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  • France 1940

    What effect would it have had on the war had France been more ready for the German offensive? What might of happened had the French and British slowed the Germans down or even stopped it?

  • #2
    ad 1: The French and Brits should have changed their whole theory of war to stop/slow the Germans.

    ad 2: I suppose if the war lasted one-two years in the west, when Stalin might be start a war on the east... (but it is a big "what if")
    a brain cell

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    • #3
      Insread of sending the 7th Army (the best Frenc troops) to Breda in Holland at the beginning of the German attack, the May 10, Gamelin should have kept it in reserve along the France-Belgium frontier. Like that the Allies would have been able to counter the panzers. At least they would have had something (When Churchill asked where the reserves were, Gamelin anserwed that there wasn't any reserve). I would say another battle of the Marne. If it is the victory the Germans are stopped for a moment, otherwise it is the same as the historical result.

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

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      • #4
        Problem was, French strategic thinking revolved around the Maginot Line, and that meant they'd already handed the initiative to the Germans. The one perosn to speak up about manuever was de Gaulle and he got some backwater posting for his efforts.

        questioning the status quo is a not a good decision career wise
        Now listening too;
        - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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        • #5
          I think all that has mentioned before has bearing, indeed a change in strategic thinking may have changed history. However how long would would it have taken to develop a better defense and instill this new doctrine into their troops?

          The tactics employed by all of the allies early in the war were as history has shown,completely inadaquate to combat the mobile, combined arms approach that the Germans employed so successfully. I think it could be argued that early in the war this was the Germans greatest "inovation" more then the quality of their arms. They changed the rules of warfare and the allies, rendered impotent in wishing Hitler would accept a peaceful solution, and hiding behind paper treaties, and pacts, spent 4 years or so playing catch up. Had the allies been applying themselves to the study of updated war-fighting methods 4 years before Hitler made his move it may be feasible to speculate that they could have "turned the tide" much earlier. However the truth of the matter is, the allied leadership did not have "modern" ideas, and were not in the position to offer strong resistance to a politicaly aggressive Germany.
          "Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorius is to die daily" - Napoleon Bonaparte.

          Michael

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          • #6
            If France had survived it would've been a different world-scene today... but that's another story. I think that if France had survived the German Blitzkreig, there would've been a long drawn-out conflict, a-la-World War I. The German strategic thinking was geared towards a quick war that would finally finish what they had started in World War I. If they couldn't finish it in 1940, with winter rolling around it would've been a different scene.

            And who knows that if Germany was still involved with France in 1941 would Japan have attacked Pearl Harbor? And then what? Would the U.S. declare war on Germany? And would Germany even think of declaring war on the United States, while they were still in a drawn out front in France? Probably not. And one would have to wonder, could the Third Reich have survived without France?

            Maybe Germany would've survived wihtout France... think of it.
            Furthermore, they had calculated that if 25,000 of them died for every one of us, they would finish us first, for they were many and we were but few.
            -Hernan Cortez

            The Pacific is our ocean. The power that rules the Pacific, therefore, is the power that rules the world. That power is and will forever be the American Republic.
            -Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 56th Congress

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            • #7
              It is easy to ask, what would have happened if the situation in France had not gone down the toilet as it really did in fact do.

              But if the French and British plans had been more in keeping with more recent tactical thinking like that which the Germans were using, then I am sure the Germans would have been more or less aware that their opponent was less than ill prepared in the first place.

              As it went, the French and British plans pretty well fell in with what the Germans must have expected. Granted the Germans were still lucky in a number of moments.

              If the German attack had faltered, I am quite certain the war would have looked like WW1 1.5 fairly soon.
              Only difference being, if France had held, I don't think the US involvement would have been the same (less reason to panic).
              I also think if the Japanese had gone forward and gotten locked up in a conflict with the US, they would have met the full US war response head on and been even more trashed for going up against the entire US war industry.
              I think Stalin would have eventually exploited a German stalled war (because communism had plans, and an opportunity is an opportunity after all), and I think Hitler would have ended up that well known creek big time.

              I have yet to ever win a grand strategy type wargame of WW2 where the Germans are any less that exceptional in the taking out of France.
              If you blow it in France, your game is usually over (eventually).
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

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              • #8
                Germany and the Soviet Union* were the only nations to subscribe to the doctrine of having a large mass of armor aimed at distant objectives in the enemy rear. Other nations, such as France and, to a lesser extent, England subscribed to having their armor accompany their infantry in support. Such a tactic in the new doctrine was certainly doomed to failure.

