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What if the US had gone to war in 1939?

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  • #16
    In eight month's time, the US would have easily been able to double the amount of combat ready divisions in France by calling up the Reserves and National Guard Troops, just like it had done in WW I. The first Draft would handle the rest, just like it actually did.

    Overall mechanization for them could be a bit dicey, although General Motors and Chrysler were turning out deuce and a half trucks by 1940. Tanks could be even tougher to come by as the M-3 Medium tanks would be the only tanks immediately ready for overseas committment and they only mounted a 37mm gun and several .30 caliber machine guns. M-2 Light Tanks would also probably carry the day as well.
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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    • #17
      Would the US joining the war have triggered a more full-fledged Alliance between Germany and the USSR?

      Italy was not in the fight yet, and Hitler would have needed to counter American intervention somehow.

      Could any combination of powers have withstood a Nazi/Soviet juggernaut?
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
        Would the US joining the war have triggered a more full-fledged Alliance between Germany and the USSR?
        I reckon if 'itler had even suggested such an insane idea his Generals would have bumped him off pronto and made peace in the west.

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        • #19
          Stalin & his crew had absolutely no interest in joinng a general European war in those years. They were distracted with annual fights with Japan in the far east, in purging and reorganizing their armed forces. Stalin tried for the better alliance with Britian and France in mid 1939. Why would he cut his options and join in while in a bad position militarily.
          Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 28 Dec 07, 08:51.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
            In eight month's time, the US would have easily been able to double the amount of combat ready divisions in France by calling up the Reserves and National Guard Troops, just like it had done in WW I. The first Draft would handle the rest, just like it actually did.

            Overall mechanization for them could be a bit dicey, although General Motors and Chrysler were turning out deuce and a half trucks by 1940. Tanks could be even tougher to come by as the M-3 Medium tanks would be the only tanks immediately ready for overseas committment and they only mounted a 37mm gun and several .30 caliber machine guns. M-2 Light Tanks would also probably carry the day as well.
            My US Army Green Book outlines the original US mobiization plan effective in 1938-39. It comtemplated a much more organized moblization than in 1917-18. Calling up the NG was core to the plan. The regular Army was regarded as a training cadre and the standing divsions were for training and emergency combat use only. Absent any emergency the regular divsions were to have a significant portion of thier officers & NCOs transfered to the NG and training commands to train those organizations. Depending on the exact situation the former regular divsions would be first in line for combat readiness, but it was still expected they would require months before ready for overseas combat service.

            Marshall on taking the Army Chief of Staff position in 1939 recognized the details of the mobilization plan had more to do with the world of 1937 and set in motion a rewrite. This turned into a continual process with many officers taking part in it (including Eisenhower). While virtually every detail was changed the fundamental concept of disolving the Regualr Army and spreading it across the entire moblized mass as a teaching staff was kept.

            I'll try to make time to pick the Green Book & some others here for precise details on the mobilization plans for 1939.

            As an aside the US Navy maintained a brigade of combat ready Marines on each coast. The Marine Brigade, part of the Atlantic Fleet, was a combined arms unit with its own artillery, armored vehicals, aircraft, and self contained supply unit. That little token force could have been in France by October had the orders been issued.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              I illustrated just one case. Overall wherever the AEF is used along the front it can create a greater density in the main defense zone, or add weight to the French stratigic reserve. The 9th Armys sector From Namur through Montherme was the thiniest & had the lowest quality average units, so it would be a logical place for filling in any additions. Any extra motorized units would be logical as reinforcements. Two extra motor infantry divsions, either French or US, would make a difference between the 13 and 18th May.
              Unfortunately the French did not have a strategic reserve in May 1940. But yes an extra motorised corps would be very handy - do you think they could actually stop German Army Group A or buy enough time for a new line to be created that could be held? I dunno but at the least I would think the opportunity could be bought for the BEF and the First French Army to avoid being cut-off in Belgium by retreating SW smartly. That would, IMO, be enough to deny the Germans victory.



