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  • Could France and Britain have done it?

    When France and G.B declared war on Germany in '39 they outnumbered the German Western Forces with a 5-1 advatadge. If they would have pressed an attack what do you think would have happened?
    The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

    Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

  • #2
    Re: Could France and Britain have done it?

    Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
    When France and G.B declared war on Germany in '39 they outnumbered the German Western Forces with a 5-1 advatadge. If they would have pressed an attack what do you think would have happened?
    France did attack in the Saar during the Sitzkrieg and I believe they did enter into Germany but failed to go any further. To attack Germany, they would have had to go through the Saar or Belgium/Luxembourg. Not sure of the reaction of both those countries, but if the British and French armies would have pressed on through the Low Countries, I don't think Germany could have stopped and repulsed them as a good chunk of their forces were in the East.
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    • #3
      Re: Could France and Britain have done it?

      Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
      When France and G.B declared war on Germany in '39 they outnumbered the German Western Forces with a 5-1 advatadge. If they would have pressed an attack what do you think would have happened?
      There are a number of sources that say that this was Hitler's greatest fear -- he was not prepared to fight them while engaged in Poland.
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      • #4
        I think WWII would have been a lot shorter if they had... the big IF would be whether Belgium and the Netherlands would let them through. If not, I don't see them doing much more then slogging it out WWI style trying to get to the Rhine... but I don't think they could hold the ground they gained when the panzers came back west. It sure would have thrown a monkey wrench in Denmark and Norway though... and maybe given Il Duce some pause.

        I just don't think they could have moved the material and manpower fast enough to take advantage of the situation. And if they could have, they needed the full front (north Sea to Switzerland... not just France-Germany) to prevent from getting bottled up, chewed up, and spit back out.
        If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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        • #5
          Remember also that Russia was on the move annexing Eastern Poland while Germany invaded.

          Russia also wasn't quite ready, but given an opportunity, Uncle Joe may have decided to continue west, had France and GB moved against Germany in late 39.
          Retreat hell, we just got here. Every Marine, a rifleman.

          Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

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          • #6
            I was thinking he would be delayed... but given the opportunity, and with the forces already moving west... he 'could' miss the border checkpoint I suppose...
            If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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            • #7
              My belief is that the French Army, though large, was unreliable and the B.E.F. was too small and it was supposed to be a large chunk of the British Army and I agree they would bog down on the Rhine whether they used WWI or Modern tactics.
              The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

              Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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              • #8
                Not exactly an accurate simulation. But I have tried that tactic when playing Hearts of Iron and by launching an all out attack in the West I managed to trap the German's in Poland and end the war by 1940.
                There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -Henry Kissinger

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
                  My belief is that the French Army, though large, was unreliable and the B.E.F. was too small and it was supposed to be a large chunk of the British Army and I agree they would bog down on the Rhine whether they used WWI or Modern tactics.
                  What would have been so bad IF they bogged down at the Rhine? It would be a good position to deal with a counter attack, it would have been better than sitting back behind the Maginot Line..................
                  Lance W.

                  Peace through superior firepower.

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                  • #10
                    True... the river was tougher to get across...
                    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lance Williams
                      What would have been so bad IF they bogged down at the Rhine? It would be a good position to deal with a counter attack, it would have been better than sitting back behind the Maginot Line..................
                      The French officer corps, and it's army organisation, was totally predicated on the Doctrine of Static Defense. They literally were not organised to conduct an offensive. Their armor was not organised en masse, and their logistical transport was nonexistent for campaigns outside of France.

                      The French learned in WWI that the battle went to the defender, and went into WWII ready to fight the last war.

                      Plus, taking a bold offensive against Germany would have required......Boldness! Outside of DeGaulle, who wasn't at the requisite paygrade at the time, no one in the French High Command possessed this crucial quality.
                      "Going to war is always an admission of defeat." --Jacques Chirac

                      "In the case of France, you're right!" --Rush Limbaugh

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                      • #12
                        No of course not. The UK, Canadians and Australians would have to have picked up all the slack left by the French during the war and there is only so much those three could have done before being forced to capulate.

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                        • #13
                          France's occupation of the Saar is the key to this one.

                          French troops held crossings over the Rhine so the path to Berlin was clear.

                          Although there were Wehrmacht Forces in Western Germany these were in insufficient numbers and not well enough equipped to face a French or British Force that was intent on capturing Berlin (the bulk of the army and best units being committed to Poland).

                          The Luftwaffe was almost totally engaged in Poland (only a few squadrons being held back for home defence) and also could have been overwhelmed quickly.

                          The BEF was comparatively well equipped for mobile warfare, the best French and British Armour compared favourably to Mark 1 & 2 Panzers.

                          If a Rommel or Guderian had been on the Allied side in command of a Division, they would have seen the opportunity and been difficult, if not impossible, to stop. Thus forcing the Allied High Command's Hand into backing them up.

                          Germany would not have been able to disengage from Poland fast enough to prevent collapse at home.

                          Unfortunately (for millions), Doctrinally neither the BEF or the French were up to combined arms mobile war, nor was the quality of leadership such that they could even dream of such an operation.

                          I don't think anyone on the Allied side apart from the Russians or Patton could have done of it, the Allies being so handicapped by their leaders and their thinking.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Simone
                            France's occupation of the Saar is the key to this one.

                            French troops held crossings over the Rhine so the path to Berlin was clear.

                            Although there were Wehrmacht Forces in Western Germany these were in insufficient numbers and not well enough equipped to face a French or British Force that was intent on capturing Berlin (the bulk of the army and best units being committed to Poland).

                            The Luftwaffe was almost totally engaged in Poland (only a few squadrons being held back for home defence) and also could have been overwhelmed quickly.

                            The BEF was comparatively well equipped for mobile warfare, the best French and British Armour compared favourably to Mark 1 & 2 Panzers.

                            Only issue here is that there are Mark III and IV's and the fact that the BEF and French were still using their tanks off of old WWI doctrines. They had a large argument in the 20's over new tank doctrine and the new age man who thought like the Germans lost.

                            If a Rommel or Guderian had been on the Allied side in command of a Division, they would have seen the opportunity and been difficult, if not impossible, to stop. Thus forcing the Allied High Command's Hand into backing them up.

                            Germany would not have been able to disengage from Poland fast enough to prevent collapse at home.

                            Unfortunately (for millions), Doctrinally neither the BEF or the French were up to combined arms mobile war, nor was the quality of leadership such that they could even dream of such an operation.

                            Exactly

                            I don't think anyone on the Allied side apart from the Russians or Patton could have done of it, the Allies being so handicapped by their leaders and their thinking.
                            The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

                            Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Simone
                              The BEF was comparatively well equipped for mobile warfare, the best French and British Armour compared favourably to Mark 1 & 2 Panzers.

                              Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the British Matilda and the French Char B were, in fact, as good as, if not better, than the Pz III and Pz IV.

                              However, as Barcelona said in his post, the BEF and the French were using outdated tactics.

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