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French Gov Moves to Africa in 1940

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Cyberknight View Post
    ... It seems to me that the existing French political and military leadership in 1940 were incapable of giving up any more ground in order to stay in the fight long term. New leadership would be the only means that I can imagine a continuation of fighting.
    There was turnover in the leaders, but not quite enough in a few key positions. Reynaud made a effort for evacuating the government, but ran out of time amoung other things. De Gaulle was not the only officer who thought to fight on, but like the similar thinking politicians the senior leadership did not quite come together quick enough.

    The essay linked here is largely unrelated, but has a few remarks in the last section about the Air Force making a signficant effort to evacuate planes and ground support to Africa.

    http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/a.../kirkland.html
    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 16 Nov 07, 22:23.

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    • #17
      IIRC the author of 'Rommel' Brigadier ?, suggests that the French fighting on would have been a disaster for Britain, as Germany would have pushed Franco to allow transit of troops to capture Gibraltar and invade North Africa. The French are caught in a pincer between them and the Italians, Malta is invaded, with Egypt to follow.

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      • #18
        I wonder how hard Franco would have to be pushed? There was a discussion between those two, and Hitler dropped the proposal. Anyone know of a description of the meeting between Hitler & Franco, or Geman Spanish discussions concenring Gibraltar?

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        • #19
          spain was really exhausted by war. whatever the reasons or pleas from germany, France was never to enter war ont he axis side. he needed to consolidate his power (some republican guerillas were active until 1944 or so in the mountains). he could not and did not want to enter another war.

          now, if France fights on, what about french troops fighting in the pyrenees, would they be interned in Spain?
          "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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
            I wonder how hard Franco would have to be pushed? There was a discussion between those two, and Hitler dropped the proposal. Anyone know of a description of the meeting between Hitler & Franco, or Geman Spanish discussions concenring Gibraltar?
            I'll try and dig something out. After the French Armistice Hitler's problem was that to get Spain into the war he would have to promise them terratorial gains ie French North Africa, which would not go down well in Vichy, especially as Itlay was after the same.

            Spain's price would be high as declaring war against Britain meant blockade, loss of overseas colonies and possibly a restart of the civil war with British support for guerrilas.

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            • #21
              The other problem faced by Hitler was that Franco was neither an Italian style Facist nor a German style National Socialist, but an Authoritarian Arch Nationalist and consequently a bit isolationist. While his attitudes and policies boded ill for freedom in Spain, it did not make him particularly enamored of going to war against France and Great Britain and even less so against the US.
              "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
              George Mason
              Co-author of the Second Amendment
              during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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              • #22
                Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                spain was really exhausted by war. whatever the reasons or pleas from germany, France was never to enter war ont he axis side. he needed to consolidate his power (some republican guerillas were active until 1944 or so in the mountains). he could not and did not want to enter another war.

                now, if France fights on, what about french troops fighting in the pyrenees, would they be interned in Spain?
                A few. Most would either be quickly sent on to French territory outside Europe, or turned over to the Germans. It would depend on how the political wind blew at the moment. Certainly the Spanish would have little desire to stand guard over camps full of ex French soldiers and even less desire to have them running loose in Spain.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Aber View Post
                  I'll try and dig something out. After the French Armistice Hitler's problem was that to get Spain into the war he would have to promise them terratorial gains ie French North Africa, which would not go down well in Vichy, especially as Itlay was after the same.

                  Spain's price would be high as declaring war against Britain meant blockade, loss of overseas colonies and possibly a restart of the civil war with British support for guerrilas.
                  I cant see possesion of Morroco being worth entering the war. But then I'm not a Spanish leader. Fifteen years earlier Spain had a long and bloody war suppresing a revolt in its own little bit of Africa. A entire 'division' of over 5000 spanish soldiers were surrounded and killed before it was over. Trying to sit on several million more Berbers and Arabs for questionable economic gain sounds like a non starter to me.

                  Why not wait until the Brits are defeated, then take the prizes.

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                  • #24
                    Consequences

                    heres a short list of a few of the events percipitated by the Fall of France. How might these change were the French government to continue hostilities?

                    1. French navy ceases to directly threaten the Axis. While the Axis had to keep contigincy plans in place for dealing with the French navy they did not have worry about being shot. The nuetral Vichy fleet lacked resources for maintiance & deteriorated slowly.

                    A. The fleet continues operations vs the Axis. I cant say if the Axis can be now be blockcaded from Africa but it will be tougher to get the Italian convoys through. In the Atlantic there are more escorts. There are still diffculties in maintaining the fleet, but even before France fell the US shipyards were doing maintiance of French warships on a contract basis.

                    2. French air force ceases to directly threaten the Axis. While the Axis had to keep contigincy plans in place for dealing with the French airforce they did not have worry about being shot at. The nuetral Vichy aircraft lacked resources for maintiance & deteriorated slowly.

                    A. Similar to #1. The numbers of aircraft potientially evacuated to Africa is a unknown for the moment. Even a large number would not be worth much for the long haul as the spare parts would be lost, except for the US made aircraft. The ability to draw from the US for aircraft makes the trained manpower the most valuable asset. US aircraft deigns get a larger workout under combat conditions than Britian could provide.

                    3. Frances collapse enabled Roosevelt & his friends to push through the various emergency war powers. The shock of the German victory turned many politicians away from opposing military expansion and mobilization of the reserves.

                    A. The French government sitting on the docks of Algiers is just as shocking, and the halls of the US Congress would be subject to the footfall of French represenatives bent on telling all about the jack boots of the beastly Hun on the necks of innocent French children.

                    4. Germany was able to momentarily concentrate the Luftwaffe agaisnt Britian. After Italy got into trouble some Luftwaffe resources were diverted to the Med.

                    A. Would the Luftwaffe be concentrated against Britian, on the Mediterrainian front, or dispersed between the two?

                    5. Germany was able to negotiate the grudging provision of various French resources and "guest workers" to boost Germany industry.

                    A. The nazis can take what they want without regard, but the French population has less incentive to cooperate.

                    6. Japan used French weakness to weasel its way into naval, army, and airbases in French Indo China (Vietnam/Cambodia). These were critical bases for conquoring Maylasia and the Dutch colonys. This also allowed Japan to corner the rubber and considerable rice supply of the Mekong basin.

                    A. Britsh navy ships and soldiers reinforcing the French make it impossible for Japan to bully its way into Can Ram Bay & Saigon.

                    7. Italy had its western border of Lybia covered by a nuetral entity.

                    A. The lack of a railroad between Tunisia and Tripoli, or even from Tripoli to the western border makes it difficult to supply a army enteing Tunisia, or the reverse. neither the French or the Italians have the truck transport in the autum of 1940 to really threaten each other.

                    8. Germany gained something from imports out of the French colonies. Both agricultural products and raw materials.

                    A The Germans get nothing unless the conquor this territory. Whatever benifit there is goes to the British Empire.

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