              I dont think the Germans would simply contain such a enclave. Instead of a Battle Britian there would be a Battle of Brittiany, with the Luftwaffe concentrated against it, and no anoying Channel to cross. While Allied airforces in Britian could easily reinforce that location they would not have the advantage of a properly sited radar warning system or the elaborate command communications and extensive ground support. The fighter defenses would be flying from a hastily arraigned airbase system without the advantages of the Britiah air defense system. A Breton redoubt could distract the Germans for a bit to give the French army time to reorganize far to the south and delay attacking Britian. But, as soon as the Germans concentrate on the place its time to cut the losses and run.
              Well it took the Luftwaffe almost two months to recover from the French campaign sufficiently to launch the Battle of Britain, which they, of course, lost. And that was with the rather treacherous return of several hundreds of captured LW pilot and aircrew by the Vichy French. In this ATL Luftwaffe losses will be inevitably heavier and Allied air power stronger.
              Brittany is a long long way from Germany and if the initial German forays are rebuffed it will take a substantial period of time to build-up the men and material neccessary before trying again. Remember how much weaker the German forces were for Plan Red than they were for Plan Yellow?
              As long as French armies continue to operate in the South of the country the Germans would by no-means be guaranteed to win the battle of the build-up in Brittany and at a certain point the Allied force would be strong enough to be virtually unassailable.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                Unfortunately the French did not have a strategic reserve in May 1940.
                Not true. This is one of the myths of the campaign. Its not mentioned by legitamate historians of the campaign such as May, Chapman, Horne...

                There were a least 16 divsions assigned to the "Stratigic Reserve" under the control of Georges. These included infantry, motorized infantry, and DCR. None were committed to front line poisitons along the border, or to tasks with the 1st, 7th, & 9th Armys as part of the Dyle plan. There were various contingency plans written for these divsions, but they were only contingent and execution not automatic or required by the Dyle Plan.

                On 10-11 May Several of these, the 71st Infantry & two DCR were released to the 2d Army and to the Army Group entering Begium. The remainder were released slowly over the subsequent days, mostly to rebuild the defense on the south shoulder of the enemy exploitation. Those that reached the 9th Army sector along the Meuse River were destroyed in the German mechanized corps exploitation.

                Some folks also count the 7th Army as a "reserve". It can be argued both ways, although the Dyle Plan firmly comitted it to covering Antwerp and linking to the Dutch army. Its mission was canceled after a few days and most of its corps sent east to help retrieve the the situation there. That redirection of the bulk of the 7th Army was actually faster & more decisive than the piecemeal use of the the group labled as the Stratigic Reserve is ironic. In either case the the use of both groups was too slow to help much.

                Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                But yes an extra motorised corps would be very handy - do you think they could actually stop German Army Group A or buy enough time for a new line to be created that could be held? I dunno but at the least I would think the opportunity could be bought for the BEF and the First French Army to avoid being cut-off in Belgium by retreating SW smartly. That would, IMO, be enough to deny the Germans victory.
                Slowing down the breakthrough of the mechanized group along the Meuse is the most likely outcome of reinforcing the 9th Army. When the two Pz Corps started crossing the river on the 13th May there were only three infantry divsions defending, and two were B types without motorized transport, only two regiments of each were in place and most of those men had only arrived the previous day after a two day road march. On the left flank of the 9th Army was posted a motorized infantry divsion which had arrived complete and been preparing its defense for over 48 hours.

                Another good quality motorized divsion arriving quickly thickens the defenses of the Meuse River. Two more good quality divsions helps even more. It took Rommels 7th Pz about 48 hours to create the bridgehead acrss the river an break the incomplete defense of the French 18th Infantry Div. More better quality & better prepared battalions are likely to slow that attack by another 24 to 36 hours.

                The 1st DCR & a North African infantry divsion had been ordered to assemble in the rear of the 18th Divsion and counter attack against the 7th Pz bridgehead. When Rommel broke free of the bridgehead on 15 May both those divsions were still on the road, and directly in his path. Just 12 more hours would allow them time to complete their march and deploy, even given the slow speed usually acredited to the French.

                Further south in the Givet area the French defenders did not even have any one behind them and the exploitation was even faster. A single infantry divsion shattered by a Pz Div backed by a infantry divsion. Again a additional good quality unit buys the Allies a precious 12 or 24 hours for the fw units enroute to properly assemble, which further delays and equally importantly attritions the pz divsions. So, perhaps through this cascade of delays the advance of Kliests mechanized group can be slowed so the Allied armys in Belgium withdraw south.

                Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                Well it took the Luftwaffe almost two months to recover from the French campaign sufficiently to launch the Battle of Britain, which they, of course, lost. And that was with the rather treacherous return of several hundreds of captured LW pilot and aircrew by the Vichy French. In this ATL Luftwaffe losses will be inevitably heavier and Allied air power stronger.
                Quite so, but the Allied air defense would not be anywhwere near the scale of that in Britian. The critical radar & command systems would be lacking. I cant see even half the weight of the Luftwaffe being required for this task.


                Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                Brittany is a long long way from Germany and if the initial German forays are rebuffed it will take a substantial period of time to build-up the men and material neccessary before trying again. Remember how much weaker the German forces were for Plan Red than they were for Plan Yellow?
                As long as French armies continue to operate in the South of the country the Germans would by no-means be guaranteed to win the battle of the build-up in Brittany and at a certain point the Allied force would be strong enough to be virtually unassailable.
                A couple more good qualty corps are not enough to create this redoubt. It would require an entire army with pleantifull artillery ammunition. It took only a couple weeks for the Germans to realign two army groups to attack south of the Somme and on to Paris, Bourdeux, & the Swiss border. Brittianny is not so far out of the way. This Britiany gambit would be useful as a distractor or delay, but little else.
                Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 29 Dec 07, 10:11.

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                • #23
                  From the 'US army in WWII. The Army Ground Forces. The Organization of Ground Combat Troops.' (Historical Div Dept of the Army)

                  Total strength of US Regular Army June 1940 227,000 enlisted, 14,000 officers

                  September 1940. Start of assembly of mobilizing National Guard divsions at US Army facilities.

                  September 1940. Start of assembly of draftees at basic training camps.

                  March 1941. Assemblly of 18 National Guard divsions into active service complete. Total of 278,526 National Guard enlisted and 21,000 officers on active service. (Some mobilized previously released from service for various reasons.)

                  1 July 1941. Total strength of US Army "Field Forces" 1,326,577.

                  1 July 1941. Total draftees taken into service 606,915

                  1 July 1941. Total of 56,700 reserve officers and ROTC graduates taken into active service. (This was out of a pool of 33,000 "trained" reserve officers & 107,000 ROTC graduates with no further training)

                  1 July 1941. Number of ground combat divsions formed:

                  1 Motorized Infantry (Regular Army)

                  8 Infantry (RA)

                  18 Infantry (NG)

                  4 Armored & 2 Cavalry (composite of RA, NG)

                  Notes
                  By 1 July extensive intermingling of Regular, National Guard, and Reserve officers in the divsions had already occured. Also a large portion of the draftees had been spread thru the lowest ranks of both NG & RA divsions.)

                  There were few to none organized Army Reserve combat units. The Army Reserve was primarily a pool of partially trained officers and ROTC graduates.

                  The totals of RA, NG, Reserve Officers, and Draftees leave a balance of approximatly 107,000 men out of the 1 July total for "Field Forces". It is assumed this balance was made up of volunteers. The original number for June 1940 for the active US Army includes the original Army Air Corps, which the Field Forces presumably do not, so there is a additional unknown number in the estimate of volunteers.

                  The 1 July 1941 date was used in this book as July was the start of large scale inspection and evaluation of combat readiness of the combat units. Army size manuvers begain in July as well. Specific details of the inspections and evaluations or tests are not cited, but the general results indicated most divsions were "not combat ready". The reasons partially revolved around a lack of training facilitys and equipment, and that most divsions had achived full strength and filled critical billets only in the late spring and early summer. The other half was a large scale lack of suitable training and experince for the officers in premobilization years. This lack stemmed as well from the large numbers of political appointees in the NG. The summer and fall of 1941 saw the peak of 'Marshalls Purge'. Some 40 of 60 General officers were removed from service for reasons of age, competency and health. Roughly 10% of the company and field grade officers were removed from combat and field support billets for being over age. Another 10% were removed for reasons of competency or health.

