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WHAT IF - Vichy France in ww2

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  • WHAT IF - Vichy France in ww2

    What if in the wake of britain's Force H bombing of Vichy France's mediterranean Fleet, Gen. Petain declared war on Britain?


    how would the mediterranean war be different with now all of North Africa an Axis nation plus Syria and parts of Africa and many bases for U-boote to resupply....

    I would assume that france would not send supplies to Italy's forces in Libya, but with Syria open to Axis forces, what woudl happen?

    perhaps Italy would not go against Greece here as well, as it would be wastefull and focus on egypt.

    how would extra french forces and a garrisoned and prepared Moroco and Algeria twart any British attempt there. not to mention the even harder task of suppliying Malta (and Gibraltar)

    ???
    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

  • #2
    Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
    What if in the wake of britain's Force H bombing of Vichy France's mediterranean Fleet, Gen. Petain declared war on Britain?
    Vichy France would quickly descend into anarchy, civil war and revolution. Until the Germans stepped in.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
      What if in the wake of britain's Force H bombing of Vichy France's mediterranean Fleet, Gen. Petain declared war on Britain?


      how would the mediterranean war be different with now all of North Africa an Axis nation plus Syria and parts of Africa and many bases for U-boote to resupply....

      I would assume that france would not send supplies to Italy's forces in Libya, but with Syria open to Axis forces, what woudl happen?

      perhaps Italy would not go against Greece here as well, as it would be wastefull and focus on egypt.

      how would extra french forces and a garrisoned and prepared Moroco and Algeria twart any British attempt there. not to mention the even harder task of suppliying Malta (and Gibraltar)

      ???
      The Vichy French Fleet was in a woeful state of disrepair by the time that "Force H" came to call and would have lended little aid to the Axis Forces for quite some time to come, had they been called upon. All of their sources of supply and repair had been interupted or destroyed by the defeat and German occupation of Metropolitan France. French Arsenals were empty, forges had grown cold and little had been done to keep up levels of supply and repair within the French Fleet. I would also agree with Gooner that internal political strife would have kept the Vichy Navy from being little more than a "fleet in being." In short, they would fight only to defend themselves, but little else, as evidenced by the Allied invasion of North Africa in September of 1942.
      "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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      • #4
        I remember watching a movie "Eye of Vichy" and I thought there were quite a few French forces in the Meditterean that were originally fighting for Vichy France, but then switched sides if I remember correctly. I don't think they could have had much of a force after those soldiers switched sides. I also think they had like 10,000 soldiers from Vichy France fighting on the Eastern Front, so I don't think Vichy France would have been in much of a position to make much of a difference. If you get a chance checkout the movie "Eye of Vichy" as it shows a lot of the propaganda going out from Vichy France, and what was going on there.

        "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug" 'The Bug'

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        • #5
          I could not predict what exactly would happen were the French government to declare war on Britian. In a general way its easy to say this would bring out sooner many French to the Allied or the Axis side. If the Germans were able to take control of the French submarine fleet, then a few more subs would be added to each months patrols. My impression is the French had superior range and patrol endurance to the German models in 1940-41, so some small advantage may have been gained there. The French air force would have been of little use to the Germans. While there were over 3000 aircraft available in June 1940 thier support structure was trashed. Not only were the parts supply shut down, but several hundred had just been delivered from the US and parts for those, plus the civilian technicians sent by the US manufactors were imeadiatly cut off. The French army in Africa had very little ability to form a expiditionary force to aid in Lybia. It was organized and equipped for suppressing native revolts and local defense.

          The reverse of this scenario would be: What If the French governement had moved to Africa and remained allied with Britian, as was contemplated.

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          • #6
            I doubt it would have made much difference had the Vichy French taken a more active role in the war. It would have been like having another Romania, but this one in the west.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Janos View Post
              I doubt it would have made much difference had the Vichy French taken a more active role in the war. It would have been like having another Romania, but this one in the west.
              Whats the effect of the other side of the coin--what effect would the French fleet have had on the Battle of the Atlantic, the North African Campaign and the naval war in the Med if they had immediately gone over to the British at the Fall of France?

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