting to know what would have happen if the German would have attacked only through Benelux. Otherwise the Allies wasn’t able to cut off the German spearhead after the Breakthrough. Gamelin told to Churchill that he didn’t have any reserve. And concerning the training of the French army, only a part of it could be compared to the German forces, the troops which advanced in Belgium when the Germans invaded it. But the French troops defending the Ardennes weren’t good troops, except few units in the 9th Army. It was particularly true in the 2nd Army around Sedan which completely collapsed after the first shock.
                          And finally, to speak about the British, more than the Channel it was Churchill who saved them.

                          LaPalice.
                          Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                          Mort devant Pavie.
                          Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                          Il était encore en vie...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            hey hey hey... who the heck wrote that thing? ... He MUST be a french! ....



                            charging to machine gun nests with bayonets? ... That is not brave, hey, that is stupid ...
                            30k german dead + 100k French corpse --> French not coward? Why? Coward all immortal?
                            helping the US in their struggle against the Brits? Ah... nah... they could not do it in europe against their hated enemy so they came here for the US help
                            Napolean... hmm... ye ye.. he crushed the idiot Williams at the begining .... but who went all the way to Russia to make himself a frozen meat? And who foolishly refused the peace offers from the much more superior enemy in the end? And after all, who was sent to that damn island?
                            oh.. do not you talk about Joan of the Arc... ... no frenchmen could even match a little girl? So that you guys simply just burned her out of your jealousy? how pathetic! ...

                            ....
                            ..

                            ...

                            Just kidding .... indeed, I love French
                            Attn to ALL my opponents:

                            If you sent me your turn and after 24 hours, you still did not get anything from me, please be sure to post in the forum to ask for what is going on.

                            Remember, I ALWAYS reply within 24 hours, even if I do NOT have time to play my turn, in which case I will at least send you email to tell you that I will have to play it later, but I DO receive your turn.

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                            • #15
                              Let's not turn the French into the heros of WW2 now. They didn't perform as bad as the Italians perhaps but their resistance left a lot to be desired.
                              "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                              Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

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