                  The infantry divsions of July 1941 were 'Square' with twelve infantry battalions in four regiments. Two brigade HQ were included in each divsion. Only one experimental divsion had been converted to the triangular divsion organization (although several others were susposed to be starting conversions then).

                  The Armored divsions were still considered experimental, were underequipped, and undergoing continual reoganization.

                  Nine corps HQ had existed from 1920, and four Army HQ had been formed between 1936 & 1938.

                  Converting this 1940-41 mobilization to a 1939-40 time line is roughly possible.

                  Considerations:
                  The US Army starting point is slightly smaller in September 1939. From other sources I have various numbers ranging from 192,000 to 215,000.

                  Marshall had only just been appointed Chief of Staff in 1939 and had not yet time to reorganize the senior levels. He had the compete backing of Roosevelt in eliminating the independant power of the various Departments and acted quickly in reviewing and updating the moblization plans. He also was able to squeeze some funds out of the budget for a early preperation of facilities for mobilization. Without these early actions in late 1939-early 40 the later mobilization would have more difficult and slower.

                  The June 1940 thru July 1941 time line of 12 months would be reduced to eight months; Sept 1939 to 10 May 1940 when the Germans attacked in the west.

                  Providing reasonablly trained and equipped divsions/corps to Europe quickly requires delaying the training, equipment, and possiblly the mobilization of other units. This can be aleviated in part by a accelerated conversion of the divsions headed overseas to the triangular organization, however the US Army lacked suffcient corps and army combat support and service units for mobilization. Those had to be mostly created from scratch and offset any likely gains from reducing divsion size.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

                    March 1941. Assemblly of 18 National Guard divsions into active service complete. Total of 278,526 National Guard enlisted and 21,000 officers on active service. (Some mobilized previously released from service for various reasons.)
                    This image requires you to click it once again after you open it, to clean it up.



                    This is when my Grampa Paul, and many like him, volunteered out of the National Guard into the Airborne program. I wonder if the Airborne would've had a chance to blossom if we'd gone into the war right at the start? The failure to develop some or all of those outfits could've given the US a real deficit in some critical battles....
                    Last edited by Paul Mann III; 30 Dec 07, 00:48.
                    "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                    BoRG

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                    • #25
                      There were 'parachute' proponents, but the eventual airbourne thing was the result of German sucesses in 1940/41. While a regiment had been authorized sometime in 1940 (?) the large scale establishment came much later when the existing 82d Infantry Divsion was selected for conversion to a parachute & glider division. Omar Bradley had been the commander of the 82d during its original mobilizaton and training and worked with Ridgeway in preparing for the conversion. (Bradley was then sent to retrain the 28th Infantry Divsion which had been consistently failing its inspections and training evaluations.)

                      Most of the US Army doctrine and structure grew out of thinking and testing done in the 1920s & 1930s. There was the possible exception of the airbourne. One clear post 1940 development was the armored force and tank destroyer force doctrines adopted in the wake of Frances defeat in 1940. These seem to have come in a large part from a gross misunderstanding as to the nature of the German victorys in September 1939, and May/June 1940. Perhaps had the US a expeditionary force involved in that debacle the armored doctrine, organization, and equipment would have been different.
                      Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 30 Dec 07, 11:30.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                        There were 'parachute' proponents, but the eventual airbourne thing was the result of German sucesses in 1940/41. While a regiment had been authorized sometime in 1940 (?) the large scale establishment came much later when the existing 82d Infantry Divsion was selected for conversion to a parachute & glider division. Omar Bradley had been the commander of the 82d during its original mobilizaton and training and worked with Ridgeway in preparing for the conversion. (Bradley was then sent to retrain the 28th Infantry Divsion which had been consistently failing its inspections and training evaluations.)

                        The original layout for a US Airborne outfit came out of World War I. In 1917 Pershing had approved a Billy Mitchell plan, including Italian Caproni planes and Allied Handley-Page planes that could drop 10 to 15 troopers (I believe he had requested light machine guns like the BAR). The plan was to have his unit by 1919. Obviously, that didn't happen.

                        Mitchell's Operations Officer at the time, Magor Lewis H. Brereton, was entrusted with the original TO&E....