                *Tuchkachtevsky(spelling?) and Guderian both had essentially the same vision concerning the employment of armor on the operational level; unfortunately for the SU, Tuchkachtevsky was purged in '37.
                Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                • #9
                  You've Gotta Set The Tempo

                  People seem to write off the French and Brits in 1940, as though it was pre-ordained by God or Mars that they would fail. I think the simple answer is that the Germans succeeded in fighting the war the way they wanted, with quick and violent thrusts. If the French had been able to slow down the tempo, and fight as their doctrine dictated, then the slow, grinding nature of the campaign would have resulted in an Allied victory. Like any campaign in history, if you can get the battle going at the time, place and speed that you choose, you're halfway to winning.

                  I've read a couple of alternate histories where the French do win, quite well researched ones. It takes surprisingly little to get a French victory. Firstly, the Germans had a very slender logistical lifeline, because their factories were not producing enough ammo, spares and replacement equipment for a long drawn out war. If the French had been fighting by about October 1940, then the Third Reich is facing a catastrophe. Secondly, a bit of rain in May makes the Ardennes very difficult for wheeled traffic, slowing down the thrust through Sedan. And thirdly, if the troops holding the line had managed to do it (maybe if they'd been second-string rather than third-string), then the Germans were also in big trouble.

                  The Germans did have some fantastic advantages over the French. Not just their doctrine, but the fact that their radios and communication systems let them plan, issue orders and act before the French realised something had changed was worth a couple of panzer corps all by itself. But the thing the French did not realise is that they would have to slow the tempo down, to reduce the speed of operations (well, they may have realised it, but they didn't do it).

                  It comes down to making the enemy fight the way you want them to. In 1940, the Germans succeeded and the French didn't. It could have been the other way around.

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                  • #10
                    My guess would be, that if France and the British wouldn´t have fallen so easily, Hitler wouldn´t had attacked the SU at all or later. This decision was made easy as he thought in the west was no front anymore to send troops to. So at first he had all troops more or less free to attack the SU.
                    Maj. Reismann: "Kill every officer in sight!"
                    soldier: "Ours or theirs?"

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                    • #11
                      France 1940

                      My pick is that if the Wehrmacht had failed to defeat France by the winter of 1940, with trenches stretching to the North Sea, then the Nazis would be looking for an armistice. Their economy would be collapsing, if not already collapsed. Stalin would be drooling so hard his saliva would be flowing across the new Russo-German border. And the eastern Europeans would be having second thoughts about backing Hitler.

                      The French and Brits trained and equiped their forces to re-fight 1918, and were also rearming at a much faster and more effective rate. By October/Novemenber, I think there is a good chance they will have air parity, if not air superiority, while on the ground, Allied artillery, armour and manpower would be steadily pushing back the undersupplied and under-equipped Germans. With a horde of Russians in Poland, ready to do some back-stabbing, then the Germans would have to end the war quickly. Game, set and match to the Good Guys and Vive La' France. Hitler ends up deposed (hopefully), possibly a short and brutal German Civil War, and no more 'Surrender Monkey' comments about the French.

                      Pity it didn't happen really.

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                      • #12
                        I am not too much interested in the military consequences of such a scenario. I believe military events would have taken a back seat to political ones if France would have managed to hold on. If France had resisted, the internal political consequences for the Third Reich would have been major. Either one of two things:

                        A) The Allies, after breaking up the German offensive, counter-attack and start to push back the Germans into Germany itself. In such a case, I believe the Third Reich wouldn't have last very long. Remember that at the time, in spite of the confidence Germans had in Hitler, the population of Germany did not want the war nonetheless. The collapse of the German offensive and a counter-attack of the Allies across the German border probably would have spelled political doom for the Third Reich very rapidly. The regime would have crumbled very soon in this scenario

                        B) The Allies cannot act decisively. They stay on their position, reinforce. In this case, bad memories of the long protracted struggle of the First World War would have emerged on the German side and self-doubts would have wiped out any confidence Hitler could have instilled into the Germans through the militarization of the Rhine, the Anschluss, the Sudeten, etc. Again, I believe the regime would have lost any meaning, unable to negotiate the peace, unable to conclude the war. Realizing the quagmire and the potential for a conflict with the Soviet Union on the other side in the near future would probably have spelled political doom the samw way. Perhaps the Nazis would have managed to hold on a little longer, but certainly not up to 1945 in such a situation.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
                          questioning the status quo is a not a good decision career wise
                          I dunno, De Gaulle ended up running the country, so it might have been a good decision - just one that took a long time for the benefits to become apparent!



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                          33
                          Steve 'Golf33' Long
                          [/size]Airborne Assault: Highway to the Reich

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