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Old 9th April 2005, 22:36
Posts: n/a
1940 air fighting

Quote :
Hawkeyes wrote:
" French Air Force had not at all the impression of having been wiped out or beaten, ON THE CONTRARY. They felt they had won and rightly so. Won the air war of course not the campaign as a whole."

they won the airwar over france?
i always thought they french forces were beaten, because they lost the airwar.

but maybe the french were not beaten in 1940 , they took just an short break for few years. End of quote.

- Very funny, and so new. Congratulations.
I admit maybe I should have written "won the fighting in the air" - maybe. Y'know, if you make a judgement after having counted the points like for a boxing fight. The Armée de l'Air beat the Luftwaffe 2 : 1. In the BoB it was more something like 1 : 1. The French were not there...
Sorry but I really can't give you one more university lecture on the 1940 air war. The reasons of the Dutch-Belgian-British-French 1940 defeat are completely different from what you think. Read the excellent book "Blitzkrieg-Legende". Schmidt bookshop in Munich sells it too.
It has been known for a number of decades by now that YOU CAN'T WIN A WAR WITH AIRPOWER ONLY (just look at the Dunkerque desertion : did the Luftwaffe make it impossible, hmmm? It did try very hard.). May I add : in particular 1940! You ought to refresh and modernise your ideas about this.
To make it short, the 1940 German victory over the 4 Allied countries, notably the "United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Northern Ireland", "a mouthful to say the least", as English authors use to write about German denominations, and also France, had entirely different causes. The ruthless use of airpower was only one of all the various causes, the most important of which were the violation of the neutrality of three militarily much weaker countries (which were well-armed except Lxbg. but could not resist for a long time) with the aim of 1. Taking the Allies by surprise at Sedan 3 days later, THIS was the core of the German plan, which was extremely risky for Germany. 2. Dodge the otherwise formidable French defences, formidable except around Sedan, which I am unable to understand. This gave Germany an immediate, immense advantage for the Allies, because of all their democracy etc., would never had dealt a preemptive blow and invaded Belgium-NL BEFORE Germany did, and also Switzerland, in order to invade South Germany!
The Germans won mainly on the ground with the effective help of the Luftwaffe, which mainly made their victory easier, faster and less costly but - I am certain - did not change the result. All experts including Adolf Galland later stated that the LW (never) was not suited for a strategic war. Beating both the UK and the French armies was a strategic result. The German army won because of a good plan which very easily would have ended in disaster if only the Allied command had been a little more clever and fast, because of German commanders (mainly Rommel and Guderian) who DISOBEYED strict orders and did NOT stop their fast advance. If they had obeyed orders the French would have had time to counter-attack and rout them from the flank, which is precisely what these commanders wanted to avoid and what the French wanted to do. One of the other main explanations of the ALLIED not French defeat is the desertion, the flight of the whole British army back to England as soon as it became difficult, in fact it started on 20 May already (after 10 days of fighting). French HQ was incompetent and slow but British HQ was hardly better. Panic and poor French organisation finished the French resistance, which had become much tougher and much more effective after the Dunkerque flight, but too many men had been lost already. It was mainly a GROUND battle with air support.
There are some other important causes to the Allied defeat.
Don't be so arrogant and remember what happened to the proud, invincible British forces in Singapore and their invicible heavy guns. They were just BLUFFED into surrender - for they, too, surrendered as soon as they were offered a chance - by a sly Japanese general, long before their strength was exhausted (contrary to the French, who ended with their backs pressed against the over 10,000 ft high Pyrénées). Remember Rommel and Libya, too. British forces (mainly from India, South Africa and New Zealand) eventually won - after a very long time and a protracted campaign against a much weaker enemy, and only after they had amassed a giant superiority in everything (Alamein battle) : men, artillery, tanks, airpower. In spite of this it was a difficult fight for the British and it ended only in Tunisia with American and a strong French help, Rommel being virtually surrounded! So when the Britishers fought alone, without the stupid French, they never fared better than the French did 1940 in France, possibly worse. As for airpower let me just remember you of JG 27 and H-J Marseille...