                        Ridgways Paratroopers by Clay Blair has the whole story of how it came to be in 1940, when the War Department authorized us a test Platoon, and 1st Lieutenant Ryder volunteered, thus creating the Airborne tradition of every man a willing jumper.

                        By the way, it wasn't so much the German success that convinced the War Department, it was the Russians. In 1935 they moved a whole Division from Moscow to Vladivostock, and formed an Airborne Corp. Scary....
                        "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                        BoRG

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                        • #27
                          Small Point...

                          If we assume an AEF or two or so corps in France prior to the German attack in 1940, how would they have fitted into the command structure of the allied armies. Personally i cant see the French high command giving an American General complete or even partial autonomy over where and when his forces are deployed, or how they fit into the overall allied plan.

                          If you accept that one of the main contributions to German success was the failure of the allied (French) high command, how would the AEF commander have acted. Remember that Gort only saved the BEF by effectively moving outside the official chain of command and 'going it alone' on the road to Dunkirk. If we assume the same chaos in command as actually happened, then its possible the AEF commander might have been in a similar situation.

                          Hypo...

                          Interesting thought. Where and how would the French command have placed the AEF. If we assume the general plan stays the same, its likely in my view that the AEF would have beefed up the Belgian advance. The logic behind this comes from the French strategic thinking and planning of the time, which desired a battle and campaign BEYOND the French borders. If we accept this, then it makes sense to add the AEF to the defence of Belgium. Its also likely that the French command would not have withdrawn any French forces from the Belgian plan, because the strategy was to fight and defeat Germany outside of France.

                          Dunkirk 2...

                          The AEF becoming cut off in northern Belgium with its commander on the radio/field telephone to Lord Gort...

                          "Where exactly are we retreating to?"

                          Gary

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
                            Small Point...

                            If we assume an AEF or two or so corps in France prior to the German attack in 1940, how would they have fitted into the command structure of the allied armies. Personally i cant see the French high command giving an American General complete or even partial autonomy over where and when his forces are deployed, or how they fit into the overall allied plan.
                            Correct. Lord Gort was clearly subordinate to Georges the NW Front commander and Billote the commander of the army group that entered Belgium (1st, 9th, 7th, & BEF). It would have been the same for the AEF.

                            Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
                            Small Point...If you accept that one of the main contributions to German success was the failure of the allied (French) high command, how would the AEF commander have acted. Remember that Gort only saved the BEF by effectively moving outside the official chain of command and 'going it alone' on the road to Dunkirk. If we assume the same chaos in command as actually happened, then its possible the AEF commander might have been in a similar situation.

                            Hypo...

                            Interesting thought. Where and how would the French command have placed the AEF. If we assume the general plan stays the same, its likely in my view that the AEF would have beefed up the Belgian advance. The logic behind this comes from the French strategic thinking and planning of the time, which desired a battle and campaign BEYOND the French borders. If we accept this, then it makes sense to add the AEF to the defence of Belgium. Its also likely that the French command would not have withdrawn any French forces from the Belgian plan, because the strategy was to fight and defeat Germany outside of France.

                            Dunkirk 2...

                            The AEF becoming cut off in northern Belgium with its commander on the radio/field telephone to Lord Gort...

                            "Where exactly are we retreating to?"

                            Gary
                            Actually the BEF was split, with the combat ready corps off the Louvain sector on the Dyle in Belgium, some third rate divsions remaining on fatigue duty in the BEFs assembly area in northern France, and one other divsion (51st?) off on front line duty on the Fraco German border. I'd guess the same for the AEF.

                            Exactly where the AEF might be used in the left wing is anyones guess. Simply adding US corps to the 1st Army north of Namur or squeezing it in further north between the BEF & 1st Army might be counter productive. I have a couple maps here showing the various Allied divsions and their locations on 13 May. The density of the 1st Army and BEF is incredible. An average of six kilometers front for the divsions in the front line, and robust reserves behind them. South of Namur things change with only three infantry divsions (one motorized) covering 45 kilometers between Namur & Givet. Plus the 9th Army reserves were two days march away.

                            Wherever the US corps is used it is tempting to think that the 9th Armys sector would be reinforced out of the surplus created elswhere. Thickening the 2d Armys sector, aprticularly near Sedan is another possibility with negative implications for the Germans. But, the French senior leaders were not operating by our logic, so who knows. Perhaps they would have wedged more corps into the area north of Namur.

                            Alternatly the AEF might still be 'in training' and therefore far to the rear, as part of that Stratigic Reserve I refered to earlier. In that case it probablly contributes little or nothing to the May debacle and would be placed along the newly formed Somme Line between the Channel coast and Sedan after the 'Panzer Corridor is formed.

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                            • #29
                              Looking over the US Army mobilization info which I sketched earlier a few thoughts come to mind.

                              The four armored divsions existing by July 1941 would have been non entitys seven months into a 1939 mobilization. While they could have been authorized on paper, or more likely some earlier armored force of a different composition, the tanks would not exist. I suspect a little more than three or four brigades of the M2 type could have been provided, and most of those would be needed to train crews and mechanics. In theory its possible for some sort of US armored divsion ot exist in France on 10 May, but I'm thinking something along the lines of the French 3rd DCR. Just formed, the divsion support units incomplete, and the divsion command staff untrained.

                              The US Army was still orgainized in 'square divsions'. There was a ongoing experiment with the 'triangular' divsion in 1939, but no conclusions or doctrine had yet been published. French pressure may have caused a much more rapid progress to coversion.

                              The US Army had a long running program of buying test prototypes of tanks for evaluation. This had led to the M2 medium tank design and thence to the automotively superior M3 and M4 medium tanks, and the Stuart series of light tanks. What US tank designers would have thought of current French designs & prototypes I cannot imagine. Heres a few of the designs the French were looking at:

                              FCM F1. One of the several monster tanks proposed

                              http://www.chars-francais.net/new/in...=723&Itemid=36

                              ARL 40 V939. One of two heavily armored assualt artillery designs. These were to have sophiticated equipment for indirect fire, and included a armored Forward observers version

                              http://www.chars-francais.net/new/in...=792&Itemid=36

                              G1 A departure from previous French tank designs. The low dome shaped turret makes me think of the Soviet T54.

                              http://www.chars-francais.net/new/in...=689&Itemid=36

                              B1 ter. third in the heavy B1 series

                              http://www.chars-francais.net/new/in...=110&Itemid=36

                              AMX 40. Another of the light two man tanks. Actually well armored, good suspension and decent 47mm AT gun.

                              http://www.chars-francais.net/new/in...=704&Itemid=36
                              Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 30 Dec 07, 20:21.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by allsirgarnet View Post
                                Small Point...

                                If we assume an AEF or two or so corps in France prior to the German attack in 1940, how would they have fitted into the command structure of the allied armies. Personally i cant see the French high command giving an American General complete or even partial autonomy over where and when his forces are deployed, or how they fit into the overall allied plan.
                                Well the French were happy to have the AEF of 1918 operate with full autonomy, the BEF of WWI only placed themselves under French command after the Spring 1918 offensives.

                                If you accept that one of the main contributions to German success was the failure of the allied (French) high command, how would the AEF commander have acted. Remember that Gort only saved the BEF by effectively moving outside the official chain of command and 'going it alone' on the road to Dunkirk. If we assume the same chaos in command as actually happened, then its possible the AEF commander might have been in a similar situation.
                                We could always hope the American commander (who would he be? not Fredendall I hope) might be less willing to swallow everything the French High Command tells them.

                                Interesting thought. Where and how would the French command have placed the AEF. If we assume the general plan stays the same, its likely in my view that the AEF would have beefed up the Belgian advance. The logic behind this comes from the French strategic thinking and planning of the time, which desired a battle and campaign BEYOND the French borders. If we accept this, then it makes sense to add the AEF to the defence of Belgium. Its also likely that the French command would not have withdrawn any French forces from the Belgian plan, because the strategy was to fight and defeat Germany outside of France.
                                Agree with Carl, the added congestion and adding a third supply chain (fourth if you count Belgium) to the northern armies would be counter-productive. If combat ready the AEF would quite possibly be covering the weaker French 2nd and 9th Armys covering the French border NE of the Maginot.

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